Trip Start Jan 03, 2009
Trip End Mar 30, 2009

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Where I stayed
Dynasty Inn

Flag of Philippines  , Visayas,
Saturday, February 28, 2009

I took a trike in the morning to the airport for 15 pesos. I asked at the hotel reception beforehand how much it should cost and this is what I was told. So that's what it should be and I think I have been overpaying until now.

My plane left on time and after a short one hour flight I was in Cebu. Cebu City is the second largest city in the Philippines and it is located on the island of Cebu. It is much nicer and cleaner than Manila and also less hectic. Cebu City itself doesn't have any nice beaches but across from it is an island named Mactan and it does. Most of the beaches are located at the resorts around the island and they turned out to be expensive and overrated.  Cebu was the first place in the Philippines that the Spanish conquered and colonized. Ferdinand Magellan was killed on Mactan island.

I took a taxi to my hotel from the airport. At the airport the taxis are expensive, they cost twice as much as a normal taxi would. The price is predetermined before you get in. Mine was 300 I think. I was going to go stay in uptown but the taxi driver said I'd like downtown better because many foreigners like it there. So I had him take me to Hotel Mercedes that he recommended as a god cheap one. I didn't like the area at all, dirty, rundown, poor and not very safe looking. I told the driver to keep driving and to take me where I originally wanted to go. He took me to the Dynasty Inn in uptown.

I got a room at the Dynasty Inn for 799 pesos. It was nothing special but the room was fairly big with a large bed, private bath with hot water, TV with cable and a good wi-fi connection finally. I stayed here for almost a week.

During the week I met a lot of people, mostly girls. They are very friendly here. Some of them took me to different places and showed me the sights. A girl and her sister took me downtown and showed me the sights there. Colon Street, the oldest street in the Philippines. Magellan's Cross, a large wooden cross that supposedly contains a few splinters from the original cross that Magellan planted on Cebu. Basilica Minore Del Santo Nino, the oldest church in Cebu, built in 1565. Cebu Cathedral. Fort San Pedro, a small triangular fort also built in 1565. At most of the sights there was construction and renovation going on.

A different girl took me to a floating restaurant on Mactan Island near Cordova. This is a local spot, there were no tourists. From here you have great views of the city. She also took me to Tops Lookout which sits on the mountain behind Cebu. From here you have a spectacular view of Cebu, the sea and the surrounding mountains. It is recommended to go in the evening when you can see the city lit up.

I also went over to Mactan Island to the Mactan shrine. There is a shrine on the supposed spot that Fedinand Magellan got killed. When he came here he had already secured the cooperation of all the local chiefs with the exception of Lapu-Lapu, the chief of Mactan. Lapu-Lapu wouldn't agree so Magellan came back with one boat and 50 of his best soldiers. He ended up getting his ass kicked and he also died in the process. There is a shrine on the spot now and also a statue of Lapu-Lapu, the first Filipino hero, looking like a superhero.

One day I went to Mactan Island to the beach. There are no good beaches around Cebu so you have to go over to Mactan. On Mactan though, all the good beaches belong to the resorts and you have to pay a fee to use them...and they are not cheap. I asked around and figured that Blue Reef Resort would be a good one at 300 pesos for day use. I took a taxi there. When we were close to the resort already I noticed how much the fare was. It was over 300 pesos already and I knew that it should be around 150. I came this way before to the Mactan shrine. I kept looking at the meter. It also showed the distance and it was over 40km already when the distance was only about 15km. I complained to the driver but he kept being evasive. I paid the full fare but gave him a piece of my mind. I should have gotten his license plate and reported him but I didn't think of it at the time.

The 300 peso day use was actually 600 and totally not worth it. The beach was nice but small and the only other thing you got was the use of one swimming pool (the other one was for guests only) and the use of the restaurant with inflated prices. Every other place I've been to in the Philippines had public beaches except Mactan. It is better to avoid Mactan all together and had to Moalboal instead or one of the islands just to the north of Cebu.

I also spent a lot of time at the malls, SM, Ayala, Robinson and even some of the smaller one. I'd usually go there to eat and also to kill time. SM is the biggest but Ayala has a really nice middle part. There are terraces with many restaurants and cafes and a nice park and fountains in the middle.
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