Arriving at the airport from Manila is just an hour. Mactan-Cebu International Airport is still functional but I think it has reach the capacity of the terminal and needs to modernize, revamp and improve its facilities. The only complain I had in the airport is the lack of public phone facility and if there are pay phones most are not working. This becomes our problem when we arrive and need to have a reservation for our hotel. I'm not sure if the public phone problems is the same in the international passenger terminal. Moreover, I also find public buses rare for within city roaming in Cebu if not almost nothing. Most bus routes are for other town visit outside of Cebu City. Taxis are also helpful in roaming around the city just be cautious on their flagged down rates and price offers.
Since I want to savor this short-visit to Cebu, moments after arriving I, together with my friends decided to try SUTUKIL an acronym for "Sugba" (grilled), "Tula" (Soup-based with broth), and "Kilaw" (raw, soaked/pickled in vinegar) at Lapu-lapu, Mactan. This is a popular term for ordering a selection of fresh seafood and meat from the market and cooked any way you like it in an eatery. We tried our seafoods cooked in Sinigang (Sour soup-based dish), and Ihaw (Tagalog term for grilled). None of us were interested in Kilaw style cooked food. Sinigang na Hipon is the best dish I have tasted there. I can't remember the exact name of the SUTUKIL restaurant we ate at as there are other nearby restaurants serving the same style but they are all located near Lapu-Lapu Monument and Magellan's Shrine both of which are place of interests. What I like about the restaurant we ate at is that there's a terrace area overlooking a mangrove-planted river that makes a good ambiance to eat. In addition, cool breeze is surrounding the area which makes it more conducive to relax after a heavy lunch.
Our food trip is continued at Golden Cowrie Restaurant in SM City Cebu. This restaurant serves authentic Cebuano and Filipino cuisine that will surely satisfy ones craving for local food. This is where first time I ate the famous Lechon Cebu. It is roasted pig with authentic herb flavors. The whole province of Cebu is known for its Lechon which is known to be the best in the Philippines. I believe food trip in Cebu is not complete without trying the famous Lechon Cebu. It is tasty, juicy and quite sweet in taste. We also heard from the locals at that another restaurant - CNT Lechon also specializes in serving the famous lechon of Cebu. I will definitely try to sample their servings on a next visit. They have a branch in SM Mall as well.
Just across the chapel of Magellan's Cross is the church of Basilica de San Minore de Sto. Nino. This a good place to reflect and exercise Catholics' form of faith. There's also a candle stall for prayers where candles provided are free of charge. Aside from exercising Catholic faith in the church, visitors and tourists must admire the Spanish time architecture of the church. I find it grand, historial and impressive inner structure as well. Basilica Minore del Santo Niño is a 16th century church that was built purportedly on the spot where the image of the Santo Niño, a sculpture depicting the Holy Child Jesus found by Spanish explorers in 1565 preserved in a burned wooden box which was left behind during the 1521 Magellan expedition. (Source) There is also a museum inside the Basilica that showcases the history of Christianity in Cebu.
Another place of interest is Fort San Pedro which is also near the area of our hotel. Fort San Fedro or San Fuerza de San Pedro is a military defence structure, built by Spanish and indigenous Cebuano laborers under the command of Spanish conquistador, Miguel López de Legazpi and the Spanish Government in Cebu. It is located in the area now called Plaza Indepedencia, in the Pier Area of Cebu City. The smallest, oldest triangular bastion fort in the country was built in 1738 to repel Muslim raiders. It is just almost a walking distance from our hotel but unfortunately we did not visit it. I heard that there is also not much to do there aside from seeing a museum that showcases legacies of the Spanish Government, well-preserved Spanish artifacts such as Spanish documents, paintings and sculpture and the wreckage and treasures from the sunken San Diego galleon from Mexico.
Whether food trip, extreme adventure or historical walkthrough, Cebu remains to continue to be the charm of Visayas. Cebuanos are warm and friendly. Transportation is easy just read the signboards for those who opt to ride public jeepneys. Places to visit are endless especially if you're going outside the city. Mactan offers beautiful beaches and luxury resorts. Bantayan or Camotes islands offer paradise for peace-lovers. I also think Sinulog Festival time every January is also the best time to visit Cebu. It's a great festival and cultural showcase of Cebuano culture that is very popular in the country. All are just some few journeys that you can take to see the charm of Visayas... Cebu a gateway to thousand journeys.