Sunday, July 27, 2014

Solar Electricity in the Philippines

It has been a dream to have solar power installed at home, but because of this article about "How Practical is Solar Power for PH Home Owners?" from Rappler, I am inspired to hurry it up and make it a reality soon. Therefore, I am posting the contacts I gathered here for solar power equpment and services for future reference.

Solar Pilipinas

Maschinen & Technik, Inc. (MATEC)

Solaric Corporation

Fabtechie Cars & Others

Friday, April 05, 2013

Crazy Life It Is

I don't know how I managed to be here but it's been a while, definitely a while since I posted something. Sad to say, a lot of things happened. In summary, it goes like this.

April 2012 - Me, Myles, & Micke went for a trip to Cebu for vacation. It's a bonus for Micke for doing graduating as valedictorian in their high school.

May 2012 - Talks of new project assignment was at its height. Myles was busy assisting Ninong Freddie for a project that they were rushing to complete since it's already delayed for too long and the penalty is big.

June 2012 - More talks of the new project, but the adrenaline is going low. Some of my colleagues are already contemplating to leave the company. Myles and I did our first out of the country trip together. We went to Thailand then Cambodia. It was his first time to travel out of the country so despite all the stress, he was quite thrilled, although sad that he can't enjoy to the max as he's not feeling well. He has chest pains now and then.

July 2012 - Back from vacation and refreshed, I was still worried about Myles so I pushed him to go have another round of checkups and lab tests done to find out why he's having those chest pains. He thinks it's the heat of the city coz when he's in the province he doesn't feel it as often as he does in the city. He went anyway and got more meds.

August 2012 - It's the wedding month of Joselyn & Juong Rok so I went home to the province to attend and visit my husband and family as well. I was pissed off coz he started drinking again after telling me that he hasn't drunk since he came home from Manila in July. He reasoned that it's not often that he meets with Uncle Nardo so he's drinking only for that day and night.

September 2012 - Nestor finally passed the paper screening for his passport application, thru the help of Myles and by applying at SM Megamall, not at the DFA Office near SM Mall of Asia. I got my contract for deployment to Malaysia, visa is ready, airfare ready, and just need to pack for my flight on the 29th. On the eve of the 25th, Myles died on me :( *sob*sob*sob* I still can't get over it... Why? Why? Why?

October 2012 - Went by in a blur, mostly spent for Myles' wake at my parents' home then at his parents' home. I could only recall bits and pieces of events. October became the saddest month for me, opposite my happy September.

November 2012 - Life has to go on so they rescheduled my flight to Nov. 11th. I also learned then that my youngest brother Micke has joined a fraternity group who call themselves "Gammans" and hasn't been going to school. I lashed out at my 2 brothers Benjie and Mario (poor dear brothers) for not watching out for their little bro. 2 days of stake out and he was found and brought home for spanking. Duh, I wish I was home so I could have spanked him, but of course they were all soft-hearted although inside they're seething with rage, angry that he's not taking these opportunities when he has it to finish his studies. His elder brothers didn't have these opportunities as they learned responsibility at such young ages.

December 2012 - Settling time in Malaysia... although deep inside, my heart and mind was left behind in the Philippines. I couldn't help it so I had to go back home and say goodbye one last time. Despite all the troubles, hassles, "very high level" of stress met at the LCCT airport thru Air Asia for my trip bound to Clark Airport in Pampanga, I managed to go home and was met by my mama dearest and loving brothers Benjie and Mario. It's all worth all the trouble to go home again. Everything felt better afterwards when I left for the second time around for my destination - Malaysia.

The details I wish to share, but I hope I can find the time and energy to do it soon, before a long time passes by.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

I Love Rainbows

It's been a while since I saw a rainbow and I felt elated when I saw one the last time I went home to Hingyon, Ifugao.

When I was a kid, I remember there were lots of rainbows. There were even times where two rainbows almost cross each other. It always fascinated me, yet it brought me some trepidation, too as I remember my mother telling me not to point my finger at a rainbow as my finger would turn and bend permanently.

