The Walks of Kulot


I WOK’d in CEBU.

Albeit late to the grandiose Sinulog festival, WOK is off to another great adventure down south – to the island known as the Queen City of the south. Cebu is a bustling urban metropolis not different from Manila with malls, a business district, high-rise buildings and an IT park to boot. Indeed, Cebu City is the Metro Manila of the south. But amidst its progressive economy, the island of Cebu is rich in culture and history. Our faith and religious beliefs are deeply rooted with various events that happened in the island centuries ago and remnants of the past are kept intact to tell our history. A stroll in downtown Cebu, will definitely bring out the voyager in you as great stories unfold as you discover some of the firsts, the smallest, and the oldest wonders that can only be seen in Cebu.

Home of the oldest church and relic in the country
Philippine history would tell us, that Christianity was first brought to the Philippines when Ferdinand Magellan first arrived in the island of Sugbo (Zebu) in 1521 and started to baptize the locals to the Christian faith. As a symbol of their allegiance to the Spanish rule, an image of the Sto. Nino was given to Rajah Humabon and wife Hara Amihan who was baptized Carlos and Juana respectively. In the year 1565, the oldest relic of the Sto. Niño was discovered by Spanish explorers and a church was built in honor of the Holy Infant. Today, the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, known to be the oldest church in the country is a living testament of the Filipino’s century-old religion which dates back to the early voyages of the Spaniards. People from different walks of life come to visit the basilica everyday and pay homage to the Sto. Niño – the beloved patron of the Cebuanos who saves them from any adversity in life.

The interiors of the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño

The exterior of the Basilica at night. Just accross the entrance of the church is the pilgrimage area where the Sinulog festival is held every January.

This image of the Sto. Niño is believed to be the original statue brought by Ferdinand Magellan during his voyage to the Philippines.

A devotee fervently praying after offering candles.

The Cross of Magellan
Just a stone’s throw away from the Basilica of the Sto. Niño is the chapel of the Magellan’s cross. Candle peddlers who are offering to say prayers in your behalf are common in the area, but it’s up to you to give in if you believe that your petitions can be sent in express. A mural is painted on the ceiling of the chapel which depicts the first installation of the cross on the same exact spot. It also believed that the oiginal cross Magellan planted is encased inside the outer cross which is made of Tinadalo Wood. The Magellan’s cross located at the Plaza Sugbo in Cebu is a landmark worth visiting because of its historical significance.

The ceiling inside the Magellan's Cross chapel.

Candle peddlers outside the chapel offering their "prayer services"

A mini-Fort Santiago
One thing I liked about Cebu is that historical places aren’t far from each other. And for adventure seekers like me, I literally walked from one place to another with my trusty backpack and map. My next stop was at the Fuerza de San Pedro (Fort San Pedro). Inside the towering stoned walls is a well maintained garden of lush greens and pink bougainvilleas. Fort San Pedro is a mini-version of Manila’s Fort Santiago and served as a defense fortress against the muslims in the 19th century. A walk inside the fort’s cobble-stoned path brings you back during the hispanic era though majority of the area has been rehabilitated and was transformed into a park.

Fort San Pedro: The oldest and smallest fort in the country.

The oldest street in the Philippines After my historical walk at the Fort San Pedro, I went back downtown and explored the outskirts of the city. I learned that the oldest street in the Philippines can be found in Cebu. Colon street named after Christopher Columbus was known to be the entertainment and fashion hub of the city but today it’s a bit deteriorated though many establishments are still in operation. For bargain hunters and second-hand shopping, shops in Colon Street is the place to go. The place is similar to Manila’s Quiapo or Divisoria. Carbon Public market and the Basilica de Minores de Santo Nino is near this famous street.

Colon Street marker

The intersection at Colon Street.

Another notable landmark in Cebu City is the Fuente Osmeña Circle or rotonda. The park is open to the public and visitors can enjoy watching the fountain change its colors during the night. TRIVIA: The Fuente Osmeña landmark is depicted in the P50.00 currency of the Philippines.

The Fuente Osmeña landmark and the Crown Regency hotel at the background.

Souvenir photo@the Fuente Osmeña landmark

Up north, down south
After our day-trip in Cebu City, we headed up north to the island of Bantayan the next day. From our hotel in Cebu City, we rented a van going to the Hagnaya Port. It is approximately a 3-hour ride from the city proper but we got lost along the way and we arrived at Daanbantayan, which is a different town from Bantayan. But if not for that unexpected detour we would have arrived at the Hagnaya Port in less than 3 hours. From the Hagnaya port we went onboard a shuttle ferry which costs P135/person. In less than an hour we arrived at the Bantayan port.

