Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cebu Love

To date, Zeke says Cebu is his favorite place. Why? Read on and you'll know.

Dusk at Cebu by Zeke McKenzie

Zeke came back last October to visit me again. Yey! I always LOVE when he's here. I love that we're together and we spend a lot of time with each other. Makes me kilig all the time :) He was here for 11 days to spend time with me. We spent the first few days at home and met some of my AT&T friends. Then we went for a 5 day vacation in Cebu.

The Queen City of the South - Cebu, is located in the Visayas region of the country so Zeke and I have to take a plane ride to reach our destination. Uhm, so yeah, that's our destination. But what do we do? We have absolutely no idea at the start. But since we both love the beach, we first decided to go island hopping. But Zeke doesn't seem to buy the idea of island hopping since we've done that in Boracay. Then it suddenly hit us; tick an item from our Bucket List. Let's go SCUBA DIVING! Wooot! We got excited that we pegged our entire trip for this activity. It's just funny because we did everything the last minute --- from booking our flights, accommodation, planning our itinerary. We booked our flight October 8 and left Manila on the 9th. We arrived in Cebu in the afternoon and I had to make phone calls to the resort to have someone pick us up from Cebu City later that night. Why? Later you'll find out.

First off, visit the Magellan's Cross and Snr. Santo Nino Church. Visiting this place is a must whenever one visits Cebu. This is one of the famous landmarks in Cebu and the church is really very old. Zeke even told me that the church is older than his country. Visiting the Sto. Nino church is very personal to me. When we were younger, my entire Saldua family would come to Cebu to celebrate the Sinulog Festival. Sinulog Festival is a yearly celebration for the feast of the Sto Nino. It's a lavish party held every 3rd Sunday of January. The main streets will be closed all the way to Sto. Nino church for the parade. Then at the end of the parade, all the people will gather in the church to receive the final blessing. I have experienced that whole thing when I was still young that's why it was very special for me to take Zeke to a place where I consider close to my heart.

We first went to the Magellan's Cross then the church. Zeke took a lot of photos while I was praying. After I prayed, we went to a courtyard adjacent to the church and we took some more photos. I also lit some candles for special prayers.

Magellan's Cross

Zeke the photographer and Sto. Nino Church

Me praying

Zeke trying to talk to Jesus

Have mercy on us

Light a candle for a special prayer

After visiting the church, we went straight ahead to Crowne Regency Hotel and Tower. This is why we asked our driver to pick us up at 10pm.

Sky Experience Extreme Adventure

This was one of a kind experience for the both of us. We both enjoyed all the activities as we were challenged both physically and mentally. It's been years since my last climb and yes, I have fear of heights. I mean, who doesn't? So the more we did the activities in that place, the more I let out screams from the top of my lungs. And obviously, Zeke was enjoying the whole time I was terrified. Zeke loved our activities from that night. He could've been happier had the shooting range made his rifle available on that day. Unfortunately, we have to go back on a Saturday. We ended our extreme adventure with a sumptuous buffet dinner at the hotel. Great cos we're both famished. At 10pm, we were on our van en route to Moalboal, Cebu. The trip took us 2 hours to get to the resort and as soon as we enter our cottage, we immediately hit the sack. zzzzz....

The Edge Coaster. I didn't scream. Promise. ; )

A foot on the edge. I couldn't do it. Great job, baby!

Can you see the guitar?

Our guide pretended to fall and it wasn't funny. He apologised to me later on.

Zipline from Tower 1 to Tower 2

Rock Wall Climbing. "Aah, I can hear Ma'am's nails..."

We survived the funny Skywalk Adventure

Day 2: We woke up to a very beautiful morning at Club Serena in Moalboal, Cebu. Our cottage is situated near the resort entrance so we have to walk a bit to see the beach. The beach is not as fabulous as Boracay's. This is because Moalboal is known for diving. So intead of having fine sand, all you can see is a pebbly, rocky beach. But don't complain yet! Wait 'til you see the underwater. We had our breakfast, took some photos and then we had our intro course for diving. At 10:30am, we were at the dive shop, watching a video presentation about diving, filling out forms and taking tests with our dive master Mark Russell. Whew, that was easy! Then off we went to the pool to do the actual exercises. But ooops, I had a few issues before going in the water. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with MVP (Mitral Valve Prolapse). It's a heart condition which actually means that my heart is not pumping regularly. Instead of the lub-dub lub-dub beat, sometimes, it goes lub-lub-dub or lub-dub-dub. Sometimes, my heart forgets to stop beating. Joke! Seriously, I have been previously told I can't do strenuous activities. If I try to run, which is my usual exercise, I should do it with a buddy. But obviously, I've managed to run by myself for years. Going back, I was really scared our dive master won't allow me to get into the water. He asked me questions, a couple of times thought of it and finally he said we will take it slow. Yebah!!!

