As a conclusion to our quest of exploring as much of the Philippines as we can before we leave, I went to Cebu with a couple of my good friends to visit another friend who lives and works there. It got a bit stressful but great just the same.
To start of, we got left behind by our plane by minutes, due to some miscalculations and lack of initiative to ask questions properly. However, although we did admit that it was our fault for not making our flight, I must add that the people from Cebu Pacific (our chosen airline service) weren’t very nice nor helpful. The girl at the check-in counter was seemed irritated whenever I asked her a question, and seemed to have smirked a little when she said that we have in fact missed our plane. When we tried to get another flight, the crew at the rebooking counter were not any better than the first girl. They talked to us with a hint of sarcasm and spoke condescendingly, one even made comments about how confused she was with our previous booking. Circumstances forced us to spend the night at the airport and take separate flights. I took an earlier flight, and might I add that when flying Cebu Pacific, it is not exactly first class, not even second; and when I got there, in addition to my headache, my luggage was damaged on the way. Because of this I have decided never to fly via Cebu Pacific again, and discourage you if you are thinking about it. I have availed of their services before, and although not as bad as my Cebu experience, is not as pleasant either.
I don’t know if this is accurate, but I was told that they should at least made us pay for a penalty since we only missed our check-in schedule by mere minutes and still could have made us ride our plane which still hasn’t left when we arrived at the airport. Instead they tried to milk us for all we’ve got and left us no choice but to buy new tickets.
So we stayed at my friend Mantha’s house who lives about an hour away from the city. She manages a high-end clothing shop and asked to be transferred their Cebu branch, which she happily took to spend time with her parents who lives there.
Flying ahead wasn’t so bad since I got to spend time with Mantha. On my first night there we went for a walk to their local market, their town plaza, and went clothes digging at an Ukay-ukay were we got great deals for apparels that would cost so much more in the malls.
The next day, the two boys arrived, and after a short rest, we then set off to go the beach. Mantha lived in near a beach but she said that that didn’t compare to where she was taking us. Moalboal was a two hour bus ride but was really worth the wait.
When we arrived, we rented a small cottage and survived on Lechon, puso (rice cakes stratigically rapped in banana leaves), and liters of Coke. I spent the day and next morning snorkeling and searching for nice shells I can take home as souvenirs.
Back in the city, I persuaded them to pass by East Visayan College, in Talisay, where my dad grew up and studied high school.
We also went to a popular local restaurant that served at an all-you-can-eat buffet. It was frustrating at first because we really didn’t have much pocket money, in fact we were barely surviving on jeepney fares and buying drinks caused by the almost scorching heat of Cebu summer. At Joven’s I stacked up on seafoods, particularly the crabs, spicy squid, and fresh oysters served.
What got me was the Sweet and Spicy Lapu-Lapu which I stubbornly ate even though I know I was allergic to those kinds of fishes. I only ate a small part of its tale, but when we got back that night itchy red spots started popping off all over my skin, which I am still applying ointment ’til now, days after we got back.
After eating, we set out to find a shop that we can purchase local delicacies and treats that we can bring home as pasalubongs. After walking around the market, almost worried that most of them are closed, we were directed to some shops that sold dried fishes, dried mangoes, and of course Masa Real!
But perhaps the most memorable part about the trip was our encounter with a very unwelcoming local. Suffice to say that I found out in an unpleasant way that some Cebuanos are not very nice to out of towners like me. According to Mantha, she has had many experiences about locals being a bit racist and irritable towards non-Visayan speakers like me, as I discovered with the man in the jeepney that night. In retrospect, I later understood why Mantha was so eager to translate for us, even in the simplest task of buying something from a store. It felt sad, because I have always thought highly of Cebuanos because I grew up around them (my dad, uncles, and my lola). Which made that incident so surprising since none of them has ever told me about Visayans being sensitive about things like that. Mantha explains that is because those who are not “that sensitive” are those who usually have relatives living in Manila. Her boyfriend who was with us, also adds that its probably because Visayans always thought their dialect as what should be our country’s official language since they believe that majority of our population speak Visaya. I want to take this opportunity to tell my friends that I appreciate what they did that night, I still would probably reacted the same way, because I maintain that those things are out of our hands. But I know that you guys were just looking out for me and I appreciate your concern.
So all in all, the trip was really fun and memorable. It was great to be able to spend time with friends, especially ones whose company you really enjoy. As someone in Facebook said today, things didn’t turn out as expected, but that’s what made it a helluva a trip.