Stranded in Cebu

Trip Start Apr 23, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Philippines  , Visayas,
Wednesday, February 23, 2011

We hung around John's till 3pm when Al-al picked us up to take us to the ferry to Cebu at Larena with a brief stop to check the internet in Siquijor. I almost wished we hadn’t checked our emails...One of the Danish girls we had met in Dumaguete had made it to Donsol and as promised had sent an update on the Whale shark situation......She had spent 3 hours snorkelling with 14 of them AND...because we had spent the extra day on Siquijor and had not had access to the internet, we had basically forfeited any chance of getting over there with time to get back for our flight. BUGGER!!!!

We boarded the ferry at 5.30, just thankful to be able to sit down as there was no waiting room at Larena port. The business class reclining seats were very comfy and there was only 2 other passengers in the whole room BUT ...had we gone economy we could have had beds. Granted, out on deck, which would have required sleeping bag and ear plugs but the AC had me huddled under the first within 20minutes and after the 999th smoker made the gate squeak just outside my window, I was wishing I had put the plugs in anyway!!!! So if you are thinking of taking this your money and take the bed.

We arrived in Cebu port at about 4am and wandered out to find a cab to our chosen guesthouse KUKUKS nest. I had called them a couple of days before and warned them we would be late but it was 24/7 so it didn’t matter to them. If they were full at their "original" house they had another newer one they could send us. Mistake number 1 was not confirming the address of the “original” which as it turned out....WAS NOT THE ONE LISTED IN THE 2010 Sth East Asia Lonely Planet...a fact that didn’t quite sink in, even when we turned up at an old house, obviously being demolished and the Security guard directed us 15 minutes further out of town.....We thought the TAXI driver was having a lend of us...right up until lunch the next day when I worked out that we were in the new old one and they had a third one back near the original location. Normally I would have confirmed addresses and maps etc on internet BUT of course we hadn’t had access.....I really, really hate the dependence we seem to have on it this time around. Last time we travelled we just would have turned up and found a place....this time we seem to have to have everything organised to the nth degree before we can move...

Anyway...Kukuk’s nest is a very nice place. Lovely decorations in the living areas and comfortable enough rooms. Bambi plays great music and the staff are friendly. Food is good and drinks are cheap.

Cebu is an interesting place. The contrast between the old downtown and the very new and glitzy business district is stark. The first crumbling, dirty and bustling...the second, sparkling, expensive and very cosmopolitan. The Spanish architecture in the old town is a reminder of past glories. Surrounded by street hawkers and very shabby concrete blocks it’s interesting but not compelling. Enclosed in the sterility of the shopping centres in Ayala you could be in any modern city in the world and the % of foreigners was significantly higher. The average Philipino wage was not going to easily support purchases from the multitude of designer shop.

I’m sure there was more to offer in Cebu but most people recommended getting out of it to enjoy our stay. We didn’t, mainly because we really to get over to Donsol but I we couldn't find suitable flights to fit our timing which had gotten us a bit down. Failing that had done our share of beaches over the last 5 weeks and more of the same didn't appeal.  I guess we were also mentally preparing ourselves to move on.
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