There is more to Baler than just surfing.
Sibuyan is my mom’s birthplace. She is blessed really, to call this enchanting island her home.
Last summer, we braved the unpredictable sea for almost 20 hours to bring my mother back to the place where she spent her childhood. Hoping to reconcile with past memories and old friends, she went. Not really knowing that aside from her homecoming, my heart too, found a new home.
Sibuyan has been dubbed by some local and international natural scientists as “the Galapagos of Asia”, because it has remained in isolation from the rest of the world since its formation. Never in its geological history has it ever been connected with any part of the Philippine archipelago. Sibuyan Island remains as one of the most unspoiled ecosystems in the Philippines and the world. – Wikipedia
There was a distinct calmness as we watched the sun rest beneath the horizon. There was something so dreamy about Panglao that for a while I thought I was a different person, living a totally different life.
I have but one entry in my Bohol Day 2 Itinerary: “Get really really lazy.”
After our short but eventful Cebu Trip and after spending the night in the old city, we headed to Bohol the next morning.
From mainland Cebu, you can reach Bohol by ferry boats. There are several ferry companies that offer rides from Cebu to Bohol (2Go/SuperCat, Ocean Jet and Weesam)
We purchased a ferry ticket from 2GO Travel in Ayala Mall Cebu for 400 Pesos (one way).
From our hotel along Mango Road Cebu, we took a cab going to the port. Fare is around 150.
We ate breakfast from one of the kiosk and waited for the ferry to arrive. It arrived just in time for the 8:45AM trip. The trip lasted for more than 2 hours.
We arrived around lunchtime in the lovely port of Tagbilaran.
Woke up at 2AM from the mad sound of thunder. I have never seen nor heard the heaven wail angrily until that morning. A storm is coming. No not really.. A typhoon is on its way to hit us. Typhoon Mario (also Tropical Storm Fung-wong) is about to make a landfall anytime soon. I woke up, not surprised, that the electricity were cut off too. This is bad. My flight to Cebu is scheduled in 4 hours. There was no notification that it was cancelled nor rescheduled. Scared and disoriented, I hurriedly pack my things under the candle light. All the while cursing myself. I should have prepared my things last night.
But I was determined to go.
I left the house as the rain started pounding. I was able to get a cab right away. I felt hopeful for a bit. But then I saw that some of the main roads are slowly turning into bodies of water. Unpassable. I literally felt like Im about to throw up. I texted my boyfriend and hoped he gets to the airport safe. I am feeling really bad. But I pressed on. Ironically, my taxi driver is cheerful. He was adamant that I get to the airport on time. We shared stories and life lessons such as not giving up on tough times. Ironic, really. The rain is pouring hard. Mad mad rain. It was unreal! Classes are now suspended and reports of flooding are everywhere.
I got to the airport less than one hour before departure. I waited (impatiently) for my companion. I knew he wouldnt make it on time. Kirby, who got stuck in the middle of this crazy rain, traffic and flooding, arrived 5 mins after the departure time. We headed to the departure area and hope its not too late. I guess this is still a hopeful day for us as we managed to still board the plane.
While tuck inside the plane, the rain worsen. No one really bothered to complain why we are still not flying. We are contented to just wait until everything gets better. After 4 hours, the sky cleared up and we were able to fly to Cebu. The whole ordeal was like a movie scene to me. Thats what makes this trip special, I guess.
At 12Noon, we arrived at the sunny Mactan Airport in Cebu.
We wanted to just have a walking tour around Cebu, spend a night and head to Bohol the next day. After lunch, we went to Casa Amigo where we book a room that only cost 750/night. We left our bags, took a nap and headed to downtown Cebu.
If its your first time in mainland Cebu, I would like to let you know that you can do the “walking tour” all by yourself. Dont bother getting any guide- you only need Google Maps.
We asked for directions from the kind receptionist in Casa Amigo on how we commute to and from any point in the city. She jot down numbers and letters in a small paper and told us to wait for a jeepney with these codes printed. If theres anything absolutely confusing about Cebu- its their transpo system. Anyhow, we managed to survive using Google maps and directions from sweet Cebuanos.
Here are the tourist spots you can visit during the walking tour.
2. BASILICA MINORE DEL STO NINO – One thing you should know about Cebu is their devotion to Sto Nino. Unfortunately, the old Basilica was closed down for renovation. As we know, about a year ago, Cebu and Bohol were devastated by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that destroyed most of their National treasure (i.e old churches). The Basilica was badly damaged. However, infront of the Basilica was a modern structure where a mass is taking place. The area was full of devotees.
3. FORT SAN PEDRO – walk straight to an open park and you will see Fort San Pedro standing between the ocean and the entire city. Fort San Pedro was a military defense built by the Spanish around 1700. Today, its a main tourist spot and houses a collection of old things from the Spanish Era.
4. YAP-SANDIEGO ANCESTRAL HOUSE – My personal favorite and a must on every Cebu itinerary. Considered to be one of the oldest houses in the Philippines, the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House was built sometime between 1675 and 1700. The place is a small compared to most of the ancestral houses Ive been to before but it was unbelievable packed with so many antique things. Dont ever forget to add this special house in your itinerary.
5. CEBU SIOMAI – Ha! This is not a part of the heritage tour. We were so hungry after walking that we decided to have some snacks. We saw this Siomai House and boy, its so special! Totally different from the usual siomai that we have, this one is a must try!
6. MAGELLAN’S CROSS – This is the iconic landmark of Cebu and seeing its condition now is almost heartbreaking. Wrecked by the past catastrophes, it now stood with pieces of wood supporting the cross and debris all over the place. It appears to be under construction and I hope they get to fix the entire place soon.
7. CEBU CITY HALL – Downtown Cebu is beaming with life even after sundown. Infront of Cebu City Hall is a group of people doing Zumba, Arnis and Sepak Takraw. Alot are just sitting around, talking. The City Hall is just infront of the Magellan’s Cross.
8. COLON STREET – One of the oldest road in the Philippines. It looks like Manila or Quiapo to me.
8. LARSIANS – Where we headed for dinner to cap off our walking adventure in Cebu. This place is not for the faint of heart but well worth your money.
I dont really remember the exact streets or road we took to get to each tourist spot. We consulted Google Maps and ask directions. At one point, we took a cab from Fort San Pedro to Yap Sandiego House because its getting late and we wanted to see the house before it closes.
Other things to remember:
* The local jeepney system is abit confusing and the traffic is really bad when we were there.
* To go around the city – jeepneys and taxis are the most common.
* Uptown Cebu is where malls and modern buildings are located. Downtown Cebu is where you see old houses and crowded steeets. Both are charming to me in different ways.
* Stay vigilant to avoid pick pockets.
We head back to our hotel content and happy even after alot of misadventures. This is just the start of our vacation and everything looks good so far.
Except after we realized our camera is dying and we didnt bring the charger.
Belated Happy Birthday Kirby. Here’s to surviving more storms together, love.