Sunday, June 7, 2015

#CKGetaways: Cebu, Philippines

Greetings! Welcome to our first collaborative blog post! What a perfect timing because it is our first time to travel alone hence, making our first travel blog as the first ever blog! We were so excitedly ecstatic to test our independence and our inner tourist for the first time in Cebu.

A Quick Introduction about Cebu:
Cebu is an island province in the Philippines, consisting of the main island itself and 167 surrounding islands and islets. Its capital is Cebu City, the oldest city in the Philippines, which forms part of the Cebu Metropolitan Area together with four neighboring cities (which comprise Danao City, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City and Talisay City) and eight other local government units. Mactan-Cebu International Airport, located in Mactan Island, is the second busiest airport in the Philippines.
Cebu is one of the most developed provinces in the Philippines, with Cebu City as the main center of commerce, trade, education and industry in the Visayas. Condé Nast Traveler Magazine named Cebu the 7th best island destination in the Indian Ocean-Asia region in 2007, 8th best Asian-Pacific island destination in 2005, 7th in 2004 and in 2009, with popular tourist destinations such as Mactan Island and Moalboal. In a decade it has transformed into a global hub for furniture making, tourism, business processing services, and heavy industry.



Day 1: Cebu City
On the first day, we stayed in the Mandarin Hotel Plaza located in Cebu City.
 A mandatory self shot of the bed ;)
 Some shots of the room :)




The lobby of the hotel. Looks good!

 We strolled around Ayala Center which is just a few walks away from the hotel and stayed there for lunch. At first we were looking for something unique-cube-only kind of restaurant but we gave in to our  inner cravings and we ended up eating lunch at Teriyaki Boy. After taking break from the hotel, we begin our tourist mode, went straight to Basilica De. Sto. Nino. We were just in time to experience the unraveling faith of the Cebuanos as there is an on-going mass for the Sto. Nino. After the mass, we went to the Magellan's Cross which is just a few walks away from the Church as well. We also went inside the renovating church but were not allowed to take a picture inside. *booooo*. After Basilica, we just walked around hoping to get to colon street, but ended in the Cebu Cathedral, which for me(Karla) was one of the most beautiful churches in the Philippines.
Going back to the hotel we ate dinner and relaxed our poor feet. We tested out the night life there by drinking some cocktails and a couple of beers. We drank at a place in Ayala Center called The SOCIAL. Overall, it was a nice place. It had a very laid back setting, where you can sit back, relax and have a drink.

Basilica De Sto. Nino
This is a picture of the Basilica De Sto.Nino under renovation. It was affected by the earthquake back in 2013
Another Part of basilica De Sto. Nino, where we were fortunate enough to have attended a mass. Cebuanos have a great and deep faith when it comes to Christianity.


Magellan's Cross
Outside the Basilica, Magellan's Cross is situated. There you will find the very first Cross and the source of our Catholicism. It was through Magellan's expedition that gave us our major religion here in the Philippines.



The Ceiling, Isn't it marvelous?


Inside are various old women that will come up to you and will try to sell to you blessed candles. 10 pesos each candles. These candles are believed to bring you luck in your life. We bought 10 pieces, which cost 100 Pesos. The old woman would start praying and chanting various words in "bisaya"  telling the Lord to shower you with blessings and luck in your life. 




Capping the night off with the birthday boy @ The Social


Day 2: Going to the west side of Cebu

Staying in a hotel wouldn't be complete without *drumroll* buffet breakfast!!! We have to recharge ourselves because we know that we will be having a long day for Day 2 thus... this magnificent plate was devoured.

we also tried to take a dip in the hotel's pool. Luckily we were the first one to arrive, so we ended up having the pool for ourselves for the first few minutes.



After taking a small break, we checked out of our room and met with my (Christian) relatives who are living in Cebu. They brought us to a very nice restaurant up in the mountains of Busay, Cebu. The restaurant is called "Lantaw Native Restaurant". In Cebuano Lantaw means "view".  Clearly enough, the view was breathtaking and the food they served to us was superb!

Karla and I, with my Lola Lita Seno


A look at the restaurant.

The balcony of the restaurant .

 You can see Cebu City from here, as well as some parts of Cebu.


 Panoramic View from the balcony.
 A table full of delicious food!
 Chicken in a Coconut. Weird combination, but it's delicious! Can't argue with that.
Tuna Belly!


 The birthday boy with his cake :)
With the staff of the restaurant and my Lola Lita :D

This is the restaurant's birthday cake. It is a bibingka from Mandaue topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It was so good, I had the urge to eat it right away. That is why in the picture only half of it is left!

After filling our bellies with delicious food, my relatives brought us further in to the mountains. We went to West 35 Eco Mountain Resort located at Balamban, Cebu. West 35 Eco Mountain Resort is a resort where you can do tons of activities and enjoy the view around it. It has a Haven Cafe, Viewing Decks, Zipline, Treks to Waterfalls, Playground and Function Rooms. 