Rainbows always bring a smile to my face :)

I just love rainbows and although I did not make a wish, I'm thankful my phone's camera was able to capture it. Thank you Lord for the colorful rainbow. It certainly made my day :)

Jack's Kitchenette - Baguio City

Are you looking to try local foods at a very local restaurant for less than a hundred pesos? Then try to check out the Jack's Kitchenettes along Magsaysay Avenue, on the side of the market. Jack's restaurants are one of the oldest restaurants in the city serving fresh local foods to locals and tourist diners. Over the years, it has expanded and opened other branches but it's still mostly frequented by locals because of the location which is towards the busy market side. Of course, tourist who don't know about the restaurant would opt to just to the malls and fastfoods.

I missed the Jack's Rice so the last time I went to Baguio, I made sure to drop by at Jack's Kitchenette beside the Magsaysay overpass. The pictures are posted below.

Here is the menu that you can see on the wall. Notice the variety of foods from fish, veggies, chicken, and pork. Most of the offerings come with veggies but there is still pure meat for the carnivoruous eaters.

Jack's Kitchette K2 Business Hours

On this part of their menu, the Jack's rice story was explained. In essence, Jack's rice is the preferred daily meal of the restaurant owner Mr. Jack Dulnuan. The meal has portions of veggies, egg, chicken, rice, and a slice of pork and this is prepared daily by his servants for his lunch. A restaurant guest saw it and requested the same meal set despite the servants' strong opposition.

Word spread about this special balanced meal of Mr. Jack Dulnuan so guest started requesting for this special order. As they say, the rest is history.

The complete Jack's Rice --- a slice of pork, veggies, chicken, egg, and rice.

Chicken Rice --- veggies, 2 slices chicken, and rice

Let's eat the yummy veggies first :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Yellow Cab's Extensive Pasta Ingredients

I just got caught up and fascinated with the spices, veggies, sauces, and whatchamacallit ingredients of Yellow Cab when I was there ordering our pizza so I took some shots. I asked permission and the lady at the cashier just smiled so it's great! :)

 The various ingredients are placed in these square boxes, from ham, tomatoes, salami, olives, sliced sausages, paprika, cheese, bacon, etc. When an order is made, they pick out the ingredients, weigh them, then it goes on top of the dough then cooked. No wonder their pizzas are yummy :)

Hot sauce, hot sauce, more hot sauce for me... :)

NAIA Terminal 1

Most international flights and arrivals depart and land at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) 1 terminal. Needless to say, the place is packed at all times, whether at the departure area or the arrival area. Except maybe on wee hours of the evening, that's when fewer people loiter on the arrival or the departure area.

Lately, I've noticed changes around the airport that I'd like to note down here as it may be helpful for other travellers and their relatives and friends picking them up.

Departure Area
Unlike larger airports abroad, NAIA 1 does not allow non-passengers to enter the building. All families, friends, or companions of passengers have to stay out and only the passenger can enter the terminal building. In case the passenger has not weighed his or her bag prior to entering the terminal and had excess luggage that he/she doesn't want to pay for,  he/she has to bring it out again so he/she can give it to his waiting companions. Otherwise, if they already left, then he/she simply has to throw it away at the bins which are overflowing with excess items by the end of the day.

Outside at the parking area where people are waiting, the guards are driving the bystanders away because oftentimes they are blocking the entrance to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) office or the building itself.

Arrival Area
Non-airport taxis are no longer allowed entry to the arrival area. This is because the airport taxis are being promoted. Sad thing though is that the airport taxis charge a bit more compared to the regular taxis. Furthermore, even if you're on your way to the airport and you flagged an airport taxi without passenger, it won't stop for you. They have a rule that they cannot take passengers to the airport, they cannot pickup passengers on their way to the airport. They are only allowed to carry passengers out of the airport.

If you don't want to pay for the airport taxis, a passenger can opt to walk out of the arrival area and proceed to the highway on the right side of the airport. From there, they can easily take a bus or taxi and pay regular fares. Else, you can always have your own driver and car pick you up directly at the arrival area and there's no issue with that.

On this poster, you can find the 24-hour hotlines of NAIA, should you need to check something with them and you have no access to the net.

