Day 3 & 4: Cebu-Bohol Getaway (Part 1: Cebu City)
Today is our last day in Cebu City because as stated in our Day 2 blog entry we are transferring to Mactan Island where we will be spending the remaining hours before our flight back to Manila. Although we decided not join a specific tour group for the day, getting up early was still included in the plan since the check-out time was 12:00 noon, and the time allotted for the city exploration itinerary was approximately 4-5 hours only; and again just like yesterday we got up later than the expected time, so we packed our bags after getting ready and before going out.
Upon leaving the hotel, we hailed a taxi and decided to explore the city starting from Magellan’s Cross since the other sites are located just around the vicinity. During the drive to the first stop, we inquired on the how to go to Tops (located in Busay Hills which is one of the talked about must-see places in Cebu),he said that we either take a tricycle (Php 300/head/two-way or higher depending on your negotiating abilities) or a taxi (Php 500/two-way or as high as Php1,500), and the travel time back and forth can consume a full 2 hours depending on the traffic; so we opted to skip our plans of going to Tops.
Fifteen minutes from departing the hotel, we arrived at the entrance of the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño which is recognized as the oldest Catholic Church in the Philippines. The church is one of the most magnificent places we visited and although the outside is filled with passers-by one can actually enjoy a peaceful atmosphere upon stepping in the church.
A few steps away from the church is Magellan’s Cross. It is said that the current cross that people can freely touch is just a case that protects the original one because many visitors and devotees have been witnessed chipping of tiny parts of the cross because of their belief that it is sacred and that it is a sign of good luck.
Tip # 8: Always be aware of the people surrounding you. Some may be peddlers, snatchers, tourists (just like you), or by-standers. Keep on the lookout and guard your personal belongings at all times.
Since based on our research, Fort San Pedro and Plaza Independencia are just near the church vicinity we tried to go around to look for the said places but to our dismay, the only buildings seen within the area were the Colegio del Sto. Niño, Cebu City Hall, and several business establishments. Good thing, a kind lady guard gave us instructions on how to reach our supposed destination. From the City Hall it took us approximately 10-15 minutes by foot before we reached our next stop which was Plaza Independencia. But before finally entering the gate we passed by Malacañan sa Sugbo also known as Malacañan in Cebu which is the official residence of the country’s president when he is in town.
Malacañan sa Sugbo
Fort San Pedro is just a stone’s throw from Plaza Independencia. Visitors need to pay an entrance fee, adults are charged Php30.00/head. We were not able to take note of the other rates because we were busy wandering and wondering. This place is like a haven away from the rustle and bustle of the city.
There is a mini-museum that houses many of the old items recovered from the Rizal and his family to the Katipunan. The two photos featuring handwritten letter are from the members of the Katipunan addressed to Andres Bonifacio and from the latter addressed to other members.
After our sightseeing activity at Fort San Pedro, we decided to take our lunch at CNT Lechon which was just across SM City Cebu. But before leaving, we decided to ask the guard on which jeepney to take going to SM City Cebu. After taking note of the instructions, we went on our way and we hailed the jeep with the SM City signboard. As first timers, we didn’t expect that the “jeep” in Cebu was actually a multi-cab which was smaller than the typical Sarao (brand) jeep in other cities in the Philippines; and we also didn’t know the route, the good thing was that every SM bound jeep actually park within the mall’s vicinity to wait for the next set of passengers.
A few days before our plan to go to CNT Lechon, we already saw the restaurant signage located across the road from one of the mall’s entrances, but since we read in one blog that there was also one located within the mall building we decided to look for it instead of battling with the scorching heat of the sun just to reach the get to try the mouthwatering lechon from the famous restaurant.
But to our dismay, after searching high and low for a CNT branch in SM City Cebu, we finally gave up and decided to take the path we opted not to take earlier. Before finally leaving the mall, the ice cream place named Gelatissimo captured our eyes after our bodies have been exposed to Cebu’s hot weather from the time departed from the hotel to start the day’s sightseeing activity.
Although Gelatissimo is also located in some malls in Manila, this was the first time for us to actually taste their ice cream which comes in different flavors which were derived from different chocolates, fruits, and cakes. The good thing about this product is you get the chance to taste the different flavors for free before you finalize your order.
A few minutes after our arrival at the mall and after consuming the ice cream we bought, we headed to lechon restaurant before going back to the hotel to check out and transfer to Mactan. Even if CNT Lechon was just a mere 5-minute walk it felt like forever because of the heat from Mr. Sun during that day.
Tip # 9: CNT Lechon is located at the second floor of the building because the ground floor which is at the same level as the main road is the parking lot. You might think that you’re at the wrong place when you peek and see nothing but an empty space.
This is the sign to look for. It’s huge so you won’t miss it.
Our meal which is less than Php200 good for 2 pax.
After feasting on this sumptuous meal, which left us less than 30 minutes to get back to the hotel, freshen up, and finalize packing our bags before the 12noon checkout time. We extended a little less than 20 minutes but the hotel staff did not charge us any extra fee.
Watch out for PART 2 of our Day 3 & 4 Cebu-Bohol Getaway! Coming up: The Maribago Bluewater Experience, Chillout Sunset Cruise, and Sutukil for dinner.