Jan 27-Feb 6, 2017
Coming Back to Cebu City
Location: Cebu City, Cebu (province), Philippines
Mounting Push for Cebu City
The compelling reasons for me to go back to Cebu City mounted -
- seeing Vien, a Vietnamese friend who came to Cebu to learn English
- eating my fruit cake which I ordered from Jackie months ago not knowing if I ever get back to Cebu
- attending PK's birthday party
- and course, seeing my dear friend Jeanne whose spirit never left me during my continuing travels
Before I knew it, from the comfort of Camotes Island, I took the 2-hour boat to Cebu City and got reunited with dear friends.
Before I left Cebu more than a year ago, Robinsons Galleria was still under construction. Now, craving to see a movie, I stopped by the mall to check it out and treat myself to a big screen indulgence. P230 for a movie???? That's the cheapest they got? Whoa! Sorry, but I'm a guerilla backpacker surviving on a shoestring. It looked like it'll be my last movie in a long while. No wonder I didn't see movie houses in the smaller cities/towns I've been to - Bantayan, Bogo, Tabogon, Carmen, Danao. Very few people can afford to see big screen movies at this price. Until that changes, the pirated DVDs will continue ruling the public movie audience at large. As for me, torrent downloads will continue to be my staple.
The Great Wall movie with Matt Damon
I would have watched La La Land for all its Golden Globe nominations but since there was a Matt Damon film, The Great Wall, I decided to go for Matt - he never makes a bad film. I loved his continuing Jason Bourne series. This movie was visually spectacular with armies in color-themed armour sweeping into battle, but the storyline didn't go deep enough to move you, although all the potential was there. For a gripping human drama, I would say The Last Samurai is a better film. At the end of it, The Great Wall was just another 90-minute forgettable entertainment. They could have done so much to engage the audience. It wasn't a really bad movie, but being a Matt Damon film, it was a little disappointing.
Meditation at Waterfront Hotel
Pascale Wettstein invited me to conduct a brief meditation for her students in her ongoing yoga teacher-training course at The Waterfront Hotel. I added an initial pranayama followed by the main meditation, themed on dealing with unpleasant thoughts - painful thoughts from the past or worries about the future. These thoughts are stealthy. They creep into our mindscape and dominate our here-and-now, robbing us of our bliss. Most people are powerless against it because they are not even aware they are reacting to it. What followed after the meditation was mainly an open talk on yoga and life. Pascale and I answered some questions raised by the students. I saw new faces on the mat. It's encouraging to see yoga continuing to grow in Cebu. Thank you, Pascale, for inviting me into your space.
Fujinoya Cafe has never figured out more prominently in any of my Cebu visits than this one. Almost exclusively, I met all my friends and did my online work in this low-key, subdued cafe in Lahug. Although understated by design, it's probably the most leveled-up coffee place in Cebu with its Third Wave Coffee compliance. In the same way Brillat-Savarin elevated food to new heights, the Third Wave movement takes coffee as an artisan craft and not just a pick-me-upper. Using cutting-edge brewing devices by serious barristas, they bring out the best attribute for a coffee variety. Navigating the coffee maze is owner/manager/barrista Tidow. He's a walking coffee encyclopedia.
Theosophical Society Meeting
In my own words, I would describe the Theosophical Society as a group of seekers who meet regularly to discuss the meaningfulness of existence towards realizing the higher self. This is headed by the charismatic, funny and witty Lovorn Ang. I was lucky to make it to the weekly meeting this time at Persian Palate - for regulars, the P199 dinner buffet (preceding the meeting) is only P99! The open exchange of ideas is as engaging as the characters who attend it. Most of those who attend are serious about high evolution. Sometimes, it's a spectacle to see a few intellectuals cross the blurred line (yes, it is a slippery slope) and showboat just how smart they are while pontificating ego dissolution - the ultimate satire. There was one guy (an outsider) who touted high philosophy, supremely confident of his finger-pointing monologue, closing condescendingly with, "You guys should know what you're talking about!". I could just imagine how good he felt after impressing upon everyone just how knowledgeable he was (eye roll). I call it live entertainment from a ringside seat. Lovorn is quite adept in keeping things on an even keel.
