The P.I., or the Philippine Islands, is an archipelago consisting of 7,107 islands in Southeast Asia.
I was born, and I grew up at the heart of the archipelago, in the island of Cebu! So, that is where our holiday begun. I think, even before going someplace else, the moment one steps out of the airport vicinity, one would notice the kings of the road
~ the Jeepneys! ~
The jeepneys are the most popular means of transportation all over the country, though one can also find buses, cars and in some small part of the city, some horse-drawn carriages or the kalesa.
The first night, we had to go out for dinner at my favorite Filipino resto, Golden Cowrie, because of all the unpacking and taking a little nap. We did not have much time to go to the Supermarket, before this pic was taken. 🙂
Stefan and the kids were impressed by the uniqueness of the plates laid on the table. They were, of course, cut banana leaves! I retold the story of how my mother, as a small girl, would make use of the banana leaves as her food container because Tupperware has not been invented back then.
Cebu City has a lot of big malls, but we frequented the two biggest ones: SM City and Ayala Center, where we went the next day, shopping.
Even on vacation, I still would like to be able to work up a meal or two, and serve Stefan his brewed coffee so, I insisted on going to the supermarket for food and other basic stuff.
The next days were spent roaming around the city, from the uptown, to the midtown, then to downtown area, which offered more than a glimpse of our culture and history.
I could not remember exactly, but I think, we started with the Magellan’s Cross. It was planted by the explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, on the shore of our island in 1521. The original cross is now encased with this wooden cross on the picture, for protection. A few steps from this cross is the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño.
The Basilica is the oldest Roman Catholic church built in the country, after the second set of Spanish explorers (in 1565) found the statue of the Child Jesus in a house (that now became the church). It’s the same statue given by Magellan to the Rajah‘s wife, when they got baptized in 1521. The Child is the patron of the island, and we (not only the Cebuanos, but people from all over the world) celebrate his feast every 3rd Sunday of January. It is really like a month-long celebration, with street concerts almost every night during this month, and the main highlight is the grand mardi gras on the 3rd Sunday. Then on the 4th week, they have another ritual of bathing the Child and changing his clothes.
Less than 500 meters from the Basilica, is another centuries old church, the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.
It’s a typical Spanish cathedral, and most of it was destroyed during the second world war, except for the belfry which was built in 1835. Our next stop was the old Spanish fort, Fuerza de San Pedro. It was built in 1738, originally to repel Muslim raiders. Now, it houses a small museum and the old cannons. 🙂
After what seemed like a long walk, we were glad there was a nearby AAA BBQ (barbeque) resto. They mostly serve barbecued seafood and pork, but no, we did not stop by to eat. We only had a drink of their tasteful juice, mixed with real sliced fruits. ahhh, it was heavenly refreshing that I could not remember its name anymore.
We also visited some of the beaches in the Mactan area (island), and took advantage of the low 500 Php, day entrance fee, with 300 Php consummable for food. I again, (must be Alzheimer?) forgot the name of the resort ~ but it could well be White Sands…
And before the sun set, we already had a good tour of Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa. Upon learning of their day entrance (2.500 Php), we could not help but feel proud and happy of how much we saved that day.
We also stopped by the Lapu-Lapu Shrine, before heading for home. This is where the battle of Mactan took place in 1521. Lapu-Lapu was the chief of the island, and was the first native to resist Spanish colonization. The battle ended with Lapu-Lapu killing the explorer, Magellan.
The farthest north that we reached was in the town of Liloan, to explore Papa Kit’s. It’s a fishing lagoon, where you also get to enjoy horseback-riding and the Zip Line!
not us, but that’s how high we went!
Us, ready to zip line
It was not part of the plan, but we made a short getaway to the nearby island of Bohol. An hour and a half away from Cebu, by fast craft, we were met by our guide when we arrived at the seaport of Tagbilaran City. The boat was delayed and so, it was almost lunchtime when we got there. Making a few changes with the itinerary, our guide took us first to Loboc River cruise, where we had a wonderful feast.
We had a vast selection of seafood, pork and native dishes for lunch, while there was a live band playing as we cruised along the river. We had 1 stop for a cultural show, before heading back to where we started.
Then, in a mixed series of events ( I really cannot remember which of the sites we visited first), here are the sites, Bohol is famous for.
Up and ready to see the Chocolate Hills
The Chocolate Hills
Sandugo – the blood compact site between Spanish explorer, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna
Tarsier – smallest monkey in the world
Malay Civet Cat
at a virgin island, near Panglao, Bohol
The virgin island. The sand bar now sinking due to incoming high tide.
After Bohol, it was high time to visit our relatives in Moalboal. It is located 89 km south from Cebu City, and is famous for its diving spots. We rented a car, instead of taking the bus, because then it would be easy to get around, and I planned to show them the whole south of Cebu on our trip back to the city.
Basdaku – Moalboal
I have lived in this town for a year, and frequently visited every summer, that I was ecstatic to see all my relatives once again. Stefan and Kids were all game for a trip down the memory lane…
Mahjong – the family’s favorite pasttime
They were too amazed when they first saw this game so, I took a spare table and a mahjong set, and taught them how to play it! Everyone in the family (father’s side) plays this, and I learned when I was about nine or ten years old. 🙂
On our trip back to the city, I did not take the same route. Instead, I drove further down south to the tip, and went on up on the other side of the island. It was some sort of exploration too, as there were already a lot of sites which were not there the last time I made a trip like this. It was just too bad that both my phone and the camera quit on us, but perhaps it was meant to be, so there is a reason to come back.
It was such a lovely vacation that now, the kids would ask me, from time to time, if we are ever going back to Bohol or Moalboal…
Yes, surely. But there are also so many places to see and visit, in this small country! There is Ilocos, Baguio, the Rice Terraces, Bicol, Puerto Galera, El Nido, Boracay, Samar/Leyte, Camiguin, etc… so much, that when you compile your pics from these places, you’ll see the natural beauty of the Philippines!
And, as we always say,
It’s more FUN in the Philippines!
Thanks for stopping by…