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Cebu: First-time & Second-time’s Epiphanies

“Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”

Cebu. January 7-9, 2012. It was my very first time to fly (in reference to my memory). The first visit was fast but memorable: we did sleep on the floors of the airport and wait for sunrise; scared by beggars roaming the entire city; girls waving at every corner and looking for their guy customers; and most especially trying out the famous Sky Extreme Adventure (just awesome). It was not bad as it sounds yet it made me swear never to see Cebu ever again.

However, on August 18, 2013 I was back. Everybody deserves a second chance and it even includes places like Cebu. Now that I am aware that it do have beaches, whale shark encounter, beautiful falls and etc. I am giving it another shot. Regain your glory, Cebu (in my view)! LOL!  Anyways if it wasn’t for Cebu, I would have never had my debut as a traveler or a so-called-blogger.

So, this nostalgic blog is written to describe the very first-time (not-so-bad) and the epiphanies on my second trip here in Cebu.

CEBU IN THE EYES OF A FIRST-TIMER

It all started with a Cebu Pacific seat sale, purchasing seats online and finding friends who are willing to join is a swift. Lein and Avi agreed to visit Cebu and we just surprised our friend Daisy with her own ticket (she knew nothing about it and has no choice but to join). LOL!

  • Arriving Almost Midnight: This gallery is a remembrance of our sleeping adventure in Mactan Domestic Airport.
  • Traveling to Cebu Pier: That scary fast-craft-ride-that-made-us-call-every-saint-and-our-mommas and leaving for Bohol.
  • Sleeping in Sogo Hotel: It wasn’t that bad. It’s clean. 🙂
  • Sky Extreme Adventure: It was absolutely fantastic and fabulous. Fantabulous!

EPIPHANIES OF CEBU ADVENTURE 2013

For the second visit which happened last August 18-21, 2013, I had 4 companions: Daisy (again), JC (cousin), Cora (JC’s mom/my aunt) and Emy (my mom).Unlike the first visit, we did try to explore the City, reach the islands of Camotes and understand Cebu better.

Here is my 4D3N CEBU 2013 ITINERARY & EXPENSES

DAY 1: CEBU CITY

  • SOGO II: The plan was to check-in at Sugbutel but the dormitel seems a bad idea if staying with more than 50 people in a room. Another is that the receptionist is not functional (she doesn’t want to be disturbed with whatever she is doing) and it’s a bit far from the places which we wanted to visit and so it was decided… SOGO again. It also offers 10% discount given the copy airline ticket. 
  • Basilica de Sto. Nino Church, Magellan’s Cross and City Hall: Went for a walk, had something to eat and checked out the city. It was crowded just like I remember yet it felt better to finally roam it.
  • Lechon Galore: We wanted to find out if Cebu’s lechon is the best and we had our chance to taste CnT’s lechon. Here’s what I thought.