Victory Liner Trips to the North

Buses are a big part of travels done in the Philippines. When travelling anywhere in the northern parts of the Philippines from Baguio City, Pangasinan, Pampanga, Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela, and the Cagayan Valleys, Victory Liner is the most favored bus transport for several reasons:

1. Buses are clean and their terminals are quite okay.
2. Stopovers are toilets are generally clean.
3. The buses are on time and the staff (driver and conductor) are well groomed.
4. They don't overfill or overload their buses. (Middle seats and standing passengers are not allowed in most of their buses.)
5. They insure their passengers. (There is an accident insurance per passenger.)

However, most of the times their buses are fully booked. Therefore, if you're in a hurry and it's a weekend, you may not be able to get yourself a bus ticket for the next trip, but rather for the next day. This also means chance passengers have very little chance of getting seated.

The latest schedule of Cagayan Valley Trips are listed in this poster I took last night from their Pasay City Bus Terminal. For Baguio City trips, it is normally every 30 minutes, while Pampanga trips and trips to Dagupan in Pangasinan are scheduled hourly.

Due to the number of passengers, some extra trips are accommodated and are usually inserted between the hours listed on the poster. The last trip is normally for the farthest destination which is Tuguegarao, Cagayan. Last night, there was an extra trip for Santiago City, Isabela at 10:30pm.

As you can see in this poster, all the night trip buses are fully booked even as early as 5pm. It's probably because it's a Saturday night and it's vacation time for schools. But honestly, I noticed that everytime I go to the Victory Liner Pasay Terminal, whether on a weekend or on weekdays, most of the passengers are OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) just coming home from various countries and their friends and relatives picking them up at the airport. They normally have a lot of luggage and it's a good thing the buses have huge luggage storage underneath their bellies. Otherwise, there is always their "Shipping Section" to accommodate luggage and packages if you just wish to send your bags or packages without travelling together with it. Of course you will then have to pay for the freight fees, while if you travel together with your bags, there is no charge for it, just your regular bus fare.

Victory Liner also offers Deluxe trips but only on certain days and hours. Deluxe buses are those with large and comfortable seats and lavatories inside. Meaning you can have a direct and more comfortable travel, with a little extra cost added to the regular fare. Some of their buses also have WiFi on board for the passengers' browsing and social networking pleasure on the road.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

December 31, 2011 - Last Day of Year End Sales

It's still early but there are so many people rushing to the supermarkets and other public markets. People started to play loud disco music. Others started preparing and cooking their media noche feasts. For others like me, I am still undecided whether to go or not to go to the mall.

I have been wanting to buy a refrigerator that is currently available under "Buy now, pay in 2012" promo of credit card companies. It's a 7.4 cu. ft Panasonic refrigerator with semi-automatic defrost. What attracted me most is it's Energy Rating of 275, meaning it consumes only .72 kW in 24 hours. That's a big saving considering my old refrigerator consumes 1.3 kW in 24 hours. Today is the last day of the promo so again, I'm back to thinking - should I or should I not get it? Remember: These "Buy now, pay in 2012" promos will end today. Hmm...

The end of season clearance sale of SM (Shoemart) Bacoor and other SM branches is extended until January 15 because they only started it December 26. So for that, I can still have time to buy a shoe or bag later. But for the fridge... hmm.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Tribal Vernaculars of Northern Luzon

I belong to the Ayangan tribe of Ifugao. It is a minority group in the Cordillera region in Northern Luzon, the biggest island of the Philippines.

I can speak and understand various dialects in my hometown such as Guhang, Banaue and Mayoyao (variations of the Ayangan dialect), Tuwali or Kiangan, Lagawe, and Happuwan or Huddokna (also called Hingyon). I can also speak and understand the vernacular of the surrounding towns in Nueva Vizcaya and Isabela which is Ilokano or Ilocano.

Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to learn Gaddang (dialect of those in Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya), Kalanguya or Kelley (dialect of those in Tinoc and in Asipulo, Ifugao and Aritao and Sta. Fe in Nueva Vizcaya), Pangasinense (dialect of those in Pangasinan), and Kankanaey and Ibaloi (dialects of those in Benguet and Mountain Province.

I grew up speaking Ilokano as my playmates are Ilokano children from the nearby town of Villaverde. At home, my parents spoke with me in Ilokano. In school, I learned to speak various dialects aside from the usual Tagalog and English languages taught by the teachers. So many dialects and languages to learn as a young pupil but that's where all the fun comes from. I remember very well how I learned Kiangan or Tuwali.