Club Serena's boat

Good Morning kiss

So we put our wetties on, booties, flippers, (heavy) belts, tanks and BCD. We then did some exercises in the pool. I struggled a lot. It's because we were asked to "breathe normally" when we're in the water but my problem is I don't breathe normally. I few times I am very conscious with my breathing because the swimming part is tiring. Man, the kicking with the flippers is a lot of work! I did a few rounds in the pool and it was like I had a 2k run. I had to get off from the water to breathe abnormally. Hahaha! And because I was very conscious with my breathing, I was literally turning around like a dead fish as I can't control my bouyancy. As for Zeke, my darling was a PRO. He was like a handsome merman in the water. As a matter of fact, our dive master encouraged him to take the full course in diving cos he's very good. So jealous! And me? after a few rounds, I finally got to swim in the water.  We apologise we didn't have photos of our diving lessons. Zeke had left his camera in our cottage as there's no one who can look after his precious possession as we get in the water.

Sexy on our wetties

At 2:30pm, we were introduced to the ocean world. Did I mention we walked from the pool area to the beach with our tanks on our back and guess what, the tank I think is heavier than me so Zeke helped me held my tank in his other hand because I really couldn't walk. He looked like he's holding a pretty turtle on its shell. Now this is the part that I hated most in this trip. I was assigned to another diving instructor. And as we were going down in the water, I was trying to equalize cos my left ear started to hurt when this instructor pulled me down in the water. He was trying to get me at some depth but I just couldn't because my ear was just hurting. I went up a couple of times trying ease the pain on my ear then go down again. I eventually told him if we could stay at a certain depth and I will try to equalize again and once my ear is clear we can go further down. So he agreed but I know that he still keeps on pulling me down. And at 9 meters, I was cruising but I was in tears because my left ear really hurts big time. It almost felt like my left brain got numb too. So I gave up. I was so pissed off with my instructor and so disappointed with myself. I only spent less than 10 minutes under water. Boooo! I had a bad first diving experience. :( And again as for Zeke, I never saw him until he came out of the water after almost an hour. He surely had fun in the water. He went as deep as 12 meters and he almost ran out of air. I can see from his face he was very happy as he came out of the water and showed me pictures that he took. He went so deep when diving that his underwater camera gave up and was broken.

Zeke with our Dive Master, Mark Russell

Yey! We got our certificates

Day 3: River Climbing at Matutinao River. So what is actually a river climbing? We have no idea. From the pictures we see from the brochure, it looks like an upstream trekking. But what the hey, we are always ready for adventure so at 9:30am, a certain kuya picked us up from the resort and we rode his single motorcycle going to the town where we would meet the other people who would also do the same activity. So it appeared that in the group, excluding the guides, I am the only foreigner. *wink*

The Waterfall

Our guide took a sneaky pic of  us

The first bamboo bridge. So cute!

First swim

Hold on to the vines or else...

Couldn't get up

Finally, a happy swim!


That's a huge log!

Going up against the strong current

So how do I define River Climbing? Start with putting life vest on, helmet and booties are actually very useful. Then start with walking. Then crossing a bamboo bridge, a lot of walking, crossing a hanging bridge, jump in the water, swim, swim swim, walk, climb a mountain, go down, climb a rock, jump into the water, swim, walk and walk. Did I say that we were going against the strong current of the river? And as we go further, the current is becoming stronger and stronger and the obstacles are getting harder. The river is getting deeper and deeper, pathways are more narrow, rocks became boulders and at some point, there was a snake in the water at the end of the trek. The whole thing took us 4 hours and it was a lot of work. After the last climb, we realised we were so famished. The entire group settled on a cottage to have our lunch. We had grilled fish and pork, fried chicken, vegetable salad, puso, coke and beer. Burp! I had 3 puso while Zeke had 1 I think. But he loved the grilled pork and beer. After our lunch we head back to the town so that kuya can send us back again to the resort. We dropped by at a pharmacy to get us some Betadine, alcohol and cotton balls for our injuries. Ouchie! Back at the resort, we spent the rest of the afternoon swimming in our private pool. At night, we were treating our injuries, had some chocolates, tried to watch a DVD but since we were so tired and our bodies are so sore, we fell asleep sooner than we thought.

