A Cebu Round-Up

I’ll do a quick post, because this was a quick trip.

On my previous trips to Cebu, they were always either for work, or we were stuck in the city, or I was with family. So, all the activities that I went to do were mostly safe. Eating is always a major event (but then isn’t it always, anywhere in the Philippines?). And God forbid you go anywhere in the Philippines and not visit the sea.

Where To Stay:

  • Casa Rosario Pension House
    Great if you’re on a budget. Basic accommodations, with basic provisions for a good price. It is located conveniently in the very center of Cebu, across St. Therese’s College, in the Aboitiz area.
  • Diamond Suites and Residences
    If you have a bit more of a budget, stay here! Diamond Suites is a quaint, business-centered boutique hotel, also located in the heart of Cebu, along Escario St.
  • Plantation Bay Resort and Spa
    My friends and I got suckered into staying at Plantation Bay many years ago, when we didn’t know what else there was to do in Cebu. And it seemed like a good enough deal for us, to have everything — five restaurants, lodging in various themes, biking, kayaking, swimming, etc — within one sprawling property. And they do have large rooms. I’d recommend it for families who want to go on vacation, wherein the parents would kind of want to set the kids free a bit, and not have to keep tabs on them 24/7, but be guaranteed that they are safe.

Places to Eat:

  • Maya
    Maya is a casual, but sophisticated Meican restaurant. While it is high-end, it maintains an warm, intimate atmosphere, to complement its food, which are both hefty and hearthy.
  • Beqaa
    Owned by the same group as Maya, Beqaa is their bet for Middle Eastern (particularly Lebanese) cuisine. The atmosphere here is similar to Maya’s, but of course, with a Middle Eastern angle.
  • La Vie Parisienne
    Don’t let the pink plastic trees fool you! — La Vie Parisiénne, on the inside, is quite interesting. It is this one tiny patisserie where all the wines, breads, and sweets came to play. Besides freshly baked desserts, there is a small wine cellar, which seats a party of maybe  people. Although I found their macarons slightly heavy-handed, their cakes are trés délicioux!
  • Cebu Original Lechon Belly
    You can’t go to Cebu and not eat lechon, okay? This ubiquitous lechon chain, among many others, can give you a regardless authentic Cebu lechon experience, eaten with hands (they have gloves for you if you’re vain), and pusó, which in Cebu are little diamond pockets of rice, designed for on-the-go eating.

What To Do

Like I mentioned earlier, one of my bigger Cebu trips was one that I did with family. One of the best things we did, besides eat, was go on an island-hopping tour, by Islands Banca Cruises. They brought us to Gilutungan for snorkelling, and then to the Pandanon sandbar — a remote islet — to hang out. The package includes lunch at these little casitas on stilts, above the water, but don’t expect too much.

Mango Ave
What was that that I said about my activities being safe? The nights never were, at least when we went to some of the seediest places in town: the bars and clubs on Mango Ave. Where we went, Red Label bottles were going for P900, so we went a little nuts, and someone (and for once, it wasn’t me) went home with a broken foot.

There is much else to explore of Cebu, but we haven’t had the smoothest of starts. I don’t mind it, but I have yet to love it. Maybe it’s because I don’t warm up as easily to cities as I do to beaches and islands? Maybe I need to be at Sinulog? I don’t know. But I’m willing to give it a chance!

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