Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cebu City Tour

Sinulog, one of the most anticipated and celebrated festivals in the country, was flocked with tourists once again. And this year, ehem, I was one of them. Though visiting the historic Cebu was one of my wishes, going there the soonest was never a plan. It was one unexpected and unplanned tour which the primary purpose is to accompany a friend who was applying for a job.

I then informed Aki, a forumer friend in Cebu, about the plan and so generous of him, he offered to tour me around Cebu’s tourist destinations. And so aboard Cokaliong Shipping Lines for 11-hour sea trip from Surigao to Cebu, the wish was finally realized.

It was Sinulog season so as expected a lot of things have happened since my first day. And if I have to narrate it all, I may appear so boring like doing a storytelling to kids. All I can is that it was a burst of fun! So to cut it short, I just list down the places I’ve gone to…

The first destination was the cluster of century-old structures that are located in the same area near the pier.

Basilica del Santo Niño

This is where we agreed to rendezvous with Aki. This 16th century church was jam-packed with devotees but I have managed to take photos inside and outside the basilica. I was neither amazed with the antiques nor with the golden-cloaked figure of Santo Nino but rather with the devotees waving their hands to Him. Such a modest gesture of devotion.

Magellan's Cross

This small octagonal chapel just outside the south exit of the basilica housed the Tindalo cross that according to historians encases the original cross planted by Ferdinand Magellan on that very site on April 21, 1521. The chapel’s ceiling was painted with a depiction of Magellan's arrival in the island.

Fort San Pedro

Just a few distances away from the Santo Nino Basilica and Magellan’s Cross lays this Fortress built on 1565 under the command of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi. According to Aki, if this served as a bastion against the attacking Morons before, now it serves as a place for filthy exhibitionists at night. So I presume Cebu's population is flooded with kids named Peter. After the name of the fortress where the baby making was done.

Because they are interconnected, we toured these three historical landmarks on foot. All of them I noticed were built out of bricks with attributes like that of a coral stone and adobe. Indeed, they symbolize Cebu as country’s oldest city.

Starving and sweating, we proceeded to the nearby SM Mall Cebu to refresh and have our lunch. SM Cebu is just one jeepney ride from Fort San Pedro. There we met Aki’s board mate Dennis who also went with us to our next destination.

Philippine Taoist Temple

Located in the wealthy residential suburb of Beverly Hills about 6 km. north of the downtown, this spot is frequented by Koreans. Dragon replicas placed on the roof, structures and canvasses adorned with red, green and gold colors, pagodas standing still, rooftop with curling tips, Buddha displayed in the altar, and everything in the temple gave us the feel of mystic China. The whole of the temple was striking; thus, leave us nothing to take photos with.

Tops Skyline Garden

From the Taoist Temple, we hired 2 single motorcycles at P150 each to bring us back and forth the Tops Skyline Garden. We paid P100 each for the entrance fee and entered the façade floored with beehive pattern. Tops Skyline is situated in Cebu’s highest elevated mountain peak. It is P10 close to heaven and a good escape from the humid downtown with its cold air. Did I say cold? Yeah, the place is good for, uhm, heating. I mean dating. Hehe. A friend said the city is best viewed during the night so we waited for the dark to completely take over. And as the downtown slowly lit up, the luminous panoramic sight of Cebu looks perfectly beautiful. We stayed for a moment and left.

By the way, Bohol can be visible from there in clear skies.

The Columbary

Just below the Tops Skyline lays the lofty tower of The Columbary which glowing light is visible from the city proper at night. Aki said the columbary serves as the necropolis of the cremated bodies of wealthy people in town. Tourists going there in broad daylight used not to notice it. Lucky that we went down exactly as the skies appear in total darkness.

Destination the next day… Cebu’s adjacent island, Mactan.

There are 2 ways to go there: by land via Mactan Bridge 1 and Marcelo Fernan Bridge, and by sea via motor vessel at P10 only. Mactan Island is a bit far and going there by land is time consuming, so we took the sea transport. In 15 minutes, we were already there. From the wharf, we walked the street crossing the park and church till we reached the highway leading to the Liberty Shrine.
Liberty Shrine, Mactan Island

There are two main attractions in the park, the land marker marking the spot where the fight between Lapu-lapu and Magellan took place and the gigantic statue of brave Lapu-Lapu facing the sea. I was fascinated. I can’t believe I was standing on the very place where the brave Lapu-Lapu ended the life of conqueror Magellan. It was not an imagination anymore of the depictions only printed in books. I was on the actual spot. After spending a moment celebrating the serenity of the park, we had our lunch in the STK restaurants within the nearby souvenir shop stalls.

