Oslob, Cebu

We took the bus from South Bus Terminal Cebu, and it took us about 3 hours. We bought our tickets there and it was cash only. The terminal wasn’t busy and we didn’t wait that long. There were 2 different kinds of buses. One with AC and one without. I recommend to take the one with AC, unless you’re taking the bus around midnight to 4/5 am, you should be fine without the AC. Take the earliest bus schedule to avoid traffic.

The people at the terminal were very friends, if you have any questions you can always ask them. You have to let the driver know where you’ll be going so they will know where to drop you off. They don’t stop at every bus stop unless they are picking up or dropping off. There were a lot of vendors going in and out of the bus and some will force you to buy their stuff. 

They gave us warning that our stop was coming up, otherwise we would of missed it. 

On our bus stop, there were people waiting and ready to help. We ended up taking the tricyle, it was too hot and I don’t know the area yet. We got help to find a tricyle in minutes. The lodge that we were going to be was just a couple of blocks away from the bus stop. 

We stayed at Ocean View Lodging House. Right when we arrived, we were greeted by the staff. We checked in quick and easy. This place had the best view! Check out the first photo. Isn’t it amazing!

After our Whale Watching, we walked around the town. It was a small town and very mellow. We felt safe walking around anytime during the day or night. 

 Fresh cut buko
Fresh cut buko

Cangcua-ay Chapel
Cangcua-ay Chapel

Dinner at LE BISTROT
Dinner at LE BISTROT

Our stay in Ocean Lodging included breakfast. Look at this amazing breakfast waiting for us! 
Our stay in Ocean Lodging included breakfast. Look at this amazing breakfast waiting for us!

Snack time by the view!
Snack time by the view!

Temple of Leah – Cebu, Philippines

One of our stop was Temple of Leah.

The temple was constructed in the year 2012. It was built as a symbol of the undying love and ceaseless devotion of Teodorico Soriano Adarna to his wife for 53 years, Leah Villa Albino-Adarna. Business Tycoon, Teodorico Adarna (Grandfather of actress Ellen Adarna and owner of Queensland Motels) constructed this huge edifice for his late wife, Leah Albino-Adarna.

We had a great time at the Temple of Leah. It wasn’t busy at all. There was probably 1 employee working there at the entrance gate at that time, but I wanted to know more about the history of the temple without looking at it online. There was a bunch of rooms that looked like storages. Some has statues inside and other miscellaneous things.  

Amazing view from the temple
Amazing view from the temple

“Beloved Wife and Mother: Leah V. Albino-Adarna was chosen Matron Queen of her Alma Mater the University of Southern Philippines. This bronze statue portrays her composure and regal bearing when she was crowned. May the beholder discern her innate beauty, poise and gentleness.”

Tops Lookout, Cebu, Philippines

Tops Lookout, better known simply as ‘Tops’ is located on Mt Busay. The viewing deck provides spectacular views. It is one of the best-kept secrets of the locals.

It was mostly concrete with interesting circle stone architecture. It has a bar for beers, snacks and a souvenir shop. Their prices were a bit high, I’m sure people can bring their own food and have picnics there. There’s a lot of room to eat.

Tops has a panoramic view of the whole Cebu. The locals told us to come back later that night to see all the lights light up, but we didn’t have time to come back. I was also told some people stay for the night to camp out and see the lights.

They do have a restaurant, Top of Cebu, but we didn’t eat. I wished we did though. We weren’t that hungry at that time, so we just took pictures and enjoyed the view and the sun.

Entrance fee: 100 pesos ($1.92)/ person

 

Sirao Garden, Cebu, Philippines

Our first Cebu day tour was Sirao Garden. It is also called Little Amsterdam in Netherlands. It was a bit of a drive uphill, but the view was amazing.

This farm was very colorful and organized. It’s pretty spread out that you can go any directions you want to, but not chaos. We arrived in Manila when summer just started and the weather was perfect that day.