My classmate Franklin Licyayo told me to tell my father if I ever saw him drunk, "Nape ta bimmigo ka ngay Papa?" He said "bimmigo" means "drunk".

As a smart kid, I suspected he may be just making fun of me because it is often naughty phrases and words that are taught when someone is learning a new dialect or language. So I asked a teacher who is married to a Kiangan-speaking fellow and she told me never to say that word again because the real meaning of the word is bad. I later learned it means "erect" and it usually refers to a penis erection. Well, I suspected so :)

It reminds me when I was learning German from the teens of Munich. They taught me "Oachkatzlschwoaf" first before any other words. Oachkatzlschwoaf refers to the erect tail of a squirrel. ^_^

Thanks to Google, I found a site about the Ifugao Language by Newell and Poligon. By the looks of it, it seems to be based on the Batad/Banaue/Guhang/Ayangan dialect with its multiple variations. So if you understand the Batad variation, you can pretty much understand the rest of the Ayangan variations, too.

Another find is a list of Ifugao books by various authors pertaining to numerous topics from Ifugao language, literature, and history. I was quite surprised there are this many Ifugao books. I really didn't know.

Lastly, I also found a list of alll Philippine Languages and Dialects that sums up the various dialects of the whole Philippine islands. And I'd say, I quite agree that there are four (4) major dialects in Ifugao.

58.  IFUGAO, Amganad   Ifugao, Luzon
  59.  IFUGAO, Batad   Ifugao, Luzon
  60.  IFUGAO, Kiangan
         (Gilipanes, Quiangan)
   Ifugao, Luzon
86.   KALLAHAN, Keley-1
          (Antipolo Ifugao)
   Napayo, Kiangan, Ifugao

My question remains though. Is the Kiangan, Lagawe, and Hingyon's dialect considered as one big dialect which is Tuwali?

St. Benedict's Medal

I read and heard a lot about the evil warding powers of the St. Benedict's medal so I spent more time yesterday scouring the internet for more info, specially where one can buy this medal from here in Manila, Philippines. I am positive there must be a local source and not everything has to be imported from abroad.

I have been wanting to buy one but most of those offering it online are European or US stores. Those I saw being sold on the streets are plastic-looking imitations that cost too much, yet were not blessed by any Benedictine priest. Luckily, I found a blog where I read that it is sold at a church in Mendiola, particularly at the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat, also called Benedictine Abbey. Read more of the church hopping experience of Ferdz Decena at IronWulf.nethttp://www.ironwulf.net/2008/01/07/church-hopping-around-san-miguel/ for more pictures and details.

It would be a good experience to attend a mass at the St. Benedict's church. And yes, this is going to be one of the items in my bucket list for 2012. So after more reading, I found on this blog a detailed address and schedules of the San Beda College Benedictine Abbey Church  masses.

639 Mendiola Street
1005 San Miguel, Manila
Monday to Saturday
6:30 am
7:00 am
8:30 am
10:00 am
11: am
For those who want to see Benedictine monks sing Gregorian chants, schedule follows:
Morning Prayers
6:00 am (Monday to Sunday)
Evening Prayers
6:00 pm (Monday to Sunday)

Baptism, confession and blessing of St. Benedict Medals may be arranged at the adjacent office.

I asked my colleagues if they know any Bedistas and fortunately enough, one of my teammates is actually a San Beda College Alabang graduate. And he told he'll get me some of those medals when he goes there after Christmas. Thanks Elton! :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Night Travels During Holiday Seasons 2011 - 17th Eve

Last night was another fun night to travel and I'd say it's worth noting as well.

My officemate Vincent ordered Yellow Cab pizza around 9:30pm and it came around 10pm. This is after they just had a Don Henrico's fun run and ate lots of pizza. So I'm glad I held off and didn't buy foods from 7/11 yet :)  Anyway, we had more food to eat when three of our colleagues who belong to the Juan Dance Club (JDC) arrived around 10pm with a whole tray of various foods; crabs, beef, roasted chicken, veggies, rice and buko pandan. We ate before leaving the office.

It's Saturday so fewer people are now on the roads. The buses are not so full anymore. I was able to get seated right away. At the World Trade Center, the bus driver picked up a lot of passengers coming from the Christmas Bazaar that is being held there. The passengers are mostly made-up ladies, making me think they must be the promo girls and salesladies of the stores in the bazaar.

