100 Days in Cebu, Part 1

May 2014, while Manila was toasted dry in summer, the hobbit flew to this city dubbed as “The Queen City of the South”. Two reasons for the move: work and, of course, adventure. Whether leaving the metropolis was a right decision, he barely had a clue. All he knew was that he needed a change of environment, a new playground for living the good life. And having learned that Cebu is close to key destinations in the Visayas—Bohol, Dumaguete, Samar, Leyte, and Bacolod among others—the thrill of rolling hills, giant whale sharks, pristine beaches, and tasty food made him push for the big move.

Cebu being a first class city like Manila, there was no a sudden change in landscape. Nevertheless, there were some striking differences. From the plane thousands of feet in the sky, there was no sight of the pale Manila Bay. Instead, it was the blue ocean dotted with small islands with white shores. There were no skyscrapers and no MRT. No massive flyovers and giant billboards. No cars running at killer speed. Less pollution. Lighter traffic and less traffic lights. (You can actually cross the highway anywhere, just wave your hand so the cars would stop.)

The first time the hobbit set foot in Cebu was 14 years ago. His memory of the place was full of dried mangoes, the Magellan’s shrine and a Magellan’s cross, a Taoist temple in Beverly Hills, and a mall called SM. None of these pieces of memory made the place more familiar on his first few days. It’s a place he has never been to. A whole new world.

Photos taken with Cherry Mobile Flare.


ArisMape is a travel insider at ABS-CBN's Choose Philippines. He loves orange, halo-halo, and PowerPoint, and hates beef, slow internet, and long taxi lines. His pastime is watching people watch other people. He swears on the power of smartphone. His half-life? Thirty.