I must start off this post with a confession: when I first arrived in Cebu I felt like I got hit right in the gut with culture shock. We didn’t do much research about the Philippines as a whole and knew even less about Cebu itself. In fact, before we met our new friends Gil and Edwin in Tokyo we had never even heard of Cebu. So we had no idea what we were getting into, and that was exciting! Our new friends love their city and told us all about whale sharks, snorkeling, beautiful waters, and ALL OF THE PORK! All sounds good to me!
But when we arrived, we were surprised to see how much poverty there is and the crazy hectic city streets. Lanes, speed, and pedistrians right of way do not apply in Cebu (the parts we saw at least). It was all a little overwhelming at first since we plunged right into an environment we had never experienced before. But after our first few days in town it started to all become natural to us. Although, going full speed straight towards another car just so you could pass the slow car in front of us never really became natural. I held my breath a lot. It especially became easier to really enjoy our new city once Gil and Edwin showed us around to their favorite spots (driving just as crazily to each of those spots)(I swear, people in Cebu could win every NASCAR race you chanllegned them too. Pros for sure!)
Overall, Cebu was most memorable not for the crazy driving and poverty stricken areas. It was most memorable for it’s great people who introduced us to some of the biggest highlights we have had on this trip so far. And I’m sure will remain some of our favorites after we see more of this big big world. Some of those people can be found in the pic below, but a special thank you Thank You THANK YOU goes out to Gil and Edwin! You guys rock and we’ll remember our time here in Cebu forever because of you!
So the list you have all been waiting for. The 10 reasons why I ♥ Cebu:
1. Whale Sharks in Oslob: If I had to pick a favorite adventure in Cebu it would be our trip down to Oslob to see the whale sharks. We caught a bus at the South Terminal for a mere 150 php ($3.63 usd) for a beautiful 2 hour ride south along the shore. The ride alone was worth getting up at 3:45am…ok, maybe not. But the whale sharks definitely made it worth it! Swimming next to these gental giants was an experience Greg and I will remember forever…even if I didn’t do so much of the swimming part of the adventure. You can see more from our whale shark adventure here.
2. Island Hopping: A very close second to the whale sharks…and now that I type this I’m thinking maybe it’s actually #1. IT’S SO HARD TO CHOOSE!!! The day island hopping with our new friends was so much fun! We saw so many tiny islands with perfect white beaches, I felt like we were in a movie. There’s no way it could be real…but it was.
3. Tingko Beach: This was my favorite beach in Cebu. We practically had the whole beach to ourselves! All the blue water a girl could soak up! This was also where we discovered those amazing huts on the beach at Voda Krasna Beach Resort that we want to move into and live forever and ever!
4. BBQ at Matias’ Inato Food Haus: On our second night in town Gil and Edwin introduced us to this BBQ joint where everyone and their mom comes to grub on the biggest meat fest you will ever see. Chorizo, pork, chicken all on a stick and then in our bellies. I didn’t think we could finish the mountain of food, but we successfully demolished the whole thing. I slept good that night.
5. Tops: If you’re looking for a good spot to watch the sun set in Cebu, this is the best place! We lost our breath just stepping out onto the lookout, and when we got closer to the 180 degree view of the entire city we were completely amazed. We brought a picnic up with us and watched the sunset behind the hills and all the city lights come on. Just perfect.
6. Shopping in Ayala Mall: this mall was just a hop, skip, and a jump from our hotel so we spent a lot of time here shopping and eating. I’m not usually a mall person, but this mall was like an oasis in the city where we could cool off, enjoy a good meal, cheap drinks, arcade games, grocery shopping (which is where I got my jar of peanut butter I’ve been traveling around with), and every kind of shopping you would want to do. In fact, it’s where I finally found my wedding travel ring
7. Maya Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Lounge: After weeks of filling ourselves with ramen and other Japanese food, we were happy to see that Cebu had Mexican food. Being from California, we are kind of Mexican food snobs, but we are happy to report that Maya’s had it going on. Nachos, chips, guacamole, salsa, pork carnitas, fajitas were all cooked to our high Mexican food standards and put a big smile on our faces.
8. Sneaking into the pool at Radisson Blu: It’s hot in Cebu….like REALLY HOT!!! And the only places with pools to cool off in are way too swanky for this Noobz wallet. So the next best thing is to pretend like you totally know what you’re doing and sneak into a hotel’s pool. We succesffully did this at the Radison Blu and we enjoyed a beautiful day in a practically empty pool. If the rich people aren’t going to use it, we will! The next time we tried this at the Shangri La pool and private beach it didn’t work out so well. We told them “our room number” 604 and when the guard looked at us funny we turned around to see that the hotel only had five floors. Rookie mistake!
9. Portofino Resort: Once we got kicked out of Shangri La we tried another resort nearby that was much easier to get in. They charged about 120php ($2.92 usd) for both of us which our wallets liked much better. It was poppin’ too! All the locals we’re enjoying laying out in the sun, swimming in the warm water, doing water sports, and we didn’t have to hang with any Shangri La snobs pshhh. Successful day in our book!
10. Zubuchon: Our first dinner in town was at Zubuchon, made famous by Anthony Bourdain who said it was the best pig ever. I would have to agree with him. This pig was pretty damn good. And little Wilbur had some of the crispiest most delicious pig skin I have ever had. Zubuchon is so popular they have places in the airport where you can buy it frozen and bring it back to your home to enjoy.
In other words….