Day 3 & 4: Cebu-Bohol Getaway (Part 2: Mactan, Cebu)

As we stepped out of Gran Tierra Suites, we jumped in a taxi and proceeded to Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort where we will be spending our last night in Cebu before departing for Manila the next day. We chose to splurge a bit on our last night’s accommodation since we saved a few pesos from the do-it-yourself city tour and 2-night accommodations.
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Marcelo Fernan Bridge

It took us about 45 minutes to 1 hour (We can’t really recall, but it was surely more then 30 minutes) before finally arriving at the resort. Before you can enter the huge wood/steel gate, a guard will confirm your purpose in the resort.

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Welcome to Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort!

The hotel lobby which looks more like a large gazebo is located near the main gate. We approached the front desk personnel to check-in and to inform them that we have a reservation; but after a few minutes they informed us that there is no reservation listed under our name. We then told the staff in-charge that we  actually already received the confirmation email a few days before our trip to Cebu and we even called that morning in order to double-check our room reservation. Good thing we made a print-out of our itinerary including the email we received which we handed to the front desk staff who informed us that we had no reservation, of course he (resort staff) had no choice but to allow us to check-in Angry smile.
Tip # 10: Make a printed copy of your itinerary and include all the information you will need like the name of the person you contacted, the address of the hotel/ restaurant/ resort/ mall/ etc, the contact numbers, and most especially the reservation confirmation like emails.

Although we started off on the wrong foot, the pros were justified by the cons. While our room was being prepared, the staff provided us with cold towels and drinks; the front desk personnel also handed us a copy of the map of the resort.
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The place is like a small community inside a community; as you can see, you need a map in order to find your way around the vicinity.

Our room is situated at the Amuma Spa Wing; it is one of the Amuma Spa Suites facing the pool area. The room alone was already a haven that we didn’t want to leave, but precious time is ticking fast which was why after taking a short rest and changing to our swimming outfits we headed out to go on a tour around the resort.
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Photos courtesy of Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort Website.

First Stop: Marine Wildlife Lagoons.
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There are actually two lagoons, one is filled with sharks and small fishes and the other is filled with groupers and more small fishes. This was the highlight of HIS’ day due to the fact that he also owns a saltwater aquarium back home; HIS fascination for these creatures is timeless.
We were lucky that the feeding time for the sharks was a few hours before our arrival time and we still had enough time to enjoy the resort facilities before their feeding schedule.

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Second Stop: Maribago Seven Dolphins

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The Seven Dolphins are recognized to be mythical creatures who became friends with Lapu-Lapu, a hero who hails from Cebu. This representation is the centerpiece of the resort and it’s hard to miss it because of the relaxing ambience it provides even under the scorching heat of the sun.
Third Stop: Main Swimming Pool
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This is only one of the three pools inside the resort’s vicinity. It is located near the Allegro Restaurant which is also the main restaurant.

Fourth Stop: The Beach

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The beach is covered with white sand and there are several huts available for resort goers. This place is great for tourists who are looking for peace and relaxation; but it is also desired by those adventure-seeking people who want to try the different water sports like jet-skiing, scuba diving, island hopping, and snorkeling.
Fifth Stop: Oyster Bar and The Cove
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Customers can order from the freshest catch found in the different saltwater aquariums inside the restaurant. We were not able to judge the taste of the cuisine because we just had our lunch at CNT Lechon before heading to Maribago.
Sixth Stop: Alegrado Island
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This island is a man-made island which can only be accessed by the resort’s in-house guests. A boat is needed in order to reach the Alegrado Island. There are also two platforms connected to the island which serves as a view deck.
Since we brought our own snorkeling equipment, we were able to snorkel and were again fascinated by the rich underwater environment. There were cleaner shrimps and gobies, as well as other unidentified fish species.
Tip # 11: As posted in our Cebu-Bohol Getaway Day 1 entry, if you are a water/ beach/underwater-loving human then you have to INVEST on a durable underwater camera that can withstand the wear and tear of the different water-related adventures. Try the Pentax Optio WG-1 Adventure Series 14 MP Waterproof Digital Camera with 5x Wide-Angle Optical Zoom (Black).