I was not expecting the garden to be that big. I thought it was going to be like a garden in the backyard of a house, but I was wrong, it was huge!

People were very friendly, waiting for their turn to take pictures, and offered to take some pictures. Anyone can take their time to walk around, but since we were on a tour, we were there for about 1.5 hours.

Entrance fee: 80 pesos ($1.54) per person.

LOVE
As you can see, I looked really scared. Well, I was! I felt like I was gonna fall back, but it was safe to sit on it. I’m not a big fan of heights.
One of my favorite here in the garden.
With my husband, Kevin.
Namaste
Not as scary as the earlier picture 🙂
I was born with Tetralogy of Fallot and had 3 open heart surgeries. This heart shaped, made me feel very special.
Entrace area
Entrance door to the garden

Cebu

First day in Cebu, Philippines

We arrived in Cebu around 12pm. The ferry took about 2 hours from Tagbilaran, Bohol. I didn’t book any tours or driver ahead of time, but they were people waiting outside offering tours.

As we were walking outside a lady came up to me and offered me a driver and a car. We talked of what we wanted to do and we ended up with a price of 5,000 pesos ($96) for the car and the driver for 6 hours.

The car arrived, we got our stuff in the car and was ready to go, but the AC in the car wasn’t working at all. The driver claimed he picked up the car that morning and haven’t gotten a chance to figure how things works. My husband and I were sweating like crazy in the back seat and we were getting irritated, opening the window didn’t helped at all. On top of that, I didn’t know we had to pay for gas, too. That was additional 1,000 pesos ($20).

I felt like I was ripped off, but the driver was nice and I’m sure he was just making money for living. Since we were on a vacation, I expected things like this to happen, so I let it go and I just wanted to enjoy the day.

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First stop in Cebu —>>> Sirao Garden Little Amsterdam

Manila to Bohol, Philippines

We left the Go Hotels Manila at 6:30 am and our flight was at 8:00 am. The hotel was about 15 minutes away from the airport. Everything was fast and easy at the airport, but for someone like me, a diabetic took a little longer than a normal person should. I use an Tslim X2 insulin pump and a Dexcom sensor device that tells me what my blood sugar is.

We booked with Cebu Pacific Air. We checked in 1 luggage and 1 luggage per person is included as long as it was under 20 kg or 40 pounds.

Our gate was changed an hour before our boarding time and they announced it very clear. We didn’t have to guess and worried about it.

We walked down from 2nd floor to 1st floor and a shuttle bus was already waiting outside. Actually, there was probably 3 shuttle busses out there waiting for the passengers to be transfer to the airplane. Our airplane was parked away from the gates. It was actually fun. We rode the shuttle for about 5 minutes and we walked from the bus to the airplane. The walk was about 2-3 minutes it was just right in front of the airplane, but I enjoyed it. Haha.

We had to go through the back door of the airplane because our seat number was 20.

The flight was only an hour and food wasn’t included unless you pay for it. 

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Finally we arrived in Bohol.

We didn’t booked any cars for us because the hotel charges a bit more. My friend suggested to check out people outside the airport, offering tour packages and negotiate prices with them.

First person I found was very nice. She wasn’t pushy and negotiating pretty easy. She asked questions; what and where do we want to go and do. They also showed a list of tour with pictures and I just pointed out what we want to check.

We ended up with 3,000 pesos ($56) for the van with driver, gas was included for the whole day. I think, thats pretty fair deal for both.

Out first stop was Tarsier.

First night in Manila, Philippines

We arrived in Manila around noon on a Sunday. There was no traffic and the roads were easy to drive. I think it was a good time to arrive that day. Gave us time to adjust and just relax.

My friends from childhood picked us up at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. I was glad the airport was organized. I couldn’t use my cell phone (Verizon). I tried using one of the plan they offered, $10 a day, but I couldn’t send or call anyone at all. I turned my data off and turn the airplane mode just in case I get charged. FYI, no free WiFi at the airport. Only free for anyone who has globe or smart phones. Good thing my friend lend me her extra phone and I used hotspot for my phone to work.

