Right after college, a multinational company contacted me and offered me a managerial position. Of course, I wanted to grab it because 1) It was challenging to find a job in 2008, and 2) I would no longer need to start at the bottom to build my career. The only catch was that I needed to move to the Philippines, where they made new offices. I was supposed to stay there for a couple of years, traveling worldwide to supervise the employees.
If I were honest, I would say that the transition was not too challenging. I had always been a sucker for new experiences, so I did not mind getting uprooted and going somewhere I had never visited before. For my first assignment, I had to stay in Makati for a year and see how we could improve our services.
Before the first year ended, I already knew some Tagalog words. I could not speak them no matter how I tried, but I could recognize them and reply to people in English. That allowed my co-workers to feel closer to me. But the real place where I felt most at-home at was Cebu.
Cebu became very dear to my heart because I stayed there for a few months. The prevailing dialect there is much different from what I am used to up in the north, but the people are welcoming enough to speak in English, so there’s hardly any language barrier. And although I came there for work, it did not hinder me from enjoying what the province can offer. Hence, what kinds of activities can give you the Cebu feels?
If you are not a vegetarian, I highly recommend trying the roasted pig (Lechon) here. Other places in the Philippines offer this dish, of course. Still, even Filipinos living in those regions crave for the ones that specifically come from this city because of their exceptional flavoring. You may eat it with steaming white rice or serve it with a beer. Any leftover will never go to waste as it can also be taken home and cooked in more ways than one.
Knowing Historical Facts
Cebu seems like a peaceful state at first glance, but it had seen some events that hugely affected Filipinos’ lives today. One example of it was the battle between Lapu-Lapu, a native ruler, and Ferdinand Magellan, the Spanish explorer who discovered the country and established Catholicism throughout the archipelago. There is a location in a city named after the former where it’s said that Lapu-Lapu defeated Magellan, and the tourists can visit it even now. You can check out the famous cross that the foreign discoverer brought at the Colon area on the other island.
Whale Shark Watching
Despite it being dubbed as the new Queen City of the South, Cebu holds a hint of wildness that you will not notice if you stay in its regal cities. You have to go to Oslob for that – a place where sharks tend to migrate often. These marine animals are not caged or turned into pets in large fish tanks – you have to ride a boat towards the middle of the ocean to watch them swim around.
Feasting On Seafood
What is a better way to get rid of exhaustion from doing watersports than feasting on seafood dishes? The main ingredients come straight from the ocean so that you can taste the shellfish’s sweetness and the freshness of the fish. It is easy to find buffet-style restaurants near the beaches that serve anything from pirate fish to prawns to lobsters, so you will never run out of options from dusk till dawn.
Bringing My Family To Cebu
Before my time was up in the Philippines, I invited my parents to fly across the globe and tour Cebu with me. They did not see the wow factor I kept on telling them about right out of the small airport. However, once they conversed with the locals and tried everything mentioned above, they understood why I loved it.
The last time I was in Cebu was in 2019. I vowed to keep on coming back every year or two — it was like my little piece of heaven on earth. Sometimes, I would travel alone and stay at the beach. Other times, I would bring friends who had never gone out of the country.
It is unfortunate that I will not be able to come back to the Philippines this year due to the pandemic. I already booked roundtrip tickets and planned to stay there for the entire month of August, but there were still travel restrictions. Despite that, I continue to look for updates about the situation in Cebu so that I can go back as soon as tourists are allowed in the country again.