Our journey to Cebu City started at 9:00 pm on the evening of the 5th of May. Michelle and I headed to the Libertad terminal in Bacolod City, in order to get in the line for tickets to Cebu City. Ceres bus line does their ticketing system as a first come first service manner, so if you wanted a seat on the bus you needed to make sure you were there in plenty of time. We stood there for about 2.5 hours before the conductor was available for ticket purchases. Normally not a huge issue, but we were up and out of the house by 6:30 am that morning for the SPA Natura get together in Mambukal. If you are interested to learn more about this outing visit the SPA Natura Post here on Runawayprop.
Expats and Foreigners
While waiting in line, there was about 30 people waiting along with us, when one gentleman arrived from Detroit. An older man, who had lived in the Philippines I think he said going on 34 months. For some reason expats ended up talking with one another, especially if you have the same mother tongue, but I could tell from the on set this was not going to be a good conversation. I fail to see why we as expats think it is ok to talk about locals in a non flattering way. He certainly had an opinion of how things should be done here in the Philippines and he spoke rather loudly, in a crowd of people that speak Ilonggo, but certainly understand English very well. My skin was crawling because all I wanted to do was get away from him…but you kind of made his way through the crowd to take up a place behind us. He spoke very unflattering of Filipina’s as he had by the sounds of things been married and divorced twice, and had many friends who had the same things occur. I wanted to say, it was the quality of the woman, and not the nationality, but I know this would have been not a good idea as he was ready for an argument, and I simply wanted to get away from him. I was so glad Michelle had her head set on listening to music and did not hear the terrible things he was saying….remember mate you are a guest in a foreign land and you should show more respect.
Ten Hours on the Bus
Michelle and I were so exhausted, we could barely keep our eyes open, I know when I finally sat in my seat, it was but seconds before I was fast asleep. Michelle as out like a light as well. I really do not remember anything about the first part of the bus ride, other than when we stopped for a quick Comfort Room break and then next thing I knew we were at the ferry. I have been on 4 different ferries here in the Philippines and this one was hands down the best one…for no other reason there were bunk beds on the upper deck, and Michelle and I had an opportunity to grab a 2 hour sleep at least in the horizontal position.
Once we hit the beach, and got back on the boat we had a quick stop for breakfast, and off to Cebu City we went. We pulled into the city about 9:15 or so, and off the bus near our hotel right on time at 9:30 am. One thing to note, it is rather difficult to figure out the bus schedule with Ceres as they do not have a web site, and most of the information you can find on-line are on people’s blogs stating the schedule and this is only as correct as the time it was written. We paid 520 pesos which was the bus fare including the ferry ticket to go to Cebu City, per person. I am writing this post on the return trip from Cebu City and already I know the cost and manner in which we are getting back is different still, so be flexible and don’t act like a foreigner.
Cebu City Proper
Our first couple of hours in Cebu City was interesting and I have to say, I was not enjoying it very much. The city is larger and busier then Bacolod City, which always takes a moment for me to have my senses catch up with me, and change gears to big city mode. Being pretty tired, and in need of finding the Medical Center where Michelle’s CIC medical was to take place we opted for a Taxi, and Michelle asked for the driver to take us to the hotel, which was called SoGo. It was noticeable in the taxi how the atmosphere had changed and the driver became very un-helpful. I would learn as the visit went on that SoGo is more a Seeder place to stay and had a bad reputation to Michelle and I by the reaction of the driver, the public had an opinion. If you want to learn more about SoGo be sure to read my review at Trip Advisor .
I booked the hotel through Agoda’s website, and though I was looking for a budget place, this looked pretty good based on reviews and pictures. My opinion is still out on the subject to be honest. I was not happy when I was told, I could get my room key, but I needed to go up the road to print off my booking to prove I had one. Even showing it on my phone, was not good enough, and the hotel had no means of confirming on email the actual bookings. This takes time, and I am out-of-pocket for the internet time to print off the email, and the printing it’s self. If you do not have an on-line ability as the manager of a hotel, then don’t take on-line bookings.
But the hotel was clean, and though they rented rooms by the hour, five hours, 10 hours and 24hours, there was no outward appearance of prostitution going on, though there are two free porn channels offered in the room. The bookings also included breakfast, which though not spectacular was certainly edible and on time every morning.
Cebu City Sites
Michelle and I were in Cebu City as I say in order to get her CIC medical completed, which by the way went off like
clock work. We used the Nationwide Health Center and Michelle was completed in no time and all we had to do was wait for her blood test results. In our off time, Michelle and I went around checking out the city, and as everyone knows, I love Street Photography, and there is no end of things, places and people to shoot in Cebu City.
We first went to Sto. Niño in town and this church was spectacular, built-in 1565 and the architecture was so amazing. It reminded me of some of the churches I visited when I was in Palma De Mallorca Spain. I love the history, and old-world feel to everything. I know I have said this before, I cannot get over the intense relationship that Filipino’s have to the church. Michelle was at this church before in a time when things were hard for her, and she found solace being there to pray. Two years later life is different, and when she sat in the Pew the tears came flooding back. I was able to take a couple of pictures in the chapel, and I will include one in this post.
On leaving the church we started to wander the streets to find something interesting and we ended up finding the ocean, and there we found some street kids playing the water. Michelle is a child magnet, kids for some reason know right away she is sweet and tender, and they will flock to her. The kids were very animated and wanted us to take their pictures in various posses, and in different areas. These kids, did not demand money like so many others who are on the street, they simply enjoyed the interaction. One girls quietly asked Michelle for some money, which was met with sorry…no money, and the girl smiled and never asked again. I know that hurts Michelle’s heart so much, as I knew she would give the shirt off her back for people if she can.
Not to long after the interaction with the children we happened across a boat called Logos Hope, as advertised the largest floating Library in the world. This is a must visit! The boat was staffed with people from all over the world, and their sole purpose is to bring books to different parts of the world. The company is an NGO, and you kind of pay to Volunteer, but this one girl (Janice) who we spoke with, said she had joined the boat right after getting out of high school and she has been on the boat for over two years, and she earned her Engineering Watch keepers ticket through the NGO, so they take care of their crew as well as people in which they give theirs books to. Very cool place I have to say!!
Yesterday we headed out pretty early, and our plan was to go to the Church in Sibonga called Simala and this place is huge!! It is almost difficult to describe, and I am so glad Michelle took me there. The trip there will take you about 3 hours on a Ceres bus that heads from the South terminal. The area where you get off at is a small community, and the scenery is amazing lush green tropical forests. You take a motorcycle about 20 minutes to the top of the mountain and as you are headed there, you see off in the distances the largest Church I think I have ever seen. I think calling it a Monastery is more accurate. We spent the day, had mass, and then toured the area where Mama Mary’s spirit resides. This was another place Michelle visited back in 2013 and prayed to Mama Mary asking her some things, which she brought to her. The day is very spiritual to say the lease.
So, thinking of coming to Cebu City, and I so know and understand that diving here is supposed to be fantastic. Be sure to save a couple of days and visit the city and the places I described above, you certainly will not be disappointed!!
#cebucity #cebu #philippines #runawayprop