Hagnaya Port

Hagnaya Port

Island Adventures
From the ferry, I noticed towering coconut trees line up the shore of the island. The cool blue tone of the sky is reflected in its waters a perfect complement to the island’s pristine white shore. From the port we were picked up by a shuttle courtesy of our resort, from there we were transported to Maia’s Beach Resort a 15-minute ride from the port. Maia, the owner and to whom the resort was named after welcomed us with a warm smile and directed us to our villas. We arrived around 4PM, and we had our late lunch and strolled around the vicinity of our resort. The resort doesn’t have a beach front but it has the perfect view to watch the sunset.

Bantayan island from our ferry

The next day, we woke up early for our next activity – Island hopping to the Virgin island! But before breakfast, I noticed that it was low tide in front of our resort. So I grabbed my camera and started to take photos of the sunrise and the daily activities of the people living in the area. Since it was low-tide, I was able to walk on the muddy sea bed and even walked in the middle of the sea.

Sunrise in Bantayan

Seaweed Scavengers

Low-tide catch

Barkadahan sa Bantayan

Tire-ing Game

We also met new friends, Mary Rose and Richard.

Mary Rose and her starfish.

Mary Rose and her starfish.

Mary Rose and Richard with their catch

usa, duha, tulo...ambak! (One, two, three...jump!)

Low-tide bonding

After breakfast, we headed to the Virgin Island just across the Bantayan Port. The beaches of Bantayan are far different from other beaches in the Philippines because it is less commercialized and populated. One can truly enjoy the serenity of pure relaxation while enjoying the sea and basking under the sun.

Virgin Island, Bantayan.

Reason why it's called VIRGIN. No pun intended.

Rock formations

With my Summit officemates @ the Virgin Island, Bantayan

Sea, Sand, Sun, Shade

Under the shady tree

Siesta

Dried Fish and an Old Church
During our last day in Bantayan before going back to Cebu, we had a pitstop at Bantayan’s public market to buy pasalubong. Dangit, the punget-smelling yet delicious salted fish is one of the best pasalubong from Cebu aside from the famous dried mangoes and guitars. Dangit (dried salted fish), dried pusit/squid and other dried sea food can be bought at the Bantayan market for only P120 per pack, but prices may vary depending on the seafood and weight. Near the Bantayan Market was the Simbahan ng Bantayan (Church of Bantayan) also known as the Sts. Peter and Paul Church which was built by the Augustinian priests in the 1500’s.

Dried Fish

Simbahan sa Bantayan (Sts. Peter and Paul Church)

Skywalk-ing in Cebu
After our Bantayan escapade, we headed back to the city to ride and experience the famous Edge Coaster and Skywalk at the Crown Regency Hotel (Both sky rides for P600.00). It was night time when we dared ourselves to try this nerve –wracking attraction. First was the Edge Coaster on the hotel’s 38th floor, where passengers are securely and tightly fastened in the coaster while being tilted 55 degrees. The moment the coaster tilted, I felt that I was about to fall from my sit and was holding for my dear life. But seconds later I got the hang of it and I was in awe with the view of Cebu’s night cityscape. It was like a galaxy, the only difference is you’re looking down. The next attraction was the Skywalk on the 37th floor. Not recommended to those with Acrophobia or fear of heights because you have to walk around the perimeter of the hotel while having a safety line connected to your safety suit. It was really a great experience and I think I am in for a round two.

Edge Coaster @ the Crown Regency Hotel

Skywalk

A bird's eye view of Cebu's cityscape at night. Photo taken from the Crown Regency Hotel.

Foodtrip If you’re on a tight budget but wants to try a variety of grilled and authentic Pinoy dishes, then Neo-Neo Grill House is worth visiting when in Cebu. Prices of food range from P75 toP150 per order and they are good for two persons. Located at Juan Luna Avenue in Cebu City, AS Fortuna Street in Mandaue City and Lapu-lapu City.

Neo-Neo Grill House

As we all know, the Queen is always next to the King and no wonder Cebu was dubbed as the Queen City of the south because it’s the next best city to Metro Manila. Cebu is not only remarkable because of its progressive economy and development but also in the history of the Philippines. A lot of firsts transpired in this island which has been an important part of our culture and heritage – it has been the birthplace of Christianity, the home of the oldest church, the place where the first avenue was built and has been a fortress of defense during the Spanish era. The island of Cebu is also home to the best beaches in the country, and Bantayan island is the up and coming Boracay down south. So next time you think Manila is overrated, then Cebu is definitely a place you can consider to visit. Till then, Cebu!

I WOK'd in Cebu.

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6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

thanks for dropping by bro. more power on your travel blog.

Comment by lagalog

Thank you very much sir for dropping by. It’s really an honor.

Comment by walksofkulot

Nice! I love the ‘seaweed scavengers’ photo 🙂

Comment by Aia

Hi aia! Thank you for dropping by. That photo is my favorite too.

Comment by walksofkulot

Ganda ng shots mo kuya Marts! 🙂

Comment by Ella Torrico

Hi Ella! Thanks for visiting.

Comment by walksofkulot




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