A Day in Cebu City

We decided to tour on a relaxed pace for our last day in Cebu. We were in so much hurry to get in time for all the tours that we were surviving on little sleep. It was a treat to wake up a few hours before noon for a change. 🙂 Since we missed the time for breakfast, I dragged everyone along to try Casa Verde. We were hungry and even ordered a salad for appetizer. I have never had watermelon in my salad before.. it tasted okay.

Kim had sisig.

I ordered Brian’s Ribs again.

The little sister devoured a whole order of Excalibur. She’s the thinnest person I know, but she eats enough for three people. I don’t like it lol.

The brother even ate less than my sister and had the Casa Verde burger.

We were all so full to the seams that I suggested that we go to Fort San Pedro to walk around.. and burn a few calories.

Fort San Pedro was a defense structure. Some of its bastions face the sea since it is walking distance from the port.

It’s a historical site where one can learn more about Cebu.

You can ask for the free 15-minute guided tour of the place. They have knowledgeable English speaking volunteers (I was mistaken for a foreigner).

They found a small image of the Virgin Mary in this well which was why many people believed that the water contains healing qualities. No, you cannot get water from this well now.

The place was closing early because a wedding was going to be held there. I asked for their rental prices and it’s pretty cheap (I can’t remember the exact figure) for this huge place. I think you can fit 400 guests here (why one would need that many people in their wedding though is beyond me).

We walked under the scorching sun to go to the Basílica Minore del Santo Niño. The museum was closed though because of the holiday. I still do not have photos of the church because I honestly do not like taking photos of church interiors.

Magellan’s Cross – all the times I’ve been here, it’s always under construction.

Our last stop was the Taoist Temple. These three got so tired after the first set of stairs.

The golden hour is the best!

image

We had a late night flight back to Manila.. which once again got super delayed. But fortunately, we were a few hours early for our flight so we got bumped to the earlier flight which was also delayed. Damn, Cebu Pacific Airlines suck. Thank you Cebu for being so awesome. And thank you self, for splurging on experience and making your loved ones happy. 🙂 I hope the three of us gets to travel with C soon!

Sorry it took a while to get this post out. It’s actually the last one for this trip and I had it sitting in my Drafts for a few days now. I got a little caught up between socializing and adult responsibilities that I totally forgot all about it. 😦 But the good news is that I’ll be going out of town again next month. So yay for more blog content! 🙂

Travel Vlog || #ProjectSursuroy: Tumalog Falls + Oslob Whale shark Watching + Sumilon Island + Osmeña Peak || #ProjectSursuroy: Canyoneering at Badian + Kawasan Falls + Pescador Island || Bohol Countryside Tour || A Day in Cebu City

#ProjectSursuroy: Canyoneering at Badian + Kawasan Falls + Pescador Island

Hello, Monday! No seriously, everything in this post happened on a Monday as well. What a great coincidence right? 🙂 We all crashed from exhaustion (and our late flight the day prior the start of the tour), that I wasn’t able to take photos of our accommodation. We were checked in at Brumini Resort in Oslob and it was included in the tour package. The rooms we got though were dorm type ones located farthest from the beach (and nearest to the highway) with a shared bathroom, but they do have cottages and pool-side villas.

Our room!

image

We woke up early to catch the sunrise, eat breakfast, and double check our packed bags (I had the sibs pack their bags before sleeping as well – for minimal hassle).

I think the downside of staying in hotels or resorts in tourist spots is paying premium for average things. We had dinner in one of the supposedly ‘cheaper’ eateries (not the resort’s restaurants), and I paid Php 600 for a 3-person dinner. Meh. It happens.

We had free ‘buffet’ breakfast before checking out.. but no coffee available. Haha!

Our first activity for the day was Canyoneering at Badian. We parked inside church grounds, and *SPOILER ALERT* – the water you see in the river behind us is from the Kawasan Falls. You do see now where I’m going with this right?

We took photos while waiting for the habal habal to pick us up and bring us to the drop off point! It was a shorter ride than the one to Osmeña Peak.

Again, I do not have a lot of photos here as I prefer to document jumping off to deep waters on video. It’s actually the first jump that’s hardest.. and the really high ones because the moment you step into the edge is when you really see how high it is. We still jumped, though! You can take a pass on the higher jumps, but the little sis did all the high jumps. I’m so proud!

It’s quite an experience! I’m already planning to go back and bring C! He likes this kind of things as well and it would be fun to have him jump the 50-ft jump before me. Haha!

The Kawasan Falls had three tiers, and this was the last one. We also had our ‘recovery meal’ here which was great because all that jumping and swimming and trekking really tired us out.

