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Cebu City Travel Blog

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Cebu, referred to as the “Queen City of the South.” For months I have been aching to see the beauty of this city. Last week, I got a chance to see for myself the charm of this renowned place. Hey! I have had my itinerary planned out for a month or so already. I made a reservation to Hotel La Guardia, but I did not push through as my boyfriend’s friend said that the location is a bit dangerous. Add the fact that they do not have wi-fi. Actually, I don’t care about the danger for as long as its cheap and it has wi-fi. I went and left Cebu without ever seeing the said hotel.

One day before leaving, I decided to make a reservation at the Cebu Guesthouse. I made a reservation via email but the guy who answered it said there is no need for one, they said we can come there at anytime. What made me consider this place is due to the fact that its cheap and it has wifi. I did not know that they had shared bathrooms, because I thought that for air-conditioned rooms, there are separate bathrooms.

A couple of hours before leaving, I called up Cokaliong to reserve tickets. Just like in the Cebu Guesthouse, they told me to just go straight at the Iloilo Pier and buy tickets personally. They have a promo, so I end up paying 1000 for 2 economy tickets. It is very cheap when compared to Trans-Asia. After paying for the tickets,I still needed to pay the pier charge of 20 pesos terminal fee. The ship left at exactly 7pm, the economy area is half-empty as compared to the time when we headed back to Iloilo. After 16 years, this will be the first time that I will be in a ship. I’m excited but scared as hell as well. ( I do not know how to swim!)

We arrived in Cebu at 7am. Their pier is much bigger than what we have in Iloilo. They have more ships here, they have shuttles, they have wider reclamation area and the like. In Cebu’s pier, you will see ships going to Tagbilaran, Dumaguete, Siargao, Iloilo, Manila and so on. I think, one of the reasons why Cebu has a lot of tourists is due to the fact that it serves as a jump off point in going to different places in the Visayas. In Iloilo, there are only 3 destinations for ships and ferries: Cebu, Bacolod and Manila.

Cebu is just like Manila, only more laid back. I can not say that it is a very rich city as when we moved around the city, we saw all sorts of people there. The ratio of the rich to the poor is kind of similar. However, I can say that CEBU is a very progressive city. It certainly is one of the cities that make me hold my head up high as a “BISAYA” (Actually, Ilonggos use Hiligaynon and I have trouble understanding the language of Cebuanos. But most people up north consider us to be “bisaya” as well. Must be the accent or the location: Cebu and Iloilo are both in the Visayas region)

I noticed that people in Cebu are law-abiding, especially in their traffic rules. Jeepneys stopped at designated areas, pedestrians wait patiently before crossing the Streets. We made two vows in this travel: First is to use public transportation. Second is to eat at places which can not be found in our city.

From the pier, we took a jeep going to SM. We then took another jeep going to Ayala. Mind you guys, these two malls that I mentioned are the two major malls in the city. But they also have Robinson’s and Gaisano Malls here. When we arrived at Ayala, we took another jeep that goes to Mango Avenue. We did not find Cebu Guesthouse immediately so we decided to call first. The receptionist said their rooms have no private baths, so I canceled the reservation instead. I finally decided to check in at the Elicon House, they have wi-fi rooms at a very reasonable price. Elicon House is located in front of Postal Bank near the University of San Carlos Main Campus.

Before heading to Elicon House, we ate at Orange Brutos first. It resembles Jollibee in every essence of the store. Their menu offers the same stuff as the famous food chain. They even have happy meals with toys. For people like me, Orange Brutos is ideal as they have cakes and other desserts. What better way to end a good meal than by a sweet treat!

Our room at Elicon House is okay, it offers a view of the street below. At night, it gets kinda noisy though as the street below is a major highway. After freshening up, we decided to check out the University of San Carlos Museum. We ate our lunch first at an eatery in front of the said university. The eatery is comparable to Iloilo’s Parajan. It serves breakfast food anytime of the day. We also ate Siomai sa Tisa as we saw a stall on our way to the museum.

The University of San Carlos is one of the most famous schools in Cebu City. The outside of the school is impressive. Standing outside of it will give you a feeling that the school is a very good school. The Museum requires a payment of 30 pesos, it is air-conditioned and just like any museum, no pictures are allowed to be taken. The collection is vast and impressive! It is surely worth the entrance fee that it charges. We went straight to the Rizalina Musuem at Osmena Boulevard. But the guard said that it was closed for renovation. That ended our musuem-hopping for that day.

