Monday, December 8, 2014

Travelogue | Underwater in Cebu

Photography by KennyKCSim
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CEBU WATERS  Hola! It's the start of a brand new week today and I'm continuing on my Cebu and Bohol travelogue! (This is my second post and you can read up about my first one here) While our first day had all been getting about and touring the city of Cebu, we spent our second day getting out in the sun.. going island-hopping!!! 

We set off around 6am in the morning, where our guide drove us to Boyla Dive Shop to grab our snorkeling gears first before embarking on our adventure across the sea! With Philippines made up of 7107 islands... (ah.. a little too spoilt for choice) we settled with two out of the countless many. Up on the plan now is snorkeling at Hilotongnan Island and lunch on Nalusuan Island.

Photograph by KennyKCSim


HILOTONGNAN ISLAND

Photograph by KennyKCSim

Snorkeling at Hilotongnan Island is my third try at snorkeling. Back then, I had my first snorkel experience in Tioman where I was greeted by a bunch of colorful marine fishes underwater. Naively, I had high expectations towards my second snorkel when I went to Boracay.... only to be soooo devasted. You must be thinking why, right? So let me tell you... the boatman whom we paid to bring us out, dropped us at a snorkeling site to swim with no more than.... ten fishes underwater. I was so disappointed!

When it came to Hilotongnan Island this time round... YES THERE WERE FISHES UNDERWATER!!! There's even a friendly diver down under who waved back at us. Now this, is definitely way better than my previous Boracay snorkel.. Off I went back up the boat again, grabbed my phone, and jumped back in with a leap of faith (that my phone wouldn't drown in water.. it should be waterproof) Look at the pictures from my phone!


Huge bunch of fishes right below our boat. As the currents were pretty strong, we decided to get out of the water and head next to Nalusuan Island for lunch.

NALUSUAN ISLAND

(Photograph by KennyKCSIM)

Nalusuan Island is every kind of beautiful! I love the super long jetty walkway and all of us were just stopping every few steps to for photos hahaha. I bet we took at least twenty minutes before we finally made it to the other end for lunch. If you are island hopping in Cebu, this is THE island you HAVE to visit. Other than yummy local barbecued food, we found that it has another gorgeous beach right next to the place we dined.. (great for photos again!) with lots of little marine fishes in the shallow waters. If I am back to Cebu, I'll be sure to come back to Nalusuan Island again. 

(Photograph by KennyKCSIM)
(Photograph by KennyKCSIM)
(Photograph by YapMeng)

Getting late into the night right now so I'm getting off my desktop! 

If you'd like to read more, the rest of my awesome trip buddies are also blogging about our Cebu and Bohol Getaway right (here) so go check it out!

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This trip is made possible with special thanks and heartfelt appreciation to 
Omy Singapore, Philippines Department of Tourism, and SilkAir.

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TRIP INFORMATION

•  Boyla Dive Shop  
Website: http://www.boyladivingresort.net/
Boat Rental from 9am to 3pm: P3,500
Snorkeling Masks / Fins: P300 per person
Entrance Fee to Nalusuan Island: P200 per person
• Lunch on Nalusuan Island: P550 per person



Sunday, December 7, 2014

Travelogue | Cebu City Tour (Day 1)

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CEBU DAY 1 PHILIPPINES   I actually thought for a long time about how should I exactly go about to blog about my incredible trip to Cebu and Bohol Islands in Philippines. It's like.. I have so much to say with so many different feelings to describe that I have no idea on where should I start with. Hence, I thought I'll do it travelogue-style (lest my train of thoughts gets me all over the place..) and while it's been some time since I blogged about travel, I'm super duper puper stoked to share about everything!!

Perhaps the only odd feeling I got was not having KJ around on the trip. Haha! I mean, you guys already know how both of us are like partners when it comes to taking pictures and such.. We are so used to how we both work together when we shoot pictures. Turning to the one that's behind the camera lens this time,. it feels... .. different. And slightly out of place (because I'll still need help to grab a few pictures of me - else you'll never see me in any pictures at all!!!) Haha. So we were all sharing our pictures when we got back and let me tell you.... the pictures that Kenny took were just.... unreal. Seriously unreal. (Yes he is really that good.) Some of his photos are in this post and as credited - check them out!

Out of our five days in Philippines, we spent our first two days exploring Cebu that includes a short city tour and some incredibly fun time on island-hopping!


1. ACCOMODATION IN CEBU : RADISSON BLU HOTEL

Photographed by KennyKCSim

After a short thirty minutes drive from the Mactan International Airport we walked through the glass doors of Radisson Blu Hotel - home for our two days in Cebu. The interior decor of the hotel is soo beautiful right up to it's lift lobbies and corridors. Trust me it gets even better when I get to my room.. We had our international buffet lunch at Feria restaurant (which happened to re-open just a day ago with new selections on its buffet spread so lucky lucky us) and I loveeee the desserts corner. I just died and went to heaven when I bite down on the macarons which they had.. AND their self made ice cream. 

