To start this entry, I'd like to thank my friend Derrick for making this trip possible. I've always wanted to go back to Cebu. The last time i was there was for one of my tita's wedding, and that time, Melrose Place was still a huge hit, so you can imagine how long ago that was. Anyway, whatever Derrick did, it is greatly appreciated.
This trip almost didn't happen, because of my chicken pox. I prayed really hard, as i got chicken pox two weeks before my trip. Fortunately, all my wounds dried up two days before i was scheduled to leave. God is really good.
As a treat for surviving chicken pox and marking my first travel for 2013, i bought a travelling backpack. The brand is Compass, and it's a black bag that's really spacious at P1500. I think it was a good deal.
With my bag packed and a sleepless night, at around 1am, i was off to the airport. I guess it was a good thing that my flight was at 4am because the cabfare was only less than 200 bucks. Wow. I was lucky too, because the driver did not ask for extra, so i gace him a huge tip. Like, 30 bucks. Lol.
At the airport though, being a new flyer, i didn't know what to do. Cebu Pacific has these web check in counters that will print a boarding pass for you. I struggled using that. I kept on typing in my itinerary number, I didn't know I had to go back to the main page first and click my way to the page that i was on for how many minutes! I wonder what the other passengers thought about me. Lol.
The wait to board would have been better if there were enough seats at the airport lobby. I had to find a spot where i can sit on the floor. After waiting for almost an hour, the check in counters were finally opened. Upon checking in, i didn't know there were certain unallowed stuff for hand carried bags, so i had to check in my bag. This is a good time to remind myself not to bring so much toiletries when flying. That cost me 450 bucks.
After a couple more hours of walking and waiting, it was time to board the plane!
I must admit, i regret watching so much of Final Destination. I had lingering thoughts of a crash. Whatever. I sent a silent thank you to Derrick for getting me a window seat, right by the wing. Booya!
I so wanted to take a lot of pictures, but it was really awkward, being alone and all. So i don't have any "on the plane" pictures.
The guy seated to my left was just playing games his tablet, so i wasn't able to chat with him. It was a quiet trip.
The feeling of being above the clouds made me feel more thankful for being able to continue this trip so it was an instant quiet time for me.
We landed at the Mactan Airport at 5:55am, 10 minutes ahead of time. I hurried to get my bag and got a cab.
Note: it's better to take a metered airport taxi than at a fixed rate. Going to my hotel, the meter was just below 200 bucks. The fixed rate was at 475 bucks. Nah.
The hotel i booked was Escario Central Hotel, right along North Escario. I arrived there in less than an hour. The cab had to enter a drive that housed restaurants, including a Zubuchon. Yeah!
I reserved a Red Room (1500 a night, two beds), but since i had to check in early, i was charged 500 bucks for an Orange Room. Honestly, there wasn't much difference between the two rooms, so just get the Red Room. The hotel looked exactly how it did on several websites. It was quiet, and there are no elevators because it was designed like a compound of bungalows. Really simple look.
Luckily, the hotel was close to every place i wanted to go to: Terraces, Zubuchon, Mango Ave, etc. Yeah, cab rides make travelling easier by my standard.
The staff was very friendly and answered all my questions. There are no in house restos, we just need to order from the restos outside, but for a price (5% charge) so it's better just to go out.
My room was clean. There were two complimentary water bottles (priced at 30 bucks, if i remember it right). Towels, bedsheet and pillows were clean. Hot/cold shower was available. I think the price was worth it, but next time i might want to try a solo room for less the cost somewhere else.
After settling for a few minutes, i decided to head out for food.
Just outside the hotel entrance is Cafe Sarree. I ordered the Filipino breakfast: longganiza, garlic rice, 2 eggs and mango juice for 180 bucks. I also asked for the eggs cooked in two ways. That was nice. Was it worth it? I think so.