After that we went to Ayala Mall to cool ourselves. At 2pm, the sun is scorching hot and we found shelter in the mall. As sunset approached, we decided to go to Lahug and check out the Taoist Temple. But the guard at Beverly Hills Subdivision said it closes at 5pm. We decided to go back the next day.

Instead, we went at Tops. It is located in Busay, you have to pay the “habal-habal” driver about 50 pesos going there. Tops is comparable to Antipolo in Manila. If you are up there, you get to see the whole of Cebu City below. Entrance fee to the place is 100 pesos. The best time to come there is in the afternoon, between 4pm up to 7pm. The view can be breathtaking during sunsets. They have a bell that you can ring if you want to be with your partner for eternity. There is a direction on how to use it.

After that we headed back to JY Mall to go back to our hotel. It is like a big grocery store with a call center at the top floor. We ended our day at Da Vinci Pizza located near the Regency Mall. The pizza is good as it makes me think of Joey Pepperoni.

On our second day, we eat at a restaurant whose name I forgot. It looks like a resto on the outside, just like “manokan” styled restaurants. But when we came in, it was more like a carinderia with “prepared stuff”. All you have to do is point at the food that you want to eat as it offers a typical “turo-turo” feel. The food is good and cheap.

After that, we went straight to Magellan’s Cross. We did not know that the Basilica of Santo Nino was located right next to it. Good thing I thought as it would be like hitting 3 birds with one stone. First bird, Magellan Cross. The cross is quite a site and there are local ladies selling candles and prayers (yes, they will pray for you in exchange of money). Then, we went straight to the Basilica( Second Bird). There are a lot of people in the vicinity, they have an area for candle lighters, it just outside and people who want to offer prayers and candles can just stay there. We went inside the Basilica and we saw more people. There are two lines for going inside the Sto. Nino’s shrine. The church is a mixture of devotees, tourists, skeptics, guards and religious alike.

We waited for half an hour or so for the Basilica’s museum (Third Bird) to open. The fee is only 10 pesos. I think, religious people and history buff will have a blast inside the place. You can see crutches offered by devotees to the miraculous image of the baby Jesus. There are even toys, letters, jewelry and other stuff given by the faithful to their beloved image.

Next stop is the Taoist Temple. They would not let “habal-habals” enter the subdivision. If you want to walk for about 15 minutes or so, taking a habal-habal is your best option as it is cheap. But if you have trouble walking, it is best to take a cab as they can enter the subdivision. You also need to bring water or soft drink as the “trek” can be exhausting. But there is a store located right beside the parking lot of the temple. (The storekeeper is one of the most beautiful cebuana that I have ever seen. )

Entrance to the temple is for free and you can take as many pictures as you want except inside the actual temple and their saints. They have very strict rules and you need to follow it. Employees of the Temple scatter in the place so if you “steal” a photo of their altar, you be penalized. I actually don’t know what the penalty will be. (The worst thing that they can do to you is to feed you to the huge dragon! hahaha)

We went back to Busay to go to Doce Pares Zipline. Aside from the Zipline, they also have swings that gives you the “Tarzan Feeling” ( you know, hanging from tree to tree ). The guy there said that they are planning to put up cable cars in the next month. The place charges 20 pesos entrance fee. If you want to try ziplining, you have to pay 100 pesos. the swing is much cheaper, just 20 pesos. I did not try it though as I don’t like the idea of holding on to a piece of wood for my dear life. The view here is amazing as well.

We were so hungry after the Zipline that we decided to head back to our place. We made up our mind to eat at Larsian. We had trouble finding it but the barbecue there was good. For me, it was definitely worth the search. If someone enters the place, all the vendors there transform into birds, they become so noisy. The rice that they serve here is wrapped in a coconut leaf. They call it a “pugon”.

On our last day, we spent it on the Malls. We checked out of Elicon House, left our bags at SM’s Travelers Lounge. We figured, what better way to spend the day than by buying souvenirs. We first ate at Jonie’s. It is like a cheap version of Kenny Rogers. The food was delicious and cheap. I so love their pancit canton. I also saw Quickly’s stall. Its been years since Quickly closed in Iloilo. I’m so glad that after a long time, my taste buds got to taste its sweet taro once again. Same thing can be said about stores here. There are a lot of stores that you can not normally find in Iloilo. They have Powerbooks, Rustan’s, Duty Free, Royal Elastic and much more.

To sum it all up, I can say that Cebu lived up to my expectations. It truly is the Queen City of the South!
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