Sunday, June 28, 2009

A tour with happy (mis)adventures 01: Cebu

Not all is well if you take things rigidly and seriously. But all will not be ill, if you accept that nature, man and machine can sometimes altogether act unknowingly against your will! Let’s see another of my long stories!

The (planned) tour
Boasting that I am a new resident of Cebu, I announced that my friends can come and visit me, stay in my humble abode and that I can be their tour guide. Whew! So three of them bit the bait and a plan was conjured: a tour of Cebu, then Bohol, back to Cebu so we could take a flight to Caticlan and visit Boracay. Interesting, right? Yey!

The friend from Singapore took charge of booking our Boracay accommodations. She did them mostly online. A friend from Manila took charge of booking our air tickets. I prepared for the Cebu and Bohol trips and another from Manila would be coming late to become manservant, dishwasher, photographer, videographer and lover on the side to one of us! Great plan and all were booked ahead.

Day One: Cebu Tour – Success w/ some glitches!
Monday. I was in my usual roaming mode for the arrival of two ladies on a midmorning flight from Manila. I knew of their arrival time and I knew what time to leave home considering traffic along the way. However, the car and driver (form ‘Cebu Trip’, I frequently use them) got stuck in an unusual vehicular quagmire at that flyover near the IT Park. Plus, as we forded the easy way from Banilad to the airport, there was a similar unusual buildup over at Mandaue Hiway. So, I caught up with my two lovely visitors already lounging around for about 30 minutes in that waiting area across the domestic arrivals. They even already started a pictorial while waiting for me! Whew!

As planned, we immediately took off to tour Mactan. Lapu-lapu monument was fortunately clean and himself already colored in a reddish metallic hue much like that of the coin that bears his likeness (one cent coin?). The SuTuKil is the same desolate place of a has-been with a lot of shirtless men playing cards and drinking red horse even in the morning so we did not venture more. Gate-crashed (again) at Shang Mactan. The sexy ladies liked our pictorials at Shang’s luxurious gardens… who would not anyway, right?! Then we moved to Hilton Mactan for lunch. At 11:30AM, crews were just setting up the lunch area and I was starving. So, after my “guests” (asuuus guests) changed into something more comfortable at one of Hilton’s comfort rooms, I opted for plan B – my good old favourite Kaishu Restaurant also over at Punta Engano! Turned out to be a more fantastic lunch than I planned!

After lunch, we were too reluctant to move as the comforts in Kaishu was really conducive for a siesta on a hot humid day! But we had to roll. The Alegre guitar factory was such a hit to my two beautiful guests. After being shown around the production areas, we listened to the crews play the banduria, guitar and bajo! Hmm, that ate a good part of our day. And they unfortunately saw the trinkets and abubot things being sold inside the compound. Well, you know girls… they all have the same middle name – “SHOPPING”. So we stayed there more than I planned! Ahh!

We had a ball at Plantation Bay, not without the front desk staff jokingly tell me “ikaw nanaman, sir?”! Oh there were four older folks with us on the golf cart as we toured around, and they kept on requesting to see the rooms. So every time they go in, we followed. Da! Now we are unpaid advertisers of Plantation Bay’s accommodations and restaurants! The skies gloomed a bit but we continued taking our shoots at the lagoon! Before leaving Plantation, it was my time to throw a joke, I told Sunny the Korean girl at front desk “next time I come back, I will insist you talk to me in Tagalog or Cebuano”. Of course, it started a boisterous harutan amongst the staff!

Just glanced at Lapulapu city hall, omitted the “under-the-bridge” view and the “Virgen De Regla”. The “mercado” was not included in the plan (cuz my house would have smelt like yuck from tonight until we returm from Bohol hehe)! Oops, I forgot about the afternoon coffee at Imperial Palace! Well, we were already too far. So, we went forth to the “Heritage” Monument. Driver-cum-Tourguide (that’s how they are at ‘Cebu Trip’ by the way) described every detail in the monument including history of the location where it stands now. “Cost of production” for this monument was many times mentioned. We were in the mood for that topic as since this morning we already kept talking about those infamous lampposts everywhere we passed that are worth PHP95,000 each! We did not even enter the Gorordo House but driver described it to my two guests as we all stood in front of its door. Hopped across to the Yap-San Diego Ancestral House and we skimmed at things for a while.

Magellan was next in line and my two lovely guests had to wait for their turn at pictorials as there were sooo many Korean tourists posing all over the place including the grills. And we entered the Sto Nino Church. They mused at devotees lining up to be able to get closer to the dear nino! Yes, Koreans also queued up so it was the usual long line. My guests did not dare join (haay salamat)! I asked them to follow me to the religious store at the side of the church and being both from religious schools I knew they’d at least be interested to look around. And look around they did. They even bought some things. I like going there just to see the things on sale and who buys them. Have yet to ask though, if I, as a non-priest, can buy a pack of the “altar bread” being sold there hehe. We did not enter the museum anymore but we ogled at the sacks and sacks of red candle crumbs on one side of the pathway outside/across the basilica.

Drove off passing via Jones, but I just pointed to them the ancestral house of the President Osmena; Crown Regency; Robinsons; Mango Ave.; Fuente O; the Library and ex-museum; Cebu Doc and the capitol on our way to R&M. Yep, CnT was strictly included in the itinerary after Guadalupe Church, so that we could take some lechon for dinner at my humble abode. We had two kilos and a lot of puso! You guessed it, we could not resist the aroma of the lechon… thus, at 4:45PM inside the car, we were eating lechon on our way to the Taoist Temple.

It was already late, so we just peeped into Taoist Temple, circled it and Beverly Hills a bit then we started out for Nivel Hills. I said “there is U.P.” and as if anyone cared – both graduated from Holy hehe! I pointed to them Anzani – my favourite hang-out (when the pockets become a bit deep). We just circled the driveway of Marco Polo, which driver promptly announced was the then famous Cebu Plaza Hotel and we went forth to Mr. A’s to catch the sunset. Oh, sunset watching we did, even if it was a bit hazy. We traced with our fingers where on those distant houses, buildings and bridges have we been the whole day. All eyes widened when driver described that the tennis courts at nearby City Lights condominiums have started falling off the cliff in erosion! He even said we can pass by to see it but we said “not anymore”. We waited for Cebu (and Mandaue) to start lighting up as the sun inched ever more down and out of the horizon.

When we were about ready to hit the malls and other destinations of the tour, the two begged off and said we better go home as they already felt sticky all over and wanted to take their showers! So we did!

But the evening was not over. I had to go back to airport to fetch the third guest. Dinner and beer was the next event… but you already know how these things transpire, right?!

Too many things to see too little time… but I think I’m getting to be a fine tour guide hehe!

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