The Marcelo Fernan Bridge
connecting Lapu-Lapu City to Mandaue City going to Cebu City
It was late Wednesday afternoon when we finalize our trip to Cebu. An all expense paid trip which includes a plane ticket, accommodation at Marriot Hotel and a 24hour Cebu City tour-as in everything is free including the "pasalubongs". What else can I say but "Yes! I'll join".
I've wanted to visit Cebu City but with no luck, I've been left behind so many times and I even forfeit a flight last year. But seems luck is on my side last November 24 when I got a call telling me that I'll be off to Cebu the following day. I pack my things as fast as I can because I don't want to waste a minute even a second on my 24hour trip.
Thinking what will I do in Cebu, Alone? It suddenly hit me that my long lost high school buddy Geoff lives in Cebu, I text him and all was set for a 24hour tour in Cebu City.
It was a late afternoon flight via Cebu Pacific Airlines. I arrived in Cebu Mactan Airport around 7 in the evening. Geoff will be my driver/tour guide/photographer/financer for the whole trip he is a really dear friend
but unfortunately he was an hour late picking me up in the airport. Well not really his fault he came rushing from work just to fetch me...
Upon arriving at Marriot Hotel Cebu I was amazed by the accessibility of the place to Ayala Center as well as its tight security they have a baggage scanner in the entrance just like the one in airports. Their elevator needs your room key card to lift you onto your floor and the room. The room is so spacious even the bathroom is complete with all amenities and I like their rainfall shower over the tub. The outside pool was also a must see even better at day you can see the details in the all-weather leaf shaped lounge chairs definitely made locally in Cebu. Too bad I wasn't able to take a swim because my 24hour clock is ticking but still everything in Marriot is superb.
23hours to go Geoff introduced me to some of his co-workers and friends and we had dinner at AA's BBQ. The restaurant offers a variety of seafood and meat, all you have to do is pick one and tell them either you like it
grilled, fried or cooked in broth. Highly recommended is the Chorizo it was really yummy just like longganisa but taste a little bit spicy. We also ordered sizzling bangus, liempo and the spicy fish belly that Macy loves, dipped in vinegar and soy sauce with tomatoes and onions and a Fruit twister drink and lots of rice. Delicious food in one night.
Then we drive up the mountains to TOPS, the highest spot in Cebu City where you can see the whole city including Lapu-lapu and Mandaue with all its lights at night. It was like Antipolo sight seeking although we weren't able to reach the top of TOPS because of the steep road we settled at the foot of the TOPS with just the same amazing view of the whole of Cebu City. It was a great night as we shared our different stories and laughed together. That night I hanged out with 8 (Geoff, Rica, Macy, Marks, Jason, Helvis, April and Sam) of the most funny people I've met in my tours. They are new friends in a new city where I feel welcome and am very thankful.
12hours to go we had coffee at Starbucks
in IT Park thanks to the support of my new friends I was able to visit 4 Starbucks stores in Cebu City in 1 day and even take picture and a tumbler with me. It was 3am when Geoff droved me back to Marriot to take a rest. I don't know why I cannot sleep for sure am too excited to tour again. 5:56am I was all set and ready for a sunny day adventure. First stop is Ayala Center at day time, look like Greenbelt 5 but quieter and fresher, all stores are much like the ones in Manila except Mooon Cafe, The Spa at Cebu and Guisano Mall. It was Friday and Geoff and his friends have work so the day was all mine to conquer Cebu’s historical places on my list. Alone I hailed a taxi to Crown Regency Plaza for Skywalk Adventure but it was still close, it was just 10am and they will open at 2pm. Can't wait for it my flight is 5pm grrr. So pass the skywalk maybe I'll try it next time when I come back for a vacation with longer days.
Via Jeepney I went to Sto. Niño street where
I found the Basilica de Santo Niño and Magellan's Cross. Alone, I tour the church grounds as Cebuanos held their Friday mass. I visited the Sto. Niño's Museum in front of the Basilica with a P10 entrance fee, too bad pictures are not allowed inside the museum. The museum had various collections of church ornaments, dresses of the Niño, pulpits, candle holders, priest chairs, saint statues, rosaries etc... Just beside the Basilica is the Magellan's Cross one of the popular tourist spot in Cebu here you can find the Cross made out of Tindalo wood that encases the original cross planted by Ferdinand Magellan on that site on April 21, 1521, the time of Spanish regime reign over the Philippines where they encourage native people to be part of Catholicism.
Just a block from the Basilica is Cebu Cathedral smaller than the Baslica but also grand with its white walls, gold plated altar and dazzling chandeliers. Beside the Cathedral is its 2 storey Museum, I looked around the 1st floor with its collection of antique church chairs, porcelain and stone relics and the garden. You have to pay P50 to enter the 2nd floor for more church collections but
I love those all-weather chairs
as always no pictures allowed upstairs so I just settled at the ground floor. After taking pictures of the old woman repairing a priest chair which she does very well I hailed a taxi to go to Tag-buan.
Tag-buan Street in Cebu is well known as the place where you can find Cebu’s famous product called Danggit. Rows and rows of dried fish 1kilo for only P400. The danggit is best enjoyed when it is crispy fried and dipped in vinegar with salt and garlic over fried rice yummy. Tag-buan also offers various dried sea foods like, squid, milk fish, dilis etc. And the most famous of its dried product aside from danggit is their Dried Mangoes which the province of Cebu exported to other countries you can get 1kilo for only P160. I simply cannot forget the Chorizo which suddenly became my favourite after last nights dinner at AA’s BBQ, at Tag-buan chorizo dangles at the stores entrance so I got 1kilo for only P180 and I intend to have it for dinner when I arrived in Manila in less than 7hours from my food shopping spree.
5hours to go before my flight I got back to
Marriot just in time for my last meal in Cebu. Thanks to Jayson I was able to experience dining at Mooon Café at Ayala Center, a Mexican inspired restaurant with colourful interiors and great food. Since am craving for pasta I ordered Spaghetti Gambas, served in a ceramic orange pan, perfectly cooked pasta and lots of shrimp it was so good. Jayson had 2slab of Baby Back Ribs and rice with a very tasty sauce. We paired it with a small size Fruit Twister and I tried their famous Secret, a non-alcoholic drink with mix kalamansi and orange with grenaline which the guys don’t like much but for me it’s quite refreshing maybe a dash of vodka will be great hehehe.
Then it was my final goodbye to Marriot Cebu, the hotel’s Chev Wagon is already waiting and am off to the airport back to Manila. It was supposed to be 3hours then ’am back at home but my flight was delayed for 30minutes so I stroll around Cebu Mactan Airport and got a Coffee Dream tissue (for my collection). Then it was the final call for boarding in an hour I’ll be in Manila eating my Cebu chorizo.
My 24hour trip in Cebu is really exhausting but its so worth it.
It was a fun filled Rush with amazing old and new friends and an experience I would try to do again when I come back for a longer stay in Cebu.
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