anything in Cebu Philippines
Cebu City is a small city. It has a central business district, Cebu Business Park, where office buildings, residential buildings and the city's nicest mall and restaurants are located. Everything within the CBD is within walking distance but hardly anyone here walks as everyone drives. Streets are not very safe specially for foreigners. We have a few five-star resorts, Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Abaca Resort in Mactan, approximately 20minute drive from the city center or a 10-minute drive from the airport.
Has your son found a place to stay? If not, drop me a message at email@example.com. My family is engaged in real estate .
I can't comment on restaurants in Cebu but will give a note on Filipino food in general.
It's not like other SE Asian food. A few dishes are accessible but many take getting used to. Visually they often don't look appetising (yellow pumpkin floating in pink slush) and locals seem happy with textures I'd generally avoid (slimy taro as thickener). Having said this, there are some stand-out but common dishes which you may wish to start with as an entry point to this cuisine.
Adobo (chicken/pork/whatever) is arguably the national dish and is essentially meat/etc stewed in vinegar. You have to try, but for me it's too bold so a little goes a long way.
Kilawin (or Kinilaw) is Filipino equivalent to ceviche but I'm sure you'll find it a little different to Mexico. Style I prefer is small thin slices of very fresh white fish dressed with lime/shallot/chilli just seconds before eating. Chunky style not so much my thing.
Sinigang na Baboy is pork in a sour broth with mustard (or other) leaves, etc. It's often a simple dish and not too heavy. There are lots of styles of sinigang and the fish ones are great too. Sometimes they use guava juice in the broth to sweeten, other times even miso for saltiness/depth. Nice too if you can find with "puso ng saging", which is banana blossom.
Arroz Caldo is by far my favourite Filipino dish. I cook it myself and can eat three large bowls in one sitting. It's soupy rice, like congee, but base is lemongrass, shallots, garlic, chicken. Often served with topping of spring onion & cilantro and dressing of chilli, lime & fish sauce. Yum!!
Crispy Pata is soft/succulent pork knuckle that's then deep fried until crisp. Comes with dipping sauce of soy-vinegar. Not so healthy but sooooo good!
Pancit Bihon Guisado is simple rice vermicelli tossed with various meat and veg. It's usually quite a light but filling meal. Sometimes I've seen with chicken livers tossed in but more often not.
As I say, the above is a good starting point for your first days. On my first trip I wasn't warned so barely made it past Adobo. Have fun!!
thank you for all the suggestions and especially for the insight into local food. We will not be eating at high end restaurants - my son has two boys 3 and 6, (His position came with a house.). My daughter in law is a vegetarian so i'm sure how much pork I will get. I'm going to print the list that polst3r sent very helpful.
re: Mariana in Baja
different regions in the Philippines have different regional delicacies. cebu has it's fair share of specialties and a few that come to mind are lechon (roast pig), pochero (beef shank soup w/ corn, veggies), and balambam liempo (bbq pork belly).
most locals like eating at the following bbq restaurants -- AA, Chika-an, and Neo Neo. they basically display the food (meats, seafood and veggies) and you just pick out what you want, place it on a tray and have them cook it for you. also check out golden cowrie and zubuchon as well. these places are'nt fancy at all and very local. if you want more "sanitized" surroundings, head on over to the ayala mall and check out the numerous restaurants there. have fun!