Cebu, the Second Time Around

So we went to Cebu for my birthday! It was my second time to go.

My first time, in the summer of 2003, pre-King, was pretty memorable. We first went to Dumaguete to visit relatives at Silliman University. We also went to Bais to see dolphins and swim at this really nice white sand beach that disappears at high tide. We took the ferry from Dumaguete to Bohol to join family friends next, see the sights, and go island hopping and snorkeling. We then proceeded to Cebu so we could take the boat from Cebu to Cagayan de Oro, but due to some mishap, we had to stay overnight and take the plane instead. I only remember visiting Magellan’s Cross and the Taoist Temple, and my brother and I had fun hitting some balls at the nearby driving range with our dad. We even took a tricycle to and from the Waterfront hotel. In Cagayan de Oro, I went river tubing, jumped off a 20-foot (or more) bridge, hiked up a mountain and walked the canopy of some rainforest there. We went to Duka Beach Resort in Misamis Oriental for more snorkeling and canoeing sometime then. That was a packed vacation- definitely one of our many fun family memories!

This time, I went with King, the girls, and my mom. We stayed 3 nights in Crown Regency Hotel, so we could do their Skywalk and tower-to-tower Zipline, which turned out to be a complete bust because it rained the night we wanted to do it. They apparently close it down when it rains. We found out the next morning that they didn’t open till 2PM, and our flight was at 3:50PM. Bummer.

Anyway, we arrived the night of the 10th, checked in, and ate at my mom’s favorite restaurant, The Golden Cowrie. The one we went to, however, was the more “civilized” one since it was a new branch in the Ayala mall. They call it Hukad sa Golden Cowrie. Their food was good! Kare-kare, Blue Marlin, Sinigang na Hipon. Noelle and I especially liked their Chicharon Bulaklak haha!

The next day, we visited the Mactan Shrine and saw the Alegre guitar factory in Lapu-Lapu City. I found it pretty cool to be standing where our people fought with the Spaniards, where Lapu-lapu killed Magellan. I love that my girls learned some history.

The guitars at Alegre were beautiful! They use different kinds of wood to make their guitars, the most expensive of which is Maple wood. The ukelele I liked because of its dark wood, not that I play haha, costs 7,500 pesos. I guess it costs so much because it’s worth so much. My mom bought a junior guitar which cost 2,300 pesos. Danae is again inspired to learn to play. She wanted to buy her own, and Noelle wanted to buy the pink one just ’cause. They’re both okay with borrowing my mom’s for now.

We had lunch at CnT to try some of their famous lechon. Their food was almost wiped out by the time it was our turn to order. Their lechon was soft, tasty, and believe it or not, not fatty! The skin was crunchy with no layer of fat underneath it. It was good with just their soy sauce mix. Puso (rice wrapped in banana leaves) is popular in Cebu.

The rest of the afternoon was uneventful, except for our visit to Kenneth Cobonpue’s showroom and our purchase of some cool shirts at a souvenir shop. We did go to Magellan’s cross, Colon street, and the entrance of Fort San Pedro. We were tired and it started to rain hard, so we went back to the hotel without entering the Fort. The kids were excited to swim anyway.

Dinner was at Abuhan Restaurant. Their Pochero, which is Cebuano for Bulalo, was delicious! Super soft beef and yummy bone marrow! Even their Beef with Cauliflower and Pancit Canton were yummy. We decided to sleep early because the 12th, my birthday, was Oslob day!

More pictures here and here. 🙂

My Mom

One of the most important things I learned from my mom ever since I was little was INTEGRITY. She always exerted effort to make sure she was truthful and credible, and that her name was respectable. She was, still is, also one who could be trusted with certain information. I remember we were together on a trip when I was a teenager, she told me a sad secret about a friend of ours. It wasn’t gossip because I knew she cared about them and she was trying to teach me something. I guess I got from her the same value for trust and keeping one’s word (as much as I possibly can; I’m not perfect) because to this day, I still keep that secret. I don’t even know if I’ve mentioned it to King.

My mom is simple and somewhat low-maintenance. I love that about her. I am the same way though I think I may even be more low maintenance haha, and proud of it.

She’s not the type who needs to stay at a 5-star hotel when we travel. She likes to splurge sometimes, but she’s very sensible about her finances. I wish I had her incredible business sense, weighing the value and the cost. I only see things as cheap or expensive haha, and I almost always want to go the cheap route. She is extremely intelligent too even at her age of 63, though she eats too much pork — memory gap hahaha.

When I was a child, I didn’t get elaborate birthday gifts, fashionable clothes or cutesie patootsie stuff, but she and my dad took us places. I may have felt deprived of the cool toys and clothes, but we were never deprived of fun family trips. I will always be grateful for that.

My mom is so different from me in terms of motherhood, but I think she’s a pretty cool mom, a really cool mother-in-law, and a really really cool grandmother! She gives us advice but doesn’t overstep her boundaries. She respects King’s leadership over our family even though we live in one house (when she is in town, that is). She is so generous to us (and other people), but she doesn’t lord it over us. She’s very independent and quite modern. She doesn’t have that mind set of wanting her children to pay her back for all that she’s done or to support her financially (though of course that is what we want to do for her one day), but she wants to continue being a blessing and help to her children.

My mom may not be a picture of a typical mother, but she is the best mom to me and my brother.

Happy mothers’ day, mom! What I teach the girls I learned from you, so thank you. And I want to be like you when I become a mother-in-law and grandmother. I love you! 🙂

Fun Family Memories

I was looking at old family pictures this morning  and I had a good time seeing myself as a child, remembering all the trips we had as a family. I am so grateful to my parents for taking us to different places!

We went on more than one trip every single year — usually Batangas or Baguio on either of my parent’s birthdays, holy week, or on the All Saint’s Day weekend. We would go with many other relatives too, which made it so much more fun. It was usually either Iloilo or Cagayan de Oro for the summer, and my parents would put me in a ship with my nanny to get there! On few other summers, my parents would take us around the U.S. to visit relatives and popular tourist spots. Nothing like family trips to build wonderful childhood (and beyond) memories.

I was so excited to show the girls my pictures and share with them my experiences. They were equally excited and interested. It really inspired them, especially Danae, to want to visit the places I’ve been to. We prayed that God would take us to Disney World and Sea World! And for some reason, my girls have a thing for New York, which I’ve always loved as well. Wait till they see my Hawaii pictures! Oh, if only money were not an issue. We would have traveled the world by now!


We had a kick out of seeing how Danae looked a lot like I did, even in crying and pouting hahaha. She even commented “You’re brown like me!”

I am so thankful that we grew up with fun family traveling experiences. Even though I didn’t always appreciate them then, mainly during my long season of teenage (and early adulthood) angst, my brother and I carry in our own families this culture of traveling that my parents began. Being exposed to different places, people and experiences was truly a gift.

So to my late Dad & to my Mom, THANK YOU! Thank you for prioritizing traveling over the latest trends, toys or clothes when we were growing up. Thank you for making sure we stayed connected with cousins and relatives. And Mom, thank you for still being at it — for inviting us to go on trips with you and for encouraging us to take time to travel with family.

And so babe, to echo our daughters’ common question, where are we going next? 🙂

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