Roughly a year ago I had my first meeting with the Philippines, through a bleary eyed early morning arrival in Cebu. Clearly this was not the ideal way to enter the country, but cheap flights caught my eye and thus I found myself in a taxi, hoping to even make it to my accommodation. I didn't make that mistake again, well not exactly, this time I arrived at 5am after a red eye from Incheon aboard which I got a few not so comfortable hours of sleep. Thankfully I didn't have to deal with the taxi headache as my friend Jan was kind enough to pick me up from the airport. *Background story: I met Jan and his friends on my last day in Coron last year at which time he was my angel in disguise, saving me from a sketchy hotel situation* It's been a year since our meeting and I kept promising I'd come back for a longer visit, which I finally delivered on. Jan promised that if I returned to Cebu he'd show me the better side, seeing as I wasn't exactly blown away last time...
After spending nearly two weeks in paradise it was unfortunately time for me to return to the busy city for a night. I was hoping I could match up my flight times and spend only a few hours at the airport but no such luck. After a series of extremely lucky, weird-how-things-turn-out-for-the-best, events I found myself in a lovely hotel room near the Mactan-Cebu airport.
Although it produces amazing memories, interesting stories and some great pictures, budget travel isn't always glamorous. In order to get that cheap airline fare you might have to be okay with arriving somewhere in the middle of the night, tired and a bit disoriented. Lucky me, I arrived in Cebu somewhere around 2 am still having to navigate my way into the city. Taxis from the airport are known to try and scam tourist so when I spotted another solo traveler I asked if she wanted to split the fare. I quickly checked into my room and drifted off to sleep, I briefly awoke around 5 to let my friend in (she had a later flight) and then found myself wide awake around 8 am, no idea why. We decided to venture out in to the city as we were both starving, wandered the streets for close to an hour before stumbling into a Thai restaurant, comatose. Once our stomachs were full we decided to go back and nap, shower and prepare ourselves for a day of sightseeing.
Over 7,500 islands of pure bliss. I've been twice, both times arriving with a "what am I doing here" hesitation, but weeks later resisting my departure. Forget about being on time, or eating lots of vegetables, but welcome beautiful sunsets, gorgeous beaches, and welcoming, friendly locals.