Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Cebu (Sugbu)

I was born in Cebu City. I grew up in this island. But, just like any driven and enthusiastic young girl who looks at the world with the I-will-conquer-you! mentality, I left her at 22 to seek and carve a place for myself somewhere else. So for 15 years now, I have only been a regular visitor here.

Capitol, the white palace where the City of Cebu is being run. Next foto is a calesa (with a bush horse) and the water street vendor.

Omnipresent security guards, you cannot miss them! And Halo-Hallo, a popular Filipino dessert (or cold snack). Dutchman loved it -- we should not have shared this, we should have bought each our own Halo-Halo.

More local snacks (deep fried): Chorizo, Ngo Hiong, Tempura, and Squid/Fish balls.

During our stay in Cebu City, we didn’t get to go around much. I would have wanted to visit a couple of towns I had in mind (Carcar, Moalboal), but our time was spent mostly with family, which is the reason why we were in Cebu anyway.

Left: Street mango vendor - that mango she is preparing is for me. Middle: Skin whitening is (ridiculously) in! Right: An irony... No Blowing of Horn? Since when has this become a rule there? lol

Anywho, here are some of our Cebu City impressions:

1) We thought Cebu City was too dark in the evenings. The highway lamps do not give much light. Or, there should be more lamps.

2) Cebu City has no center. All points of interest are scattered all over the city. If you are a tourist, you would not know where to hang out or walk around.

3) I always get lost driving in Cebu. Every year there are new roads built and I always end up taking the wrong turn or driving into the wrong street and highway.

4) We had a little accident. I took the wrong turn and when I realized my mistake I drove to a side street so I can retrace my steps. While I was maneuvering to the side, the car got stuck with something hard underneath. As I said earlier, many of the streets in Cebu are not well lighted so I didn’t see there was something down there protruding. Anywho, Dutchman got out to help me and pushed the car. But helaas, it won’t budge! We tried a couple of times, still, nothing happened. A few bystanders and passersby saw our dilemma and quickly helped us. Five guys, including the Dutchman had to tilt the car to its side, lol. We found out that the culprit stuck under the car was wood. I am glad though that it was not stone otherwise it would have been a real problem.


Waiting at the stop light with the jeepneys. This is by the corner of SM Mall.

5) Traffic is chaotic in Cebu City but I quickly adapted! Like it has always been in my genes.

6) Most cars drive on the left lane! It drove me practically crazy. ARGHHH!!!

7) FREE PARKING anywhere in the city.

8) Have to be careful driving outside the city as dogs and cats squat freely on the streets. They think they live on the street. They really do.

9) There are always people walking about on the streets. Even at 2 in the morning! Dutchman kept asking me, “Where are these people going?” lol

10) In the evenings, some would cross the not well lighted streets nonchalantly like they are taking a leisure walk in a park. You need to be quick as a fox to step on your brakes!

11) Cebuanos are not born and bred partygoers. We circled the city a couple of times during midnight looking for a bar or a club to chill out, have drinks, listen to music, watch people, but only the sleazy ones are open. Someone told me that the trendy decent bars and clubs are only open towards the weekend?

12) Speaking of bars and clubs, its not easy finding which the cool bars and clubs are in town when you don’t know the place anymore.

13) I feasted on grilled seafood!

14) Dutchman on the other hand was hooked on ripe yellow mangoes. Mangoes in the morning. Mangoes in the evening.


Cebu Pacific Air (flight Cebu to Manila) taxiing for takeoff at the Mactan Cebu International Airport.


Click on the video to see the gorgeous turquoise blue and white beaches... and the exclusive resorts of Mactan Island in Cebu from above the plane.

15) Lechon Manok (rotisserie chicken) here, Lechon Manok there, Lechon Manok everywhere. The secret of Cebuanos why Lechon Manok in Cebu (and also the Lechon Baboy/Roasted pig) is very tasty is this - they pickle them, they inject spices and sauces into the meat.

16) Cebu City has been invaded by café – coffee shops. Literally.

17) Security guards rule in the Philippines (of course in Cebu too)! You can’t go past them inside the mall without being body checked. And they carry genuine guns. I wondered if they were loaded though.

18) Green mango street vendors are all over the city. I bought 2 pieces. I also bought the sautéed shrimp paste. Yummy! I was only able to finish 1 though.

19) In a department store, everyone suddenly stopped moving. Then I realized – ah, it’s the angelus! Catholic owned department stores still observe the angelus. At 6PM, everyone stops from what they are doing, both the employees and the shoppers, and recite the angelus prayer quietly. It is a world of its own.

20) The malls are always busy. Dutchman asked, “Why are people always shopping?” I told him they are not shopping. They are in the malls to eat, hang out, and cool off (from the scorching heat outside).

21) I will add more if I think of something.

Left: Me at a local fastfood - Goldilocks. Middle: Rizal Memorial Library Museum along Jones Avenue. Right: Red Horse beer! This beer can really kick. The SMBs (San Miguel Beer) are like flavoured water compared to this.

More pictures of Cebu here: Cebu City, Philippines Fotos

We would have stayed a couple of days longer but real life duties calls us back to the Netherlands, so we flew to Manila where KLM awaits to bring us back to Europe.

I told Dutchman that I could go back, rather we, could live in the Philippines anytime... but helaas, it is not an option. Maybe, just not for now...

Travel Period: July 2007
Destination: Cebu City (Cebu - Visayas Region), The Philippines

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