Right after I finished college and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering, I quickly decided to try my luck and work in Cebu and told my parents about it. It was quite a challenging plan for me since way back, I was just a “tourist” in this place (even though my parents met and got married here, and my eldest sister and older brother were born and spent some time in Cebu), all I know about this city is, I’m just being honest here, Sinulog Festival.
It was May 21, 2006, when I started my long-term adventure in the Queen City of the South, Cebu City.
Recalling My Childhood Memories of Cebu City
During my younger years as an innocent visitor in this beautiful city, memories got stuck in my head about a “vacation destination” with tall buildings, huge shopping malls, historical landmarks, religious people and practices. Not to forget the colorful parades in January.
What made me so excited that time (and until now), right after we’ve arrived at the airport and left to go to my grandparents’ house, was when we passed by the ribbed-like bridge that connects the airport and Cebu City. Yes, I get excited when our car or the cab we took passed by “The Bridge”.
Don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t know before that Lapu-Lapu City or Mactan is already part of Cebu (province), but whenever I see this bridge, I always press my face on the car window and shout, “Cebu na jud ta!” (“We’re already in Cebu!”) Close the window, sit quietly and cry inside for too much excitement.
From the airport, pictures of places started flashing in my head from the usual destination my family and I would love to go every time we’re here: SM City Cebu food court, Sto. Rosario Church, toys at White Gold City, the balloons at the Basilica, Telecombat, Science Museum, Fuente Circle, and Sunday masses with the whole family.
I can still remember going alone to SM City Cebu because of my eldest sister, Pauline Marie. She used to work at the Accounting Department. I bravely took a taxi and the fare then would start at ₱16. When I arrived at the reception area, the guard would tell me to wait inside the mall because I am not allowed to go inside the office.
I went inside, as usual, through the lower ground entrance and sat down the floor. Yes, I would sit down on the empty floor at SM City Cebu when there were no shoppers who would crowd the store later that day. The very cold floor and the mosaic tiles. Nostalgic.
When vacation’s over, I would wait for a year or two for us to come back to Cebu if lucky enough for us to tag along (or we stay home because of school). Very sad life, I thought. Cebu, during my childhood, was my dream vacation destination.
5 Years Later
In 2011, having a professional job for four (4) years already and turning into a blogger for quite a while, I was able to experience being a “tour guide” to two of my closest Korean friends who studied English in Bacolod and went here to Cebu City to spend a short vacation. Where else would bring your friends when they’re here in the Queen City of the South? Beach! And we want to explore away from the main city. So, we traveled a whopping 4-hour bus ride and a boat to Bantayan Island.
It’s Always My Dream Vacation
Cebu is one of the many travel and vacation destinations in the country (and probably in the world) because of its beautiful beaches. It may come in second to Boracay in terms of any sort of reasons (I haven’t been to Boracay, by the way), but I would prefer to stay and enjoy my experience here (I can say I am a little biased saying this. But I don’t care).
If you didn’t know yet, I was born and raised in General Santos City and spent six years in Davao to attend university. You might be wondering why I tell stories about Cebu as if I am not from here. I am not, originally, but it’s already a decade now that I am staying here. Good. Move along.
What I think most about why foreigners and tourists got hooked with Cebu is the variety of destinations and adventurous things that they can go and do, and that probably is one of the reasons why I fell in love with the “Queen City”.
The “Adto Dinhi” Struggles
Aside from the fact that from a place where dialects are all mixed up (Tagalog, Ilonggo, Bisaya and mixed dialects of Muslim), getting the fluency of Bisaya has become a challenge. For example, “Adto dinhi,” might sound correct for a non-Cebuano, but it simply means, “Go here,” which is quite not right. No, it’s not really right.
As I learn to master the correct grammar as time passed by, saying “Adto didto” and “Anhi dinhi” are as easy as saying “Go there” and “Come here” straight away. But sometimes, I still have the struggles because where I am from is a mixture of different dialects and speaking styles.
What I don’t fancy that much in Cebu is the weather and the possibilities of typhoons. I used to not experience severe weather disturbances in General Santos or in Davao. But as far as my memories can help me, I already went under the bad weather conditions in Cebu (one is Yolanda last December 2013) and a devastating earthquake that happened the same year which started in Bohol as its epicenter in just a single year.
They aren’t called “natural calamities” for nothing. So, I am still thinking positive about it because I know it will happen anytime, anywhere.
Traffic, on the other hand, is somehow becoming a challenge here in the city, but I am guessing it is a sign that Cebu as a city is growing and a lot of people are coming over to also have the same adventure that I am having right now. Hopefully, the local government council and the community will do something great things together about this since it really bugs me now. Not just me, but all the commuters and those who travel for work. Keep smiling, though.
Even though I have been staying in Cebu City for more than 10 years now, I still haven’t been to many places. Probably, it’s because of work or something else (I hope it’s work because if it’s ‘something else’, it’s a lame excuse).
Like for example, the last photo that I am going to show is something that I have only been once… or twice. It’s a landmark called the Miguel Lopez de Legazpi Monument, found at the Plaza Independencia in Cebu City. Considering it’s very near to the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu.
I should have known better about this year, shouldn’t I? It’s a shame.
To sum this up, I love it here in Cebu. If I’m going back to the times that I was still a tourist, I will have the same impression of how I think Cebu was and is, today (minus the traffic and crowd). When I go back home to General Santos City for a holiday and return here in Cebu, I still get very excited when I pass by “The Bridge” and yes, I don’t have the regrets of choosing to stay here and build a career and a small business.
P.S. When I go to the streets to join the celebration of the Sinulog Festival, my flesh and bones would shiver from the goosebumps when I hear the dancers shout, “VIVA PIT SENYOR!” Don’t judge me.
Have you been to Cebu? I am hoping you enjoyed your stay here and see you soon, perhaps?
But if you have been in Cebu or are staying here, what do you love about this place? Share your story in the comment section below.
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