Radisson Blu's bar by night time.
This is my room!
With a flattering view of the Cebu landscape
Feria Restaurant located right next to the hotel reception lobby

Photographed by KennyKCSim
L: Savoury desserts corner  |   R: International selection of food 
Desserts Corner

2. CITY TOUR : MAGELLAN'S CROSS 

Photographed by KennyKCSim
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After our lunch we were set on a short city tour to understand a little bit more about Cebu's history and culture. During the trip, I've come to realise that when it comes to religious belief - Catholics and Christianity are a majority for most in Philippines.

In Cebu's city centre, this chapel housing the Megallan's Cross has a closely linked history to tell. It goes back in 1521, when Ferdinand Magellan was the first European to come to the Philippines. As a Portuguese navigator working for the King of Spain in search of spice islands (called the Moluccas islands now), Megellan befriended a native chief while he came to Cebu Island. 

As Magellan and hundreds of his native warriors subsequently accept Christianity and baptized together, Megallan planted a cross to signify the important event about the propagation of Roman Catholic faith - that is now housed in a this chapel next to the Basilica Minore del Santo NiƱo on Magallanes Street. 

While we enter the chapel, many candle vendors started approaching us and we honestly didn't know what to do haha! We were then told by our guide that with the different colors of candles they have, each represents a different intention of Happiness, Career, Success, Love, and Courage. With a small token of peso, these ladies will chant an earnest prayer with your name whereby you can go forth and make three wishes. Guess what I chose?

Photographed by KennyKCSim
Photographed by KennyKCSim

3. SUNDAY MASS: BASILICA MINORE DEL SANTO NINO

Photographed by KennyKCSim
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As the Basilica Minore Del Santo Nino was right next to the Megallan Cross' Chapel and we were there on a Sunday afternoon, we went in to have a short look and experience. Photography is not allowed but we managed to take a few pictures of their on-going mass. Though I'm not familiar to church masses and such, this was an eye opener as it amazes me to see how many people there are, standing out in the open all quiet and listening earnestly to the Father that's holding the session.


4. SKY EXPERIENCE ADVENTURE 

Photographed by KennyKCSim
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As the sun sets really early in Philippines (about 5.30pm!) we quickly set off to Crown Regency for our evening walk around the tallest building in Cebu. Let me tell you.... the view is AWESOME!!! While it was a little nerve wrecking walking about on a platform with NO barriers (what you see on the picture was the briefing platform before we ventured out)... It was quite fun! It even got to a part whereby we were walking through a glass platform : with all 40 storeys down under your feet in full glory hehe.


We then ventured one storey higher afterwards to test our limit... on the edge coaster!!!! Ally and I were screaming our lungs out in the beginning when the seat tilts up to about 45 degrees - forcing you to take in the landscape of Cebu... (whether you like it or not.)  Now this is adrenaline pumping!!!

Photographed by KennyKCSim

And take some breathtaking photos of the twinkling night view of Cebu

5. HILLTOP DINNER:  LANTAW NATIVE FAMILY RESTAURANT (BUSAY)

Photographed by KennyKCSim
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Where our dinner setting can't get more romantic. Haha! We had our taste at local Philippine cuisine and they were great! Personally I felt that their dishes are quite similiar to our Chinese cuisine. So everything tastes pretty familiar and we spent our first dinner together.. just getting to know everyone else a little bit better with soft music playing in the background. Cebu is beautiful.

Photographed by KennyKCSim
Photographed by KennyKCSim
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More about Day 2 next time! 
All of us are blogging about our Cebu and Bohol Getaway right (here) so go check it out!

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This trip is made possible with special thanks and heartfelt appreciation to 
Omy Singapore, Philippines Department of Tourism, and SilkAir.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

  1. Flight Promotional Rates at SilkAir
    Website: http://www.silkair.com/

  2. Radisson Blu Hotel
    Website: http://www.radissonblu.com/hotelcebu

  3. Cebu City Tour
    Magellan’s Cross   |  Basilica Del Sto. Nino de Cebu
    Cost about PHP1,000-2,000 per person depending on spots covered.

    • It is advisable to contact your preferred Singapore agents for latest deals and packages.
    • Alternatively, you can go through Cebu-Based Operators: http://destinationcebu.com/

  4. Sky Experience Adventure
    Opening Hours & Rates: http://www.skyexperienceadventure.com/page/rates-and-schedules
    Please wear covered shoes for this activity.

  5. Lantaw Native Family Restaurant
    Opening Hours and Menu: https://www.facebook.com/LantawNativeRestaurant
    Note this restaurant have 3 outlets in Cebu: Busay (the one we went), Mactan (Riverside) & SRP.