Philippines: Cebu

It’s day number 7 on our big trip and off we go to the Philippines. This day we had to get up really early (5am) to catch our flight which left at 7:50am. As we went off so early, we were amazed that even Hong Kong can be quiet early in the mornings :) Our plane started on time and we reached Manila, our stopover City. The flight was only about 2 hours. In Manila we had to stopover for 6 hours as our connecting flight’s schedule was changed the day before. Here in Manila it was the first time we faced the heat and the air-conditioning was not working properly. As we finally boarded our flight to Cebu the plane was late 1 hour because we couldn’t get the permission to start. This seems to be normal here on the Philippines :) We finally arrived in Cebu and took a taxi to our hotel which was located on Mactan Island. This is an outlayered island which is connected to Cebu over 2 bridges. The airport is also located on this island. As it was already evening we enjoyed the last hours with swimming in the pool and having dinner.

Our first day in Cebu was a chill- and beauty day. After swimming in the pool we went to a nearby Hair & Nail studio go get a pedicure and a haircut each. Because the life here on the Philippines is so cheap we can live like kings even when we are on a small budget :) In the evening we went to the rooftop bar from our hotel to have dinner and some drinks.

Day 2 in Cebu and definitely time to do some sightseeing as our hunger for adventure needs to be stilled 😛 We organized a private taxi to make a tour around Mactan Island and Cebu City. It’s was very interesting and we get to know a lot about the history of Cebu. We first stopped at the Mactan shrine in Lapu Lapu. Lapu Lapu is a city on Mactan Island carrying the name of the first historic national hero. This Mactan shrine remembers the place where Lapu Lapu the big warrior (or actually one of his warriors) killed and defeated the legendary Magellan in the big battle.

After this first stop we moved on to Cebu City. The traffic was horrible and it took us a long time to get there. We finally arrived at the “Fort San Pedro”, a triangle-shaped fortress from the Spanish colonial time. Here we got to know a lot about the history as we got a free guide.

Our next stop led us to the oldest church of Cebu, the “Basilica del Santo Ninõ” which was built 3 times after burning down. In 1990 they added the big pilgrim place to it. Before we drove back to the hotel we drove by the oldest market in Cebu – the carbon market. This market existed also early in the Spanish colonial time and is still the cheapest in town.

Back in the hotel we first needed to cool down :) In the early evening we wanted to see some more from Mactan Island and so we searched for a nice bar. We found the Ibiza Beach Club at the Mövenpick-Hotel in the north of the island. This place is definitely a highlight and a must-do when you are in Cebu. We loved the atmosphere and had a really good evening enjoying some drinks. On the way back to the hotel we visited the “Gold Mango” restaurant as we wanted to have some local food. The restaurant was cute and nice but we were put in a separate room so we couldn’t really enjoy the local atmosphere.

As this was our last evening and we still had the coupons for our welcome drinks we headed again up to the rooftop bar in our hotel to redeem the coupons and to plan our further trip. As the planning needs a lot of time, we try to use every free minute that we have.

Our conclusion about Cebu: It’s not hard to see that Cebu is the oldest town of the whole Philippines. So the city didn’t really flash us. We were glad that we stayed in Mactan Island as it is a bit less crowded as the city itself. If there is a next time for us on Cebu we would probably spend more money for a hotel that has more to offer. We think that Cebu is good enough for a stopover before you head to another beautiful place on the Philippines :)

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