at the weekly meeting of the Theosophical Society
The Pig and Palm
About 2 months back, I was invited by PK to be at his birthday party in Cebu. I declined saying I would have no idea where I'd be in 2 months. Voila! I'm now in Cebu and in time for his birthday - one of those occasions life throws me a bone :) It was really good seeing PK and Lana again together with Jeanne and the rest of the team who were part of the feeding program where I met them. The celebration was at The Pig and Palm - a Michelin-starred restaurant owned by English chef Jason Atherton. Wine, canapés, hors d'oeuvre, tapas and antipasto were there to grace our palate. It was a memorable evening of friends, food and wine.
Losing my Voice
After successive days meeting friends in a row, I lost my voice. I had to put myself in isolation to take rest. It's my universe telling me to slow down again. I listen. I'm just glad I have a Jiminy Cricket in my head providing checks-and-balances to keep me balanced.
I usually default to staying 7 months in Cebu City. But this time around, with a room in Camotes Island already paid for, I felt it time to come back to my other home in Cebu - to Camotes. This visit was different - short but sweet. I find it appealing that while in Camotes, I would only be 2 hours away from the city...2 hours away from my dear friends.
Cebu City, Philippines
Tops - hilltop offering panoramic view of the city
Taoist Temple - temple on a hillslope in Lahug with panoramic view of the city
- Hostel Seven Cebu - newly opened, resto/bar, central location, solo/group travellers
Juana Osmeña Street, Cebu City
- S Hotel & Residences - new hotel, luxury rooms, central location
827 M. Velez corner Andres Abellana St.
resto / cafe / bar
- Fujinoya - new and refreshing twists to Western style desserts using Japanese techniques
Wilson St., Lahug, Cebu City - tel. 888.6075
- Bad Boys Wingz - Buffalo Wings, unique versions of sauces! Great service, accommodating staff, bad boys vibe
Kasambagan, Cebu City | (032) 415 4811
- Love Yoga World - yoga studio
11/fl, Skyrise 2 Tower, IT Park, Lahug, Cebu City
- Yoga Now - first Yoga and Wellness studio in Mactan offering daily Yoga Classes
at The Yacht Club Mactan
- Cebu Mountain Bike Adventure - MTB tours, bike sales and repairs. Bed and Breakfast + Resto Cafe + wifi
1298-b V.Rama Ave, Guadalupe, Cebu City | 0942.959.7451
- via Poro - from Pier One in Cebu City, take the Ocean Jet for Poro, 2 hours, daily trip - 6am and 3pm (0936.823.8762 |0956.270.6610 | 0999.889.9999).
- via Consuelo - from Cebu City, take the northbound bus passing through Danao and get off at the Danao Port. At the Port, take a Jomalia Shipping boat for Consuelo (San Francisco, Camotes), P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only).
- Poro - Cebu City (fastest and most direct) - go to Poro and take the 8am or 5pm Ocean Jet to Pier One in Cebu City, P380/pax/aircon, 2 hours
- Consuelo - Danao - Cebu City - go to Consuelo (San Francisco) and take the Jomalia Shipping boat to Danao, P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only). From Danao, take the Ceres Bus to Cebu City
- George and Peter Lines - Mon/Thur/Sat/Sun 10pm, (035)225.4337, 0922.557.1023
- Oceanjet - via Tagbilaran, daily 6am, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0918.898.2188
- Cokaliong - Mon/Tue/Wed/Thur/Fri/Sat 7pm, Sun 12pm, 6 hours, (035)225.3599
- Camotes Islands - caves, beaches
- Cebu City - rich in culture and history, 2nd largest city in the Philippines
- Moalboal - amazing coral reef system, sardine bowl, deep drop-off for freediving
- Oslob - Butanding (whale shark) watching
- Bantayan Island - long stretch of fine white sand beach, Virgin Island for snorkeling
- Malapascua Island - divers' paradise for seeing the rare Thresher Shark
- Cantabaco Cave - Toledo
- Barile Waterfalls - Barile
- Whale Shark Tour - Oslob
- Carcar - chicharon and lechon in public market
Jan 27-Feb 6, 2017
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