Cebu Travel Blog› entry 1 of 3 › view all entries
The Holy Week break is definitely a great opportunity for Filipinos to travel. Since it always falls during summer season, popular destinations are always waterfronts. And my country is lucky enough to be blessed with thousands of islands home to beautiful beaches.
Days flew so fast that I just woke up one day realizing it's just four days before the vacation, and nothing has been planned yet. Immediately I checked on the flight availability to Boracay, Palawan and Davao, hoping that they were still open. But as expected, they were overly overbooked. My last choice was a destination with the most number of flights in a day (which follows that there were still seats available), Cebu.
If it's for any consolation, seven friends called me up and expressed their willingness to join this trip. Luckily, one of them came up with a brilliant idea of hopping to the island of Bohol via a ferry. Now everything was getting better! And so flight tickets and hotel rooms were booked, phoned a Cebu-based friend, and arranged a day tour with a local guide in Bohol, we were all set for a more exciting Holy Week trip.
March 20, Thurdays. We took the earliest flight out of Manila at 430AM, and arrived in Cebu after an hour.
Diplomat Hotel was just 30-minute ride from the airport. The taxi driver explained that our hotel has the perfect location. It was seconded when we found out from the hotel receptionist that a handful of restaurants, bars, supermarkets and banks are just walking-distance from where we were. More to our delight, our room had three single beds which is not usual to Filipino hotels, or at least to those abroad that I have seen. Hungry and drained, we just dropped our back packs in our rooms and decided to eat breakfast at a nearby Mc Donald's.
Wow, Cebuanos are really friendly! You could see smiling faces everywhere. Perhaps these people know we were not locals from our Tagalog conversations (Manilenos speak Tagalog while Cebuanos communicate with Bisaya).
After a couple of hours of “power nap”, we all met in the hotel lobby at 1030AM. Our service van, which was generously accorded to us by a friend, was already waiting outside the hotel. We met our driver Renjie who cannot speak fluently, but understands Tagalog.
He drove us to Beverly Hills where one famous landmark is located- The Cebu Taoist Temple. I have always admired the richness of Chinese cultures and religion. Attractions here consist of huge, colorful dragon, a replica of the Great Wall of China, spacious balconies offering scenic views, souvenir shops, mini library with instructional materials, and dozens of escalating steps. The temple was so solemn that we were not allowed to take pictures of most parts.
From Beverly Hills, we went to Mactan Island to visit the historic Lapu-Lapu Shrine.
Not so far from the shrine is one of Cebu's most popular place for dining- the Sutukil! It is home to chain of restaurants that will let you choose whatever you want cooked from stalls of fresh fish, prawns, crabs, seaweeds, shells, clams and even lobsters. These seafood are as fresh as seafood can be and the crabs and lobsters on display are still alive as you pick which ones you want cooked.
After we ordered garlic prawns, sizzling squid, clam soup, seaweeds salad, red eggs and tomatoes, and friend crabs, we chose the best spot of the resto.
Since we were already in Mactan Island, it was but a must to visit Cebu City's prime resorts. Not so far from Sutukil are Shangri-La Mactan Island Resort and the Hilton Cebu Resort and Spa. These two are the most popular resorts here. Why not? Both offer world-class facilities and beach resorts for people who are up to complete R and R, and exclusivity. But I I were to choose between the two, Shangri-La is undoubtedly the winner!
We went back to our hotel for a wash-up as our Cebu-based friend (who owns our service van) had called and invited us for dinner.
After the dinner, we went back to the hotel and called it a night. We had to rest early as another day packed of activities is waiting for us. But so far, Cebu proves to be an absolute destination of choice.