In Baclaran, a passenger who looks like a construction worker (he is wearing green overalls and carrying a blue hardhat) was blocking the door because he is complaining that he was not dropped off at LRT Taft Avenue. He said he was waiting for the conductor to shout "LRT" as he was not sure of it. The conductor of course told him that he did, which indeed he did, and that it's not their fault he is now in Baclaran. My thoughts and worry for him is, what if he doesn't have any more money for fare going back to LRT Taft? Besides, he smell of alcohol so he must have come from some merrymaking or Christmas party and is just going home. Tsk... tsk... conscience, conscience.

There are more people again waiting for transportation even if it's drizzling. Many seems to have come from the malls and bazaars around like Mall of Asia and Baclaran itself. I got myself in a jeepney bound for DBB-C in Dasmarinas, Cavite with less effort. I found out inside the jeepney that some of those made-up ladies from the World Trade Center are going my way, too. One of the passengers that the jeepney driver picked up at Airport Road was a big guy who also smell of alcohol. Not only that, he seems to be really sleepy he was almost laying down on the seat and his head is on the second passenger on his right, who is another sleepy lady whose head is laying on the next passenger's shoulder. The guy that was sandwiched in between the two sleepy passengers is the poorer one. All in all, they look really funny :) I took a picture of them but my cam photo was terrible as I didn't turn on the flash so I guess it's not worth posting, we'll see.

I arrived safely home almost 2am.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Night Travels During Holiday Seasons 2011 - 16th Eve

Everybody is talking about "Simbang Gabi" or Evening Mass. They are asking who went and who didn't, why they didn't go, when will they go the next morning or evening, and how was it or what happened along the way. Interestingly, I didn't hear anyone ask what the message was for that first Simbang Gabi for 2011. Anyway, it's just the Catholics who are doing Simbang Gabi so I guess this doesn't make sense for others who do not practice it. Of course, I didn't go, even for curiosity's sake because I am working at night and I'm way too sleepy to wake up at 3am for the 4am mass.

Ayala Avenue seems more lit up on the night of December 16th. More Christmas revelers on the road carrying more presents. Makati Medical Center (Makati Med) had their Christmas party and their music was loud and their fireworks beautiful. At past 11pm, there were more private cars than taxi cabs, jeepneys, and buses on the road. There were so many passengers waiting and this time, I had to stand in the bus from Ayala to Baclaran because the buses are so packed and everyone is rushing to go home. I think the bus was carrying 70 passengers instead of 45.

In Baclaran, there were so many people and a few Cavite buses and jeepneys. I had to walk towards the bridge in front of Heritage Hotel so I could take a jeepney as jeepneys nearing the bus stop are all full. I took a jeepney bound for DBB-C, and because I'm the first passenger, I got to pick my seat and I chose to seat in front, beside the driver. The jeepney was instantly full and is on its way to Cavite.

Just after the toll gate plaza of the Aguinaldo Boulevard, the jeepney lost all lights. The driver told me his alternator is not working and his battery is low. He is "lowbatt", he said. He didn't slow down though but moved to the right side incase he needs to do an emergency stop. But I guess one reason he did that is to hide from the expressway patrols ;)

We reached the Longos rotunda and it was hard for him to turn left because he was being honked by other private cars. At least, the driver is familiar with his route and was down the flyover as quick as possible. He maneuvered the jeepney to the right side once again, and we were on our way to our destination. However, he removed his signboard of DBB-C and replaced it with Imus/BDO because his jeepney is no longer safe and he knows it. He was also very careful with the ignition because he said if the engine dies, he won't be able to start it anymore. Good thing his car garage is just along Patindig Araw so he can drop off all his passengers safely in Imus and bring the jeepney home.

A testimony that the driver was smart was that when he passed another jeepney at 7/11, Imus, he stopped it and transferred his two passengers bound for Dasmarinas, Cavite. As for me, I was safely home around 1:15am.

Night Travels During Holiday Seasons 2011 - 15th Eve

As the  "Simbang Gabi" or Evening Mass started on the 16th of December, I thought I should also chronicle my night travel experiences during this season. Because for the whole month of December 2011, I am on swing shift, that is I start work at 2pm and finish at 11pm. By the time I am home, it's past 1am.

