The wanderlust in me is happy again!
After thirteen years, I set foot again on the islands of the Visayas region. This time, this trip was different: no beaches, no sand, no bathing suit packed.
Usually when Cebu is the destination, it’s the beaches that one hits. I wasn’t able to walk on sand or dip my feet in the clear waters. This trip was more of exploring the city and sight-seeing — stepping on the grounds of historical landmarks, malls, and century-old, beautiful churches.
I’m not one who googles stuff for touristy places, affordable lodging, recommendable restos, and the like. I’m more of a person who comes unplanned when it comes to traveling, and I actually like it that way. But prior to this trip, I was actually able to do a little “research”, many thanks to the recommendations of Lili, my Cebuana language buddy slash online friend! Whatever she suggested I wrote down on a piece of paper, and had that kept in the pocket of my backpack the whole trip.
Speaking of that, I was actually thisclose to crossing meet a penpal/language buddy/online friend out of my mental bucket list. Still quite bummed we weren’t able to meet!
We arrived just in time for sunrise, and straight from the airport, we looked for a place to eat the most important meal of the day. We ended up at I.T. Park, a business district in Cebu City, which was a recommendation of hers!
We ended up at KFC.
It’s weird that it’s even in Cebu I find out that KFC serves breakfast meals. Had no idea they did! Got pancakes, which had something chocolatey inside. I don’t remember actually, but it was good!
And we went to Starbucks right after.
Ikr, who goes to Cebu and eats KFC and Starbucks?!
We didn’t actually order anything. We needed internet connection badly because we had to look for a place to stay. Why doesn’t Starbucks offer free wifi?
I love how “May reklamo ka?” is written on the doors of public transportation here. Call it shallow or not, but it was one of the first things I noticed during my first few minutes here. It just made me realize how Metro Manila is just too sosyal. We have “How’s my driving?” while Cebu has something like, “Gotta problem?” If you see it that way… well, more or less!
I seriously can’t even count how many taxis we rode to get to our destinations throughout the whole trip. I believe it was the most expensive way of getting around, but it was very convenient and comfortable. I wanted to experience riding the jeepneys here. They were painted in bright, solid colors, which I really found cute. They were much smaller, and the destinations’ names were big.
Not only that, the taxi drivers were very nice people as well!
I have this weird obsession with newspapers. Okay… maybe that was sort of a lie because I don’t even remember the last time I read a daily paper from cover to cover (wait, did that even happen ever?). Well, I have a couple of newspaper clippings written in different languages that I receive from my penpals, from my postcard-swap friends who I shameless ask from, or from recent travels. I don’t have any dialect newspaper clipping, or worse, I’ve never actually seen one!
So as we were riding the taxi, the driver was nice enough to get one from the newspaper vendor while waiting for the stoplight to flash green! I got the tabloid kind which costed ₱6, and I was so happy. Something new to add to my collection!
He even asked me to read, and I did. I obviously sounded like an idiot, but it was fun! He translated the words and phrases I tried to read. Cebuano and Tagalog sound… so different, kinda. Well, obviously!
And here’s the absolute shallow statement: that newspaper picture above is the 10,000th photo taken using the camera!
We checked-in at Express Inn, located at Mabolo, which is walking distance from SM. I was pleased with the rooms, and knowing they had free wifi made everything else unnecessary. The staff was very welcoming, although my complaint would be the presence of a lot of mosquitoes in the elevator. Tissue rolls were out of stock at one instance. But setting these things aside, overall, it’s a pretty recommendable place to stay at!
After dropping our bags, we headed to the Basilica.
Visited Basílica Minor del Santo Niño, the oldest church in the country. Beautiful.
It was humbling to be in the presence of the original image of Sto. Nino de Cebu, the statue left behind during Magellan’s expedition way back 1521! I couldn’t get a decent picture of it because of the long line, and the (more or less) five-second interval of the people to come close to it. I made the Sign of the Cross and offered a special intention to the child Jesus.
I went to the souvenir shop and I bought some postcards! I was so happy because I bought ten and it costed me less than a hundred pesos! Postcards can be plain rip-off, but these ranged from ₱8-10. Bringing home newspaper clippings + postcards along way back home… I felt so fulfilled!
And missing Magellan’s Cross when landing in Cebu is like going on a day tour to Manila without passing by Intramuros or Binondo!
I always imagined that it was a big monument in a closed place, with an entrance fee and all that. It was actually standing on ground anybody can go to anytime, any day! Call me shallow (again) but the feeling of seeing all those landmarks on your Social Studies textbook, and getting to be a foot away from them and knowing they were tangible (what am I saying?)… is just beyond amazing! It was as if everything just made sense just like that.
And here’s the obligatory photo op — which turned out to be quite gay as well. I have no choice, it’s one of the few I am in! I don’t want to be accused of feeling mowdel or anything similar to that, but I was holding the strap of my backpack in this picture, and not clenching my fist and sticking it to my hip. No, never! Hahaha.
After around five minutes or less of walking and crossing minor roads, we went to a souvenir shop!
I absolutely love the Sinulog t-shirts! They are so graphic-y, pop art-y, lovel-y (eh, lovely). Island Souvenirs is awesome! But they were all so expensive… boo.
At around 11:30 am, we had lunch at AA’s BBQ. Not only was the food great, everything was so affordable, really! As what they said, eat where the locals eat, because that’s the no-effort-at-all way to find out that what you’ll be trying out will be worth your time.
The barbecue was ₱15 each. So worth it!
And their iced tea is to die for.
I loved their sisig. It was nothing but good (I’m running out of adjectives to use).
Our last stop for day one was Ayala Center Cebu, or simply known as Ayala. The outisde part of the mall was so nice, it reminded me of TriNoma or some similar mall.
Am I the only one who thinks that it looks like Festival?
We had dinner at the foodcourt, and I had a really good sukiyaki dish from Tokyo Joe. I can’t wait for a branch of it to open here this year!
It’s one of my me-and-my-food pictures. Eighteen hours and still no sleep! But how can you, when you’re on a travel high?