I knew I took Cebu for granted when i visited the province in 2011. Two weeks ago, in yet another almost-spontaneous trip with the same person i was with the first time, Lian, i finally get to uncover Queen City of the South’s unbelievable total package. Cebu is the first place i visited for my first ever plane ride. I was with 3 of my closest friends in college and it was our first out-of-town trip as “young professionals”. It is where i first experienced staying in a Hostel, sleeping in bunk beds with foreign strangers who speak minimal English. My first habal-habal (motorcycle) ride. The first temple i prayed, wished, and asked for answers using kidney stones. The very first place i felt the need to travel, longer and farther. In short, Cebu is a big part of my many firsts but the second time is far more telling and sweeter in comparison.
Lian and I went on a 4-day South to North escapade in Cebu for the main purpose of being away. Both of us have different reasons and interpretations on traveling but it was a breeze that she’s the type of person who just follows my lead with no any requests other than for me to take endless photos of her in different angles! After, i could really claim that my patience and Lian’s self-absorption are deeper than the sea. No pun intended 😉
We (read: I ) had not much time to research but then again, it was not a question of where to go but how to go. I’ve been meaning to go back to Sugbu after realizing it has so much more to offer apart from historical landmarks in the city. Cebu is a melting pot for culture, history, biodiversity, and sophistication. You want a highly modernized scene? Stay in Mactan city center. Fancy a quick beach getaway? Go to Oslob or Moalboal. Want to hibernate for tranquility? Head north to Bantayan Island. These are just 3 of the many beautiful spots in Cebu. So when I had the chance to return, i made sure i abuse all the time i had to uncover it in polar ends.
Goal 1: Whale shark encounter in Tan-awan, Oslob (South of Cebu)
We started our escapade in Oslob, a municipality in the southeast of Cebu, for the Whale Shark encounter. There are several resorts in Brgy. Tan-awan who offer packages for this activity. We chose Aaron Beach Resort and paid Php800 each (local rate with entrance fee. Foreigners have different rates). Encounter with sharks is until 12nn only. We rented an underwater camera for Php850, not bad since it comes with a photographer too 😉
Goal 2: Heritage Park in Poblacion, Oslob
Cebu and majority of its town, being the first European settlement in the Philippines, is a reminder of the 400-year colonization of Spain. From names to architectures to traditions, Brgy. Poblacion, as the name suggests, is the commercial and industrial centre in Oslob housing the 300-yr old Baluarte or Watchtower wherein guards can observe its surrounding for Moro invasion, the iconic Church of Immaculate Conception, and unfinished building of Cuartel for Spanish guardia civil. All three are made with coral blocks thus its cream color finish.
Goal 3: #ChasingWaterFalls in Oslob, Barili, and Badian (South of Cebu)
I will never get enough of natural beauty in water forms, like falls and beach. Maybe i am programmed to love such for being a tropical specie but really, who would pass up the opportunity to see enchanting creations like these?
Goal 4: BEACH.
I’ll let the photos speak for itself. Obviously, i’m out of words.
Goal 6: Local culture
I like immersing in different cultures, it’s a step to understanding their way of life and the only way i get to travel authentically. One of the highlights of our trip was reuniting with a very special person who took care of us when we were kids, our yaya (nanny), Ate Dorina. It took 20 yrs before we met again and i’m glad timing pushed for it to happen. Thank goodness for Facebook for connecting us. When she saw my post that i was in Cebu she sent me a message to go to her house for a visit so she could cook me fresh seafood. In less than a heartbeat i said yes. It was a heartfelt moment seeing her again after all these years, the last memory i have of her was the way she tucks us in to sleep with our milk bottles. Now, she’s got a beautiful family of her own in their beautiful house.
For this itinerary, i’m not going to list down details but instead, i’m gonna share with you the template i’ve been using in all of my travels. This template helps me to keep on track of my timeline, must-see places, details of transfers/transportation, things to bring/pack, budget, and other trivial information. Sometimes after my travel, i re-open this file to counter-check on my spending or if i took a detour somewhere in between. I hope my being OC helps you in your future travels, so consider this a present from my heart: Cebu April 2015 (automatic download file) 🙂
As a grand finale, sharing with you also the video i made for this trip. It would’ve been perfect with videos of Whale sharks underwater but this pretty much sums it all up, although, this does not do much justice on how charismatic Cebu really is.
Disclaimer: Towards the end of the video, you will either get irritated or find it hilarious. Just excuse us while we totally embarrass ourselves haha!