asia · philippines · travel · video

147 Seconds on Why I Keep Coming Back for Sinulog

Having been drawn to the island paradise 4 times over the last 5 years, I think I can personally vouch that Cebu is a tried-and-tested fun-in-the-sun destination. Of course, January is a great time to flock to Cebu to join the droves for the Sinulog festival, but Cebu offers a whole lot more: alluring coasts, mouth-watering grub, sky-high thrills, and of course, the people who are gorgeous inside and out.

I rarely get to make vacation mash-ups with my family in it, so this vid was a real treat for me. Now you have solid proof that insanity is hereditary. Enjoy!

asia · philippines · travel

7 Things I Learned From Our Cebu-Bohol Getaway

Touchdown Cebu!

1.) The best vacations are when you throw all caution to the air.

During a very vulnerable (i.e. stress galore) moment in December, a friend asked me if I’d like to come along to their trip to see the Sinulog in Cebu and to frolic in Bohol. Of course I said yes; I couldn’t have said it any quicker. Never mind that it might come right smack in the middle of one of the heaviest months I’ve ever had at work; I drastically needed my life back. So off we go to Cebu!

Haaaave you met Wes?

2.) You don’t find the festival; Sinulog finds you.
Our first day was mostly spent in malls: lechon at CNT by SM Cebu, Timezone at Ayala & dinner at Dessert Factory. Sinulog was all over — billboards greeting you Pit Senor!, ubiquitous festive banderitas, all-out performers going around the malls. At the afternoon, we did go off to downtown Cebu to see Magellan’s cross by the Basilica. And lo and behold, the rest of Cebu was there. There we were, right in the middle of the ocean of people at the Plaza, looking at fireworks during the rainy daytime and at hundreds of balloons going up in the air. Minutes later, the Sto Nino and his entourage went by and everyone started waving! Made me want to wave too, if only we had an idea of what was going on. We braved the rain and the Binondo-like streets, got a little lost, then finally made it to the cross. Siyempre, photo-op. 🙂

Pit Senor!

3.) Get up early at Sinulog. Really.

Rhea and I got up early to see the parade right outside where we were staying, heeding Alex’s advice. What we didn’t know was the guys weren’t planning to do the same, so we went ahead and looked for breakfast. The Sinulog parade was already going by; good thing we found a VERY good spot in front of Manila Bulletin’s judging station and had an awesome view of all the contingents, decked with elaborate costumes, props and their best Sinulog smiles. Rhea got good shots of the performers, right next to the pros from travel channels & magazines, armed with SLRs. Camarines Sur was the most entertaining one we got to see (right guys? *wink*) I even got to see the contingent from my province, Tangub City, which was a huge treat. Experiencing the festival rather than just admiring it from your tv screen was definitely a rush. Definitely something every Filipino must see.

Wedding crashers at Shangri-la Mactan

4.) Tidoy is the best!

But of course, I didn’t have to go to Mactan to know that. 🙂 Tidoy’s eldest sister, Ate Abby, was having her wedding at Shangri-la Mactan at the same day, so my officemates and I were officially invited gatecrashers to her wedding. They had their own Sinulog show, yummy food (lobsters! prawns! blue marlin! seafood heaven!), awesome AVPs, and fireworks to boot! It actually drizzled and rained towards the end, but that didn’t stop the party from going on.

5.) Speaking of parties — Cebuanos know how to party.

Alex took us out to Vudu at Crossroads to meet his college buddies. And again, lo and behold, the rest of the Cebu night-owls were there, partying to the last second of Sinulog and beyond. The dance floor was full, the tracks were hot, and the vodka shots kept coming in — need I say more? Got to see Ethel Booba party too. Haha.

At the charming Bohol Bee Farm

6.) Bohol holds many surprises.

The next morning, we were off to Bohol. I already got my fill of the Bohol tour during our family trip last year, so I wasn’t expecting anything new. I was proven wrong, however, when we were taken to dine at Bohol Bee Farm for dinner. It was like Sonya’s garden — only better. Overhanging vines and trees loomed over almost each step, fireflies danced before the view of the sea, sungka sets waited for you at the low wooden tables, bee-shaped lanterns adorned the ceilings and passageways. The elves at LOTR would have taken a liking here. And definitely, the food was heavenly. A must-go stop at Bohol. We also got to go to Alona Beach afterwards; it was getting late so it looked like no swimming was going to get done today. But the water was so nice, I couldn’t resist taking a dive! Haha. :p

The next day, we went for the Bohol tour — Chocolate Hills, Tarsier Sanctuary, Loboc River Tour, Man-made Forest, souvenir shops galore. What can I say but photo op, photo op, photo op. Got to meet Joseph and the Muro-Ami gang (that’s another story). The rain graced us again, but that didn’t stop us from taking another dip at Alona Beach.

7.) Ben + Booze = ankulit!

For our final night, we just hung out at our rooms Olman’s view, where we were staying. We had to finish off the booze we had + Ben’s pasalubong from Singapore + Ian’s mango chips. And of course, the night would not be complete without the rounds of bridge, which turned out to be this trip’s official card game. It was face-off time — Philippines (Alex & me) vs. China (Ben & Wes). Losers had to down shots, and also resign from HP (or in Ben’s case, go back to HP. haha. siraan ng buhay, anyone? :p) After 2 shots of gin, while Ben was itching for more, he was also literally itching!
But it wasn’t a little anti-histamine and a lot of nonsense from your drunk friends won’t fix. 🙂 (And oh, if you want to know more about Ben — He’s Ben. He lives in Singapore. He uses Clear. And he has no friends… kidding. :p)

Before this trip, I was looking for God to save me from going out of my mind, and boy, God does deliver. After the hard work, playing hard grows even sweeter. Thanks to Rhea & Ian for the pictures! Let’s end this post with some Wes quotes:

“Come to think of it, why no?”

“You know what? Whatever.”