After eating, i decided to sleep. During my sleep, the front desk kept on calling but i didn't answer. They just wanted to let me know i could transfer to my room. Anyway, they could've just waited for actual check out time for me to transfer right? That would have saved me the trouble of waking up every hour.
Because of those calls, my body prompted me to sleep more, even after moving to my room. So, i overslept.
My trip was supposedly a mix of food trip and a city tour. When i woke up at 3pm, i decided to just come back for the city tour and just make this one big food trip.
The first place on my list was Larsian sa Fuente, as suggested by my CS (Couchsurfing.org) friends.
Larsian sa Fuente:
Situated right by the Fuente Circle, Larsian is also walking distance from the Robinson's mall. From the circle, enter the street where BDO is and you will see the Larsian sign. It cost me 61 bucks for the cab fare but that was because the cab driver said he did not know where it was. Anyway.
Larsian looked like any food court, but all dishes served are grilled. I immediately went to one of the stalls closer to the entrance, Eliza's. I ordered liempo and chicken pecho plus 3 puso (rice wrapped in leaves) and a bottle of Pepsi. That meal cost around 200 bucks.
Okay, the food was no different from other grilling restos, but what i liked about Larsian was the insistence of eating with your hands. I was given plastic to cover my hand while i ate. And no, i did not see a lavatory so bring baby wipes or alcohol. At the other table, i saw two foreigners eating with their hands and seemingly enjoying what they were eating. That was nice.
Next stop was Terraces, the Ayala mall in Metro Cebu.
I read somewhere that there was a Casa Verde there so i checked out the place.
Hanging out in the Terraces felt like i was in Greenbelt. It surely had that vibe.
Seeing that Casa Verde was still full, i went to the cinema area and bought tickets for Warm Bodies. I wanted to search for a milk tea place, but i was too lazy and settled for the Starbucks i saw. After less than an hour there, i went to Casa Verde.
My friend Jay told me about this place and their baby back ribs. I know, yum, so i had to try it. When i got to the place, there was a long list of people waiting to be seated. It didn't help that the person at the door seemed overwhelmed. Lol. I asked if there was an available table for one, and the door guy asked me to wait for a few minutes. Then he called on someone named Rochelle, but she was nowhere, so i got her table! Score!
I immediately asked for their baby back ribs and mango juice. Man, that place was a mouthful. No, five mouthfuls.
I got a perfectly grilled slab of meat. It was difficult eating just using a spoon and a fork, but it was all worth it. The meat was tender, with a sweet tangy taste. On the side were french fries and mixed veggies. Honestly, i didn't touch the veggies. That moment was about the meat. After almost thirty minutes of slowly eating (i was still full from the Larsian trip), i only had bones and veggies on my plate. The entire meal cost 280 bucks. Imagine that!
The staff was courteous and attentive. The interior showcased green walls and there were stalls adorned with Marvel Comics memorabilia. Coolness. Hmmm.. What else? It seemed to me that a lot of people really liked this place as groups came and went like clockwork. Amazing.
So i went to Cebu to watch a movie too. I was hoping for Les Miz but they didn't have that. So i settled for Warm Bodies.
I made the right choice. The movie was funny. Narrated by a zombie, R, it was quite insightful. Zombies in this movie still had thoughts in their head. There was a bit of Romeo and Juliet-ish moment in a veranda, and it is also weird that the characters are named R and Julie. Won't talk much about the plot, but it was refreshing and entertaining. There is a cure for a dead heart.
After the movie, i went back to Starbucks and got myself my favorite drink that I haven't drank since i had teeth problems: iced signature chocolate with raspberry syrup. Got a cookie and ensaymada too just in case i got hungry in the middle of the night.
So that was Day 1. No city tour, but i was treated to gastronomically enticing dishes. I don't know, you might say it's all the same everywhere, but i really felt different, even if i knew i could taste the same thing in Manila. You may not believe me, but i enjoyed Larsian a little bit better than Casa Verde. Those baby back ribs are the bomb, but the homey feel of Larsian won me over.