Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cebu 2011 Day 3: Arts, Culture and Beautiful Hotels

This is going to be a very long post, that's why I'm just going to do a photoblog instead of writing too much because that would make this page even longer than it already is. This is one of those times when I wish Blogger would come up with a way to insert an image gallery within a post and not just as plugins (because those widgets look very un-stylish). I mean, Multiply and Wordpress both have this feature. The way it is now, this post is equivalent to five entries already! I thought of dividing the day into parts but that would make my list of backlog entries longer, too, so I guess I'll have to make do and use the "Read More" option.

Anyway, for Day 3, we decided to just book a tour package that our hotel, Crown Regency Guadalupe, offered. Two packages were available: PhP1,500 for the first 3 hours and PhP350 for succeeding hours, and an 8-hour package for PhP3,000. These are rates for car usage. Tours that require a van will cost slightly higher.

Day 3 was our most packed:
  • Magellan's Cross
  • Basilica del Sto. Niño
  • Fort San Pedro
  • Museo Sugbo
  • Taoist Temple
  • Lapu-Lapu Shrine
  • Alegre Guitar Factory
  • Plantation Bay
  • Waterfront/PAGCOR
To think, we actually had to remove a couple of places from our list -- Casa Gorordo Museum and San Carlos Museum were replaced by Museo Sugbo -- because they were starting to close down roads for the Sinulog Festival. We ended this tour by buying pasalubong from Shamrock, which was actually low on stocks. They had absolutely ran out of otap, so I bought lots of peanut products like turones, browas and peanut kisses.

Magellan's Cross & Basilica del Sto. Niño

This is where Magellan's Cross resides.

Here's a depiction of Magellan planting the cross into Cebu's soil.

The real Sinulog. My dad was very adamant about me seeing this, instead of just the festival, because he insists that this is where it all started. I'm not going to go into details here, as I am reserving the Sinulog post for Sarimanok.PH. Suffice to say that you pay these old women (PhP10 per candle) to pray for you and your family and they will do so by dancing while chanting their prayers.

The streets of the Basilica del Sto. Niño was busy with commerce.

This is my Shin-Chan2's zoom doing an overtime. cannot believe how huge this crowd was. My first test shots of this square were full of taller men's heads. This parade of saints seemed like dots to my naked eye.

Saints surrounding the square.

Just to give you an idea of how packed the church and its streets were...we thought we wouldn't be able to get out of here alive. Seriously. It's kind of scary when you think about how little oxygen all of you would be sharing.

Fort San Pedro

This is like Little Fort Bonifacio. This fortress is quite small, but BFF Cris and I like that it has been turned into a park for families to enjoy.

The rustic entrance. I love how they kept nearly everything intact in here.

Both sides of the entrance hall depicted a little bit of the fort's history.

It was originally made of wood and was used to keep invading Spaniards at bay.

One of the saints standing by a well. You might have noticed that Cebu is filled with saints, and it's most obvious during the Sinulog celebrations.

Fort San Pedro's holding area. I just realized, upon zooming in this photo that it actually contains a more detailed telling of Cebu's and Fort San Pedro's histories. I wish I had enough space to post the actual size of this picture.

View from the top of the walls.

I wish those doors weren't locked. There were mini museums inside this fortress and we didn't get to see them.

A walkway that serves as an R&R area for families and foreign visitors.

One of the original canons. Wow. It's still alive, though it doesn't work anymore. I mean...I should hope not.

Museo Sugbo

This museum is quite new. It didn't even appear on our map so I asked the driver/tour guide why that was so. He said that this used to be a city jail, but it was so small and cramped that inmates got sick. Now they're housed in a bigger facility. You've probably seen it if you've watched the Cebu Inmates dance to tunes like the Wonder Girls' Nobody.

A newer looking canon. Compared to the one found at Fort San Pedro, that is.

The Museum of Philippine Political History. We weren't allowed to take photos of the museum's contents so you might notice that my pictures for this trip are all just facades. Inside this building are visually supported stories of Philippine presidents and other politicians.

National Museum Region VII Branch. Lots of Chinese figurines and vases in here. Many of them have been preserved for centuries, some even dating pre-colonial times!

These contemporary artworks lie at the center of the museum.

