Cebu, Philippines: On “Sinulog”, Saang, and Reunions

Save the Piggy Bank: Work With Travel Opportunities, Metrodeal, and Plane Fares on Sale

My wife and I received a call from our publisher that we are going to give a two hour talk at Cebu to promote our books. I love it when opportunities like these present itself since it means that we can have fun and get paid doing it. Not a shabby deal if you ask me. First things first: Since the publisher will only be paying for two plane tickets then that means we have to shell out some dough for the plane fare of my son and mother-in-law (who are critical players in the vacation part of this gig). That also means we need to book a hotel that will fit all four of us. Here ‘research’ came into play.

As usual we looked at agoda.com and nearly settled on Plantation Bay at Mactan Island. However, we decided on the last minute that it will be a shame if we cannot stay long at the luxury resort to fully enjoy its numerous pools and lagoons. Alas, we can only stay at Cebu for three days which won’t do justice to all that Plantation Bay has to offer.

By sheer luck, we stumbled upon Metrodeal. Crown Regency is offering not only accommodations but bundled it with buffet dinners, buffet breakfasts, and Skyadventure tickets. What luck! Needless to say, with Metrodeal Crown Regency vouchers and Cebu Pacific tickets for my son and mother in law we are good to go!

We checked in at a room at the 17th floor of Crown Regency’s Tower One. Any traveller worth his salt knows that it is good to gather ‘insider information’ from Tripadvisor for hotel reviews. I read that after the 19th floor, one will have to transfer to another lift making room movement a bit troublesome for guests checked in at the rooms at the higher floors. The review was right and we were happy to be spared from a possible inconvenience.

The view from the room was amazing. The room itself was very comfortable. Don’t expect five stars though because Crown Regency is anything but that. However, we were quite satisfied with what we would call home for the next three days.

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Sinulog sa Kabataan

At around 5pm, we saw from our room window that the streets below were slowly being filled with people and that vehicular traffic was re-routed. We saw the street parade slowly moving and that was our signal to rush to the lift so that we can meet and greet the Sinulog street parade participants.

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Folk history tells us that Sinulog goes way back to the era of pre-colonial Philippines. Magellan claimed the Philippines as a territory of Spain and presented a statue of the child Jesus to the wife of Raja Humabon. Upon receiving the image, the wife of the Rajah danced with joy. This was the very first Sinulog, a religious, rhythmic, and festive celebration.

The Sinulog celebration will actually be celebrated on the third Sunday of January but we were able to see the Sinulog for the young people and we were really delighted to taste a bit of this wonderful fiesta.

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Skywalk: Terrifying and Exhilarating at the Same Time

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One of the highlights of our Cebu trip this 2014.

The buffet dinner at Sparkz resto at the 37th floor won’t make any gourmand drool but the accompanying perk of a Skyadventure totally compensates for it.

It’s a bit expensive:
dinner + 1 adventure will set you back 750 pesos per person. Add to that the 40 pesos socks, 200 pesos deposit, and 150 pesos per printed pic and soon one begins to think when all the ripping off will end.

Is it worth it?
If you are terrified with heights like my whole family then the 400+ feet skywalk will be unforgettable. There was even a point in the walk when we were so terrified that we crawled! Truth be told, the skywalk was very safe. Really, all those fears and what ifs were just between the ears.

Will I do it again?

Never.

Leave the Buffet Spread Alone & Attack the Cebu Chorizo Instead

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The buffet spread is nice but any traveller knows that you gotta have chorizo de Cebu for brekie when you are hanging out at the Queen City of the South!

The Chorizo de Cebu (Pork Sausages from Cebu) are bite size, round-shaped pork sausages that are very tasty and sweet. They go very well with the local vinegar and just like any meal in the Philippines usually served with heaps of steamed rice.

Larsian: Streetfood, Barbecue, and Puso

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Just when we thought that things were already awesome (taking part in the unexpected street parade or Sinulog sa Kabataan), I met up with a very good friend, a true bisdak named Dean who took me to one of the famous street foods at Fuente Osmena. A short walk from Crown Regency is the Larsian Barbecue. Popular for mouthwatering barbecues and Puso (rice cooked inside woven coconut leaf), Larsian during dinner time is packed with locals and tourists. The food was surprisingly good and very affordable. The place even has free wifi!

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After that, my friend and I walked to a nearby place called Mango for some cold beers. The place was full of locals and beer was surprisingly affordable. Great place for hanging out!

Lantaw Restaurant: Filipino Visayan Food & Spider Conch

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When I was young, I was a very picky eater. Now a bit older, I decided to discover other places and cultures through their food. At Lantaw Restaurant I made sure to take the advice of Dean to eat the grilled Saang, a univalve mollusk also known as ‘spider conch.’ Tough but very tasty, Saang is a must-try when you visit Cebu.

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At Lantaw, I had a mini-reunion with my bisdak friends Dean and Ronald. We had a lot of catching up to do and the Cordova coolers (and San Mig Light) made sure that we had a nice long conversation.

Before going to the airport for our flight out of Cebu, Ronald drove us to Tabo-an Market for some dried fish, squid, and dried mangoes. You know Filipinos, we love ‘pasalubong.’

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Thank you Cebu and to our many friends who made our trip an adventure to remember!

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2 thoughts on “Cebu, Philippines: On “Sinulog”, Saang, and Reunions

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