On the evening of the 15th, I know a lot of people cannot contain their anticipation for the start of Simbang Gabi that would start mostly on the morning of the 16th, as early as 4am. There are too many people on the road even at 11:45pm. Many just finished their Christmas parties so most of the people on the road have one or two wrapped presents with them. Few buses are running and passengers are crowding inside the packed buses. My officemate Genne and I were lucky enough to get seated when we took our bus from Ayala to Baclaran around 12 midnight.

In Baclaran, there's more people waiting for public transportation. I took a jeep for DBB-C or Dasmarinas, Cavite since the buses are packed and I don't want to stand for an hour for the sake of air conditioning. Luckily, the jeepney driver didn't wait to have a full jeep before leaving Baclaran. There were just 14 passengers on his 20-seater jeepney.

I didn't notice anything wrong with the jeepney until we were past the Aguinaldo Boulevard (also called Aguinaldo Expressway). All of a sudden, the jeepney stopped and the driver went underneath to fix something. He stayed there for well over 15 minutes before coming back up and trying to start the jeepney. The clutch didn't work so he went under again. Another 5 minutes passed and he came back and finally we moved on. My fellow passengers were quite nervous something is not right and the jeep is not safe. 500 meters later, he stopped once again and went under to fix it. A pretty Filipina with her handsome caucasian boyfriend decided to transfer rather than wait for the driver to fix the jeep.

After another 5 minutes or more, the driver came back and we moved on along until we reached a gas station in Talaba, Bacoor. The driver, while getting gas into the jeepney, went under to fix whatever problem again. He even asked the lady passenger seating in front to hold the clutch for him and to make sure it doesn't move. The two gays seating beside me said aloud, "This probably will take another 30 minutes. We better transfer than be stuck here." And off they went out to look for other transportation. I'm in no rush, besides being sleepy, so I just moved to the corner and sat still.

Indeed after around 25 minutes, the driver came back, and finally said that it's OKAY now. So we went ahead, but this time, there's just me and another lady passenger inside, and the two passengers in front. The other lady has lots of bulky presents with her so I guess that's why she didn't transfer, too. Lucky enough, the driver was right that all was well and we were able to reach Imus with no more stops. He picked up more passengers along the way from Padis Point then SM and the travel was uneventful afterwards.

I then took a jeepney home and arrived safely around 1:35am.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ople's First Time to Travel - to Cebu

I have been waiting for him to do this himself but he hasn't done it 'til now so I thought I must do it then. See, my little brother Ople just graduated from high school and never travelled farther than the next province. He did well in his high school and graduated as the valedictorian. He studied at a village high school located around 420 kilometers away from Manila, the Mongilit Ligmayo National High School, and is planning to move to Metro Manila for his college studies (only because I am working there and I suggested it). Life is getting boring and lonely so I need some company especially a fun-loving brother. Uh-oh, enough about that.

As a graduation treat since I wasn't able to go home and attend his graduation, I booked a vacation, a budget trip to Cebu for him and my husband. It would be a first time for my husband as well. Other than fun, the purpose of the trip is to enforce his lessons of history. The reason I chose Cebu City is because it is the one place in the Philippines where one can see and experience the magic of the old era, or at least some of it, with the fusion of todays industrial progress. As they say, one can only experience the magic of the south when one is in Cebu, the Queen City of the South. So there you go.

First time at the airport... Like an excited kid, he got all sorts of questions :) We took Zest Air since it offered the cheapest fare at the time. We left from the Manila Domestic Airport at 4:05am.

Queuing outside to enter the building. The domestic terminal building closes sometime during the night and opens it's gates only at 2:30am.

Checking-in at the counter. My brother was wondering why we can't just go in.
Waiting to board and looking forward to the plane ride... Yehey! For the first time I'll be riding a plane!

Anxious to get in as the queue is still long.

But we got in albeit tired from standing and queuing up.

Then after an hour or more, we arrived in Cebu, at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport. Still feeling energetic huh?

