cebu weekender

my ma and i spent a weekend in cebu island the last time i was on days off.  it was a first for both of us to visit the island and i have planned it in advance as a special treat for her.

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after the flight from manila (also a ‘first’ for my ma where she was all quiet – i don’t think it scared her but i held her hand anyway!), we took a cab from the airport going to tune hotels, a budget accommodation found in the center of the city.

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i have stayed in tune hotels in penang and bali.  this is how their cebu branch looks like from the inside.

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at tune hotels, you only pay what you need!

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you won’t need a 24 hour aircon specially when you will surely be outside touring the city most of the day, tune hotels gives you that choice of a 12 hour aircon less the price of a 24 hour.  anyway, there is still a ceiling fan that is free for use inside the room.

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the room is clean with freshly laundered bedding.  water pressure in the shower was also good, i paid extra for the towels and toiletries.

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the next day was a sunday and we heard mass in the basilica.  we passed by the cross of magellan which was near the church.

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i think this painting depicts the spaniards’ introduction of christianity to the filipinos.

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the marker found at the foot of the cross.  i never knew that the original cross (as claimed) was encased inside.

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nearby was fort san pedro where my ma and i just walked going here coming from the basilica.

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there was a small entrance fee (i already forgot how much!).

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i walked around the fort which was small compared to the forts i visited in jaipur.

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we then went back to tune hotels, checked out and took a cab to check-in at marco polo plaza.

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i booked a double room from their website where they have this tempting offer, the weekender promo.

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this includes buffet breakfast for two and there was even a free havaianas slippers that we claimed at their gift shop.

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a grand beautiful flower arrangement at the lobby – and they were real!

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after check-in, we were assisted by a bellman with our luggage to our room.

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room was simple and worth the price.

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furnitures was made of bamboo, rattan and abaca rope.

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flat tv looks new and a small study was available in the room.

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wi-fi was without charge (i hate it when i get charged for internet connection!), and the connection was good and no disruptions.

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there is also a marco polo hotel in davao city, i hope to visit that too.

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clean toilet and bath with marco polo signature toiletries.

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this was the view from our window.

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i wanted my ma to enjoy her ‘staycation’ and we were never interested to go out from the hotel so i decided that we take our dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, cafe marco.

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after dinner i left my ma in our room to watch her favorite ‘teleseryes‘ as i checked the hotel’s other facilities.

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i found out that they charge for sauna use which was located in their spa.

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a well-equipped gym and a fitness personnel assists the guests.

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i went outside to check their pool.  i actually took a dip to relax my tired muscles.

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they also have a bar beside the pool.

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i bought this ref magnet from their gift shop as a souvenir for me and my ma’s satisfied stay at marco polo plaza. 🙂

india chronicles: the golden triangle

a few days from now is my schedule for days off from work here in the gulf and i will be flying straight to new delhi coming from bahrain.  i have included in my bucket list for the year (see 10 things i have not done before, 2012) a visit to india particularly, the famous tourist circuit, the golden triangle.  i am glad that i will be able to do this – as the scottish philanthropist thomas guthrie quoted . . “do it now”.

the golden triangle covers three interesting cities of india which consists of delhi the national capital, jaipur the pink city, and agra, where taj mahal is located.  my plan is to spend 8 days to visit these three cities: first stop is delhi then travel to jaipur by plane.  after three days return to delhi then travel to agra by train, and after three days again return back to delhi. 

visiting india is a dream and i have always wanted to see the taj mahal.  for me it is too majestic, almost hypnotically magical.  keep posted on my next entries on my solo backpacking tour (first time that i will use a backpack – honestly!) to the golden triangle. 🙂

an elephant, a tarsier and a bee

i have planned a bohol trip for myself and my best friend which is budget-friendly and kind of laid-back.  it was only a three-day weekend trip and what happened on our first day was unproductive due to the rain.  we actually just had a good dinner and checked the bars lining alona beach in panglao.

the room i booked from agoda website was at l’elephant bleu.

this accommodation in panglao island offers rooms and cottages and is very near alona beach.  we were given a room in their new building.

the room is average and working wi-fi is available and complimentary.

the beds made of bamboo were comfortable and the sheets clean.

one of a must-do in bohol of course is to visit a tarsier conservatory.

in my list, one of the ten things i have not done before was to photograph a tarsier.

i noticed that most of the tarsiers were asleep when we visited (hello world, they’re nocturnal!) and as stupid as i can be i forgot to bring my zoom lens in l’ elephant.  so here’s the result – unimpressive pictures, but anyway seeing these curious-looking creatures was enough to fascinate me like an elementary pupil on an educational field trip. 😀

i have read online many reviews about the food at bohol bee farm.  i made sure that i had to try some.

cab-cab chips paired with green tomatoes and grated parmesan cheese

spicy flower salad with honey-mustard sauce

buko (coconut meat) pasta

seafood pizza

they have these homemade ice cream with unique flavors such as camote, malunggay, ginger, tomato and pandan.  i tried sweet potato (camote) and found it good-tasting.  they also serve it into a cone made of cab-cab (from grated cassava root).

locally handmade items like these are available in their souvenir shop where i bought some for my ma.