Daghang salamat, Cebu!

When I went to Cebu two years ago, I know I said I’d return again the following year. That obviously didn’t happen for several reasons, and I kind of succumbed to the thought that I’d rather go somewhere else rather than visit the same place again. So many places to see, so little time, yes?

But when Cebu Pacific had a seat sale, and my colleague invited us to go to Cebu, I jumped at the chance, dragging Grace and Jana with me. The flight was booked by April, so we had the time to pay off the tickets and save up for the activities for our (somewhat) epic weekend.

My real intention of going to Cebu wasn’t really to go around and sight see since I’ve done a bit of it the last time I was there. The initial intention was to meet up with my best friend who was there for his GX programme, but it turns out he goes back to Manila a week earlier than our flight. We wanted to go to Bantayan Island or those other beaches in Cebu, but schedule won’t permit, so we settled instead on a sort of beach-y and food trip weekend. Not as epic as Coron, probably, but relaxing enough to make it epic in my standards.

What’s with the word “epic”, anyway?

Let’s break it down by days. WARNING: Photo-heavy post!

DAY 1:

Airport, chatting, reading while waiting for the plane. Grace spotted Coco Martin on the same flight at the front, and the plane was full, so no chance for photo-ops. He was really cute in person, though, and I think the FA’s agree. ;)

We got to Cebu after lunch, and headed straight to BE Resorts in Mactan Island to meet with our other friends who flew there Friday. BE Resorts used to be Microtel Cebu. I’ve never been to Microtel, but what I know from the old name was it was also cheaper than it was now. But the hotel is still pretty, and we had a pretty great view of the pool and the beach, even if the beach isn’t that pretty. See how many times I used the word “pretty” there?

After checking in, we had late lunch, then lounged at the beach. Jana and I wanted to do our tanning session then, but the sun was already setting, so instead, we hung out at the pool/jacuzzi with the others until Happy Hour ended. The drinks were expensive, but pretty good, and it was fun catching up while pretending to drown on waist deep water. ;)

After the pool/jacuzzi time, we went to have dinner at AA BBQ. I’d share pictures of our yummy, yummy dinner, but everyone was too busy chowing down to actually take pictures of the food. But trust me, it was food coma. We practically had to call rv towing just to get us out of the place. :P Awesome food, and ten of us paid about Php 200+ each. Not bad, right? :)

After dinner, we camped out in one of the rooms to drink and talk and watch TV and talk and drink some more. It was the only drinking session for the vacation, and I may have gotten a bit tipsy, but I stopped before I spilled anything. It was fun posing and stuff with the other girls, though, like this!

After the drinking session, Jana, Grace and I didn’t get to sleep yet because we ended up watching this old Dingdong Dantes-Antoinette Taus movie and laughing at how lame it was. :P

Day 2:

Early morning day 2 consisted of breakfast buffet, lying down on the beach, tanning, swimming, and then heading to Cebu City proper to check in to our next place. We stayed in Tuxedo Business Suites (along Pelaez St, near USC College of Science) again, just like where I stayed last year, since it’s cheap and pretty easy to get to. The girls and I had lunch at Jollibee, and I have come to a conclusion that Manila has the smallest servings and the highest prices, as far as fast food is concerned. Look at the spaghetti in this meal:

And that is what about Php 10 less than how much it costs in Manila. Jollibee Cebu, we love you! :)

After a short siesta session, we set off to do a bit of sight seeing. Where to go in Mandaue that does not involve food? Well…there’s Fort San Pedro, where you can look around and mostly take pictures. Like an “emo waiting for you” shot:

Or something like this (I don’t know what to call this shot haha):

Or another emo shot (I love this one):

Or, look like a lost girl:

Of course, don’t miss the chance to visit Magellan’s Cross and hear mass at Basilica del Sto. Nino, which is just near the Fort.

After hearing mass, we went to Crown Regency Hotel and Towers along Osmena Blvd. to try to get over our fear of heights! Also known as the Sky Experience Adventure. Our other friends had tried this together on their first night, so it was just us three. We decided to skip the Edge Coaster because each car seats only two, and all of us were too chicken to sit alone on a coaster. :P Since waiting time was long, we decided to do the 4D Theater first, which was okay, although the stories were a bit lame (Php 300 for 3 15 minute shows, peak hour). Finally, the three of us headed to the 38th floor of the hotel to do the Skywalk (Php 400/head for peak hour).

