Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I love CEBU!

I love Cebu! So much so that I married a Cebuano!!!

I am pure Tagalog, born and raised in Manila. How did I get to Cebu? Very long and uninteresting story…

Why do I love Cebu so much? That’s easy! I love it for the cosmopolitan yet relaxed and affordable lifestyle… the fun-loving spirit of the people… the always ready helping hand anywhere… the not so crowded malls… less traffic and pollution… and, within easy reach, the beautiful beaches and picturesque mountains! Definitely THE life!!!

What I love most about Cebu is the easy access to neighboring islands. It’s ferry and airline services offer many options. While based in Cebu City, I was lucky to have been able to visit without much hassle Bohol, Davao, Dumaguete, Siquijor, Leyte, Samar, Boracay, Puerto Princesa-Palawan, Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, Guimaras, Iloilo, Kalibo, Camiguin Island, Bukidnon, Siargao Island, Surigao City, Gen. Santos, Lake Sebu, Butuan City. Nearer to home are the charming islands of Olango, Nalusuan, Malapascua and Bantayan. I will tell you about these places in future posts. I intend to make a series entitled: Beyond Cebu. It will be like an island hopping trip from Cebu!

I have experienced so much in and from Cebu. Cebu has greatly enriched my life… Thank you Cebu!!!

If you wish to enrich your life as much as I have in Cebu, write me and I will be more than happy to help you plan your island hopping trip from Cebu!


Must See in Cebu

Cebu is a veritable tourism haven. There is something for everyone: heritage, culture, nature, nightlife, fine cuisine, quality souvenirs, tasty delicacies, urban pleasures and rural relaxation. I'd like to share with you what I think are the "must see" in Cebu, from the lens of Carlo....

Magellan's Cross - Exterior

Magellan's Cross - Interior

Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino - Church grounds

Sto. Nino Church Altar

Original Sto. Nino Image

Fort San Pedro - Exterior

Fort San Pedro - Interior

Taoist Temple

Lapu-Lapu Monument

Heritage Monument

Virgin of the Rule - Opon

Guitar Factory

Would you like to see all of the above in a day? Contact me.


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Cebu "Treasures"

Filipinos are famous for bringing back home tons of “pasalubong” whenever we travel. And Cebu is one place where we can find so many goodies which our loved ones back home will surely love! Even foreign tourists will find Cebu to be a treasure trove of lovely souvenirs and yummy delicacies.

Number one on everyone’s list is dried mangoes. Next, for locals and balikbayans, is the dried fish – “danggit” and dried squid. Some like to buy the big dried lapu-lapu, too. Then, the sinful crispy “chicharon” (pork crackers), with your choice of just the skin or with some meat.

There are also the “otap”, a flaky sweet biscuit and “rosquillos”, flat donut-shaped butter cookies.

Many also bring home “lechon” (roast pig) as Cebu’s recipe of this nationally popular fare is said to be much better than those from other regions.

For the souvenir lovers, there are very cheap fashion accessories you can find all over the city, and shell handicraft, from just plain shells for collectors to elaborate home accessories like lamps and wall décor. The north offers pretty ceramics and pottery and functional hand-woven baskets. The industrial city of Mandaue is famous for export-quality rattan furniture, although these are obviously too bulky to bring home!

And of course, Cebu is where you can find high quality, hand-made guitars. Which is maybe why the Cebuanos are known to be musically inclined people, and almost everyone knows how to play this stringed instrument and carry a tune.

Truly, Cebu is a haven for the zealous shopper…

Should you wish to have a shopping trip to Cebu, please feel free to contact me..


Olango: More than Birds

Photo from
Olango Island is admittedly one of the places closest to my heart. Located five kilometers east of Mactan Island, Olango prides itself of being a wildlife sanctuary. The island supports the largest concentration of migratory birds found so far in the country, and bird lovers can indulge themselves in watching varied species from February to April (Northward Migration) and then again from September to November (Southward Migration).

I came to love the island and its people when I was engaged by Monette Flores, from the Coastal Resource Management Project (CRMP), to help in polishing the marketing strategy for the Olango Birds and Seascape Tour that they designed. Monette said there was a small budget, and they may not be able to afford my services, but I was more than eager to be of assistance.

I worked with Stephanie, Sam and Imelda of the Suba-Olango Ecotourism Cooperative (SOEC). They are natives of the island and are actively involved in the project. Immediately, upon meeting them, I felt a kinship with them, and I was hooked! I could feel their dedication to the success of the project, and how can one not want to be involved in such a noble endeavor?

The Olango Birds and Seascape Tour is one of 10 "Highly Commended Honorees" of the Conservation International's 2000 Excellence in Ecotourism Awards and "Best Environmental Experience" Awardee of the 2001 British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow Awards.

I hope that on your next visit to Cebu, you will include in your itinerary a visit to Olango. Even if you are not a bird lover, the encounter with the locals, the barbecue meal prepared by them, or even the swimming around the marine sanctuary will definitely make the experience well worth it for you. Or probably just the thought that by taking the tour, you are helping save our seas!

Should you need any assistance, please feel free to write me.