It seems my shot of this work wasn't close enough, since I still couldn't make out the artist's name even when I zoomed in. My bad!

Fascinating well. I took photos of the fishies, too, but I keep them in my hard drive.

Cebu Taoist Temple

I've been here many times as a kid, but I don't remember much of those trips anymore.

I call these steps the Stairway to Heaven. This tower sits on top of mountains so it's literally up there. It's surrounded by a very posh subdivision, which they call Beverly Hills.

One of the smaller tower's ceilings. I find these really cute, and the colors were very festive. There are many other temples within the area but this Taoist temple seems to be the brightest.

Pretty bell. We weren't allowed to take photos of any altars so I kept to the sides.

Looking at the very top of the temple. The skies were gloomy that day, but the weather was kind enough to wait for us to find shelter before pouring in. It only rained late in the afternoon.


Another one of those lions I seem to be constantly fascinated with. I remember seeing a couple of these at Manila's Seng Guan Temple.

Huge hallway. I suspect this is used for festivals, too.

Mr. Fisherman. I don't know why but he seems to be at peace, even if he's trying to catch fish that I doubt he can eat (Koi).

Lapu-Lapu Shrine

I sometimes wondered about the irony of Cebu's heritage. Their main hero, solidly built Lapu-Lapu, is a pagan who fought against the Catholic Spaniards and yet they've completely imbibed the Catholic way of living. There isn't any corner of Cebu that doesn't have a saint's figurine.

Lapu-Lapu's back. Um. I think my sister and I inherited something from him...

This area of the island looks like a swamp now. I told Cris that I couldn't imagine Magellan coming through this place. It's somewhat filthy, too. She said that people and environment dynamics have changed over the last 500 years, like for instance...

Santa Claus moving in...

Yet another depiction of Magellan's downfall.

Magellan's tomb. Sorry for the tight shot. There were too many tourists getting into my frame.

Souvenir stalls. Those frogs don't look like they're enjoying themselves.

Alegre Guitars

Aside from lechon, Cebu is known for its popular guitars. In fact, these babies are exported across the globe.  Alegre Guitars is touted to be the best in the industry.

This is where everything starts. How the insides of these guitars are constructed would define the quality of the sound produced.

This area is where strings are connected to the bodies. They test the sound here, as well.

Polishing the beauties. These guitars look as good as they sound!

Luxury Hotels: Plantation Bay & Waterfront

This gargantuan Christmas tree standing at the center of Plantation Bay's lobby could hardly fit into my camera's frame. It exuded a warm vibe, which permeated throughout the entire room.

This resort is simply breathtaking.

And the tariffs, doubly so. Heh.

The next time I go to Cebu, I shall make sure that I can afford staying here because I would really love to try out their facilities.

The Plantation Bay's entrance.

This is Waterfront's facade. This hotel seems so grandiose, it sort of reminds me of the Fairmont Chateau in Whistler, Canada.

Could not resist taking photos even when the rain started beating down on us at around 3PM. I can see Waterfront's tiny reflections through those droplets.

Anyway, this is another hotel I must try in the future. Hopefully, I can afford it by then. Hehe.

Day 3 was our most productive day, honestly. We still had a few activities after the tour but I'll talk about those in two future posts, one of them will be appearing in Sarimanok.PH.

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  1. Oh my! What a busy day! I'm tired just reading about it. It looked great though. I need to add Cebu to my list of places to see.

  2. @TAO
    I seriously need an image gallery for this blog, so I can just write and then my readers can pick which photos they want to view. Thing is, this day is just leisure for me...the other days I spent in Cebu was for work. (Hence, I only write about what happens after the work was done, LOL.)

  3. NextGEN Gallery seems to be very popular for WP. I use it and it works well but it's a bit clunky in some usability aspects.

    Love you pictures. :)

  4. @TAO
    Unfortunately, I'm using Blogspot. Waaaah! I installed NextGEN on my brother's WP last year, although I'm using File Gallery for my WP blog ( This is what I don't like about image gallery plugins that are highly customizable. :(

  5. @TAO
    Unfortunately, I'm using Blogspot. Waaaah! I installed NextGEN on my brother's WP last year, although I'm using File Gallery for my WP blog ( This is what I don't like about image gallery plugins that are highly customizable. :(


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