Down South, 2015

This is a trip that was born in five seconds. Yep, my decision to go to Cebu was pretty quick, rather spontaneous, and the risk was quite high; the rewards, however, were glorious. Sometime in April, my parents planned a trip to Cebu to visit my grandma on Mother’s Day. None of us had concrete plans joining them because it was KKB–kanya-kanyang bayad. LOL. One morning during the last week of April, they were having their plane tickets reserved online. I was tying my shoelaces then, when my parents asked me if I wanted to go with them. I finished looping the laces in my right show and said “Yeah, okay.” That was roughly five seconds.

We left for Cebu on May 9, early in the morning. We reached Cebu after an hour more or less. Then we checked ourselves in at Bayfront Hotel which was near SM Cebu. Coincidentally, my sister was also in Cebu for work, and when we found out that she was staying in that hotel, we checked ourselves in there. The hotel’s pretty nice. But the view outside our room was this. Reminds you of Lego blocks, yes?

BTW, for this trip, I borrowed by brother’s Sony Alpha A5000. We had a rather disappointing lunch at Teriyaki Boy in Ayala Center Cebu, but it was my treat (!!!), so it was kind of a milestone.

Just look at these happy-sad faces.

The crappy thing was, Casa Verde was just above Teriyaki Boy. *facepalm*

My folks chose to nap the afternoon away at the hotel while I decided to go around the event my sister’s company produced. It was a promotional event for a motorcycle. The event was European-inspired, hence this thing.

We waited for my sister to finish wrapping up their event. Then we had dinner at Kuya J in SM Cebu, where we ate the BEST BAKED SCALLOPS EVER.

The cheese, butter, and garlic combo with the scallops was a knock-out.

The next day, my parents and I went to my aunt’s house where my grandma was staying. My mother met her other siblings as well, save for two uncles of mine who couldn’t make it becaues of work. Then I saw my cousins whom I haven’t seen for the longest time. There was a language barrier (I didn’t speak Bisaya, they don’t speak Tagalog), but I am pleased to report that they love dogs as well. They showed me one of their dachshund’s four-day-old puppies, which fit my hand. I melted at the cuteness.

The real MVP of the family reunion: lechon.

I cried as I bit the crispy skin. So good. So, so good.

It was pretty hot inside my aunt’s house so after eating, I sat beside my grandma and fanned her. While I was doing that she spoke to me in Bisaya, telling me how lucky she was to have good children, and I understood it through context clues. LOL.

We headed to a town called Pinamungajan (I love the way it sounds and how it’s spelled) where we visited another cousin of my mom. It was a pretty huge lot and their pet dogs roamed around freely.

The next day, we went to Oslob to see whale sharks (butanding)! I forgot what the barangay was called. To get to see the whale sharks from the boat, you have to pay 300 pesos. But to dive and see them up close, you have to pay 500 pesos. And before you get to go to the waters, you need to attend an orientation where the locals explain the do’s and don’ts of whale shark watching and interaction. No sunblocks allowed–it contains chemicals that harm the fish. Also, no flash photography, and keep a four-meter distance from the whale shark.

I borrowed my dad’s GoPro for the following photos.

Here’s my dad, my sister, and me.

Diving underwater had a time limit of 30 minutes. The dive guides threw alamang (super small fish) at the water so the whale sharks can come closer.

“Hello guys,” said the butanding!

The butanding was a sight to behold.

They were massive. Take note that these guys that we saw were only eight years old. There are whale sharks that are the size of a van. Or a bus.

They also have wide mouths.

It’s me and a butanding!

There were times where I was super close to the whale sharks. I was afraid I was breaking the 4-meter rule, so when any of the whale sharks got close, I swam away. 😦

If you’re wondering who took the photos of me and the butanding, it’s one of the dive guides, Kuya Ryan. I also made a video of my encounter with whale sharks! It’s called Baetanding. Napaka-creative, hindi ba?

Then we had lunch somewhere (I forgot the name of the restaurant, but it was uphill and had a majestic view of the beach), fixed our stuff at the hotel, and headed back to Manila in the evening.

I hope I can go back to Cebu because I’m still yearning for a day at the beach. Well, we did go to a beach at Oslob, but it wasn’t enough!

All of these was born out of a decision I made while tying shoelaces… Maybe I should wear sneakers more often.

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