Once we got outside where the “greeting area” was. My friends found me right away. There’s an area for people to park in front of the airport for some time and made it easier for us.

We made a reservation at Go Hotels Manila AirPort Road. It was too early to check in so we just dropped our bags and left.

After dropping off our things at the hotel. We went to Manam Comfort Filipino. It’s a Filipino restaurant. There was a bit of a wait, but the restaurant was clean and the staff was very friendly.

We were told not to drink tap water. Only bottled water or soda in can and no ice. We didn’t want to risk getting sick in our trip.

My friend Grace ordered for us and she did great with the choices. Since I have never been there, I told her she can order for us. She ordered a lot!

One of my favorites was the house crispy sisig. The others were good, but I’m satisfied with the sisig with white rice. There palabok was good, too, and the presentation was pretty cool.

Manan Comfort Filipino
Manam Food

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After lunch we went back to the hotel and checked in. The room was pretty small but we were just there for 1 night. We had to catch an early flight the next day anyway. Go hotels Manila Airport Road was about 10-15 minutes away. Grab costs around $5.

Our view from our room.

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Flying with EVA Air from San Francisco to Philippines

I finally visited the Philippines after 19 years since I moved to California with my family.

Thank goodness for social media, I wouldn’t be able to keep in touch with my friends and family.

We flew with Eva Air from San Francisco to Taipei. It took about 13 hours, but it felt like forever. It was a very uncomfortable. Their economy seats were too small. I suggested you to pay extra for bigger seats and bigger spaces for your legs. I am a small person and I was not comfortable at all. I probably slept around 3-4 hours.

You do get your own tv monitor and they have free movies, but very limited. They served us 2 meals. One for dinner 2 hours after take off and one for breakfast 2 hours before landing. Food was surprisingly good. You can also request specific diet after buying the tickets. I selected the diabetic food and my husband selected whatever was available. However, I didn’t select any diet restrictions on our flight back home and I had more choices.

Here are some examples of food they offered during our flights.

We landed in Taipei and had about 2 hours layover. The gates were not far away from each other, but their system was very unorganized. My husband and I had to guessed what to do. They were screaming at people to grab a card, but they didn’t really explain what it was for. We basically just followed other people ahead of us.

We had to go through security again inside the airport for transferring gates. Which I feel like it wasn’t necessary, but I guess its different every airport.

They have a lot of stores in the airport and there was the Hello Kitty store. Our gate C3 was where the Hello Kitty store and I was happy to hang around the store while we waited for our plane, but I didn’t know that our gate was underneath. I heard people talking, we still need to walk down the stairs to our gate. My husband and I walked down the stair and found the C3 gate. It was a really odd airport, but I was glad we arrived at our gate on time.

They let people in by their zone number, 30 minutes before departure time.

Taipei to Manila was very easy. It was about 2 hour flight. Our seats were actually bigger, but the plane was smaller. We were surprised how comfortable, and we were offered a meal.

Walking around the airport
Hello Kitty pay phone.
My meal from Taipe to Manila.

We have arrived in Manila!

Manila was hot and sticky! Their “free WiFi” at the airport was not really free. You have to have a Philippine number to be able to use their free WiFi. Ninoy Aquino airport was organized. Everyone spoke English pretty well and everyone was very helpful.

Since I couldn’t use any WiFi. We followed the signs. We picked up our bags, a bit of a wait, but went through the customs pretty easy.

We walked out and followed the “greeting area” sign. You take left if your last name starts with A-L and M-Z to the right. Since I couldn’t get a hold of my friends. We came outside and followed the “O” signs. I didn’t even get to “O” and we already found each other! It was a big reunion for us!

What a day! I was so happy to be at the Go hotel. For 19 years everything changed!