Wise words from West 35.


The Playground


The walkway going up to the Haven Cafe.















 Panoramic View!


 This is Sikwate, a native hot chocolate drink in Cebu.


The comfort room! would you dare to pee while someone is watching you? :D

Appreciate nature more while washing your hands. ;)


After enjoying the view and Sikwate in West 35, we moved to Adventure Cafe. Adventure Cafe is also located in Balamban, Cebu. It is a cafe with Zipline, Wall climbing, Rappelling and other activities. 



 This is similar to taksiapo, where you can throw dishes to the wall to relieve stress and anger.

We tried the zipline. It was our very first zipline and I am happy that I got to experience my first zipline with Karla ♥ :)


Merienda after zipline! Suman with ripe mango :)

After a tiring day in Balamban, we were now on our way to our resort in Mactan, Cebu. Traffic along Mandaue  was heavy and we were moving slowly. Lola Lita saw someone and told her to get in the car with us. To my surprise, Lola Lita introduced us to Lola Net-Net. Lola Net-Net is the sister of my favorite lola, Mommy Iya. I was so amazed because she looked so much alike mommy Iya, Only a bit thinner. From that moment, my faith in the power of the Basilica De Sto. Niño was strengthened . Indeed, prayers do come true. It was a blessing in disguise to see her standing at the sidewalk in the middle of the traffic. It was also a blessing to us to see/meet new and old relatives of Christian.


Here is a picture of us with Lola NetNet.


We arrived at EGI Resort in Mactan, Cebu and we had dinner there and then just dozed off to sleep. Preparing ourselves for our adventure on the third and final day of our Cebu trip.


From left to right: Lola Lita, Karla, Christian, and Auntie Carolyn.

Day 3: Lapu - Lapu's Shrine and EGI Resort.
We started our third and final day in Cebu with a breakfast buffet in the dining room of the hotel. After eating, we changed into our swimwear and tested the swimming pool and the beach. Sadly, the beach wasn't as beautiful as we had imagined because: (1) Low Tide, and (2) Because of the boats that were anchored near it. We only took some pictures and enjoyed the pool.

Someone is eager to go to the pool/beach...


Sand. Beach. Babe.
I'm lucky to have this girl. ;)

Obligatory Shot!







After swimming, we went out adventuring Mactan and went to Lapu-Lapu's shrine. We took a multi - cab on our own. It was a great experience because it was our first time to travel on our own.

A little history fact to you all: On March 16, 1521, Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philippines. He was the first Spaniard to reach the Philippines. Lapu Lapu was a ruler of Mactan in the Visayas. The Philippines regards him as the first Filipino hero because he was the first native to resist Spanish colonization through his victory over the explorer Ferdinand Magellan


Fun Fact:We were there the day before April 27.



 A painting of the battle in Mactan.


 Magellan's Shrine






Lapu- Lapu's Shrine


Low Tide, a benefit to see small crabs!




Hiding in the sun!

Inside the park, there were a lot of stores to buy pasalubong. Karla decided to have these couple bracelet as a souvenir from Cebu.

We walked inside the park in the middle of the day and it was exhausting. Christian and I ended up agreeing to eat at this Korean Restaurant inside EGI Hotel to satisfy our Samgyupsal cravings!



Before going to the airport, another of Christian's relative came to visit us. It was Christian's first time to meet Auntie Marita. She insist that we visit Cebu again next time. She promised that she'll take us to Bantayan Island next time we visit Cebu. 

 At the airport, we thought that we should try to eat their Cebu Lechon. Since we were waiting for the flight for hours, we had to have our dinner at the congested airport. But that's fine with us, sanay na kami! Hahaha!


It was good, but I had a small amount so I can't say for sure. Christian insisted that there is a place in Manila that I can buy Cebu Lechon so I opted not buying one.


Cebu Pac, what is new? But to be honest, now that i'm thinking about it... it was fine to have a delayed flight. Because for sure if we weren't delayed, we would be welcomed by Manila traffic.

Boarding time: 8 something ... pm


Goodbye, Cebu! 'Till next time!


I have to be honest, it was my first time in Cebu and I was glad to have Christian to tour me around since he had been here before. The queen city of the south is wonderful and the people there were nice enough to everyone. There was a time within the trip where I thought that I wanted to live here just because it's near everything. Near the city, and near the beach! Also, I felt the strong presence of the Cebuano faith which inspired me to strengthen my relationship with God as well.
And to top it all, it was our first time travelling together outside Manila, we discovered new things from each other and we learned a lot from being independent. Travelling together empowered our relationship to each other, and rejuvenated our relationship with God.

Again, we want to thank Christian's relatives in Cebu who accommodated both of us. Thank you po! Until our next visit!


With love,
Christian & Karla ♥




*Photos c/o Karla Galima, unless specified*