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.
We decided since we had the time that we'd just walk downtown and see what we came across on the way there. Honestly though, there wasn't much, the city is congested and a little smelly; it's supposed to be better than Manila so let's hope I never find myself there. We took note of some massage parlors, restaurants and bars that we could return to later in the evening before stumbling upon the market. I've been to Asian markets before but this was an entirely different beast, crossing the road was a mix between a frogger game and a death wish, while the market stalls themselves were swarming with people, animals (both dead and alive), and various goods. Honestly walking these streets made me feel a bit claustrophobic so I was all too happy to leave. We weren't really sure what way was out but we were soon winding down some back alleys, eventually coming out near the sea; we took the opportunity to get away from the madness and enjoy a little quiet.
Although the water reminded me a bit more of Lake Michigan than any beautiful beaches you'd see featured in a Philippines travel guide, it was still nice to be away from the city's craziness. We talked to and took a few pictures of the local kids - per their request, but then had to shoo them away as they asked for money. "You take picture, now pay me" - great businessmen in the making right there. From the waters edge we made our way to Fort San Pedro, took a picture and left, as you can probably tell we were over the whole 'tourist' thing for the day
I'm proud to say we mastered the Jeepney and got ourselves the cheapest ride of our trip [8php each] close to the area where we had ate breakfast/lunch that morning. One of our friends from Korea was also in Cebu so we were trying to make plans to meet him for dinner and drinks that evening, a bit harder when you're relying on WiFi for communication ability. Loudine and I had a disappointing dinner, saved by a few delicious beers before finally meeting Min-kyu and making our way back to our guesthouse for a few more drinks. Crazy how small the world is because as we sat down I spotted the girl I shared the taxi with the night before, sitting across the room. The five of us sat together drinking and sharing travel stories before eventually calling it a night.
Before leaving to catch a taxi back to the airport we took some time to capture the charm of our lovely guesthouse, Kukuks nest. Despite being in an extremely noisy area, actually I'm not sure there is a quiet place in Cebu, we got a great deal. The rooms were super cheap, clean [enough] and the staff was accessible, they also served food and drinks but we never did get a chance to try the former.
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.