I’ve been to Cebu a few times before for the beach, visit friends, attend a wedding, Sinulog, and of course to scuba dive. But last year, my sisters all voted to go to Cebu for our family New Year holiday as none of them have been there before. I’m fine with it because I love Cebu and secretly plan to dive Moalboal. ;-)
Because we’ll be saving by traveling locally (past trips: Shanghai, Macau, Hong Kong, Japan & Brunei), we thought of booking into Shangrila Mactan. But wow the price was so outrageous it’s almost a crime! So I went looking for better deal and finally we decided on Hilton Cebu Resort which is also 5-star but cost about half. It was overall a good stay except for the guy at the reception failed to store the baby food in their freezer thus spoiling our supply. But they were able to amend by providing gourmet cooked food for Jin! We really appreciate this effort.
Punta Engaño used to be an unassuming fishing village with rocky beaches. Well, I believe it still is in some part, but the demand for Cebu beach resorts brought in a lot of the big names like Shangrila and Hilton, even if they have to bring in their own white sand. It’s in Mactan Island, 15 minutes from the Cebu International Airport, so we dropped our luggages first before meeting up with our tour guide for lunch in Cebu City.
Casa Verde comes highly recommended by our tour guide, Ka Bino. He said that it serves the best baby back ribs in town. Obviously a popular with locals, it was fully packed at 1 past noon. The ambiance was cozy using the old family house. The service was good and the serving is huge! And the ribs? It was tender and very good. The price is surprisingly very cheap.
Our city tour began at the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral Home in Parian Street. It was built in the early 1600s and is now preserved to be a museum of antiques. The artifacts in the house are recent acquisitions of the same period as the house. You’re encouraged to make a modest contribution of 50 pesos to help its maintenance as it doesn’t get any funding from the local government. The house can also be rented for private parties accommodating up to 40 guests.
Magellan Cross and Basilica Minore del Santo Niño are probably the most important attraction in Cebu City. It is believed to be the actual cross planted by Magellan when he came. And the church was built in 1565 on the location where the image of Sto Nino was found inside a burnt wooden box. This is the same Sto. Nino image inside. This is where the procession begins and ends during the Sinulog Festival.
Finally, the tour ended at TOP-The Osmeña Place or locals fondly call “tops” is located on top of the Busay Hills 2,000 ft above sea level. It showcases a great panoramic view of Cebu City, Mactan, and Olango Island. It’s a cool (literally) hang out place faraway from the hussle and bussle of the city. It has an entrance of 100 pesos.
Ka Bino Guerrero Bino is a tour guide based in Cebu City. He specializes on Heritage Tours (Churches and Towns), Museums, as well as Walking Tours.
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