DAY 2: DANAO CITY & CAMOTES ISLAND

  • Danao Port: From Cebu City, we went to SM City Cebu to ride a bus going to Danao Port. The 2hrs bus ride is not boring since the bbus is so fast andd the view of each places are entertaining.I even saw Astroboy. 🙂
  • Sto. Thomas de Villanueva: While waiting for the Port to open, we went to see an old church just in front of the port. It was a pretty church and I like the feel of its interiors and exteriors. We did lit some candles for prayers.
  • Consuelo Port: The 2-hour boat ride is boring and with my mom complaining is not so entertaining. As soon as the barge docks, we headed down quickly. Homies are waiting for their family members (looking for someone who is actually waving but didn’t saw one) and plenty of habalhabal drivers and services are waiting for tourists. We went to the first catchy-vehicle in the area and I saw a woman barker, I didn’t hesitate to ride, finding it has plenty of rooms for us and our bags. Then, she also offered us affordable tour rates for us and lots of freebies included. Who is that woman barker and know her story?
  • Santiago Beach Bay Resort: A 15-20 minutes ride of coconut view before we reached our home in Camotes Island. You should stay here because of their good food and beautiful (but cheap) room rates and facilities. A Quick Tour here.
  • Mangodlong Rock & Beach Resort: OMG! A beautiful beach and its free for anyone who stays at Santiago Beach Bay Resort (approx. 10 minutes travel time). I personally love the scenery, landscape and its white sands. It sadden me not to swim into the waters (because typhoon in Luzon making the beach a bit dirty) and we are just there to check out the place very quick.
  • Lake Danao (approx. 20-30 minustes travel time): Love! Love! Love! The wooden boat docking area is love! We did enjoyed picture taking with the mini islet at the background and I didn’t miss my opportunity with it. While the rest of my companions enjoyed taking photos at the small crocodile-like boat. Aside from the lake and boat-riding, it also has pool are and a mini bar. As much as we wanted to stay and try other activities yet to due time constrain, we headed to the next destination.
  • Timubu Cave (approx. 15-25 minustes travel time): It was a small opening in the ground and down it are stairs leadding to darkness. It was not so appealing outside (with tarpaulin sign) but we did try to see it anyway. My mom and Aunt had some share of headbumps with the cave and they almost quitted (just 10 steps away from the opening of the cave). LOL! I am enjoying my lead to see the spring at the end of that cave, we did even crossed into a low waist-dip pool and I am enjoying my fair-view of the rock formations. Finally, we arrived at the deserted pool of spring. No guide? No people? No lifeguards? Not even lifevest? No one is there. We wanted to take a dip but Oh the old age make people KJ (My mom and aunt restrain us since we are all non-swimmers). Just a dip… just a dip… It almost send me into tears that I am that close and I can’t even try a quck dip. *tearjerky
  • San Francisco Baywalk: Just had a snapshot with the baywalk sign and look for some pasalubong but there are no interesting stuff sold. Julie’s bakeshop caught the attention of my cousin and bought some hot putok.
  • Buho Rock: Last stop, we had just crossed a short bridge not more than 10 meters and we are now in Poro or shall I say another island of Camotes. Our guide told us that the island is named after the camote crops, when the Spaniards arrived at the island and asked the folk people of the name of the island, people misunderstood the question and thought the foreigners were asking of what they are cooking. That’s quite a good story. Now going back to Buho Rock, it was an amazing landmark for its amazing rock formation. It was low tide but the waves looks scarier in that area. Our guide insisted that we could swim in that area but I have doubts that if we do, we could ever got out of it alive. LOL! By the way, the wi-fi in this are is GREAT! Been trying to rely on my 3G service but it was an epic failure for my Camotes trip.And we call it a day and time to wrapped up back to our home but we bought first BBQs at Baywalk for our dinner.
  • The tour sound lame but isn’t. I did enjoyed exploring Camotes Island, I just wished that the typhoon had not affected the beach, I really wanted to have beach-bum moments. As we arrived home, we changed our clothes and dine again at Santiago’s Restau and it was absolutely delightful meal. Since we can’t go down the beach, we just enjoyed the pool. And so after, dried and changed, and head to bed.:)

DAY 3: CEBU CITY

  • Mornings at the Beach: Low-tide beach. Dogs chasing and playing in the beach area. A bit dirty beach made it a no no for a quick beach dip. A breakfast though is a good idea. I picked out some shells and tried to collect plastic materials in the shore. The scenery is calming added the sweet blowing wind. Ah I love life! However, our stay in Camotes is almost over and need to prepare to headback to the city. We are fetched by Kuya Jun and Ate Marlyn from our tour (for free). We exchange goodbyes and numbers and promise to promote their humble island. Then off we go for 2 1/2 boat ride, my mom suffered from sea-sickness which made the long boat ride crazier.
  • SM City Cebu: At Danao Port, we took the jeep going to SM, so wrong choice! It was a slow-hot-and-jam-packed jeepney and it was annoying. I wished that we took the bus ride. As we arrived at Sm, the air-conditioning system seems to be down and which made me felt more annoyed, feel hotter and caused me headache. I am just so hungry and so we just dine at Goldilocks.
  • Tabu-an Dried Fish Market & Pasalubong Center: Spent a lot in pasalubong (not so backpacker) and this would definitely be hard to travel in MRT once back in Manila.
  • Tired as we are, I wish to see the temple but with no luck, they all wanted to rest. No! Not again, I guess a third  time at Cebu will definitely happen soon. And here are the next thing I am highlighting and need to prioritize: Port San Pedro, Taoism temple, Cebu Heritage Monument, Lapu-Lapu Monument, Bantayan, Kawasan Falls, Oslob whale encounter.

See you again, Cebu! I am sorry to hate you on my first visit (I know it is harsh) but I promise to be back and explore you more.

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JUN & MARLYN OLIVAREZ of Camotes Island Cebu

The couple that works hard together, stays together.

