Sep 2-7, 2017
5 Nights in Cebu City at Hostel Seven Cebu
Location: Hostel Seven Cebu, Cebu City, Philippines
I was always sure and confident of my moves, always knowing where I fit in the bigger scheme of things. When confounded, I just ask myself the question, "What excites me?" - and my answer would determine my next thing-to-do or my next destination. It was always that simple.
Strange, but after traveling homeless for 5 years, it's only now I lost my bearings. Traveling doesn't excite me as much and asking that question no longer generates an answer. What do I do now? Perhaps the 5 days will allow me to regain perspective on where to point my compass.
Hostel Seven Cebu
After Moalboal, I defaulted to Cebu City for a 5-night stay at the newly opened Hostel Seven Cebu. It's so new, the tv and wifi haven't been installed in my room yet. My room is spacious and comfortable with an unusual industrial theme to it. The washroom is likewise huge with eclectic floor tiling. The hotel has a lively outdoor bar/cafe and a proposed roofdeck for acoustic nights. A hip, dynamic and vibrant energy permeates the scene.
Mikko, the youthful owner of Hostel Seven, is forward moving and injects fresh thinking into this venture. With his plans for expansion and innovation, the future looks promising.
I joined him for a coldie on a couple of nights as he introduced me to his merry band of revelers - friends who make up his social circle. I admire him and his friends for many reasons - they work hard and play hard, they're smart and upwardly mobile and they seem to be the next-generation of Cebu's movers and shakers who carry this air of optimism up their stride.
As good fortune would have it, the same family also owns Orange Karenderia, with its latest branch on the same ground as Hostel Seven Cebu. Orange has been my benchmark for short-order good eats at reasonable price, as early as a few years back when I stumbled upon it at Salinas Drive in Lahug. Now, good food is just outside my doorstep - how cool is that? Their Garlic Chicken is part chicharon, part fried chicken with the Orange signature taste for goodness - don't leave Cebu without trying it (with ice cold beer)!
Cebu Then and Now
Cebu City used to conjure vivid and eclectic imagery for me - the yoga scene, Zen meditation at Chu Un Temple, Theosophical Society discussions, Vipassana sits, good friends, coffee conversation, secret love life (yes, it's only now I'm admitting to it), etc. But I was relatively new to Cebu then, meeting new friends. I wasn't close to anyone and talks were kept wholesome - let's just say it was pleasantly arms-length. Think of being on a plane and you see the city from 10,000 feet. It looks scenic and appealing.
As I immersed myself in the city and people's on-goings including their life issues and dirty laundry (mine too), it starts getting real and you start feeling the grit - let's call it life-texture. Some people will continue to resonate while others won't. And like water finding its own level, friends fall into their totem pole ranking, either in order of relevance or urgency (as I fall into theirs). Think of the plane finally landing and now you have to deal with the city's nuts-and-bolts - congestion, traffic, pollution, urban events and cultural offerings.
But no matter how the bigger picture takes shape and form in my Cebu peoplescape, I notice that at the center of it all, the hub that pulls them all together is my deepening friendship with Jeanne. Without her in the picture, Cebu would not be as compelling a destination. She would often be my breakfast guest and we'd hangout for beer and eats, always in constant conversation about anything and everything under the sun, hardly repeating ourselves. I am grateful. I thought you only make deep and lasting friendships with people you grow up with from school - not when you've already dealt with mid-life crisis! So yes, my benevolent universe has also given me one great gift - Jeanne.
And yes, to address your thought-bubble, she was not my secret life - never was though people may have speculated. Jeanne and I have kept it wholesome and platonic.
Theosophical Society Meetings
I didn't want to pass through Cebu without eating at the vegan dinner buffet at Persian Palate and attending the weekly Theosophical Society meetings. Lovorn's topic this time was Anthony de Melo's book and the wise sayings that's worth a ponder. But really, what I'm after is the community sense of seeing familiar faces and like-minded thinkers who make the effort to evolve. The usually suspects were there - Jeanne, Ellen, Regina, CaRen, Ivy, Emil, Edna, etc. It's good to be in a place where your radical ideas are open for scrutiny instead of simply being frowned upon.