After the marine life encounter we requested for a boat going back to the main beach. Then we opted to try out the main swimming pool for a few minutes before finally going back to the lagoon just in time for the feeding schedule.
Seventh Stop: Dolpo Kids’ Club Recreational Area
From there we were about to head back to our room to get ready for the Sunset Chillout Cruise when some resort staff offered us to join the Manager’s Cocktails Event which was open for all guests until 5:00pm. We joined the event for about 20 minutes; there were chips, nuts, dried mangoes (our fave!!!), non-alcoholic cocktail drinks, and more. Another perk is you can fill a plate with any of the snacks provided and then bring it to your room, which we did Laughing out loud.
Coming up: Sunset Chillout Cruise and Sutukil (Day 3 & 4: Cebu-Bohol Getaway (Part 3 Mactan, Cebu))

Day 3 & 4: Cebu-Bohol Getaway (Part 1: Cebu City)

Today is our last day in Cebu City because as stated in our Day 2 blog entry we are transferring to Mactan Island where we will be spending the remaining hours before our flight back to Manila. Although we decided not join a specific tour group for the day, getting up early was still included in the plan since the check-out time was 12:00 noon, and the time allotted for the city exploration itinerary was approximately 4-5 hours only; and again just like yesterday we got up later than the expected time, so we packed our bags after getting ready and before going out.
Upon leaving the hotel, we hailed a taxi and decided to explore the city starting from Magellan’s Cross since the other sites are located just around the vicinity. During the drive to the first stop, we inquired on the how to go to Tops (located in Busay Hills which is one of the talked about must-see places in Cebu),he said that we either take a tricycle (Php 300/head/two-way or higher depending on your negotiating abilities) or a taxi (Php 500/two-way or as high as Php1,500), and the travel time back and forth can consume a full 2 hours depending on the traffic; so we opted to skip our plans of going to Tops.
Fifteen minutes from departing the hotel, we arrived at the entrance of the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño which is recognized as the oldest Catholic Church in the Philippines. The church is one of the most magnificent places we visited and although the outside is filled with passers-by one can actually enjoy a peaceful atmosphere upon stepping in the church.
altarBasilica Minore Del Sto. Nino.Basilica Minore Del Sto. Nino..Basilica Minore Del Sto. Nino 
A few steps away from the church is Magellan’s Cross. It is said that the current cross that people can freely touch is just a case that protects the original one because many visitors and devotees have been witnessed chipping of tiny parts of the cross because of their belief that it is sacred and that it is a sign of good luck.
Tip # 8: Always be aware of the people surrounding you. Some may be peddlers, snatchers, tourists (just like you), or by-standers. Keep on the lookout and guard your personal belongings at all times.

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A 360° view of the cross and its backdrop.

Since based on our research, Fort San Pedro and Plaza Independencia are just near the church vicinity we tried to go around to look for the said places but to our dismay, the only buildings seen within the area were the Colegio del Sto. Niño, Cebu City Hall, and several business establishments. Good thing, a kind lady guard gave us instructions on how to reach our supposed destination. From the City Hall it took us approximately 10-15 minutes by foot before we reached our next stop which was Plaza Independencia. But before finally entering the gate we passed by Malacañan sa Sugbo also known as Malacañan in Cebu which is the official residence of the country’s president when he is in town.
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Plaza Independencia
Plaza Independencia: open to the public without the need to pay for any entrance fee.

Fort San Pedro is just a stone’s throw from Plaza Independencia. Visitors need to pay an entrance fee, adults are charged Php30.00/head. We were not able to take note of the other rates because we were busy wandering and wondering. This place is like a haven away from the rustle and bustle of the city.
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Fort San Pedro..

Fort San Pedro.Fort San Pedro...Katipunan.katipunan...

There is a mini-museum that houses many of the old items recovered from the Rizal and his family to the Katipunan. The two photos featuring handwritten letter are from the members of the Katipunan addressed to Andres Bonifacio and from the latter addressed to other members.

Fort San Pedro.....Fort San Pedro....
Another beautiful work of art.

