Cebu in One Day

Since summer is almost done and I have yet to do any major trips (my Bohol trip last February doesn’t count – I still consider it part of the Christmass-y season though it was very hot), I decided to tag along one of hubby’s trips for a weekend in Cebu. 

(But to more precise, I think it’s hubby’s way of making sure I don’t nag him for being away for most of the summer. I can’t nag him for always going on trips if I’m with him, right???)

Anyway, this was the view from the hallway outside our room:

I’m a crab (born under the Cancer sign) and while I don’t believe all those zodiac things, I do love the water. I can spend hours or days just looking at it.
We stayed at the Costa Bella resort. I was a little hesitant at first since I read not so good reviews about the place. It was isolated and the beach front wasn’t really much; plus the pool closes at 7 and 10 (for pools 1 and 2, respectively). But, the people were very nice and I really liked the room. Too bad though that the hubby lost his Tissot watch there – sad because since we got married, we’ve been buying his/hers watches and now one of mine doesn’t have its “partner.”
Sorry for the lopsided shot – I had only two hours of sleep since I got home really late, had to work some more and slept at 1AM only to get up at 3AM for our early morning flight.
Enough about that. There aren’t really a lot of touristy places in Cebu (and the beaches are subpar compared to nearby Bohol and Boracay) so you can easily just get a car rental and breeze through the city.

Our first stop was Magellan’s Shrine in Mactan. Not much here but place was really well-kept and not crowded. Too bad it was so hot that we forgot all about Lapu-Lapu nearby.

After that, we went to Fort San Pedro. I read somewhere that it’s the smallest fort in the country – quite obvious as you can circle (err… the place is actually triangular in shape) the place in 10-15 minutes.

The fort used to have fourteen cannons, and judging from the number I saw, I guess most of them are still there.

The place is kind romantic – it had a garden inside which I think would make for a lovely wedding reception. But again, I’m showing my personal bias here – hubby and I were married in Intramuros and had our reception inside one of the gardens there.

We also went to mass at the Pedro Calungsod Chapel – built by the Sy family inside the sprawling SM Compound. I kind of got lost hearing mass because parts were in Mandarin, even the songs!

We were quite famished after the mass so we headed out to CRT…but they ran out of lechon. 😦 So… we settled for the 2nd best lechon in Cebu: Rico’s Lechon. 

Which was quite a disappointment. The meat wasn’t tender and flavorful and the skin wasn’t crispy. I was happier with the lechon sold at the Market Market grocery. And the staff weren’t very friendly – there were five of us in the group and they kept insisting that the 5th member of our group sit in a separate table – by himself!!! Of course, we wouldn’t have it so we politely told them that the best thing to do was to push the two tables to the wall, thereby creating enough space for five, leave the aisle open and the 3rd table free for other customers. I think they hated us for suggesting it. 

But if ever you end up eating at this place, get the spicy lechon. The original one was no good at all.

After lunch, our guide took us to the Cebu Heritage Monument, a sculpture by National Artist Edgardo Castrillo, depicting different eras in Cebu’s history – perhaps one of the nicest monuments I’ve seen in the country. I mean, we don’t have this in Manila!

Perhaps the highlight of our tour was the Yap – San Diego ancestral house which was just across the street from the monument. Hubby and I are suckers for old stuff and our dream is to have an old-style Filipino house so this was a real treat.
Dining room downstairs – I don’t really think the family used this space as a dining room back in the day. As far as I know, the ground floor of old Filipino houses are almost always used as stock rooms.
Playing master and mistress of the old house.
The formal dining room upstairs
The master’s bedroom which is still used today. They’ve put insulators so they can put air conditioning in the room, otherwise, the place would have been unbearably hot.

Breakfast nook. Do you spy those gold plates and pitchers? Now I want to go to my lola’s house and horde hers. They’re antique and I would hate to see them just broken to pieces.
This is perhaps the spookiest site in the house. I don’t know about you but I have a certain fear of images and statues.

Manong had to explain to my companions what this chair is for but I already knew! In fact, we had an even more indulgent version at home – a rocking chair version carved out of narra with long armrests for you to rest your legs on (not your arms, mind you). It was one of my favorite hangouts at my parent’s house ( inherited my love of wooden furniture from them so you’ll see lots of narra, mahogany and teakwood stuff at our family house). Hahaha!

Of course, we couldn’t miss Magellan’s Cross:

Just ignore the Ben10 balloon floating in the ceiling, will you?
Colorful candles for the devoted Catholics who want to pray at Magellan’s Cross
The Santo Nino Basilica, or what you can make of it anyway on a busy Sunday.
Okay, we’re not Taoists but this temple was part of our guide’s itinerary and I’ve never really been to one so there. It’s inside the gated Beverly Hills community up in the mountains overlooking the city (I almost laughed when our guide said we were going to Beverly Hills – I thought he was joking).

I have to say – while dragons are one of the symbols of the devil for Catholics like me, I respect the way the Chinese  revere their places of worship. The place was immaculate and obviously well-kept. If I were part of this religion, I would really be proud of this temple.
We didn’t dare climb the steps up to the temple itself. I was in no condition to hike for obvious reasons and we were all tired so we just gawked at how pretty the temple looked and went on our way.

Our last stop was Tops – quite a literal description of the place since it is the highest vantage point in Cebu. I don’t recall visiting this place during our honeymoon seven years ago (7 years!!!) but the hubby insisted we did so fine. It’s not that he has a better memory but since I couldn’t prove otherwise, I just let the argument swing to his favor.

Pretty! Once you step in, the labyrinth-like tunnels open up to tables on the right…
… and stores on the left.

viewing deck
Well, that’s it for my short but sweet Cebu escapade. We stayed only two days (and I spent the first day just catching up with our friends) but I really enjoyed it.

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