Day 4: We were supposed to go for another diving session and have asked our dive master Mark if he could be the one accompanying me as we go underwater and he said yes. Unfortunately, when we swam the day before at our pool, my ears hurt again. It hurts so bad that I got out of the pool because I could no longer even put my head on the water. So we decided to cancel our dive and go to an island instead to do snorkeling. We hired a boat to take us to Pescador Island. The trip going to the island is about 45 minutes and the waves are a bit scary. After that long boat ride with our engine halted in the middle of the deep blue sea, we finally arrived at the island. Pescador Island is a limestone island and surprisingly home of many fishermen. In fact, when we went snorkeling, Zeke had to remind me to be careful with some areas because there are a lot of fishing lines.

Pescador Island

Find the cat

I'm so ready!

His mask was too tight

Happy after the afternoon date

We snorkeled the entire afternoon. I totally enjoyed it. It was a wise substitute from my hope in giving diving another shot. I was able to see the diferent types of coral and fish without getting myself hurt. At some point, my left ear hurt but it was tolerable. And I can always rest if I ran out air for breathing. Zeke is again like merman swimming to areas where he's not supposed to go. A funny story I can tell is when Zeke went to the other side of the island to snorkel, he saw something. While I was leisurely looking at the coral near the boat, I saw him swam all his might towards the boat. He took off his mask and said "I saw 2 big fishes out there with sharp teeth! They were looking at me as if they were about to eat me!" I just laughed it off. Who knows, the fishes that he saw were the kinds we see at our dining table. A few moments later, he invited me to see the pods in the other side of the island. And so I went, when all of a sudden, behind him were the 2 creatures that he was talking about. All I did was just to point out the fishes and swam back. It was literally a swim race back to our boat. Hahaha! All in all, I would consider that afternoon date as very romantic. It was just me, Zeke and the ocean. I had fun and I consider it very special.

Day 5: Last day. We left the resort early so we can spend more time in the city. Zeke made a few arrangements with the shooting range at Crowne Regency for his M4-Rifle on that day. So my Zeke is the one who's excited to check out from the resort early and head back to Cebu then go straight to Crowne Regency. Our trip going back to Cebu is interesting. Instead of arranging a private car from the resort to the city, I let Zeke experience VHire. VHire is a public van used by people when traveling to towns outside the city. So instead of paying a hefty amount for a private car, we saved about 66% of the total cost for that ride. VHire fare costs 100 pesos per head. Really cheap! The trip took us more than 2 hours and when we finally get to Crowne Regency, just like a little boy so giddy with his toy, Zeke fired an M4 for the very first time. Seeing him enjoying it makes me really very happy. I was very excited for him! And I knew he's gonna get extra rounds on top of what he was paying for the deal. And he did. He always does that. It's obvious that my Zeke loves guns but it's just unfortunate that firearms are not allowed in his country so I understand that shooting guns is a must activity whenever he's here in the country. And oh, I get to experience firing an M4 too even on auto. But I looked funny because I am so small and when I pulled the trigger, it gave me some kick. But I really enjoyed it. If it wasn't that expensive, I would've fired more rounds. But it doesn't matter. What's important is I get to see Zeke fire and fire and enjoying it so much. I'm just like a mother looking at his little boy playing with his toys. Selfless love.

Look who's excited

My boy is having fun
Another round?


We look sexy with the rifle

After our last activity from the shooting range, we headed to CNT Lechon near SM for our late lunch. Cebu is known for their yummy lechon and well, they didn't fail us. Zeke's fave food now is LECHON. After our lunch, we went straight to the airport only to find out that our 5pm flight was moved to 7pm. It was a blessing in disguise because by that time I was already behaving like a junkie because I had an allergic rhinitis attack and I didn't have meds with me. We checked in at the airport, rode a multicab and went back to the city to get my meds. I was able to buy my meds but I was still sick even during our flight and even when we reached home. I slept with 37.8degC temperature. I had a fever.
Although I got sick at the end of our Cebu trip, all in all it was fun. We love how we were able to do fun and adventure stuff but at the same time have some relaxing time by the beach. Although Zeke still likes the fine sand of Boracay, he definitely prefers Moalboal because in Moalboal, we feel connected with nature. And I couldn't agree more. So scuba diving and river climbing on our second trip - Check!!! What's next? Hmmmm..... My turn to visit his country. Interesting? I'm more of excited so please stay tuned. :)

No comments: