June 2nd marks the day when my family (Mom, brother, Tito Noy) and I went on our first “major” out-of-town vacay. Unlike other families, we’re not really the type who’d make sure we would travel places during summer together and have the time of our lives. And honestly, this could probably be the farthest place I’ve ever been so far in my ___ years of existence.
From the pictures, reviews and my Sissy’s stories (she went 2 years ago at Cebu), I am anticipating that Cebu would really blow me away. But what happened to me at Cebu was so much more than the pictures or the reviews or the stories can tell.
My First Ever Plane Ride
Yes, people. Never in my whole life have I ever ridden a plane. I waited for less than 20 years before I finally got into one and it’s worth it! The riding experience was exciting and very fulfilling for me. Weird? Well, yeah, probably. But hey, it was my first!
At first, the idea of getting on a plane and flying seems very cool to me. I loved it. But I should admit, when we were about to board the plane, already walking through the tunnel, my heart started pounding a little faster (and it’s not because of excitement!). I convinced my brother the whole time to let me sit beside the window only to find out that when I finally sat there, it made me very uncomfortable. It’s insane, but I was really very nervous. Probably it was the feeling of having to experience something that’s been alien to me before. And also, I have a very moderate discomfort (I say discomfort, not fear) with heights. the nervousness continued until the plane was on the runway and sped up, ready to take-off.
Upon take-off, my eyes perspired (fine, I was teary-eyed!). I was overwhelmed by just the very experience of flying on a plane – already grateful and never thought I deserve such goodness from God. While we were thousands of feet above the land, I was observing the whole time. Had some very wonderful realizations and thoughts. I have never seen the clouds in the same way like that in my whole life. I mean, I try to look at the clouds when the weather is fine but never have I really admired them the way I did up there. They were so puffy and squishy and looked very edible! They looked like very big cotton balls that you want to tear a piece from and rub it somewhere.
In some part of the trip, I would see an island with clouds covering the whole thing. It’s like it was specifically put on top of it so people don’t get burned too much. I thought to myself that someone there might have prayed for a fine weather to preserve his skin color. Haha!
Sometimes, we would experience some turbulence when passing through a cloud. And since I am wide awake and I am just beside the right wing, I feel the deal very much. But if I were to imagine God’s hand right that moment, it would probably be like when a little boy plays with his toy planes but will securely hold it while it takes flight. I was reminded of one of my life verses: “I will be with you and watch over you wherever you go…” (Gen. 28:15). And there was no doubt for me that be it Manila or Cebu or any other places in the world I would be, He’ll be with me, securely holding me with His Hand.
Less of the Tour. More of the Bonding!
After having our lunch and merienda at SM Cebu, the four of us started our invasion. What great way to start it but to see the Magellan’s Cross?
My brother, whom before had just seen this historical place in his Sibika books and is now seeing it in-person, was delighted with it. It looked very simple – a gi-normous cross at the center inside a very well structured and maintained pavilion. There would be devotees who’d be there to kneel and pray and some other tourists like us who took pictures of the places and of themselves in the place. There was actually one moment when I was taking a shot of Mom, Alex and Tito Noy with the cross aiming to capture the whole thing with them in it (good thing, I learned Photo Journalism!). The others there were like amazed or something and they mimicked my picture-taking tactics. HAHAHA!
We spent a whole lot more time (and energy) at the Fort San Pedro in Plaza Independencia just a walk away from Magellan’s Cross. It was quite a spacey plaza and we took pictures everywhere.
The Fort San Pedro looked much admirable at sundown. We went there with people rehearsing for an event so we didn’t exactly get to scheme the place like a real tourist, or so. We took as many pictures as we can get with the other parts of the places that isn’t affected by the rehearsal and it was just wonderful. Fort San Pedro is like an Intramuros in Cebu. There were like old canyons, classic interiors, an old deep well and lots more!
But what’s very unforgettable about that tour was the fun moments I shared with my family. All the strength we lost for the endless walking and posing and doing other kinds of nonsense was worth losing with them.
The next day was set for us to go island loving. After having our breakfast at the hotel, we packed our bags and left for our destination – Bantayan Island at Sta. Fe, Cebu.
Sissy had already told me ahead of time that the travel will be extremely long. However, I am a person who wouldn’t really realize unless I was in it. Man, was she right! We spent over four long hours heating up our bus seats and another less than 3 hours at the ship that brought us to Sta. Fe. The travel was really tiring (even starving). But when we reached the island and the resort itself… WOW! Everything was just worth the wait.
