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As an Executive Assistant years ago, I get to be assigned to our branches nationwide, one of which that I frequent most is our Tacloban branch. That was actually my first assignment, my heart was broken as I boarded the plane on my way to Eastern Visayas. I am so sure I will definitely miss my mama and my papa and my son and hon and my friends back home. Never had I expected, that Tacloban became my second home.
T’was just a small town, the pace is very laid-back, the people are very kind. Just as small as it is, I never thought how big the town can offer. In no particular order, I miss all of these:
Much to my surprise, visiting Cebu more than 5x in less than a year had not allowed me to comb this little island in the Visayas. Specifically the beaches which Cebu has been famous for. On top of other things like their sweetest mangoes, dried fish, factories of guitar, heritage sites and their famous lechon (without the liver sauce) paired with “puso” (steam rice wrapped in dried, woven coconut leaves). Did I say more?
Cebu is such a small island and yet, upon touchdown, it felt grand. It’s as if it’ll take you forever to extensively explore it due to its’ endless beauty. The people there are kinder and simpler. They will smile at you naturally as if they’ve known you all their lives. It was declared a city years ago, so it felt like being laid back in a city where everything is easy, including smiling itself. Means of transportation is easy too, cabs will give you your change, the drivers I’ve encountered are so courteous, jeepneys are coded and they offer the widest choice of hotels. We once stayed at GV Hotel, an affordable hotel at the heart of the city where it is adjacent to the must see places like The Magellan cross,
Old churches, the street long queue of “Cook while you wait” eating destiny known as “Larsian” that if you’re planning to go to Cebu, people who have been there will never miss telling you to include going to “Larsian” as part of your things to do in Cebu. It’s very Filipino. I guess this is where Bancheto’s idea was taken and the Night Cafe in Cagayan de Oro. There’s so much native dishes to choose from, you’ll have a hard time choosing like when you’re in food courts in the malls.
Fronting the “Larsian” is the Crown Regency hotel at Fuente Osmena. It is one hotel which boasts their “Edge coaster ride” located on it’s roof top.
Though this isn’t my cup of tea, instead I opted climbing (by foot) this Chinese temple located at Beverly hills, Yes!!! We have our own Beverly hills (Subdivision)in the Philippines! (–,)
We didn’t miss hoarding of danggit and banig (dried fish) in this popular market in Taboan where we brought with us kilos of dried fish to be brought back home for loved ones and friends. It is in Cebu where I discovered the “Fish tocino”. A sweeter version of dried fish shaped into a a small round and marinated and sundried. Do not dare to stay long enough as your clothes will absorb the scent of all the different kinds of dried fish. Back in our hotel, mostly everyone knew that we came from Taboan, because of our smell! ahaha! We immediately took a quick shower, changed our clothes, and without snoozing, we head back to the city and went straight to a spa and had our feet massaged and painted too. After which we shop till we drop and headed back in our hotel with our shopping bags loaded with “pasalubong”. It means goodies brought back home, a Filipino tradition of thoughtfulness, that even a small thing brought to a loved one meant a lot and the recipient normally treasures it all of his life. I had almost a dozen shirt for my papa, for my son, for honey, for my friends and for myself. Shirts from Cebu were very pretty and it took me long to choose as most designs were really adorable. My friend had her shirts personalized with this DIY corner where you can choose available designs in your own color combination. I also bought myself a huge swarovski pendant from Ayala Cebu,
Also an Indigo dress and a set of mother pearl earrings for my mom. I bought it because of its’ color, its’ the lightest pinkish pearl I’ve ever seen. I’m so happy because my mom has always been passionate with pearls, more so, with jewelry. That typical trait of oldies. In our generations, we make do with “blings”. We shop like we’re not going back to Cebu anymore. We’re like panic buying not thinking of the cost of excess baggage allowed should we exceeded. And we’re pretty sure, we did.
I also found this bake shop – “Angelica’s Bake shop” and found a cute serving of my favorite blueberry cheesecake. Of course, I brought myself one for me to binge in my hotel.
In another occasion, I visited Cebu because my job calls for it. I am full of excitement going back home from Tacloban, I even bought a very rare orchid for my mom, without knowing that the night before my flight, I got a call from my boss that I had to go to Cebu before I go back home. Oh well. =( The orchids literally traveled with me, inspected and was given a pass as well. ahaha!
My favorite part of it is the free breakfast – Eat all you can – smorgasboard type of breakfast provided by most hotels. Mine was a combination of Filipino and American breakfast. I guess I went back 3x to refill my cup of hot chocolate, I so love it, and I assume it was made of tableas (natural cocoa). These are export products just like the dried mangoes. During times like this, I’ve always wish that my parents and son and loved ones are with me. Oh by the way, while having my hefty breakfast, I picked-up some newspapers from the stand only to find out that the language was written in Visayan, I just pretended to be reading them. ehehe
It’s bye bye time Gwapa Cebu for now, I’ll be back soon along with my loved ones. That’s a promise! (–,)
“Gwapa” means “beautiful” in Cebuano. (–,)