Too early when we arrived as hotel check-in is still at 12 noon. So we took a taxi from Mactan-Cebu International Airport to the Europa Mansionette Inn, where we have our reservation, just to leave our luggage. I asked the same taxi driver to bring us straight to the Sto. Nino Basilica of Cebu. The jolly driver served as our free tour guide as well.

Right across the basilica is a Chowking fastfood that is open as early as 6am. Let's have some breakfast before we start the tour. I'm sure there's a lot of walking and picture taking to be done.

Then we enter the basilica. Oh, I almost forgot. There is a row of flower shops right infront of Chowking. You can buy your flower offerings, candles, or even souvenirs from there. Although there are many peddlers as well right at the door of the church, just like in Quiapo church in Manila. The shops are closed yet as you can see, so the street is occupied by illegal flower vendors.

We were very early, around 7:30am but there was already a long line of worshippers, queuing in to get infront of the Sto. Nino. I raised my camera to camera to be able to take this picture but you can still see the heads of the queuing churchgoers, both local and tourists. The Sto. Nino is hidden away, protected from thieves in this corner surrounded by steel gate. Anyway, I said my prayer but didn't wait for the queue.

Cross the archway on the right side of the basilica and you'll be right where the Magellan's Cross is. It looks ordinary outside. I am thinking of a shade, a kiosk, or a small chapel when I see it.

Inside is the actual cross. However, it was again encased in a strong Tindalo wood, to ensure the safety of the original cross.

Facing the Magellan's Cross is the Cebu City Hall, or seat of the local government of Cebu. It has the message, "Public Office is a Public Trust".

Just a few steps away from the Magellan's Cross is the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) museum which has been declared a National Historic Landmark by the National Historical Commission.

After reading the landmark tablet of BPI, turn to your right and you'll see the Sampaguita Hotel of Cebu, which is one of the common hotels offered in tour packages. I haven't stayed there but I read some good reviews about the hotel. Simple, modest, and budget friendly are the best descriptions of it that I gathered.

While still standing in front of BPI, turn 180 degrees and you'll see an old building called Gottaoco Building, with an old PCI Bank signage still intact. I had a weird feeling about the building, that it is somehow important. However, when I asked if tourist can go inside, they said it's in ruins so entry is not permitted as it is dangerous.
A cropped up image of the one above. Anyway, does it look haunted? Just curious.

Round the corner and walk a hundred or more paces and you'll be at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Cebu. It has an impressive facade and array of bells, as often cathedrals do. The bells were so loud I believe it can be of great use in case of alarms. It has a pretty garden and prayer nooks.

Myles and Ople are still very excited despite of an sleepless night. They didn't sleep because they were so worried they won't wake up on time to make it to the airport for the check-in time at 2am. As for me, I came from work coz I had a shift from 2pm to 11pm so we all had a long night. But it doesn't matter, we're not yet sleepy.

We crossed some streets and corners and went beyond the ruined old buildings and this is what we saw, a welcome marker for Cebu City. This is not a normal tourist spot we saw no one there at all, just the 3 of us.

Infront is a new highway then the sea, where some private ships and yachts are docked.

While taking pictures, we crossed the highway and was about to take pictures of ourselves infront of the sea with the distant island when a security officer on a bicycle came and told us to go away as the area is a private property and tourists are not allowed. I asked to take a picture of the island or my companions at least but he won't even allow that. He told me that it's really not allowed to take pictures there. Hmm... I sneaked a shot anyway ;)

But why is that, one would wonder, but we're not arguing so instead, we asked for directions to the next tourist spot which he happily obliged. Next destination: Fort San Pedro. By the way, I thought the guy on the bike that was coming to us was just an ordinary passerby but then again, the place is empty so we were so obviously out of place.

As we re-entered Cebu City thru that new highway, I saw why the place is guarded and tourists are not allowed. It is the back of the Port of Cebu otherwise known as the MalacaƱan sa Sugbo, another old building that would have been in ruins by now had it not been restored by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2004.

Moving forward, we saw our target destination. We're beginning to feel tired as the sun is already way up, the heat is starting to rise, and we're running out of water. We kept looking for shops to buy water but of course there isn't any as it is a big, wide, under renovation park - the Plaza Independencia. What's to see here? I'd say nothing.

Okay, let's continue. Ople cannot run anymore. We're really getting tired now, my feet is beginning to ache and I need to sit down.

