3 activities in Cebu not for the faint-hearted

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Call me ignorant, but coming from a tiny island-state like Singapore, I always find it hard to grasp just how enormous other countries are.

While planning a recent trip to the Philippines, I assumed Cebu was a small resort island that can be traversed in half a day or less. Boy, was I mistaken.

Cebu is an island province that consists of the main island itself and 167 surrounding islands and islets.

It is the second-largest city in the Philippines, and home to 2.6 million people.

That's about half of Singapore's population! While there are plenty of activities in Cebu that cater to different interests, here are 3 activities that I think will satisfy even the most adrenaline-hungry among you.

But first, how would you rate your tolerance for adrenaline? Moderate? High? Impenetrable?

If you answered "moderate", try … diving with thresher sharks!

Photo: richardgutz's Instagram

To me, scuba diving is like a gamble - you never know what you're going to see underwater. Some days, you may be surrounded by amazing sea creatures and on other days, you may not see very much.

However, if you're looking for thresher sharks, you are pretty much guaranteed to see them every morning in Monad Shoal (near Malapascua, an island located just off the northernmost tip of Cebu Island).

Monad Shoal is a sunken island whose sides drop off to depths of 230m. The thresher sharks live and hunt in the deep water for most of the day but every morning, they come up to the Shoal to get cleaned!

Here, a group of small fish called cleaning wrasse will eat the dead skin and bacteria from the shark's body, gills, and even inside its mouth.

Think of it as a giant communal bath for sharks! During this precious few hours of "spa time", divers can get up-close with these sharks (although you still have to keep a respectful distance from the cleaning stations).

The thrill of watching these magnificent creatures swim less than 5m from your face is incredible and definitely a must-try.

For more information, contact Evolution Diving Resort.

If you answered "high", try … canyoning!

Photo: memoirs0faisha's Instagram

Imagine leaping off cliffs of up to 16m into the river below. Could you do it? I thought I could, and certainly wanted to try, but unfortunately, on the day of our canyoning adventure in Kawasan Falls (located in Moalboal), the 16m jump was off-limits.

If you have a fear of heights, this is definitely one place to meet your fears head-on! I'm not afraid of heights, but when you're standing on a ledge 10m up and staring down at the waters below, it's hard not to feel a heady rush of adrenaline.

Tip: The longer you stand there, the more your mind will wreak havoc on your nerves. The best thing to do is just jump.

The feeling of free-falling is amazing - you really feel like you're weightless and flying - and within seconds, you're plunged into the cold but refreshing water.

Trust me, once you've made the plunge and you emerge from the river, your first reaction would be, "OMG! I wanna do that again!" It's THAT fun.

For more information, contact Cyan Adventures.

If you answered "impenetrable", try … freediving!

Photo: danipaperboat's Instagram

Ironically, freediving is the quietest and most sedate of the 3 recommended activities, but because of the level of risk involved, I've categorised it as the activity that provides the greatest adrenaline rush.

Freediving allows you to explore the depths of the oceans with zero equipment, giving you the freedom to enjoy the majestic silence of the underwater world.

However, freediving is so much more than seeing how long you can hold your breath or how deep you can go on a single breath.

According to AIDA, the international organisation for freediving, the sport is about creating the right attitude and paying attention to the limits of your body and mind.

Because, like everything else, there needs to be balance in whatever we do. Adventure-seeking, if done improperly or rashly, is simply recklessness.

When you have a sense of reverence for the elements and the inherent risks you're taking, I believe it adds another layer of meaning to your adventures.

It no longer becomes just "jumping off high things" or "diving without equipment".

Even as you perform seemingly superhuman feats, adventure has a way of making you face up to the very things that make you human - your fears, your limitations, and your deep reservoir of courage.

For more information, contact Freediving Philippines.

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