Cebu for the Holidays

 

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For months, we planned to spend our Christmas in Mindanao, particularly in my mom’s hometown in Lanao del Norte. But just like any travel plans, last-minute decisions always end up to be the best.

So we decided to spend our holidays in Cebu instead. It was nice since my family is there and my dear friends are also flying over to Cebu. Just perfect.

We started the Christmas holiday with a nice dinner and fireworks display at Day’s Hotel’s The Promenade before leaving for Cebu.

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With two weeks to spare in Cebu, we decided to bring our car and traveled by land. Hashtag, road trip!

Two things made this Cebu trip “special”. First, for almost a decade, we got to spend both Christmas and New Year’s Day. Second,  it was my first time to drive in Cebu. Yay!

I asked the kids to help me come up with the highlights of our Cebu trip and here they are…

 

Ice Skating

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SM Cebu used to have an ice skating rink and I can still remember just looking at those  kids enjoying the ice. Imagine my delight when I learned that SM Seaside has an ice skating rink. Obviously, it’s too late for me to enjoy ice skating ( haha!) but the kids just had the best of their times. We went skating twice – on our 3rd day in Cebu and the day before we left. Worth the price.

 

Cat Cafe

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Liam loved the Cat Cafe, located at the Skypark of SM Seaside. Everyone who gets inside needs to order. Surprisingly, the cafe is inexpensive.

 

Cousin Love

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Just two of their ten cousins. My eldest, my melancholic child, shares that the best part of our time in Cebu is visiting their cousins. They seldom see each other and I take pride that my kids bond with their cousins over the holidays.

“High Tech” Cebu

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We stayed in one of the hotels in Ayala during our first 5 nights and my eldest was in awe with the buildings. ” Cebu is beautiful, Mama”. It made me realised that whenever we are in Cebu, we seldom go to malls or visit the city center. We prefer staying at home, but I guess I have to expose my kids to city life.

Mama’s 60th birthday

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Christmas season will always be special for our family because my parents celebrate their anniversary every December 27th, followed by my mom’s birthday. Because 60th birthday is special according to my mother, we treated them to a 2-nights staycation in Marco Polo. Marco Polo Plaza Cebu was gracious enough to gave me a complimentary overnight stay. More on Marco Polo in a separate post.

Cebu’s mountain barangays

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One of the things I take pride is that you can escape the urban in less than 30 minutes, courtesy of the mountain barangays of Cebu.  I love going to Busay and the Trans-National Highway. Whenever we go on a road trip, I find joy traversing the Northern Cebu Protected Landscape with lush mountains and forests.

I also look forward staying in one of the private homes in Cebu’s mountain areas and wish my friend can build a pool in their farm. With my mother’s curiosity, we went to Sirao Flower Farm. Yeah, I know it’s hyped but it was a short drive from Marco Polo. We enjoyed the mountain air and the views. I can’t imagine how harassed the place will be during Sinulog.

Giving back

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Photo by Glen Layosa

In lieu of gifts, my high school barkada has an annual gift-giving. This year, we shared some joy to kids in Sitio Babag, Barangay Busay. I was late and got lost but the candy prizes came just in time. 😉

I don’t want to sermon but it’s a nice idea to skip exchanging gifts with your group of friends and come up with an outreach program.

Southern trip

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Our southern road trip to Oslob was a double-whammy. We missed the Whale Shark watching ( you need to come early, it ends at 11:30am) and we arrived in a drained Tumalog Falls. A consolation is that we saw the whale sharks even from the shore. I can’t imagine how gigantic they are up close.

Still making the best of our southern road trip, we got to see the coasts of Cebu, ride the habal-habal,  drop by at the heritage church of Boljoon ( pictured above), eat torta in Argao and chicharon in Carcar. It was still a nice day especially for my parents.

 

Making memories

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Sums up our holiday in Cebu. Going beyond the things to do in Cebu or the must-eats in Cebu, weaving new memories especially for my kids is the best part of our trip. Bonding with my family, my kids with their grandparents and cousins as well as catching up with my friends.

There were quite a few things on my list that we missed like visiting museums ( ouch!), but I think there is another time for that. Our last vacation was making the most of urban Cebu with short trips to the mountains and seas, definitely seeing the best of Cebu. There are more to see and enjoy in my hometown and we will surely be back.

See you in a few months, Cebu!

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