And it was fun! We were noisy, of course, and the view was amazing but looking down was just terrifying. The guides were super friendly, though, which eased our fears, and the harnesses were pretty strong. I was still a wimp, though, on the first challenge, and my foot was too far away from the edge. :P

But I wasn’t too chicken here (but trust me, putting my knees over the edge like that is very scary, at least for me). But the city is beautiful at night, don’t you think?

Oh mind you, cameras aren’t allowed up there, but they take pictures of you, and you can buy the CD for a price. Our CD costs Php 750, while our friends’ CD is about Php 1500? I don’t know why the price was different, but the pictures are worth it anyway, especially if it’s your first time.

After conquering our fear of heights, we rewarded ourselves with pizza pasta dinner at Da Vinci’s Pizza and dessert at the best coffee shop in Cebu, La Marea, all found in Asiatown I.T. Park. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: La Marea is the reason # 1 why I keep on going back to Cebu. Just look at these desserts:

Their Warm Brownie Cup (ala mode) still doesn’t disappoint. ♥  Their cookies are pretty awesome, too.

Day 3:

The next day was our shopping day, since we really don’t have much to do that day. After having breakfast at Jollibee that morning, we went to Taboan Market to get our obligatory danggit. It’s an entire street with all kinds of danggit, so pick whatever shop and have them pack your fish! 1kg of danggit is already a lot, so don’t go overboard! ;)

A word of warning: make sure you’re not wearing the clothes you will wear the rest of the day when you visit Taboan. The smell of danggit sticks to your clothes even if you’re just there for a short visit! Go to the market in the morning and drop your purchases back where you are staying before going around.

After buying danggit, we got ready and headed to Ayala Center Cebu to chill at the mall. Lunch at CnT lechon was good, but I honestly think the better lechon experience was at the CnT Lechon house by SM Cebu. But if you want it quick and cheap and in the mall, the one in the Ayala Center food court is good enough.

Dessert were two things: gelato from Gelatissimo (Php 150 for two flavors — I think it’s cheaper in Cebu, and more servings, too!) and Fully Booked visit (yes, a bookstore can count as dessert).

After eating gelato and shopping for books, we headed back to look for The Fair Trade Shop to get some trinkets, and because I promised my best friend I’d go there and have my picture taken at his poster. ;) It’s a small shop with lots of interesting things to get, and the proceeds of the items bought there goes to a certain charity. When we got our trinkets (and my photo taken) there, we walked back to Shamrock to buy more stuff to bring home.

And then comes the BEST. DINNER. EVER. If you’re going to Cebu, do not forget to visit Casa Verde. There are three branches in Cebu – one in Ayala Center, one in IT Park and the first branch by Ramos St. If it’s your first time, I suggest you go to the one in Ramos St — Casa Verde House — to get the full experience. The star of our last night in Cebu was Brian and his ribs:

Brian’s Ribs. Php 168.00.  If it looks small on the picture, don’t be deceived — it’s huge. Two people can share this meal, but why would you want to? :P

Oh, and it helps that Casa Verde’s waiters are hilarious, too. My current dream is to have my birthday dinner at Casa Verde. Celebrate your birthday there, to see — or if none of you are celebrating that day, pretend! You won’t regret it. ;) And now I shall say: Casa Verde is reason # 2 why I will go back to Cebu.

Day 4:

And it’s time to go back to Manila. :( Sadness. But the Cebu trip made me realize…well, okay it didn’t make me realize much that I didn’t know before, really. Cebu is a wonderful place to be, not only for the food but for the people and the places, too. Visiting the place the third time suddenly made me want to learn Cebuano! :) I will definitely be back, but in the meantime…

Yeah. Obligatory emo shot at the airport. :P

And here we go. It was a well-deserved vacation, and I went back missing Cebu, a few pounds heavier, a few shades darker, but very refreshed. :) I need to have more vacations like this. I really do.

Daghang salamat Cebu! :)

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