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Rose is for Jack, Minnie is for Mickey, Beauty is for the beast, Bella is for Edward… Meet Jun and Marlyn Olivarez of Camotes Island. What makes them distinct from the rest of Camotes residents/ tour guides is that they always work in tandem. Every day, they patiently wait for tourist to came into their island. Jun drives while Marlyn calls out for passengers and do tour guiding. On times when the are no tourist and they have vacant time, they work in their home and take care of their child.

Photo Credits: John of skinnyalmondlatte.wordpress.com

Marlyn as very approachable and very friendly asked us if we wanted to tour the island and gave us very reasonable price of Php1500 (compared toPhp 2000 offered by Santiago Resort and of Habal-habal Php500 + 2 L gasoline). We kept of haggling until she even agreed to include Buho Rock in the tour and gave us a free ride back to the port (worth Php250) the following day. She said, she has a heart and it’s not just all about the money.

We did encircled the island and went further to Poro Island. It so nice to meet people like them. She even capture good photos.

For affordable Camotes island tour rates get them. Here the contact infos: 09075043009 & 09167634895.

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CEBU Itinerary & Expenses

CEBU  2013 (Actual Itinerary)

Day 1 (Aug 18, 2013): ARRIVAL

Arrival:             Violet + 2 companions:  3:10 PM;  Other 2 companions: 6:00 PM
11:30 AM -1:00 PM Home to MRT (8 + 30)
 3:20 PM – 3:40 PM                        Arrival/Taxi: Airport to Sugbutel, Cebu city (Php165)/3
Sugbutel (wrong choice/bad receptionist/bad ads) to a
Commoner Hotel near Gaisano Market (Php72)
3:40 PM – 4:00 PM Arrival; Hotel Check-in (Php1395 for 5 persons)
 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM            Mcdo (short distance walk)
Basilica de Sto. Nino (approx.. 1 Km walk)
Magellan’s Cross (very near the church)
City Hall (in front of the cross)
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM Back to the Hotel/ Rest/ Met up with our 2 companions (walk)
 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM            Ride 6B jeepney and  site-seeing trip (it will pass Crown Regency Hotel)
CnT Lechon Dinner        (Php8 take 6B jeepney)
(Php335; 5 rice, ½ Kg Lechon and 1L Sprite)
8:00 PM – 8:15 PM CnT  Lechon to Gaisano Market (Php8 take 6B jeepney)
8:15 PM – 9:00 PM Roam  around/ Mercury Drug Store (Mr.chips  & pretzels Php50)
9:00 PM                                  Wash Up/ Sleep
Optional: Crown Regency’s Extreme Sky Adventure/ Edge Coaster/ Tower Zip
Expenses: Php 8 +38 + 55 + 279 + 8+67 Incidental: Php 50 Total: 455 + 50 = Php555
 

Day 2 (AUG 19, 2013) : CAMOTES

 
5:00 AM           Check-out
5:10 AM – 5:30 AM Taxi  from Hotel to SM  (Php70)/5
5:30 AM – 6:30 AM SM City Cebu to Danao Port (Bus Php35)
6:30 AM – 7:30 AM Breakfast at the Port (Php10  hot choco + breakfast from  the hotel + Php25 H2O)
7:30 AM – 8:30 AM Sto. Thomas de Villanueva (free/just infront of the port)
8:30 AM – 9:30 AM Shuttle Ferry (Php180; non-aircon)
            Boat Schedule from Cebu to Camotes Island (effective July 29, 2013)
            Time Origin Destination Vessel
            *5:30 AM Danao Port Consuelo, Camotes Jomalia Shipping
>>>>    8:30 AM Danao Port Consuelo, Camotes Jomalia Shipping
            2:00 PM Danao Port Consuelo, Camotes Jomalia Shipping
            5:30 PM Danao Port Consuelo, Camotes  Jomalia Shipping
8:30 AM -11:30 AM Travel Time/Arrival to Consuelo, San Francisco, Camotes Island (2 hrs)
11:30 AM – 12:00 PM Consuelo Port to Santiago Bay (Php50; Look for Marlyn & Jun)
Jun and Marlyn Camotes Tour Contact info: 09167634895 / 09075043009
12:00 PM         Check-in Santiago Resorts (P 1,000 pesos /2pax/non-aircon)
V, E, D = 1000 + 200 extra pax = 1200/3 = (400/each)
J, C = 1000/2 =  (500/each)
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM Lunch Php1030/5 persons; (Php206 each)
Delicious Food and generous serving amount and value for money:
Gambas (Php250), Sinigang na isda w/ platter of rice (Php195), stuffed pusit (Php190), Chicken with Basil Sauce w/ rice (Php195), chopsuey (Php120) and 1 L Sprite (80)
2:30 PM – 6:00 PM                        CAMOTES TOUR ( Php1500)/5
Jun and Marlyn Camotes Tour Contact info: 09167634895 / 09075043009
Mangodlong Rock Resort (free if staying at Santiago resort)
Lake Danao (Php15)
Timobo Cave (Php15)
San Francisco Baywalk (free)
Buho rock resort  at Poro Island  (20 w/ free wifi)
Back to Baywalk and bought BBQs (chicken Petso Php45,  Adidas Php 10, Leg 10.00, Pork Php 10, atay Php10 and rice Php5)
6:00 PM – 6:30 PM Wash up
6:30 PM – 7:30 PM Dinner (BBQ + sinigang na isda with rice Php195)/5
7:30 PM – 9:00 PM Swim in the pool (Typhoon Maring made the beach  dirty)
9:00 PM           Wash up and Sleep
Expenses: Php 14 + 35 + 10 + 180 + 400 +206 + 300 + 45 + 10 + 5 + 39 Incidental: Php 25 Total: Php 1269

