Before the plane lands on Cebu, we had a nice view of the sunrise. unfortunately, I wasn’t seated near the window so I asked Jape to take a picture of the horizon for me. The view was nice and as the plane descended, I could see fluffy clouds outside the window. Some of us were still asleep when the plane landed and was only awaken after a few minutes.
We were at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport arrival area as we wait for Denice, Elouise’s friend, which will join us in our Cebu escapade. When all of us 8 were complete, we waited for the van that we hired to take us on our city tour that day. We told Kuya Jun (the driver and tour guide) that we will be waiting for him at 7am at the airport. We arrived at about 6am, so we had to wait for him till 7. We were taking pictures and having fun while waiting for him outside the arrival area. Kuya Jun came at about 6:45 and we all ride the van for our tour.
We were already hungry since our last decent meal was dinner the day before. We asked Kuya Jun to take us somewhere nice to eat. He was planning to take us to AA BBQ Grill but unfortunately, it was still closed. He brought us to a SuToKil restaurant instead. We went to City Grill where they have an array of raw meat and seafood that they cook for you as you order. Their place is located near the Crown Regency Hotel wherein you could ride their edge coaster. We wanted to try it but we figured that we will be full after eating that we might vomit upon riding it.
We ordered some liempo, chicken barbecue and a hotdog to be grilled and some squid to be cooked as calamares. The grilled meat comes with an achara on the side. We ordered some rice and some bottled juice.
The grilled liempo was good. It was chopped as they served it to you. I didn’t taste the chicken and the hotdog since i was busy with my own food. The calamares was also cooked nicely. I get to taste it since it was served first and I asked Ai and Irish for a piece. The achara on the side tasted like beer. It was like it was already fermented.
After our meal, we were surprised that our bill got to P1,200 for all of us 8. We estimated that it would cost only less than a thousand since we ordered only few. We asked of the price of each food and discovered that their fit ‘n right was overpriced. It cost P50. It is as expensive as those sold in hotels and to think that they are only a small eatery and the place was not that good. They also charged us of their cooking fee which they didn’t inform us when we ordered. Also, some of the food we ordered were priced differently as what we asked them upon ordering. We were disappointed for our first meal in Cebu. We never imagined that they will charge us more than we expected. maybe they figured out that we’re tourists and took advantage. We learned early on our trip to ask for prices before ordering. I would not recommend their place if we were to ask. We were really disappointed and it almost ruined our Cebu trip.
After eating, Kuya Jun brought us to the Taoist Temple located at the Beverly Hills Subdivision. The place is high and it is overlooking the city. We went inside and took lots of photos. It was a quiet place. It is good place to relax and meditate. You could enter the temple and have your wish to the saints there but unfortunately, we were wearing the wrong clothes. They do not allow people in shorts and slippers and sleeveless shirts. Only Jape was allowed to enter and have his wish. We just took the opportunity to take pictures and admire the place. We didn’t have a picture of their altar since they do not permit it. We just took photos on the outside of the temple.
They have this small pond outside whit turtles swimming in it. Elouise said that the last time she was there, those turtles were still small. We took pictures of it and proceed to other areas of the temple. After we were done exploring the place, we went back to the van to go to our next destination.
We went to Castle Peak Hotel next since we wanted to place all our stuff to the rooms we reserved. It wasand their check-in time was . Fortunately, we were allowed to go put our stuff in one of the rooms we booked since the occupants there already left and the room was already cleaned. We booked for a Standard room (P2088) and just paid for two extra person (P400) since one room is good for 3 people. It has 1 twin size bed and a single bed with one bathroom with a bathtub and shower. There is also a cable TV available and some extra pillows. They also have a vault where you could place your valuables.
After putting all our stuff there, we went back to Kuya Jun where he brought us to our next destination, the Basilica del Sto. Niño and the. Along the way, Kuya Jun was giving lots of stories and trivia as we pass by some streets. He was really a good tour guide because you could ask anything to him and he will gladly explain it to you.
We arrived at the Basilica del Sto. Niño and went inside the church compound. The image of the Sto. Niño de Cebu was on the altar inside the church as well as on the big stage just outside. The place is run by Augustinian priests and you will see the statue of St. Augustine, St. Monica, and other saints that has connection with St. Augustine around. I quickly recognized the saints since I came from a catholic school run by Filipino Augustinians. In fact, the church beside our school has the Sto. Niño de Cebu for their patron saint. I was excited when I saw some familiar figures and symbols. It brought back memories from my elementary and High school days. The school beside the basilica has the same uniform with the one we wear at Biñan. It has only some few alteration, but it was still the same.
We entered the Museum (P10 entrance fee) and looked at the different clothes the Sto. Niño wears. We didn’t have any pictures since it was not allowed inside. We learned that the real Sto. Niño was inside the basilica on the side where people come and pray. The two that we saw on the altars were just replica. We wanted to get near but there is a long queue of people so we decided to sit near the image and look at it. The statue was black just like in the stories I’ve known. They say that the image was a gift by the Spaniards to the Raja’s wife upon Baptism to Christianity. It was placed in a chapel that was burned. Only the image survived. It was again placed in a chapel and again, the chapel was burned, and miraculously, the image survived again. The people there praised and worshiped it and so the church was named after it.
After visiting the basilica, we went to Magellan’s Cross just a few distance to the basilica. Nothing much to see there, only some photo opportunity. The cross was the symbol of Christianity that the Spaniards brought to us. The paintings in the ceiling shows how Magellan brought Christianity to the natives centuries ago. It was nice to have seen that personally since I’ve been reading about it since I was a student.