Mactan Church

A Hispanic hat inspired modern church fronting the affluent barangay hall. With its distinct design from a usual church, you will mistake it as a hotel.

Marcelo Fernan Bridge, Lapu-Lapu City

Also known as Mactan Bridge 2, it was the world’s longest center span extradosed cable-stayed bridge. Did I stammer? This bridge, which was opened on 1999, connects the cities of Mandaue in Cebu City and Lapu-lapu City in Mactan Island. Don’t mind the picture with me in the center island. It is forbidden and extremely dangerous from the raging vehicles. It’s just that I broke rules and took risks for myself.

A trivia given by our historian Aki, Mactan Island is said to be a reef. There is no presence of mountains that’s why Cebu’s International airport is located there. Not only that, Lapu-Lapu City, Mactan Island serves as the economic hub of Cebu’s province where big companies ranging from canning factories, oil depot, and international companies such as the Big Foot and Timex is located.

Just as the dusk broke down, we went back to Cebu City via motor vessel again. Time for nightlife.


Mango Square along Osmena Boulevard sets the trend for night entertainment. It is a compound of clubs and bars. Nevertheless, we were not there. We have our night in Paseo.

And the next thing that happened the following days was literally A Walk To Remember.

From the congested streets of Colon down to Pier 1 and from Colon to Fuente Circle. Then on the Sinulog day, from Katipunan to Fuente, when major routes were closed for the street dancing.

Fuente Osmeña Circle

My last night in Cebu was history of fun-filled drinking, laughing, and dancing in the Korean-owned and frequented Sunflower City Disco Bar.


the donG said...

i miss taoist temple. been there just once.

astig ng kuha mo sa bridge ah. nalakad din namin yan dati nung bagong bago pa.

gimik ka talaga dun ah!

reyna elena said...

Uy! nindot man kaayo kaniang mga lugar ah! Experienced Sinulog twice already! Grabe tawo 'dong! But we had a great time - ALWAYS hahaha! that's why Cebu has always been my fave destination pag andyan ako sa Pinas, as a matter of fact, my very best friend is from there - Dumanhug but lives in Talisay.

One time I was assigned in Cebu to work for about 3 straight months sa VECO as auditor, nag-patudlo ako magsulti Cebuano pero karon, waay na man ako magkapagsulti nang matino kasi nga wa na me makausap na Bisaya. Pag balik ko nang Makati, Bisaya na ko hehehe! Shock mga opismeyts hehee

We normally hangout around Mango Avenue then. Pero but July? January ang Sinulog?

The Islander said...

@dong.. hehe actually kakatakot tumawid papuntang center island nyan dahil sa rumaragasang mga sasakyan. pero ayos lang, atleast may thrill. kasi kahit nasa center island na pwede pa rin akong mahagip.

namiss ko naman sa cebu yung Tops. Sarap ng hangin at ng view. very relaxing. malayo sa kabihasnan pero tanaw mo pa rin sa malayo.

The Islander said...

@reyna elena.. haha ang galing mo naman. ang bilis mong matuto magbisaya.

Party venue yung Mango. Madaming bars to choose from. One time sabay naghost ng concert ang smart at globe. kabilaan lang. hehe. parang ABS at GMA.

at kamahalan isa po ang post na ito sa labi nung kinatay na blog ko. yung insulare. kaya, repost po ito. hehe.

Lawstude said...

the queen city. there are lots of things i like about the place but waht i hate most (like in manila) is the traffic. a great place really. i love the foooood there.

The Islander said...

hehe but not that congested compared to manila. if i have to rate it.. manila is full 10 headache, cebu is like in 6.

Dakilang Islander said...

nahh...ka homesick naman ang post na 'to...gimingaw nako aning tanang lugar nga gipangpost nimo dah!

The Islander said...

haha. how many years na ba ka diha sa kabermudahan? next time sa carabao grass na pud ka. hehe.

no need to be homesick. youll be back soon. may gani ka kay nakaadto og laing lugar. kami tawon nga hangtud pinas lang... nahh.. mangagho nalang. hehe

Kim said...

Wow, from the picture lang na reminisce ko the time me and hubby were there (2004). Hubby was so amazed how we celebrated our festivities and the people....they flooded the street (that is his term) lol. Onli in da Pilipins and I am proud of it.

The Islander said...

hahaha yeah, the right word is flooding. sinulog literally flooded the streets with people. but its fun.

and i guess other countries like the latin ones have this custom also during their mardigras.