Finally! I managed to find time to write and share with you our Cebu-Bohol family weekend getaway. As mentioned in my previous post, we went to Cebu to attend our friend’s wedding (Shella and Ariel) last April 2, as one of their principal sponsors. The moment we received the invitation for their wedding in Cebu, we we’re excited, all the more ecstatic! We both exclaimed “Let’s bring the kids!”
And so the planning begun, we booked our tickets and accommodations as early as January to get a better deal. We booked via Cebu Pacific for our flight to Cebu, then AirAsia for our flight back to Manila from Tagbilaran. Since the reception is at the Mandarin Plaza Hotel, we booked an overnight stay there to lessen the burden of travelling from one venue to another. Mandarin Plaza Hotel is conveniently located across Ayala Center Mall, however, that’s the only good thing I can say about the hotel. We’ve experienced a lot of inconveniences from online booking up to the day of our check-out. Good thing we only stayed for a night since we are off to Bohol the next day. Having said that, I have to commend the helpful security guards of the hotel. I don’t want to elaborate the inconveniences further but one thing’s for sure, I will never book that hotel again in the future.
Pardon the long intro, here’s how our Day 1 went….
Touch-down Cebu. This is my second time to visit the Queen City of the South. Been here nine (9) years ago during the 19th Philippine Advertising Congress and I was pregnant then with my second child. I didn’t have the luxury of time to explore Cebu during those time because of my condition. Now, on my second visit, again, no time to explore much because our target destination is Bohol and we were just there to attend the wedding.
We arrived at the Mactan International Airport at 11:00 AM.
We waited for my husband’s childhood friend, Lt. Col. Andre Ladan, who offered to pick us up at the airport and treated us to lunch at one of Cebu’s most sought after delicacy, Rico’s Lechon Cebu. It was a late lunch though because of the terrible traffic.
After lunch, we headed to Mandarin Plaza Hotel and checked-in. The check-in consumed additional delays, there were not much people in the line but 1 transaction takes up 15 minutes. I was third on the line 😦 Call time for the wedding is half past 3 pm and we were able to go up to our room at 2:30 so I will need less than an hour to prepare for the wedding. Upon making sure that hubby and the kids are fully settled in, I flew out in a jiffy and find myself wandering inside Ayala Center mall searching for a beauty salon. Unfortunately, all the 3 salons I checked were already fully-booked, and I almost cried and gave-up because it’s already 2:45 PM. Time pressure is killing me until finally when I asked the security guard, he instructed me to check the basement because there are beauty salons there. Luckily, there was one who is kind enough to accommodate me (after begging persistently). Her name is Pat (he’s gay and he’s from Manila so he can speak Tagalog fluently). To cut the story short, we were late at the wedding ceremony. We arrived 4 PM at Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, the wedding ceremony have already started. To our surprise, it was pretty dark and humid inside. The coordinator told us that there was a power surge—meaning, we have to endure the sweltering heat inside the enormous church. Just when the wedding ceremony was about to end, the lights turned on and the fans began to swivel (Thank God!) After the obligatory picture taking, TG hurried out to grasp some fresh air and admire the beautiful facade of Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.
The Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, also as The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Most Holy Name of Jesus and of St. Vitales (consecrated to the blessed name of Jesus and dedicated to the saint), or The Metropolitan Cathedral of St. Vitales is the ecclesiastical seat of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Cebu in Cebu, Philippines.
After a series of selfies and groufies, we didn’t pass the chance to go to Cebu’s famous historical landmark, the Magellan’s Cross and the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño. We asked around if we can walk our way there and so we did (imagine us in barong, long gown and heels walking in the busy streets and markets of Cebu city hahahah). It was awkward but hey we don’t care!
The Magellan’s Cross marked the site where the first Christian baptism was held. More than 300 natives, including Queen Juana and Rajah Humabon, were baptized by a Spanish priest known as Father Pedro Valderama. It used to be an open shrine, until the cross was slowly being chipped away by the natives, because of the wood’s supposed healing powers. In order to protect it, a closed structure was built over it. The crypt’s ceiling is beautifully painted with a scene depicting the landing of Magellan in Cebu in 1521 and the planting of the original cross on the shore. Among the devotees it is an old practice to drop coins or put light candles at the foot of the cross.
There are group of women dressed in yellow who sells multi-colored candles. Once you bought prayer candles from them, they’ll ask your name/ surname then dance their way in prayer (for you and family). A visit to Magellan’s Cross is a must for those travelling and vacationing in Cebu.
Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño is the oldest Catholic Church in Cebu. It houses the image of the original black Sto.Niño. It is built on the exact spot where the Spaniards found the black Holy Child sculpture in 1565. It is said to be miraculous because it survived the fire that destroys the structure where it was protectively preserved.
Cebu City has a lot of beautiful places to visit like the Fort San Pedro, The Heritage of Cebu Monument, Colon Street (the oldest street in the Philippines), Taoist Temple, Mactan Shrine, Tabo-an market, Tops Lookout, Simala Shrine, Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod, the thrilling Sky Experience Adventure at Crown Regency and he beautiful islands surrounding it. Well, maybe next time…there will always be a next time :-)J
After our quick tour, we hailed a cab and went back to the hotel for the reception. We left the party early because hubby and I had to go to Ayala Center again to buy stuff for our Bohol trip. We went back to the hotel by 9:00 PM, and dozed off for our early morning trip.