First person we met is Sir Antonio Pigafetta, or his statue, located outside the Fuerza de San Pedro. He is facing the large building of the Cebu Central Post Office. I somehow didn't see anything worth capturing the post office for so I didn't take a picture of it. But I'm glad somebody did so I'll just link to it so you know what I'm saying, and others are saying, too.

He looks so lonely here. Actually, I had bad vibes while I was on this place. There's a feeling of sadness and some anger. First, he doesn't seem to belong there because he is separated by a fence in his front and a tall wall on his back. He doesn't belong to the post office nor does he belong to the fort. Somebody should have adjusted the fence to exclude him, making it look like he's guarding the post office. Anyway, what hurts most was that there were lots of garbage dumped next to his statue and it stinks of urine. There were even some broken bottles so it's not safe for strolling.

So off we go to the highlight of the plaza - the Fort San Pedro. It looks bare and dry, but I guess that's how forts are supposed to look, but really, I found a better looking picture of the Fort San Pedro some years (2006) back here.
Here we learned the founding of Cebu. Hey Mikke Ople, didn't you learn that in your history classes?
Ople: I still have it on my head sissy. On the 8th day of May 1565, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi established the Spanish settlement called Villa de San Miguel. This is after some fighting and arguing. That is how Cebu started. You want more or shall we continue to walk?
Uh huh, we better go so we can finish the tour quick. But wait, could it be that Zoren Legazpi is a great great great grandson of that guy? Haha, just a thought coz most of the ads I saw are those of Vina Morales who is of course from Cebu.

Oh well, I'm beginning to starve and my eyes need to rest. But we must finish this set of destinations coz we may not come back here again soon. And here we have the weapons used by the Katipuneros. That's more history lessons for me.
We even saw some real handwritten letters exchanged between Andres Bonifacio and other leaders. They really have very nice handwritings considering it was a hectic and dangerous time. I was always under the impression the scribbles would be rushed and hard to read. My husband, ever the smartass, quipped, "The leaders don't do the writing, they have secretaries to do that job. They're just doing the thinking and analysing. Oh, and commanding too."

Now the fort is such a lovely garden and it's so windy up there, we're getting sleepy just roaming around the lovely lush gardens. The cartridge and powder rooms were now turned to storage rooms of gardening tools. We were able to get some refreshments as well coz there's a mini-store inside the fort. There's a singing group of disabled singers, too for those who doesn't want to continue walking. There's a shaded hall to sit, rest, and relax while sipping some refreshments and listening to music.

Away from the crowd, I actually napped in one of the benches in the garden. I woke up alone some 30 minutes later because Ople and Myles went to inspect the buildings in the fort.

Now I'm really hungry I went looking for Ople and Myles which were in another small museum. I had no more trouble dragging them out coz when I said let's go find some place to have lunch, they both agreed with not much protest.

On the way out, I noticed a well which used to be the water well used by the soldiers during the war. But nowadays, it became a wishing well.

There also is a prayer nook or altar and a tablet of oratorio for anyone's pleasure.

Outside the fort, picture taking continues :) Even if we're tired, sleepless and hungry, we can't just pass up the chance. Go Mikke Ople!

This is where you can still see the renovations that were not yet completed at the time of our visit. This should be one grand plaza once completed they say. But we'll see to that some time soon :) Maybe next year again?

And to the finale for the day, lunch at The Original AA BBQ restaurant. I read a lot of good reviews about this restaurant so I made sure our lunch is here. Oh, and we just walked to the restaurant from Fort San Pedro. It's just a few blocks away.

We ordered bangus, squid, pork, 3 extra rice (2 rice each), 3 bottles of water, and 1 pitcher of their 4 seasons drinks which is a mixture of 4 various fruits, mainly apple, orange,lemon, and watermelon. Although we are hungry, our palates are well satisfied too. Our plates can only describe it well.

After that hearty lunch, we took a Mandaue-bound jeepney along the street on the left side of the restaurant. I forgot the number but I'll dig in my list and update this soon with all the other jeepney numbers for various destinations. Upon arriving in Maguikay, Mandaue, we just took a tricycle going to our hotel and the waiting bed for our rest and long sleep.

I linked to many sites with relevant information so my thanks go to them.