I suggest going canyoneering in a smaller group (4 is a good number). Our tour group had 15 people in it, and it took us a few more hours than expected to finish because the guides all had to ensure that everyone stayed in the same place while waiting for everyone to jump. We didn’t have a lot of time in Pescador Island due to this and saw no turtles nor dolphins. 😦

It also rained while we were on the boat which caused the big waves. We all unconsciously clutched to our life vests tighter until we got back to the shore.

Even though I feel like this tour could have been better (the weather wasn’t cooperating, unfortunately), my first venture to South Cebu is well worth all the buwis buhay moments! I do plan on going back with C, but maybe with a different itinerary. I’d really like to see the turtles and dolphins!

Travel Vlog || #ProjectSursuroy: Tumalog Falls + Oslob Whale shark Watching + Sumilon Island + Osmeña Peak || #ProjectSursuroy: Canyoneering at Badian + Kawasan Falls + Pescador Island || Bohol Countryside Tour || A Day in Cebu City

#ProjectSursuroy: Tumalog Falls + Oslob Whale shark Watching + Sumilon Island + Osmeña Peak

Yay! I’m back to writing travel posts again which is one of my favorite things to write about. 🙂 This trip was born out of thinking what to get the sibs for their birthdays (they’re both December babies) and Christmas. Combine that with my need to explore as much as possible, and I decided to book us a domestic trip after Christmas. Kim tagged along since she.. had things to think about and needed a break. 🙂 I’ve always wanted to go back to Cebu ever since I first went for my birthday in 2013 (Cupcake Girl Goes Solo in Cebu: Bantayan Island, Anika Island Resort, The Henry Hotel, Cebu City 1, Cebu City 2, Cebu City 3, Cebu City 4, Cebu City 5, Cebu City 6) because I didn’t feel like I really got to see everything there is to see. Cebu’s a great place and I don’t feel like I’ve even scratched the surface. 🙂 Kim was the one who initially found Happy Juanderer. You can see from my previous posts that I am not very fond of availing tours that lasts more than a day, but after researching the itinerary, I decided to simply join their Project Sursuroy Group Tour for Php 5,350/person. The sibs and Kim playfully tout me as the ‘team leader’ during trips as I tend to plan and coordinate things – and I chose convenience. 😛

We got to the airport early since it was the Yuletide season, and although our local airport suck all year round, they tend to do their worst during this time. We were baffled when they called our names to approach the boarding gate, only to find out that there were four seats free in an earlier flight to Mactan (which was already delayed for more than an hour at that) and we were to board the plane. They had us act discreet, to not start a commotion among all the other delayed passengers of our actual flight.. as if one can act discreet while running around the airport to catch a shuttle to get to the plane. We got stink eyes from disgruntled passengers upon boarding, and we realized it might be because they thought that we were late passengers to their flight. Haha!

We arrived in Mactan around 1 in the morning, and took a cab to the meet up place for the group tour. Kuya Ferdie, our tour leader, arrived a few minutes before 4 AM and had all 15 of us in the group tour in two separate vehicles in less than 30 minutes. He and our driver, Kuya Marlon, are very efficient drivers and we covered a lot of land in a few hours. Our first stop was supposed to be Osmeña Peak, but it was drizzling, so we headed to Tumalog Falls instead.

The place is very serene.. and for the lack of a more imaginative word – just so green lol. It was well worth the crazy habal habal ride with no helmets on down the steep slope. Whew.

Bamboo trees line the vicinity of the falls. You can opt to go swimming, but the water was cold and we decided not to.

Our next stop was *drum roll please* Oslob Whale Shark Watching! It was not my first attempt at swimming with the whale sharks, so I was really psyched to be doing this. All the photos I have though for this experience are the ones I took while waiting to be called for the boat. It was the holidays and the place was packed with foreigners and Pinoys alike.

We were given numbers, and we were already for boat #400+ that early in the morning.

Important things to note during the orientation, which we witnessed so many times while waiting: do not touch the whale sharks (it’s illegal and you can go to jail), no flash photography (they will get violent and attack you, nah, kidding), and that if they swim towards you, do not panic and simply make way. Do watch the video (I have a link at the bottom of this post) because I had our whale shark experience there and seriously, THE FEAR IS REAL.

This encounter starts around 1:09 and you can see panicky me swim back towards the boat. Haha! It lasted a few seconds, but I honestly thought I was going to accidentally kick the whale shark and spend six months in jail okay.

Each boat in only allowed 45 minutes of encounter, but I plan on coming back and getting that Instagram worthy photo. Hopefully I won’t be super scared then. Everyone was tired from the excitement, and we had our lunch at Sumilon Island.

