Date: April 25th 2011
I woke up really early today as I had to catch my AirPhil Express flight to Cebu at 7am. I checked out of my hotel and took a taxi from Pasay to the airport. It cost ₱70 ($1.6/€1.2) but I reached the airport in under 20 minutes and there were long queues because of the security checks. I checked in, got my window seat and whipped out my phone to take a few snaps.
I paid the airport user fee of PHP200 ($4.5/€3.4), which Aimee told me is something every airport in Philippines makes travellers pay
Philippines' main airport is named after this revolutionary
And this is his story
My flight was unfortunately delayed by nearly 45 minutes due to poor weather conditions (apparently), but it was better than hearing some flights being cancelled, leaving passengers frustrated.
I asked for a window seat because I read online that one could see Mount Pinatubo on this route. Though I feel I ended up on the wrong side.
Not that the views were disappointing or anything
An hour later, we were above Cebu
Shallow waters along the coast of Cebu
A little late, but the weather seemed perfectly fine
I called Aimee and informed her about my arrival and she told me where to get a taxi from.
Though there were taxis available where I was standing, Aimee told me to get a regular cab from outside this other building
It cost ₱160 ($3.6/€2.7) from airport to where I needed to go
I had reservations at Sugbutel Bed & Bath for two nights. I chose this place because, as per the map, it was close to the pier. I needed it to close to the pier because tomorrow morning, I was to go to the island of Bohol by ferry. But when I arrived at Sugbutel, I must say, I had the look of disappointment on my face. It was bang opposite the pier, sure, but there was little else around it. No restaurants and it didn’t look like it was within city limits. Anyway, I checked in, paid ₱700 ($16/€12) for my dorm bed for two nights and went upstairs.
I got an upper bed. It was clean and had all the essentials - universal plug point, night lamp and an air-conditioned room. If you like shipping containers, then the view is fantastic!
This is the dorm floor. Toilets are clean and large enough.
Since today was the only day I had to check out Cebu city, I wasted no time and took a jeepney straight to the first attraction on my list, Fort San Pedro.
The ride from Sugbutel took just 5 minutes (cost around ₱7)
I walked all the way to the pier to find out when the first ferry to Bohol was
There are several ferry companies plying daily to the neighbouring islands
I walked to Fort San Pedro, which is very close to the pier
There is an entrance fee of ₱30 to Fort San Pedro
Fort San Pedro, built by the colonial Spanish in 1783, is one of the oldest in the country
Didn't look very promising from here
And that was it! I was done with the fort in 10 minutes.
I felt it was a bit of a waste of money. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen countless forts, both in India and in other places like Malaysia. After a while, they all start to look the same.
I walked on
Next up, Magellan's cross
Ferdinand Magellan was a famous Portugese explorer who became the first European to land in the Philippines. He ordered this cross be placed here signifying the arrival of the
The cross is housed inside this chapel
Magellan's cross, it marks the spot where the first Christian Filipinos were baptized
It's right in front of this college
I got distracted by the sweet smell coming out of a bakery/eatery/other junk college kids eat/stationary shop attached to the college
Ordered a Cassava cake as it sounded interesting to me. It was quite yummy, though I felt they used a little too much condensed milk for the sweetness
I walked towards Cebu's most famous attraction, the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino, the oldest church in the Philippines
Saw a lot of worshipers near these red candles
That's a lot of wax...
...which is recycled to make new candles I presume
I walked towards the church
The main ceiling
It was time to leave
Some courtyard right opposite the church
Across the road was a Jollibee (of course) from where I had lunch from
As I sat there, eating my burger, I wondered what to see next. It was only the afternoon and I… felt bored already. Maybe it was the lack of sleep. Anyway, I hopped on a jeepney and decided to go towards Robinsons Mall.
I just hopped into any one going straight up the road
The names of some of these jeepneys
I got down here
And this is Robinsons Place mall. Closed. Like, for good/for renovation/for demolition kind of closed.
I walked around some more, since I didn’t know what else to do.
Robinsons Cybergate is an office building
After converting some dollars at a nearby plaza, I got into another jeepney and decided to head towards the Philippine Taoist Temple.
Cebu provincial capitol building; take a right from here
I got down a bit further ahead
From the main road, I was instructed to cross over to a road on the other side.
There were bike taxis (licensed or not, who knows) who offered to take me up for 10 pesos. Since I didn't feel like walking uphill and not knowing how much I would have to walk, I got on.
Took this sitting behind the driver
It was only a short drive and the driver dropped me at a guarded entrance from where on, he told me, I would have to continue on by foot.
