Sunday, April 3, 2022

My First Time in Cebu

It was my first time to visit Cebu last February 20-24, 2022. It was my birthday gift to myself. My flight was on a Sunday around 7:40 am. I was from Pasig so I left early and went to NAIA. Travel post pandemic is a bit different because there are no more provincial buses plying EDSA. I have to use the EDSA Bus Carousel.

Magellan's Cross Cebu City

Magellan’s Cross

From Shaw Blvd I walk to the Ortigas Station of MRT, rode a bus to Taft Avenue Station. From there, I rode a jeep with the signage “Nichols” and dropped off at Terminal 3 of NAIA. At 7:20 am we begun boarding our Air Asia plane and by 8:42 am we’re in the air.

We landed in Cebu-Mactan International Airport around 9:42 am. I thought the Cebu City, Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City area is small but the taxi ride from the airport to Colon Street in Cebu City is P500. Good thing I met 2 more passengers going the same route so we paid P150 each.

I walked along Colon Street, which reminds me of Recto and Divisoria, all the way to Carbon Public Market. I roam around the new chapel with a huge Sto Nino on top, to an old building being renovated, until I passed the Magellan’s Cross and walked all the way to Port San Pedro. I had lunch at a nearby Jollibee and rode a Grab Car to AllSon’s Inn in Echavez Street where I stayed. They have a P500 deposit since I booked them via the Agoda app.

In the afternoon, I went to the Cebu Provincial Capitol via cab (like a jeep) all the way to Guadalupe Church. From there, I rode a mini-bus to Ayala Mall Cebu. I rode another mini-bus that passed by AllSon’s Inn. That’s it for Day 1 in Cebu.

Day 2 Monday

I took a Grab Car to the South Bus Terminal for P120. I rode a bus to Oslob although the farthest trip south of Cebu Province is all the way down to Malabuyoc. I left the South Bus Terminal around 3:40 am. The bus fare to Oslob was about P226 and I arrived there around 7am.

Oslob Church

Interior of Oslob Church

I roam around an old port, the town’s church, which is beautiful, as well as the Cartel (like an old Spanish quarter) and the municipal hall with a Rizal monument. Whenever I visit a new town, I always make it a point to visit its church, palengke, munisipyo and Rizal monument. The palengke or public market of Oslob is far from the church.

I rode a Ceres bus to the next town of Boljoon. They have one of the best Rizal Monument I’ve seen as well as the church. It’s really beautiful. It reminds me of the church I visited in Nueva Vizcaya a couple of years back. There’s also an old ancestral house near the church established in the 1940s. The municipal hall is right across the Rizal Monument and church. Unfortunately, the palengke is not nearby.

Around 8:14 am I left Boljoon to the next town of Dalaguete. Fare was P40, again by Ceres bus (no cabs or jeeps plying this route). Dalaguete’s church is similar to Oslob, at least the style of having a single belfry. Dalaguete has a nice beach-front plaza and adjacent to it is the municipal hall, Rizal Monument and legislative building. The palengke is not nearby.

Next town on my list was Argao. Church is similar in style to the previous ones. I took a meryenda at a 7-11 and I also notice that there are some ancestral houses along the highway, mostly painted in white. Next to Argao, I stopped by the Simala Shrine. It’s not along the highway and I have to ride a habal-habal (motorcycle) for P200 back and forth. Habal-habal usually rides 2 passengers but there are no other tourist around and it would also be a bit uncomfortable for me.

Simala Shrine is beautiful, although the main church itself is not open to the public during my visit. They’re also strict when it comes to dress code. I was wearing shorts so I have to rent some malong just to cover my knee. I also bought a rose for the Virgin Mary of the monastery. It’s a huge complex and it was raining during my visit. I bought a souvenir shirt because I just soaked in the rain.

Around 12:32 I left for Carcar City. It’s famous for its beautiful heritage houses and it didn’t disappoint. There are around 3-4 beautiful old houses along the highway. The municipal hall, Rizal Monument and town’s church is located on a hill. I also saw a monument to Judas Iscariot here. A first for me. I had lunch at a nearby restaurant although I was disappointed there are no batchoy.

Carcar Church

Carcar Church

From Carcar, I rode a bus to Naga. Yes, there’s also a town name Naga in Cebu Province. They even have a Jollibee there. It was a small town with a nice church with 2 belfry. It was somewhat Gothic in design. At this point I’m a bit tired from all the walking so I didn’t bother to look for the Rizal Monument, the municipal hall and public market. Next to Naga is San Fernando.

Just like Naga, San Fernando is a quiet small town. The municipal hall is very simple and small. The church is adjacent to the street so I have to take picture from the other side of the road with all the cables hanging. The church is close just like in Naga but good thing the door is like a metal frame so I was able to take pictures of the interior.

It was late in the afternoon when I arrived in the Tabunok area. I rode a tricycle to Talisay City to see the church. It also has 2 belfry and is painted in all white. The municipal hall is nearby and there are monuments to both Rizal and Bonifacio (rare). From there, I took a mini-bus to Ayala and then back to my hotel in AllSon’s.

Day 3 Tuesday

I took a Grab to the North Bus Terminal. The first trip was 3am and there are vans plying to Daanbantayan (Northern Cebu Province) for P300. I took the bus. We left Daanbantayan around 2:46am. The first stop was at Binongkalan and we arrived there around 4am. I bought Nissin Butter Coconut at P45 with a bottle of water.