Sumilon island did have a nice cream-ish sand color, but damn, it was super rocky!

Aside from having to cross the threshold between the sand and the sea, having to eat out of the packed plate proved to also be a challenge. I’m sorry Sumilon, you are no longer in the running to become one of the places I plan to go back to any time soon.

When I read that Osmeña Peak is part of the itinerary, I did not bat an eye. All the blogs tell you is that it’s a minor trek. In my mind, I thought that meant that it was something non-mountain climbers (who does not lead a very active lifestyle) can do on a whim.

It started out easy enough too! We had to ride a habal habal with a winding scenic route up the mountain. I was on it with my brother (whose hat flew off).

Once we got there, a guide went ahead of us to lead the way.

You see that hill behind my brother? No, that was not the peak.

We were only halfway to the peak and I honestly wanted to just sit there and wait for them to come back.

..still not the peak though. It’s called peak for a nothing, Teesh!

The Osita sibs! They all went ahead of me because I kept taking breaks (I’ve been known to try things that are pushes beyond my physical limits lol. Haha!

This guy kept photobombing my pictures. I swear, one moment I’ll check if he’s there before snapping photos, only to find that he and his scarf will suddenly appear in the background. T_T

The view is very much worth it!

I had a small wish upon reaching the top – that may I always have this thirst for adventure, the knack to push my limits (in a very safe way haha), and the ability to get whatever I put my mind to done.

I’ll update the links as I go along! 🙂 Let me know if you’ve been to South Cebu and how it went for you!

Travel Vlog || #ProjectSursuroy: Tumalog Falls + Oslob Whale shark Watching + Sumilon Island + Osmeña Peak || #ProjectSursuroy: Canyoneering at Badian + Kawasan Falls + Pescador Island || Bohol Countryside Tour || A Day in Cebu City

#ProjectSursuroy + Cebu City Tour + Bohol Countryside Tour

Dear mom,

In the letter you left me, you told me you were so proud of me for accomplishing so much for my age. You have instilled wanderlust in me from a young age, and with your support, I pursued it once I started earning my own money. It’s Day 35 now, and our first new year without you. You always cook carbonara for NYE, so Tin cooked some because I was down with the flu. I hope I made you proud that I can afford to bring both my siblings on a 5-day trip. I know now why you were so practical when we travel, it’s different when you’re paying for a number of people hehe. I still wish I got to bring you places when you were alive, the way you and dad did. I just hope that you were there in spirit. 🙂

It’s going to be tough mom. I still miss you every day. And I know that we’ll have countless more New Years where I’ll long for your carbonara, your gelatin, and whatever you decide to experiment on in the kitchen. I guess the only consolation now is that you get to travel for free (hahaha) and you’re not in pain anymore. I’ll think of you every time I get on a plane, the same way I do whenever I wander without you. At least now I don’t have to Viber you the photos because you can see it from heaven. 🙂

Cebu 2014 || Last meal in Cebu!

Everyone who have gone to this city before me all told me to try the ribs at Casa Verde. Hence, right after my trip to the Taoist Temple, I headed straight to the IT park to find out why these ribs are so famous! This Cebu trip has had me sipping mango shakes every single day. The serving was huge! The ribs are good but not as amazing as the size of the serving (I know that’s an unpopular opinion but whatevs). Also, the staff is pretty accommodating which I loved!

Since my tummy was full, I headed to Banilad Town Center again and started looking for a coffee shop. In my search for a coffee shop, I arrived at this quaint little nail salon inside a swimwear boutique. The name of the swimwear shop is Cabana and the nail salon is Nail Island. Nice theme, right? I want to bring their chairs home with me! Honestly, it was so relaxing, I fell asleep ¾ the time I was there.

No additional charge for regular nail polish. Pamper time came just as well because my nail polish is already chipped. I remembered Ms. O (Olen Juarez-Lim, who did our Professional Presence training) saying that there should only be two states your nails are in: clean and without polish, or with unchipped polish. Mine was neither.

I went back to the hotel to get my things, and if there was something I would miss about Cebu, it’s The Henry Hotel.

But then again, all good things come to an end. Before I knew it, I was in the airport at the wee hours of the morning, napping once again in one of the airport chairs (with my arms wrapped around the box of Lechon hahaha). Writing about the last part of my Cebu trip just made me crave traveling solo more. The photo below includes my newly manicured hands.