Since I met Cebu's foremost food critic, Doc Alonzo, he has become part of my Cebu landscape. With every visit, we find time to catch up, usually at his favorite vodka/pizza place, Michaelangelo Pizza in Banilad. Let's just say we are both gray-haired guys who remain young. We share many things in common - good food and talking/writing about it, movies, sharing social commentaries, irreverent humor, etc. Often, he would reveal to me the hidden part of Cebu only lumad Cebuanos know about. An intellectual and keen observer of life who can articulate his insight, I'm left as a captive audience.
I met Judith during my last Cebu visit to coach her in keeping stillness of the mind in preparation for her major dance competition in Manila. She came back triumphant after bagging the gold but I was already away to congratulate her. We had this last hurrah breakfast to catch up and hear about her dance exploits and where it has taken her now. Judith has that rare objective-driven single-minded focus to win and stops at nothing to get the job done. I look forward to seeing her again.
With 5 days over in Cebu, Tagbilaran (Bohol) beckoned from out of the blue. In my cosmic parlance, my benevolent universe just parted the Red Sea to show me the path. With the help of Jeanne, I have an affordable room waiting for me. I still don't know what awaits me there, but not knowing is a good thing. Another place, another chapter.
Next stop: Tagbilaran, Bohol
(Sep 7, 2017) Thank you Gigit. ❤ ❤ ❤ Love you friend. See you soon. ❤ ❤ ❤
(Sep 7, 2017) Thank you, keep safe Gigit Sulit! See you sooon please!
Zoe Valones Arugay
(Sep 7, 2017) Um, for some reason, whatever was said after "secret love life" was a blur. I wanted to point out that secret love life + what came after = intriguing, hence, "blur". The Mensan in me wishes not to over think, though.
(Sep 7, 2017) Thank you for staying with us, Gigit! You are truly inspirational and please keep in mind you have a new home in Cebu, among many!
Cebu City, Philippines
More Information about Cebu City
Cebu City to Camotes Island
- 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).
Camotes Islands to Cebu City
- 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
Cebu City to Dumaguete, Negros Oriental by Boat
- George and Peter Lines - Mon/Thur/Sat/Sun 10pm, (035)225.4337, 0922.557.1023
- Oceanjet - via Tagbilaran, daily 6am, email@example.com, 0918.898.2188
- Cokaliong - Mon/Tue/Wed/Thur/Fri/Sat 7pm, Sun 12pm, 6 hours, (035)225.3599
Cebu City to Dumaguete via Liloan
- Cebu City South Terminal - take the southbound Ceres bus to Liloan, P200, 5 hours
- Liloan - the bus drops you off at the Liloan Port where you board the Fastcraft to Sibulan, Negros Oriental, P62, 30 mins
- Sibulan - at the Sibulan Port, the jeeps wait for Fastcraft passengers to take them to the public market in Dumaguete, P12, 30 mins.
- Public Market - at the market, you can take any tricycle to your hotel, P8 for short trips
Cebu City to Tagbilaran, Bohol
- Weesam Express - Pier 4, departs 9:00 AM, 2:00 PM, 6:30 PM, 2 hours
one way: Economy (aircon) P500.00, Economy (non-aircon) P400.00, First Class P600.00
round trip promo (at least 2 days advance booking): Economy (aircon) P600, Economy(non-aircon) P500, First Class P1200
round trip promo (1 day or on the day booking): Economy (aircon) P800, Economy (non-aircon) P700, First Class P1200
- Ocean Jet - Pier 1, departs 6-7-8-9:20-10:40-11:40AM, 1-2-4:20-6:35PM, 2 hours
Open Air / Tourist Class P800, Business Class P1000
+63 932 8734 885 / +63 922 8572 300
- SuperCat (2GO) - Pier 1, departs 08:15-13:30-15:10-18:00-19:40
+63 32 233 7000
- Lite Ferries - Pier 1, departs daily 12:30pm, 10:00pm and 1:00pm (Mon, Wed, Sat)
Standard (Lying) Php 150, Tourist (Lying Aircon) Php 340
+63 977.822.5483 / +63 998.999.5483 / +63 925.347.5483 / (032)255-1721 to 26 / (032)414-9001 to 03
firstname.lastname@example.org / www.liteferries.com
Suggested Destinations in Cebu
- 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
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