Daanbantayan Public Market

Daanbantayan Public Market

At 6:30 am I was at Daanbantayan Bus Terminal. I had breakfast a nearby karinderia who served me with coffee, the traditional (not 3-in-1) way. Bus Terminal is besides the palengke but the church is far. I rented a tricycle for P250 that took me to the church, the municipal hall, a nearby beach and to a friend-of-a-friend’s house. I left Daanbantayan at 8:06 am.

At 9:00 am I arrived at Bogo City. Fare was P70. The church of Bogo City is being painted during my visit so I have no idea if it will be white after painting. I walked around town, taking pictures of their McDo and Jollibee as well as the park with the usual “I Love Bogo City” wordings. There are some well restored ancestral houses in the area as well as repurpose houses. I took a tricycle to the newly constructed central bus terminal for P60. I planned on visiting Borbon but the route of the bus from Bogo City is on the other side. I instead visited the towns of Sogod, Catmon, Carmen and Danao City.

Catmon Church

Catmon Church

The churches of Sogod and Catmon are both situated in the “hilly-part” of the town. The church at Sogod is somehow modern just like the church of Carmen. The church at Catmon is nice as well as the one in Danao City. There’s also a port in Danao City but I was tired to look for the municipal hall.

Around 3:45 I was at Liloan Church. There was a nearby watchtower but I forgot to visit it. There’s a replica though located between the municipal hall and the church. Liloan Church has 2 belfry and has this certain aura. I guess this church is famous for weddings. I even visited the nearby San Roque church which I thought was a big church. It was a chapel.

Around 4:35 pm I was at Ayala Cebu and walked around the mall. There’s an ongoing travel fare when I was there but the fares for staying at famous hotels in Cebu Province are very expensive for me.

Day 4 Wednesday

I was back at the South Central Bus Terminal. I thought there’s a bus route going to the west side of Cebu Province from Cebu City going via Carcar City and Barili. But the route I was told that day was via Oslob. The bus left the terminal at 2:46 and the signage is Bato.

Samboan Church

Samboan Church

I dropped off at Samboan around 6:20 am. The church here is beautiful. Single belfry and the style is similar to Oslob, Argao and other churches. There’s a life-size stations of the cross around the church. There’s also a watchtower and a sea-side park. They have a museum, which is not opened yet when I was there. Next to it is the municipal hall and an ancestral house.

Around 7:00 am I left for the town of Ginatilan. There’s a nice church here with a huge belfry. The municipal hall is nearby but still no palengke. It took about an hour of wait time before the bus arrived that took me to Malabuyoc for P20. There’s a watchtower ruin near the church as well as a market facing the sea. The municipal hall is nearby.

The Ceres bus stops here at Malabuyoc. I thought they would continue up north to Barili and Carcar City or even Toledo. However, they will go back to Cebu via Santander and Oslob (South). I rode a habal-habal to the quiet town of Alegria for P100. The municipal hall is near the church as well as the park facing the sea as well.

I went back to Malabuyoc, rode a Ceres bus back to Carcar City for P280. Around 2:40pm I arrived at Carcar City, took some pictures of the houses and church (again) then rode a mini-cab to the west side town of Barili.

Barili Municipal Hall

Barili Municipal Hall

There’s a 7-11 in the quiet town of Barili. Opposite is the municipal hall. The palengke is located somewhere and Rizal’s monument is nowhere in sight. I took a pedicab to the church passing by 2 ancestral houses. The church of Barili is painted yellow (Dilawan) and gives the feeling of sturdiness. I think it’s earthquake-proof. On my way back to the municipal hall, I took pictures of the two ancestral houses. I left Barili around 4:20 PM and arrived in Cebu City around 6:45 PM.

Day 5 Thursday

The famous Sto Niño Church of Cebu opens to the public at 6:00 AM. Before that, I had my breakfast at the palengke near the church. They have lots of kakanin there but I opted for the sikwate (chocolate) and their version of biko.

Cebu City Church Interior

Interior of the Sto Nino de Cebu Church

The Church of Cebu City is very beautiful. They have a display of images on both sides of the main church. The altar is well lit with chandeliers. It was very bright. From the church I rode a Grab to Taboan Market (P80) where I bought some dried squid, danggit, dried mangoes and some keychains. I have so little money by this time and my baggage may exceed 7 kilos so I only bought a few.

From Taboan Public Market, famous for dried fishes, I rode a mini-bus back to Colon Street then to SM Cebu. There are buses there going to the airport and I arrived there around 8:45 AM. My flight is at 10:45 AM so I decided to visit one more place – the statue of Lapu-Lapu in Lapu-Lapu City. From the airport, I rode a mini-bus the Savemore. From there, I rode another mini-bus to Engaño passing by the landmark.

Lapu-Lapu City

Lapu-Lapu monument in Lapu-Lapu City

The statue of Lapu-Lapu is huge and the area is besides the sea. There were boats and some mangrove trees nearby. It’s like Fort Santiago in Manila. There’s an obelisk besides the statue of Lapu-Lapu and it’s destroyed by (I guess) typhoon Odette. After a few pictures, I returned to the airport on the way to Manila. By lunch, I was back to the crowded place I called home.

I’ll post more pictures of the places I visited. Hopefully adding more details. Right now I just want to give you a summary of my first trip to Cebu.

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