Friday, May 10, 2013

From Luzon to Visayas to Mindanao (Part I)

I woke up having hard time breathing. But past 6 am of April 14, 2013, my brother and I left for Cebu without my mother knowing what was happening inside my respiratory system. I acted as if I was perfectly fine because this vacation could have been thwarted by my beloved mother.  

I wanted to lie. But my brother was moving too quickly. It was impossible to get even. So I told him the truth and asked him to try walking at my pace. He was obedient. We rode a white-colored metered taxi outside the Departure Area of Mactan International Airport because some say yellow cabs charge more. Our first destination was Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño. Both the facade and the intricate interior are flabbergasting. To me the church became a tourist attraction that I would never leave without pressing a camera button.  Magellan’s Cross is few meters away from the historical church. A number of old women carrying multi-colored candles greeted us outside the most famous landmark in Cebu. An old woman approached us and offered a prayer for us in a form of singing and dancing. As a true blooded Manileña I didn’t understand a single word. I just hoped Heaven knows the lingo.

Though both exhausted, we were keen to see the places I googled before our flight to Cebu. But at 9am we were already hungry. Outside the Basilica is Jollibee. With our starving tummies, we didn’t have so much thought. Then, we headed to Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral which is just few blocks away. The church is a mixture of contemporary design and complex structural forms, old but robust. This is where I was able to pray and pour my heart out. I had a solemn conversation with God. Outside the church, we met a college student selling religious memorabilia for a charitable cause. But here’s the thing, he is also from Manila. So, our first souvenir also came from our place of origin.  

Despite the scorching heat, we walked towards Fort San Pedro located at Plaza Independencia. It is a reduced version of Fort Santiago in Manila. The place provides a glimpse of the olden times and a majestic view perfect for relaxation to pre-nuptial photo shoots. After that, I suggested that we proceed to Metro Gaisano where, according to a certain blogsite, a lot of cheap foods are available at the 6th floor. Believing that the mall is just within the vicinity of the two historical churches, we marched the stretch of Osmena Boulevard until we reached Colon Street, the oldest street in the Philippines.  Metro Gaisano is located at the corner.  It was actually a long and strenuous walk. Though fairly near, a walk in Osmeña Blvd is inapt on a sunny day. My brother suddenly had a change of mind. We rode a jeepney to Ayala Center, instead. We had lunch at the foodcourt and had my first taste of Cebu Lechon at CMT. 1/29 wishes in my bucket list was finally granted. And I must say it was really good. Ayala Center, at first, had no wow impression on us. The virtual photos seem more attractive than it really is. And the few people strolling on a Sunday was quite unusual. The landscaped garden outside, however, changed our outlook. The mini park is truly an attraction. 

Our desire to get to some of the popular tourist spot within Metro Cebu, was hindered by extreme fatigue. Instead of finding the way to Crown Regency, we took a cab and asked the driver to help us find a budget hotel near the airport. We checked-in at GV Hotel located at Lapu-Lapu City. Unfortunately, our room is located at the 5th floor and the only way to go up is through the stairs. Having difficulty breathing, it was literally aggravating my physical condition.  But I had to endure the burden to be able to inhale some cool air. We rested for approximately two hours. While resting, I was hoping that there’s an inexpensive beach resort nearby. There is. However, the tricycle fare didn’t match my shoestring budget. We immediately rerouted our itinerary to Mactan Shrine where Lapu-Lapu’s monument is situated.  It is a park located in Punta Engaño, a 10-minute travel from Lapu-Lapu City via jeepney. The Shrine as a whole is parallel to Luneta Park but much smaller in total area. Near the shore stands a life-size statue of our first hero. A lot of souvenir shops can also be found inside.

Savemore was our last stop. We bought bread, chips, shawarma and bottled water before heading back to our hotel. And that composed our dinner for that day. While both of us were trying to get a sleep, the television was on the entire time that we were there. We barely had long hour forty winks. Parang namamahay. The hotel room merely served as a rejuvenating haven for our very tired body. At least we were able to rest before our flight to our next destination the following day.  

To be continued...

P.S. I think a certain virus hit the device memory of my phone. All photos taken in Cebu were corrupted. Thankfully, my brother also had some snapshots which will be available once he decides to upload it. Hopefully it won’t take him a year...   

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