I never thought Cebu was such a very huge place. I mean, I’m not very well-versed in geographical concepts but I get the idea, nonetheless. Since the travel was very long, I thought, probably Cebu had ‘provinces’ or something. Duhhh, I was just seeing CEBU and not the whole Visayan Region. My country amazed me even more and I knew there are really so much more to see in the Philippines. Lots of people I know wanted to go here and there outside the country to admire their beauty but the Philippines itself has so much to offer the human eye if he would just come see all of it. After that, I actually wanna see more of the greatest places there is in my country in the next years/months of my life, God-willing! 🙂
And yes, Bantayan Island was my “beach-come-true.” It’s one of my wishes and silent desires to experience a beach get-away at least before I turned 20. You see, I’m not really a very beach-y type of person. I mean, one who would really want to go to the beach every now and then. I actually used to dislike the beach ’cause the ocean felt much stickier than the swimming pools to my skin, the air is very humid and hot and I never like that kind of discomfort. But it’s been years since I last saw and enjoyed the beach and Bantayan Island is such a place to be! We spent the whole afternoon, and the morning after, just adoring the view of the sea and the sky, of the sun setting on the beach, the summer heat embracing our bodies and the cool waters to tap it off. It’s just been awesome!
And oh yeah, aside from the loveliness of the island, I’d also definitely give high fives to Budyong Resort’s food! WOW! I never tasted anything from our orders that didn’t actually seemed great to eat. Their food is fabulous! It would seem like you’ll never miss home from there. I was very ecstatic! HAHA!
But then on our third day, we had to come back to Cebu City and find some more places to invade. We reached our hotel at 7pm of our third day and had dinner at an also very yummy food place. I forgot what they call it but it’s a grilling (Ihawan) restaurant near Chongwa Hospital. Although the smoke was very suffocating, the food is just so great. Everyone there ate with bare hands (as in wala talagang spoon and fork kahit saan!) and it was my first adventure to eat Cebu’s kind of rice — PUSO!
The last day was a very cool bonding moment with my Mom and brother (Tito Nonoy went back early at our Day 4). Of course, what greater way to spend it but to try one of the most challenging adventures of all time that you could do in Cebu — the extreme rides and adventures at Crowne Regency Hotel and Towers.
At first I was very much ready to try either their Edge Coaster or their Sky Walk. Unfortunately, my discomfort of heights kicked in unbearable enough to let me get dizzy the whole time I was at the 19th floor. They say it wouldn’t be very healthy for me. So we just took a picture with their official photographer at a duplicate of their Edge Coaster and they editted it and made it seem like we really rode the thing. But I couldn’t honestly do it in real life. Honestly, :). Anyway, we also got to watch a 30-minute 4D entertainment and was very amused by the sprinkling waters on our faces and creepy things that tried to crawl at our feet.
At night we ate at a very delicious pizza, potatoes and chicken dinner at Da Vinci’s Pizza. We tried their bestseller Da Vinci Pizza itself and it was terrific! It’s like the awesome-st white sauce pizza I’ve ever tasted in my whole life (so far). We actually wondered if there’s a same restaurant back in Manila. Oh yeah, and their chicken? Very well-cooked! Their Mojos were so thin, it seemed like potato chips but way more tastier. And we went back to our hotel with satisfied hearts (and tummies)!
Sayonara, Cebu 😦
It was hard to say goodbye to my first Cebu experience. It’s like the feeling that everything just gets soooo amazing and you wouldn’t wanna stop it. But it was time to go back to where we belong and share the great blessings earned from there to here.
One big point God showed me during my Cebu trip was that it made me fall deeper in love with Him and His presence. Those creations are no greater than the Creator Himself. After seeing Cebu’s beauty and actually experiencing all the good things first-hand, it didn’t make me a travel master or a Cebu fan or whatsoever. It only made me come closer to the One who made everything with His Hands, holds everything in His hands. And He is beautiful. He’s the One who’s lovely. His presence is the One that’s overwhelming me, touching me right through the deepest cores of my heart and soul. I’ve never felt so in love before, with anyone or anything, and I yearned for Him all the more. Cebu isn’t my reward for anything. Jesus is. And Cebu… it’s an overflow of His very tremendous and immeasurable love for me. Sigh. And with that thought, I’ll never be the same again — EVER.
Yes. There’s been love, love, love at Cebu. Actually, even beyond Cebu. God’s love for us is so thick and wide, it seeks us out wherever we may be until we’re swept off our feet. Wherever you are right now, don’t miss that chance of experiencing that KILIG like no other from the greatest Lover of our souls — JESUS!