Briones: 7th best island

On the go

IT APPEARS that no one seems to care that travelers around the world picked Cebu as the seventh best island in Asia in an annual survey conducted by Travel + Leisure, a magazine based in New York, New York.

Or maybe Cebuanos don’t need other people to tell them that they live in one of the most beautiful places in this part of the world, one that offers “top-notched reef and wreck diving, white-sand beaches, hiking trails with waterfalls and welcoming locals.”

Because, come on, life here is not exactly a bed of roses.

Tell that to the thousands who have to sit through the metropolitan area’s traffic deadlocks for hours. Or the pedestrians who have to wade in knee-deep waters when a flash flood occurs after a heavy downpour. Or residents who have to survive without running water for weeks on end during the summer months.

Yeah, go stop a local on the street and tell him or her about the news, and you’ll probably be met with a blank stare.

Because, come on, folks, how many ordinary Cebuanos have ever gone diving, or spent a day lying on the beach, or even hiked?

First of all, majority of Cebuanos don’t even know how to swim, let alone dive. I’m basing this observation on experience since I don’t have exact data, so there! But let’s face it, diving is an expensive hobby that requires special equipment and training.

If your average Cebuano has money to spare, I bet you he’d rather spend it on food, drink—the intoxicating kind, of course—or gambling.

Suggest diving and he’ll probably give you the “you-think-I’m-crazy” look.

Again, I’m not talking about the people who live in gated communities or high-rise condominiums because they’re not exactly your run-of-the-mill Juan or Maria.

As for the beach, yeah, Cebuanos flock to them during the weekends or holidays. But do you ever wonder why you don’t see many foreigners?

Locals use the opportunity to bond with family and friends usually over food and drinks—the intoxicating kind. Many stay close to the shoreline because they don’t know how to swim. They laugh. They play. They take a bath. And when the sun is at its zenith, they retire to native huts to continue eating and drinking—the intoxicating kind. They take out cards or lay mahjong tiles out on the table and spend the next few hours engrossed in winning.

You won’t find many locals lying on a beach towel, a book in hand, hoping to catch that perfect tan. What are you, crazy?

I know some friends who have taken up

hiking...oh, I’m just saying.

Let’s face it. Cebuanos are hard to impress, especially since what the magazine’s readers find intriguing about us we already take for granted.


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