If I can’t travel solo, I would rather go with my favorite travel buddy (who in this case, my airport drop off and pick up crew)! I live a privileged life. Aside from having the means to travel quite comfortably (not luxurious, but comfortable), I have been blessed with a supportive life partner. Even though I know that there is nothing C wants more than to be with me (and he worries about me a lot), he never fails to give his 110% support for me. I cannot help but love this guy.

One of the saddest posts I always have to write are the last ones from a travel series. But looking over to the bright side, there will always be a next one. 🙂

Cebu 2014 || CnT Lechon + Philippine Taoist Temple

What to do on Sunday mornings? Go for a morning swim! I wish I can do it today (while I’m writing this post which is a Sunday) as well. My memories in The Henry Hotel (and throughout this trip) are one of the things that motivate me to work just so I can do it again (somewhere else of course). After swimming, I had another set of crazy big breakfast.

I put on makeup after eating breakfast and brushing my teeth, and here’s how I check if it’s even… and yeah, a couple more bed shots (which is pretty conservative, mind you).

After putting on my makeup, I went to CnT Lechon to finally get a taste of Lechon. It’s a bit salty for my taste though, you really have to eat it with rice. I bought 1.5 kilos to bring home. 🙂

After buying Lechon, I went to the Taoist Temple. Unfortunately, I felt ripped off by the taxi driver who billed me Php 400 for the entire trip and waited for me to finish and brought me to IT Park. Oh well, I just have to charge it to experience and learn how to exert more assertiveness when haggling. The Taoist Temple had A LOT of stairs. Good thing I was in a comfortable pair of sandals.

People are not allowed to take photos of the altar. Everywhere I go, I ask if I can take photos (when there are no signs) because you never know if it’s disrespectful especially in religious places.

Temples usually have amazing details, especially the ones where the altars are placed. Even though I did not take photos, I spent some time just looking at each of the decorations.

Well-manicured gardens are such a nice view! A miniature pagoda (it is one, right?) is placed in the garden.

Cebu 2014 || Zubuchon + La Marea

I realized the other night that since I queued this posts, and edited them after it got published. All the texts are halfheartedly written. It’s kind of sad that my blog has been reduced to that quality so here I am trying to muster some energy into writing something when my head is already at capacity with all the things I have had to and should be doing. Writing about this is making me miss my Cebu trip more. It is a time and place in my life I have been looking back to whenever times get hard. In Cebu, I had the liberty to be free from stress and not stick to whatever plans I had made. Such as promising myself to head to the Taoist Temple after the Old Cebu City tour. Instead, I went to the IT Park in Lahug to try the famous Zubuchon. Cebu is well-known for their lechon. So what is lechon anyway (for the few people who follow my blog who are not familiar with this)? It’s an entire pig, filled with herbs which is tied to a pole while being slow roasted. The outcome is crunchy skin roasted to perfection (if done correctly) and succulent meat inside. Anthony Bourdain agrees. Wherever I go, I search for a list of places to eat. While other people like to immerse themselves in a culture via sightseeing and shopping. I like to do it by eating (I know, no surprise there haha). So imagine my disappointment when I found out Zubuchon did not have their famous lechon at the time. I think my face said it all because the waiter promptly presented other items to try and appease me. So I settled with Pritchon (fried lechon). I tell you, settling does not suit me. Hmp!

I headed to La Marea next for some comfort food to wash off the disappointment from the lack of proper lechon. I guess it’s pretty obvious I am a huge fan of pastry shops by now. Haha! My priorities when traveling: go to places I’ve never been to before and get out of my comfort zone, eat EVERYTHING, and find a reason to go back (which is mostly because of the food). If you go through my “travel” posts, I tend to eat a lot more whenever I’m traveling. I had their best seller which was warm brownie in a cup and a cup of coffee. I savored every minute of eating this and sipping my coffee while reading something on my phone that I did not realize it was already dark outside so I headed back to the hotel (to take selfies). 😛

Since I still had some energy left, I went out to go swimming in the hotel pool. It’s a small pool but it’s usually empty whenever I go swimming. I want my own pool at home! I could get used to night swimming. 🙂

Cebu 2014 || Basilica Minore del Sto Nino + Magellan’s Cross + Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral + Cathedral Museum of Cebu

To pick up from where I left off from the Old Cebu Walking Tour, I started walking towards the next attraction. Within its’ vicinity was an Islands Souvenir branch! I bought my mom tons of guyabano juice because apparently, it helps in her chemotherapy.

Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino is hard to miss. Just look for a LOT of people walking towards a gate. It was damaged by natural calamities that the country experienced the past year, hence, it was under restoration and the mass was being held outside.