After our sightseeing activity at Fort San Pedro, we decided to take our lunch at CNT Lechon which was just across SM City Cebu. But before leaving, we decided to ask the guard on which jeepney to take going to SM City Cebu. After taking note of the instructions, we went on our way and we hailed the jeep with the SM City signboard. As first timers, we didn’t expect that the “jeep” in Cebu was actually a multi-cab which was smaller than the typical Sarao (brand) jeep in other cities in the Philippines; and we also didn’t know the route, the good thing was that every SM bound jeep actually park within the mall’s vicinity to wait for the next set of passengers.
A few days before our plan to go to CNT Lechon, we already saw the restaurant signage located across the road from one of the mall’s entrances, but since we read in one blog that there was also one located within the mall building we decided to look for it instead of battling with the scorching heat of the sun just to reach the get to try the mouthwatering lechon from the famous restaurant.
But to our dismay, after searching high and low for a CNT branch in SM City Cebu, we finally gave up and decided to take the path we opted not to take earlier. Before finally leaving the mall, the ice cream place named Gelatissimo captured our eyes after our bodies have been exposed to Cebu’s hot weather from the time departed from the hotel to start the day’s sightseeing activity.
Although Gelatissimo is also located in some malls in Manila, this was the first time for us to actually taste their ice cream which comes in different flavors which were derived from different chocolates, fruits, and cakes. The good thing about this product is you get the chance to taste the different flavors for free before you finalize your order.
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A few minutes after our arrival at the mall and after consuming the ice cream we bought, we headed to lechon restaurant before going back to the hotel to check out and transfer to Mactan. Even if CNT Lechon was just a mere 5-minute walk it felt like forever because of the heat from Mr. Sun during that day.
Tip # 9: CNT Lechon is located at the second floor of the building because the ground floor which is at the same level as the main road is the parking lot. You might think that you’re at the wrong place when you peek and see nothing but an empty space.

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This is the sign to look for. It’s huge so you won’t miss it.

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Our meal which is less than Php200 good for 2 pax.

After feasting on this sumptuous meal, which left us less than 30 minutes to get back to the hotel, freshen up, and finalize packing our bags before the 12noon checkout time. We extended a little less than 20 minutes but the hotel staff did not charge us any extra fee.
Watch out for PART 2 of our Day 3 & 4 Cebu-Bohol Getaway! Coming up: The Maribago Bluewater Experience, Chillout Sunset Cruise, and Sutukil for dinner.

Day 2: Cebu–Bohol Getaway

Waking up very early in the morning is really not our cup of tea but during this day we had to force ourselves out of bed in order not to miss the SuperCat bound for Tagbilaran for our Bohol Day Tour.
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This is where snacks come in handy. Since we woke up late, we did not have any time to eat breakfast which is why we ended up eating a few sweets and chips for breakfast, good thing drinking water is free in the hotel.

After getting ready, we took a cab from the hotel to Pier 4. Upon arriving we went directly to the SkipTrip Counter which was located inside the pier. We met with Flor Loren, she is charge of the Island Skip Trip Counter of SuperCat. Then we settled our tour payment which was Php 2,850/person (inclusions will be posted later) and the final instructions were given and we were off to the waiting area.
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Pier 4

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SuperCat Island SkipTrips Counter: Look for Flor Loren

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A photo of Bohol.

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Finally, at 8:30am we were ready to board the SuperCat bound for Tagbilaran, Bohol.

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Our tickets and itinerary.

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Good thing they serve food inside the craft: 2 cups of coffee, 1 ham and cheese sandwich, and 1 order of pork asado with rice= Php250.00.

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After a 2-hour duration we reached the Port Of Tagbilaran in Bohol.

We went directly to the exit gate to meet out tour guide Ms. Marlyn. She welcomed us with a beaded necklace coupled by a Tarsier pendant and led us to the shuttle where our companions for the trip were already seated.
First stop: Blood Compact Site in Brgy. Bool, Tagbilaran City, Bohol.
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Tip # 6: Camera Tripod: A Must Bring Item especially if you are travelling alone or travelling as a pair. In most cases, tour guides are very helpful in taking photos of tourists just like the picture above.

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View from the site deck.

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On the way to the Blood Compact Site the shuttle passed by St. Joseph Cathedral Church, Tagbilaran City.

Second Stop: The Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Baclayon

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This church is said to be one of the oldest in the Philippines. According to our guide, the all parts are still in their original state except for the roof. When visiting the church, there is a dress code that needs to be followed. In case you are wearing an improper attire you will be asked to wear a piece of cloth over your outfit.

Third stop: Loboc River for lunch in one of the Floating Restaurants.
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We passed by another church before arriving at Loboc River, Sta. Monica Parish in Albur.

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View from the bridge over the Loboc River
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Church of San Pedro, Loboc: the second oldest church found in Bohol. It also has a museum like the Baclayon Church.

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Our raft c/o Travel Village
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HIS and HER plate. Buffet. One buko per person.