Apparently it's private property from here on and so, bike taxis aren't allowed
Guess what this locality is called -- Beverly Hills
And that's where I needed to get to
Took the left
It's a good 10 minute walk
There is no entry ticket or anything
The prayer hall is to the left, but photography of the hall and the idols aren't allowed
I went up
Pretty posh neighbourhood
The view from up here
Went back down
Panorama comprised of 6 shots
I was done
I know this temple was built by Chinese businessmen but '... Temple Inc.'?
A lot of rich people live in Beverly Hills, though I wonder which came first -- the name of the hill or the residents?
Nice looking pads
Walked all the way back down
Rich people = own horses
But just like India, regardless of any fancy name, it doesn't take too long to come back down to the reality of the majority in Cebu
I bought some credit ('load' is the term in Philippines) for my phone and had a drink from here
The bike taxis approached me again and asked me if I would like to go to a higher viewing spot, which was a bit further up from here. They said I could watch the sun set from there. I was honestly bored, so I said “No thanks” and just walked on.
I stepped into a nearby mall, mostly to get some air-con. I dropped by a travel agency and asked them how much a tour to Bohol island tomorrow would cost. They quoted just over ₱3500 which I knew was exorbitant, since I did look it up online and had a fair idea as to how much the tours approximately cost.
I messaged Aimee telling her I was bored in Cebu and she told me to go check out Ayala Mall. So I got into a jeepney and headed to Ayala.
Got down at an area that looked like a business park
A lot of IT offices here
Well look who's here! (Wipro is an India IT/BPO major)
Anyway, this is air-condi... I mean, Ayala Mall
Call center hiring is all over the mall
30 minutes of store-hopping, got bored (again) and left. I was pretty sleepy by now and decided to just take a taxi back to the pier instead of a jeepney.
This was at 7pm
Came to the pier for Supercat's office & to know when the first ferry to Tagbilaran (Bohol's capital) was
The tour of Bohol when purchased from Supercat themselves cost around ₱2800. I opted not to buy the tour package and instead, decided to do it myself.
I left the pier and walked back to the main road. As soon as I got to the main road in a minute, I realized why I booked at Sugbutel. You can literally walk to Supercat’s terminal from here.
If you don't like Sugbutel's budget offerings, you can move up to the Radisson up ahead
I dropped my camera bag back at the dorm and stepped out again wondering where I could have dinner. There are hardly any eateries outside Sugbutel.
The surroundings aren't exactly what you'd call 'great'
But walk all the way up to the Radisson Hotel and right next to it is one big-ass mall!
Felt stupid just wondering a few minutes back, where I could get some decent food! No dearth of options here.
SM City is the biggest mall in Cebu!
I ate from here
Walked around the mall a bit. It was past 8pm and many stores were done for the day.
I walked back to Sugbutel, freshened up and hit the bed early. Tomorrow was going to be another early wake-up call.
I know Cebu residents will be going “Oh, there’s more to Cebu than just these sights you saw!” and you’re probably right. Aimee told me if I headed up north in a vehicle, I could have explored the beaches and other sights Cebu has to offer. But I’m keeping all my “beach and sea” experiences for Palawan, which is why I only used Cebu as a stopover point to get to Bohol and then fly to Palawan.
Previous posts in this series:
Philippines 2011: Day 8 – Manila tour: Rizal Park, Intramuros, Manila Cathedral, China Town
Philippines 2011: Day 7 – Leaving Angeles City for Manila, Mall of Asia
Philippines 2011: Day 6 – Good Friday in San Fernando, San Pedro Cutud Lenten Rites
Philippines 2011: Leaving Sagada for Baguio, and arriving in Angeles city (Days 4 & 5)
Philippines 2011: Day 3 – Sagada’s Lumiang burial cave, Sumaguing cave, Hanging Coffins of Echo valley
Philippines 2011: Day 3 – Banaue town; heading to Sagada via Bontoc
Philippines 2011: Day 2 – Banaue rice terraces; trekking to Batad village
Philippines 2011: Day 1 — Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Fort Bonifacio
Philippines 2011: Flying over South China Sea for the first time
Other posts in this series:
Philippines 2011: Day 10 – Bohol tour: Chocolate Hills, Loboc river cruise, Tarsiers, churches
Philippines 2011: Day 11 – Arriving in Puerto Princesa, Palawan
Philippines 2011: Day 12 – Puerto Princesa Underground River tour, Palawan
Philippines 2011: Day 13 – Puerto Princesa to El Nido by bus
Philippines 2011: Day 14 – El Nido island hopping tour A and sunset at Las Cabanas beach, Palawan
Philippines 2011: Back to Manila, shopping, and my final thoughts about the country (Last post)
Tags: ayala mall, basilica del santo nino, business park, cebu, chinese temple, fort, fort san pedro, mall, philippines, pier, santo nino church, sm city, taoist temple