Adjacent to the church is Magellan’s Cross, and across that is the City Hall. “Public office is a public trust.” I have always imagined this as bigger, for some strange reason. That is why it really came as a surprise to find out that that was not the case. The candles are being sold for Php 10 each as “offering”. Nobody lights it though and just leaves it beneath the cross, so… I don’t why people bother paying for this unless something got lost in translation.

The next stop was a bit further than the gaps of the attractions so far which is Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. Honestly, I found it much more peaceful because it wasn’t crowded as the Basilica Minore del Sto Nino. I also had a better opportunity at taking in everything into detail because there weren’t a lot of people.

Beside the church is the Cathedral Museum of Cebu. There is an entrance fee of Php 50. Since I’m alone, the chatty tour guide described the history of everything I laid eyes on. This structure used to house the priests who preside over the church beside it. Now it houses church artifacts from all over Cebu.

 

The item on the left is used during Holy Week (for sorrow) while the bells are used for glory.

 

How priests used to travel to houses for the anointing of the sick.

 

Papal chairs and candleholders made of bronze.

 

300-year old molave wood and not a single termite.

 

The robes Pope John Paul II wore when he went to Manila.

 

Photography was not allowed in this exhibit, except photos taken by the tour guide, Baby. And those photos are mostly of me. Haha!

Here I am with Baby! She took a lot of photos of me because I was alone and “sayang naman ang outfit mo!”. Hihi!

 

Cebu 2014 || Plaza Independencia + Fort San Pedro

UPDATE: My life has been too hectic I keep forgetting to update this posts before it gets published. Huhuhu. To start off this post if a photo of my room after a nice long sleep. 🙂

The free breakfast that comes with my accommodation is a buffet breakfast at Rica’s. To keep up with the theme of the hotel, the restaurant is kept as quirky! I honestly wanted to try out the high chairs, but I was all alone and it was a big table.

So I settled for a booth instead. The staff here is very helpful also. I requested for an omelet and orange juice (they only had mango juice on display), and got the first and declined the offer to get the latter because nakakahiya naman!

After an hour and a half of hoarding on portions of bacon, I did a selfie to check my makeup which led to more selfies. Haha!

Since I was alone, I used Pinay Solo Backpacker’s  A Guide to Old Cebu Walking Tour which kicked off at Plaza Independencia.

Fort San Pedro is adjacent to the plaza. The entrance fee is at Php 30.

There were a lot of ongoing photo shoots when I was there. Can you imagine posing in that heat?!

Cebu 2014 || Banilad Town Center + Larsian’s

My official first day in Cebu City started the moment I got back from Bantayan Island. After checking in at the hotel, I decided to walk around the vicinity.

The hotel is walking distance from Banilad Town Center. I made the mistake of crossing the street without using an elevated walkway and for the love of me, I don’t know why it’s much scarier to cross the street there than in Manila. Maybe because I am more confident in Manila and I am pretty sure I won’t get hit accidentally because the streets are basically one huge parking lot. Haha! Once I crossed, I chanced upon this cute little store though! Trust me that the first shop I will enter is for pastries! I like taking photos of fondant cakes. I don’t like making one nor eating one, but I enjoy looking at it.

So the second store that made me stop (to buy things) was Macaron Tang Cafe. Sweets never fail to catch my eye! Aside from macarons, they have a variety of cakes as well. Their macarons are at Php 45/pc. And I bought one for every flavor! Haha! The taste was good but nothing extraordinary to be honest.

There was this quirky home stuff store, Hutch. I passed it by but this cupcake stand caught my eye! I wanted to buy both of the cupcake stands but it, unfortunately, cannot be disassembled. Sigh. (They also have it in gold.)

After roaming around at BTC, I asked around on how to get to Larsian’s BBQ. This guy was a traffic enforcer at BTC and he gave me instructions and tried to hail me a jeepney to get there. After 20 minutes of trying to do so, he offered to bring me there via his motorcycle. I know riding on a stranger’s motorcycle (and a female solo traveler at that) is risky, but there were two other traffic enforcers who saw us and I did it (I was sending C messages while in the back of his motorcycle haha).

Finally! Apparently, how to do this was grab a plate and put on all the food you want to be grilled. The waitress was asking me if I wanted puso (heart) and I kept saying no until she showed me a sample.. which was leaf-wrapped rice. Haha! I had chorizo, chicken wings, pork barbecue and liempo. Everything in the photo below cost me Php 98. Not bad.

Beside the hotel is Cable Car. Since the hotel bar is closed for renovation, I went in for one glass of Tequila Sunrise to cap off the night.

Playing around in my bed while watching TV – the perks of being on my own. Good night Cebu, you have been so good to me. 😉