We were already hungry then so we asked Kuya Jun to take us to some place to eat. As we went there, he toured us to different parts of the city. We were supposed to go to Manila.but the road there was being renovated and we didn’t proceed. He also brought us to the reclaimed area wherein they will turn it to an industrialized area. We also passed by, what Kuya Jun called, the Malacañang of the South. I didn’t get to remember the place but it really looked like the Malacañang palace in
For lunch, Kuya Jun brought us to AA BBQ Grill. It was already opened and so, we went there. It was also a SuToKil restaurant just like in City Grill. This time, we asked for the prices before ordering and made sure that they will not charge us any hidden fees. The place itself was nice, it was an open area and It was big enough to accommodate large groups. We were all excited to eat there since it was named AA, same as what we call ourselves.
We ordered ribs, chicken, chorizo, balunbalunan and pork to be grilled. They also offer seafood to be cooked to what you desire. We also ordered some sodas. Some of us ordered mango shakes and iced tea.
As we wait for our food to cook, we were served with some sliced green tomatoes in soy sauce and vinegar. It was an appetizer as well as for dip. The tomato was crunchy and it goes well with the soy sauce and vinegar mixture.
The food came soon. It didn’t took them long to cook it. We were glad since we were already hungry of the half day tour we had. The rib that we ordered was good enough for two people so most of us shared it. It was cooked nicely and the marinade that was its sauce was good with it. The only problem was it has lots of tendons and is difficult to chew. But it was still good. The other food we had was also good. We liked it better than that of the previous resto we’ve eaten. The mango and green mango shake was delicious. They liked it very much especially the green mango shake. It was not to sour, just right. Generally, we enjoyed our food there and we were all full, ready for the next half of our city tour.
After we were full and had taken some more pictures, we headed back to the van for our next destination. Kuya Jun said he will bring us to Mactan and have the next part of our tour at Plantation Bay. The way there was quite far and it has started to rain. It was quite conducive for sleeping since it was getting cold. We dozed off along the way and was awaken when we got to Plantation Bay.
Plantation Bay is a big resort with lots of amenities. You could go inside for a free tour and see all their facilities. We asked the front desk people if we could have a tour and they gladly assisted us. We rode on a small vehicle wherein the driver is also the tour guide. We had lots of fun admiring the place and taking photos everywhere. We rested for a while and headed back to the van.
Kuya Jun brought us next to one of the guitar factories there. Joms was the one really excited here. We all toured Alegre’s Guitar Factory. We learned how guitars are being made and what makes the difference in the sounds they produce. We learned why some guitars cost more than others. We went to their store where they sell the guitars and it was really a haven for guitar enthusiasts. Joms tried some of it and he was really excited about it. Their cheapest guitar is about P2,000 and the most expensive one was P16,000. Joms got to try it and according to him, it was really good. He wanted to buy it that instant if only he has the money. They have a small souvenir shop beside the guitar store wherein they sell miniature guitars as key chains. We bought some for pasalubong and also for souvenir. We enjoyed that place so much. I myself also wanted to buy a guitar there because of its good quality but we couldn’t bring it back to Manila since we need to pack light.
Next, we headed to Maribago Blue Waters Resort. Like in Plantation Bay, we get to tour the place to see their amenities. They have a pond there with sharks and they get to feed then every 4pm. It was 3:30 then and we were only allowed to tour the place for 15 minutes. We just headed to tour the place hoping that we could see the shark feeding before we head back to the van.
The place was nice. It is a beach resort and there is a big chess set on the beach. We took the opportunity to take pictures and we enjoyed playing around there. They have this restaurant just beside the beach wherein you could choose what live fish or sea food they would cook for you. We enjoyed looking at the lobsters and the crabs and the other seafood they have there. They also have a big chandelier made of shells hanging on the resto’s ceiling. It was really cute since it forms a big star. The ambiance there was nice and relaxing. When we were about to leave, we passed by the pond with the sharks and they are about to feed them. We watched the shark feeding before finally going back to the van.
We were quite exhausted after that but Kuya Jun has another place to bring us. We went next to Lapu-Lapu Shrine. It a shrine wherein there is a statue of Lapu-lapu, the Datu and hero of Mactan when the Spaniards came. Kuya Jun told us that the place was a reclaimed area. It was all sea before it was turned into a shrine. There was a river in front of the Statue of Lapu-Lapu. Wazer and Elouise said that the last time he went there, the river was dry and you could go down and walk there. It was a river now and you could not go down anymore.
After some photos taken, we were really tired. Kuya Jun insist that he bring us to the SuToKil restaurants near the shrine. It was indeed a row of SuToKil restaurants there and they have fresh fish that you could order and they cook it for you. There we learned what SuToKil means, it was Sugba-Tola-Kilaw. There are the way you could ask the people there to cook your food. Sugba is grilled, Kilaw is cooking it in vinegar or some acid and actually eating it kind of raw. Tola or Tuwa was the only thing we didn’t get to ask Kuya Jun. Maybe, I;ll research it myself when I get to know another Cebuano. We went back to the van afterward and we asked Kuya Jun to bring us to SM City Cebu so we could buy some food for our trip to the next day.
We brought some food and pasalubong that we will bring the next day to Bantayan Island in SM City Cebu. We bought marshmallows since we were planning to put up a bonfire and have some toasted marshmallows on the beach. We were looking for the famous Lechon Cebu for our dinner. Kuya Jun suggested CnT Lechon which has a branch just outside SM but he said that the lechon was just until 4pm but we could still try our luck. We went there but there were no available lechon for us. Kuya Jun brought us to another lechonan instead. We bought a kilo and a quarter of lechon at Ben’s Lechon. It was our dinner for that day.