What to do when in Cebu?
Join me as I go day by day telling you our experiences when we attended the Sinulog Festival in the Queen of the South. This is a four-day series of our hunt for experience during our five-day stay in Cebu.
What to do when in Cebu?
It’s the first time that we’re going there to celebrate Sinulog Festival. Our flight with Cebu Pacific was, yet again, indescribably inefficient. But one of my new year’s resolutions is to avoid the negative energy in whatever way possible so might as well skip that part.
The first day was, of course, nothing but settling down our hotel room. We did nothing but enjoyed staying in since we also need energy to prepare for our dinner. A little half past seven in the evening, we rode a cab going to Movenpick Hotel in Mactan Cebu. We met up with our friend and former colleague who is now working there. We were delighted with a little tour at the hotel lobby, pool area, garden and the mini man-made beach. It was stunningly beautiful.
We felt privileged to experience having dinner at Movenpick’s Ibiza Beach Club. Only the best, we had their famous Churassco buffet where we were initially delighted with an array of salad selections, cold cuts and cheese bread. During the meal, we were served with our choice of wine as we enjoyed the live performances themed with iconic movie songs. After the appetizer, we were given our choice of knife to use for the main course – talk about being extra festive and fancy.
Before the dinner, we’ve been told to save some for the heavy feast we are about to experience. Each grilled meat was served by no less than the chef himself with our choice of rice or mashed potato, grilled vegetables and selection of sauces for the meat. We started off with pork baby back ribs served in a skewer; as well as the leg of lamb, fillet mignon wrapped in bacon, grilled chicken, ostrich steak, shrimp and fish. To seal the deal after the heavy feast, we were served with a nice grilled pineapple slice to cleanse our palate.
Just when we thought the festivity is over, we were treated with their famous Movenpick Luxury Ice Cream. We’ve been told that the ice cream is quite special as it is a Swiss hotel original. True to what they say, the first bite convinced me that it is one special kind of ice cream that can only be found in Movenpick hotels.
We called it a night after a few more bottles of red wine. For what it costs at PhP2,500.00, you surely will be convinced that it is worth every peso spent. The meat overload, unlimited wine and good service definitely makes it a wonderful experience. Movenpick Hotel absolutely welcomed us well.
Our second day started pretty late. Since we have all the time in the world, we decided to get out of the hotel at lunch time. When in Cebu, you have to try one of their renowned fast food restos, The Sunburst Fried Chicken. It was a heavy feast of their famous fried chicken, sinigang na sugpo and lumpiang shanghai.
Soon after lunch we paid a visit to the Basilica del Sto. Nino. Since it is Sinulog week, the number of people since the last time we were there have tripled. And although there were a lot of visitors hearing the Mass, it is impressive to see that the Church was able to do it really organized.
We went there while the mass was on going so we decided to lit up the red candles and say a little prayer before seeing the other tourist spots inside the Basilica. After the candles, we visited the Sto. Nino inside the church before heading to the Magellan’s cross. Inside the cross were ladies dressed in uniform offering candles and prayer. A friend of mine got intrigued so he paid PhP150.00 to see what the lady will do. For that price, she will offer a prayer in your behalf through dancing and in the end will offer the bunch of colorful candles you bought to the cross.
Some roads were closed due to the heavy foot traffic anticipated for the festival so we decided to walk in order to get a cab elsewhere. While waiting, we spotted a group of guys who apparently are designing the little Sto. Nino dresses. We witnessed firsthand how they make each religious figures being sold beside the Basilica. Then there is this one particular Sto. Nino that I find really amusing for its green color; I had to take a photo to share with you.
From Basilica, we went up hill to check out the Taoist Temple. It was our first time going there and we truly enjoyed exploring the whole area. Of course we had to experience doing the little prayer they do inside the temple. It was very solemn and impressive. The entire place had this beautiful architecture that we cannot stop taking photos. It was worth the climb up the hill, especially for first-timers like us.
After a quick trip at the temple, we decided to go back to the ever so famous Tabo-an Market. Yet again, you need to be dressed at your most casual since the fishy smell of the market gets through until your underwear. We bought our pasalubong items, some Cebu staples like dried danggit, dried pusit, dried mangoes and all other sorts of dried seafood goodies. Of course we had to go back to our hotel after the market trip so we can freshen up.