Top Ten Prisons to Visit

Cebu Center, Philippines
Cebu, Philippines
Cebu City's skyline from the Cebu Strait (Wikipedia)

8. Cebu Dance-Off
You think "Dancing with the Stars" is entertaining? Type "Thriller" and "Cebu" into the same YouTube search box and prepare to watch some of the most oddly high-spirited, orange jump-suited detainees do their thing on the dance, er, prison floor. The Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in Cebu, Philippines, is harboring some of the Philippines' most dangerous thieves, murderers, rapists, and smooth-moving fellas west of the Cebu Strait. With inspiration straight from the movie "The Shawshank Redemption," the prison warden felt like music and exercise needed to be integrated into the daily routine of pacing behind bars. As long as they are cutting a rug, and not each other (or me, for that matter), I'm in.

Much like other high-security prisons, visiting or touring is out of the question—unless you have a relation to one of the prisoners. Catch a ride on a sidecar tricycle for a drive around the prison, then hop a jeepney (leftover military jeep from World War II) to get into the guts of Cebu, nicknamed the "Queen City of the South." Cebu has everything a tropical paradise should have—beautiful sprawling beaches, vast natural parks for camping and climbing, world-class shopping, and not too distant adjacent islands to snorkel, dive, and swim around. For the best bang for your buck, visit in January when local festivals abound and Mother Nature is kind-hearted with the typical summer heat at bay and the typhoon-like rainfall of the summer months hushed.


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