Cebu-Kota Kinabalu in a Week
(February 26 – March 4, 2011)
Did we ever travel to different places in a week?
A lot of travelers do, and try to visit as much as they can… but for us we were about to revisit two places namely Cebu and Kota Kinabalu. We visited Cebu a year ago to witness the Sinulog Festival, and Kota Kinabalu just last January.
Thanks to those airline promos that give cheap rates, which gives us travelers on a budget to travel almost every month, but what we did not foresee that we are going to two places with just one day in between them.
After doing overtime work at the office the night before, going home and packing my daypack for this trip, stuffing my cameras in my camera bag and a tripod stuck on my back pack while bringing all my new clothes for this trip, because as I learned we were booked at Hilton Hotel (a five-star hotel), and it would be our first time to travel and being booked at a five-star hotel (we almost always travel and stay in cheap but really nice places like backpackers do).
Being at the airport by 0500hrs and eating breakfast, we left Manila by 0700hrs and upon arriving in Cebu, we checked in at Hilton Cebu Resort & Spa, went up to our room and tried to feel what staying in a five-star hotel would feel like. We had breakfast at 0900hrs, and by 1400hrs, we got on the shuttle to take us to SM Cebu where we had lunch of cebu lechon, chorizo and puso rice, then went around and bought some pasalubong.
We headed for Tabo-an. Talk about the motherload of dried, semi-dried and fermented fish. The Tabo-an (Taboan, Tabuan) Market near downtown Cebu is one of the most massive and pungent dried fish markets in the South. I suppose there are many such markets in all major provincial cities but this was just impressive in scale, volume of goods and staying power of its utterly pungent aroma (it literally sticks to your clothes in the same way that Japanese food seems to do as well). I have never seen anything like it. Here is where we went around and got some dried fish to take back home and by 1900hrs we headed back to the hotel where we went around and took some photos of the hotel grounds.
We woke up late (really like the softness of the pillows) and by 1000hrs took the shuttle to SM Cebu then took a cab going to Santo Niño Basilica to hear mass. The convent of the Sto. Niño de Cebu, was founded by Fr. Andres de Urdaneta on April 28, 1565, the very day the Legazpi-Urdaneta expedition arrived in the island. On May 8 of the same year, when Legaspi and his men planned the urbanization of the city, they allotted a “place for the church and the convent of San Agustin, “where the Santo Niño image had been found.” In 1599, the convent was made a house of studies of grammar, headed by the Visayan linguist, Fr. Alonso de Mentrida. It also served as a rest house for missionaries working in the province and as a retirement home for the aged and the sick, usually attended to by a lay brother. The church has always been the Sanctuary of the Sto. Niño, which was under the custody of the Augustinians. The number of priests assigned to the church varied from three to five aside from one or two lay brothers.
After hearing mass, we headed to Ayala where we ate lunch at Café Laguna, then walk around the mall because it was raining outside. We took the shuttle at 1800hrs back and we asked to be dropped off at Mactan Shrine to eat dinner at one of the Sutukil (literally means Suga, Tula or soup, Kilaw) there.
When you’re in or anywhere near Lapu-Lapu City in Mactan Island, you have to try sutukil. Sutukil is a portmanteau of the three ways fish are cooked in eateries near the Mactan Shrine: Su is for sugba or grilled, tu is for tula or prepared into a soup and kil is for kilaw or turned into a raw fish salad.
Sutukil restaurants let you choose whatever you want cooked from stalls of fresh fish, prawns, crabs, seaweeds, shells, clams and even lobsters. These seafood are as fresh as seafood can be and the crabs and lobsters on display are still alive as you pick which ones you want cooked. Sutukil eateries get their daily supply of fresh seafood from fishers in nearby islets.
Going around the stalls, we bought some souvenirs to bring home. We rode the jeep back to the hotel and after freshening up had some drinks at the atrium and hear the band play.
Woke up at 0700hrs where I went walking to Mactan Shrine, which is dedicated in honor of Lapu-Lapu, Ferdinand Magellan, and the Battle of Mactan. Going back to our history, Lapu-Lapu was the native chieftain of Mactan Island, and he resisted the efforts of Magellan to subdue his people and to be converted to Christianity and to be subjected to the throne of Spain. The subsequent battle on April 27, 1521 between the Spaniards and Lapu-Lapu and his men resulted to the death of Magellan. The shrine was erected on the supposed spot where the battle took place.
The most prominent monuments in Mactan Shrine, is a bronze statue of Lapu-Lapu holding a bolo and shield and an obelisk dedicated to Magellan, which was erected in 1866. In Google Maps, the obelisk is the one in the center of the circle while Lapu-Lapu’s statue is at the the square area 50 meters north, beside the shore where the Battle of Mactan is reenacted yearly in the Kadaugan sa Mactan festival. Between the two monuments stands the Philippine flag, and to the east of the obelisk is a small building housing a plinth with plaques on both sides, one about Lapu-Lapu, and the other about Magellan. Behind the plinth is a painting depicting the battle. Here I took some photos, then headed back the hotel and ate breakfast by 0900hrs, after eating we walked around the hotel taking photos and by 1000hrs was packing our bags and waited till 1400hrs for our transfer to the airport. We were in the air by 1530hrs and headed back to Manila.
Did some chores on the morning of our departure for Kota Kinabalu and by 1200hrs we took the cab and headed for Makati where we ate lunch at SM. By 1400hrs we were headed for the airport where we checked in our bags and lounged around, by 1800hrs we were on the plane headed for Kota Kinabalu. Arriving at 2000hrs at Kota Kinabalu International Airport, and took a cab to Winner Hotel to check in our bags then headed out to the Filipino Wet Market where we ate dinner, I miss the mangoes with amoy powder. Heading back to our hotel by 2300hrs to rest and plan our trip the next day.
Waking up at 0600hrs and ate breakfast by 0700hrs, by 0830hrs we headed for Wisma Sabah to inquire about the Island tours but was advised to just head for Jesselton Point where there are boats there to take you where ever you want to go, and it cost cheaper than to go with the tour. Heading to Jessleton Point and paid for our trip to Manukan Island. Riding the fast boat, we arrived at Manukan Island before 1000hrs and then swam and took pictures. We bought our lunch at the store and ate at the tables near the beach. We met a girl there and learned that she was a Filipina and took photos of her (later I learned that she was one of the finalist of the White Castle Girls). By 1330hrs we headed back to Jesselton Point passing by Mamutik Island and after dropping off some passengers in Shangri-La resort, while heading back to Jesselton, we were stopped by the Malaysian Police and learned that the boatman who was manning the helm was not the owner of the boat, thus was impounded by the police after we were dropped off at Jesselton Point. Passed by the grocery to buy stuff and then headed back to our hotel to rest where we had a power interruption and when the power came back on, our room had no electricity, so we were transferred to another room. We ate dinner at a Chinese restaurant then rested for the day.
Woke up early and ate breakfast by 0700hrs and then walked around the city taking photos till 0930hrs. By 1000hrs, we headed to Centerpoint Mall and went around, eating lunch past 1100hrs then went shopping and looking around. Ate some snacks at KFC then headed back to the hotel to get our back, and by 1400hrs, we were headed to the airport where we checked-in our bags and waited at the lounge area. By 1800hrs, we were on the plane headed back to Manila
In this trip I wanted to go out more and see other places I have not gone but since carol got sick and had to take care of her limited our going around. It is hard getting sick when you are in a different place because you could not go to places you wanted to visit. Hopefully we would not get sick on our next trips
Till the next trip…
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