The province of Cebu is booming with tourist attractions. Beyond your resorts and hotels, Cebu offers a diverse selection of niche spots that might interest both tourists and fun-loving locals. In this article, I will share a few of my very own experiences with some of Cebu’s best.

Right along A.S. Fortuna Avenue, with which you might already be familiar, run a number of quaint, unique establishments that present us Cebuanos with not-so-new but still-exciting opportunities, which we can grab. At the ever-popular Fat Dois, an Asian-fusion restaurant, you can treat yourself and a friend or two to their mouth-watering mozzarella chicken, spicy ramen with Spam, and kimchi rice for only around 500 to 600 pesos. If you haven’t tried Fat Dois yet and are wondering why the name’s so familiar, the next time you’re riding a jeepney through A.S. Fortuna from Highway Seno at around 5:00 in the afternoon, look to the right and you’ll see a long line of young foodies outside a cozy black structure with a seductive red door, and you’ll get the idea as to why this ingenious 2-year-old restaurant, which started out as an experiment by University of San Carlos alum Josemaria Ylaya, piques the interest and sticks to the minds of many Cebuano gastronomes.

Another fun, exciting restaurant located on A.S. Fortuna Avenue is the brunch-serving coffee shop Balai, which is aptly named after its cozy, home-like venue, where you can partake in a tasty feast of contemporary food such as whole roast chickens, Bolognese spaghetti with mozzarella-cheese topping (These restaurants really love their mozzarella.), and aromatic, palatable curry rice. Also for 500 to 600 pesos, you can enjoy a dinner for two to three persons at Balai by Cafe Plus.

At the farther end of the Cebu island, you can find more tourist destinations that transcend gastronomic cravings. If you’re over food and seeking thrilling adventures, I recommend checking out Samboan’s Aguinid Falls, a five-level death trap dancing to the tune of cool, trickling, fresh water. I’ve only visited this attraction myself twice, but my second visit definitely felt more dangerous than my first—probably because the fear center of my brain has matured since—and proved to be nerve-wracking enough that I’m now anxious but simultaneously excited about a third visit.

Before reaching Samboan from Cebu City, you’ll come across the municipality of Oslob. In the recent years, Oslob has been booming with tourism, thanks largely to the whale-shark-watching industry. If you’re already familiar with such attraction, you’ll know it involves sailing on a bangka and, optionally, literally swimming with the sharks. However, many biologists and environmentalists have discouraged patronizing this particular attraction due to its negative impact on the ecosystem. You see, whale sharks are naturally nomadic; that is, they are supposed to travel around, in this case, Asia. But sadly due to the growth of this industry in Oslob, these marine lives’ overstaying in our seas is causing a grave imbalance to the ecosystems, especially of the places they are no longer visiting, and a perilous overdependence to humans on the part of the whale sharks themselves. I’ve only gone whale-shark watching once when I was younger, and, as a matter of principle, I don’t think I’m ever going back.

To keep posted about more of Cebu’s best, you can check out my personal blog, Sugbuhaton, or stay tuned here at Y101FM.