Saturday, July 11, 2015
The Best of Cebu Philipines & Many More
Our flight to Cebu by Air Asia was delayed by two hours. It was a long wait at Kota Kinabalu Terminal two departure lounges. But that is not what annoyed me about Air Asia. It was a case of ten pesos. Yeah you might say it is just ten pesos equivalent to RM 0.83 cent but that still feels like cheating to me.
I ordered the Tong Garden Peanut which was priced at 60 php on the menu but when it came to paying, the flight attendant said the price has gone up and it was now 70 php. She said the menu price was outdated and they had to follow the current flight manifesto price. I felt cheated.
I stayed in Golden Prince Hotel & Suite located very close to Ayala Mall Center. You can clearly see how close it is in this photograph taken from the window of the hotel lift lobby.
The service in this hotel is excellent. However I do not like the window air condition unit. That is very old school and noisy. I would not consider staying in this hotel again if they do not upgraded their air condition. It released a very loud hum. Luckily it is a monotonous sound and not those that fluctuate up and down so I was able to sleep well despite the noise. They are building their new wing right next door so hopefully they will upgrade their window air condition in the old wing eventually.
The hotel breakfast buffet is superb. They have an egg station where you can ask for your eggs to be cooked in your favorite style. I had omelet almost 3 days in a row.
I also tried their so called famous Halo Halo. It is somewhat like our own Malaysian ABC or Ice Kacang version but not as good in my opinion.
Since we arrived late at night, there was nothing much to do but sleep. Our day tour around the Cebu started early the next day with saveridecarrental.com which charges reasonable tour price of 790 php per person. The green mini van was clean and our driver also very hospitable.
Our first stop of the day was the Magellans Cross. Too hot to linger around. After a quick walk around the monument and headed back into the waiting air conditioned bus.
Next was Basilica Minore Del Sto. Nino Church. We actually thought about skipping this visit when we observed a large number of kids and women waiting to harass tourist like us. True to our fears the kids came running towards us and started begging us to buy candle and trinkets. The trick to getting rid of these hagglers is ignorance. Eventually they will walk away when you do not show any interest at them.
We were also glad that we did not skip this visit. Sto Nino church is a must go see. The church itself is magnificent. There is a museum opposite the church located in the same compound. You will have to pay php 30.00 for adult and php 10.00 for child. It contains rare artifacts dating back to the 16th Century. Not a very big place so it will not take long to cover the place. There is no photo or video taking here.
After the church, our driver drove us around Cebu wet market. It was appalling to see how unhygienic the way the vendors displayed their wares and the condition of the whole market itself.
Street people are something visible in Cebu City. They are found in every street corner, sleeping, sitting, selling or loitering. We asked our driver why didn’t the government get the people off the streets and he told us that they did but these people refuse the offer. Apparently they prefer to live like this. They are of the Bajau race also known as the sea gypsies.
By the time we got to Fort San Pedro, it was already noon and the sun was super blazing hot. There is nothing much in this fort and they do charged an entrance fee. So unless you can get in for free better skip it.
We missed Casa Gorordo, San Diego House and Museo Sugbo because no one remembered to bring along the itinerary and our driver also could not remember the list.
This was not noted until I was writing this post. No wonder our driver added two stops along the way namely the yellow submarine and the big balloon. They are rides that requires a huge fee so we skipped both.
Next stop was Mactan where we stopped by for lunch at Alfesco in Newtown Mactan. We ordered our lunch dishes from Choobi Choobi restaurant.
After lunch, we stopped by awhile at a Guitar Factory. Unless you are a guitar player better skip this part.
Our second last stop for the day is Lapu lapu Shrine. This is where their famous warrior died and the story itself is interesting. By now the temperature has risen with the afternoon sun. It was just too hot to stay out too long so we did a quick walk around and jump back into the air conditioned van.
The ride back to the city got most of us dozing off until we arrived at The Toaist Temple. The temple is located on top the hill and you can get a view of Cebu City from up here. The view and surrounding was very tranquil and peaceful but we were too tired to fully enjoy the serenity of the place. A quick hop down the long flight of stairs, we reached the bottom as our van cruised into the parking lot. Our driver was surprised at our quick finished of the temple tour.
He offered an unscheduled stop a famous souvenir shop selling Cebu’s famous dried mango which we took up and later regretted. This shop sells a specific local brand 7D mango. I know this brand. It is also sold back home and I personally do not like them because they are more moist than other brands. I prefer my dried mangoes drier. Nevertheless the shop allows free tasting which gives us an opportunity to try many of their new products such as dried guava, pineapple, jackfruit etc.
Later in the evening, we took a walk to visit Ayala Mall. The mall is very close but there is no proper pedestrian crossing. It was a daunting task to cross the road which is a main road with plenty of traffic all the time. We had our dinner at Ullis of Asia which in my opinion had the best fried beef noodle I have ever tasted. The yakitori sticks looked great but do not taste as good.
The next day was mall-ing day and no more sight seeing. We spend half the day at SM Mall. At one point during shopping, suddenly we noticed customers standing still and not moving. We realized everyone stopped to respect a Christian prayers being read through the store PA. It was only after “Amen” then everyone continued their browsing.
We had our lunch at the famous Moon Café Restaurant which had rave reviews from local online bloggers. My hubby and mom ordered fish, The rest of us ordered the fillet mignon with wrapped bacon. It was very tough to chew and not tasty at all. It was a disappointing meal after all the hype about it being one of the best restaurant in Cebu.
A unique ice cream of 40 php. According to the description, this ice cream originated from Korea. The cone is made of corn meal and shaped into a huge candy cane. It is difficult to bite into. Not something I will try again.
In the evening we went to Sunday mass at a nearby church. The mass was held slightly different than ours. Here only the choir sings while the rest of the congregation just listens.
We decided for our last dinner at Cebu, we must try the famous Lechon at Rico’s Lechon Restaurant which was located on the same street as our hotel. We were not disappointed this time. The lechon meat was moist, tender and very tasty. For me, I like my green jelly dessert the best. It was a prefect end for this heavy meal of porgie madness.
After dinner we decided a last quick shopping at the supermarket in Ayala Mall. We bought more dried Mangoes and other food goodies to bring home.
The next day we had a flight to catch at 3pm so the morning was spend relaxing in the hotel room. For our last meal in Cebu, we had german sausages and sandwiches at Vienna Kaffeehaust just end of the road from our hotel.