DAY 3 (AUG 20, 2013): CAMOTES

5:30 AM – 6:30 AM Early walk at the beach (low tide)
6:30 AM – 7:30 AM Breakfast at the Beach (fried fish and rice Php70) + water (10)
7:30 AM – 8:00 AM Prepare to Depart & Check-out
8:00 AM – 8:30 AM Resort to Consuelo Port (free c/o Jun and Marlyn-our tour guides)
                        Jun and Marlyn Camotes Tour Contact info: 09167634895 / 09075043009
8:30 AM – 9:00 AM Shuttle Boarding / Waiting Time (Php200; aircon)
9:00 AM – 11:30 AM Travel Time (2 ½ hrs)
            Boat Schedule from Cebu to Camotes Island (effective July 29, 2013)
            Time Origin Destination Vessel
            *5:30 AM Consuelo, Camotes Danao Port Jomalia Shipping
>>>>    9:00 AM Consuelo, Camotes Danao Port Jomalia Shipping
            1:00 PM Consuelo, Camotes Danao Port Jomalia Shipping
            5:00 PM Consuelo, Camotes Danao Port  Jomalia Shipping
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM Danao Port to SM City Cebu (jeepney Php35)
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM Lunch (100)
2:00 PM – 2:20 PM Pasalubong Center (taxi Php70)/5
  2:20 PM – 3:30 PM                                               Pasalubong Center (Php450, 200, 225)
Shamrock Php450/box of 10
Dried Mangoes 3 for 100
Magnet 40/each
T-shirts Php120-150
Danggit 450/kilo
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM            Check-in a Commoner Hotel (20% when you present your airline tickets) (Php8)
Rest (Optional: Taoism Temple Php50)
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM Chowking Dinner (Php101)
7:00 PM – 8:00PM                        Sto. Nino Church  (walk)
Magellan’s Cross (walk)
Plaza Sugbu / Cebu City Hall (walk)
Pasalubong Hunt (lechon  keychain 100/dozen  or 10 keychain and 1 magnet)
8:00 PM – 8:30 PM Mcdo (29 sundae)
9:00 PM           Wash Up & Sleep
Expenses: Php 70 + 200+ 35 +100 + 14 + 8 + 101 Incidental: Php 10 + 450 + 200 + 225 + 100 + 29 Total:  Php1542

Day 4 (Aug 21, 2013): Cebu-Manila

 
5:00AM            Check out
5:00 AM– 6:00 AM Cebu City to Airport/ Check-in (taxi Php230)/5
6:00 AM – 7:00 AM            Breakfast (hot choco Php45) + sandwich and water (65 +20)
Island souvenir (Php 199 Tshirts)
8:25 AM – 10:20 AM Departure/Arrival of two companions
8:55 AM           Delayed Flight
10:50 AM – 1:30 PM Arrival of Violet and 2 companions
1:45 PM           MRT via shuttle (Php20)
2:15 PM           MRT to TriNoma (Php15)
2:30 PM           Late Lunch at Kenny Rogers (Php470)
4:00 PM           Fx to Home (45)
5:00 PM           Home Sweet Home
Expenses: Php 46 + 45 + 20 + 15 + 470 + 45 Incidental: Php  65 + 20 Total: Php726
 
TOTAL EXPENSES Php 4092