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Dessert.

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Balsa Livelihood Project. Almost every floating raft stops at this area in order for tourists to watch the locals perform song and dance numbers.

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Busay Falls (in the background), this is the turning point of all floating restaurant rafts. According to the guide, the current is very strong near the falls which was why this was the closest we could get.

Fourth stop: Tarsier Conservation Center

After lunch, we proceeded to the Tarsier conservation area which was approximately 20 minutes from the Loboc River. Tarsiers have been considered as endangered species a few years back, but during our visit to the conservation area, the people in charge informed us that it has been removed from the said list. Conservation areas are very important and helpful in raising the awareness regarding the fact that even endangered species like the Tarsier can be saved from extinction; all we have to do is to work hand in hand as an aid in their survival.
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The maximum size of a fully grown adult tarsier is 6 inches.

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Mother and father tarsier. Smile

Fifth stop: Chocolate Hills Complex

The tarsier encounter was really an eye-opening experience but we had to ride the shuttle going to our next destination which took us more than 30 minutes travel time. Before arriving at the Chocolate Hills Complex, we passed by the Bilar Man-made Forest which was created in order to decrease the incidence of landslides in the area; unfortunately, we were note able to take photos because the shuttle bus did not stop at that area.
Arriving at the Chocolate Hills Complex, we were welcomed by a very high plight of stairs (214 steps) leading to the viewing deck. But for tourists who do not want to take the stairs, you can have the option of going up via the ramp.
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For those who have back and joint problems, there are rest areas while going up the stairs.

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One’s Bohol experience is not complete unless you visit and capture the wonders of the Chocolate Hills.

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Sixth and Seventh stop: Simply Butterflies Conservation Center and Pasalubong Center

Last two stops before going back to Cebu was at the Simply Butterflies Conservation Center and at the Pasalubong Center.
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The color of this butterfly changes depending on the lighting and the angle.
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Creative shots c/o our superb guide in the Simply Butterflies Conservation Center. Smile

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Sunset at Tagbilaran Port.

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Tired but contented on board the SuperCat bound for Cebu City. Behind us is Ate Mei, our new friend from Davao who joined us for the Bohol Day Tour.

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Munchies from the Pasalubong Center and Simply Butterflies Conservation Center.

We arrived at Cebu City Port at approximately 8:30pm and it was already raining even before the craft finally docked which was why we opted to eat dinner at The Terraces instead of going for the Sky Experience Adventure. Upon exiting the port we tried to hail a taxi going to Ayala Mall; just when we thought we will never experience a taxi driver who charges his passengers with unreasonable fees, we had a taste of what other travellers call “mandurugas” or “manggagancho”. The first driver we approached tried to charge us Php 200 for a one way trip to Ayala Mall which normally costs only about Php 70-80 depending on the traffic conditions, good ting we asked before entering the cab. The second one (yes, you read it right, lucky us we experienced two indecent offers in a row) just let us ride the taxi and then a few steps from the point where we took off we told him to turn on the meter of the taxi, then he suddenly said “Php 150 lang wala kasing pasahero pabalik dito” (“Just pay Php 150 because there are no passengers coming back to this area”); we were so astonished and before we even argued with the driver we requested that he just let us down the cab and we will just take another one, at first it felt like he was reluctant but maybe when he saw that we were serious he motioned the cab to the side of the road and we got down. After that incident, a security guard and another personnel from the port saw us and asked us what happened and they helped us get another taxi (the one with a decent driver).
Arriving at the mall, we were so famished because beside the snacks that we munched at the craft on the way to Cebu, our last meal was from the Loboc River Cruise. So we headed to The Terraces which looks very similar to Serendra in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City in Manila; like Serendra, The Terraces also houses several restaurants and bars. Even if we were so hungry, we decided to stroll first to look for a good restaurant; after about 30 minutes of walking around, we ended up eating dinner at Mooon Café which is a Mexican restaurant. The food was delish and it was gone before we even got the chance to take pictures. Smile
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From Mooon Café, we planned to try some of the shops that served desserts but there was no more space even for a bite of chocolate cake. By that time heavy rain was already pouring, good thing that the mall’s taxi stand area was shaded. We headed back to the hotel to snooze for the last time in Cebu City before checking out the next day and transferring to Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort in Mactan.

Tip # 7: Always bring a camera that can capture even the slightest detail that can give you big memories.