Cebu City (Philippines)

We arrived on the island of Cebu and used Cebu City (3 visits) primarily as the jumping off point to the surrounding islands off Cebu.  We had no itinerary planned for our three stays here in Cebu City.   As far as I could tell, there was not much for the traveler in Cebu City.  The 30 min. taxi ride from Cebu’s airport on Mactan Island to the hotel was pretty uneventful and Cebu City looked like Manila’s little brother.  We basically holed up in the super comfortable western style Radisson Blu Hotel and spent our time in the gym, at pool and working on the internet researching scoop for our visits to Cebu’s outer island destinations.

We also ate some amazing food during our stays by munching on the three (3) Filipino national dishes: Bulalo, Lechon and Sisig.  Bulalo is prepared two ways, the one I preferred was the sizzling Bulalo which is simply a twist on the classic Bulalo and uses a creamy mushroom soup for the gravy.  The traditional Bulalo is a light colored soup that is made by cooking beef shanks and marrow bones until the colagen and fat has melted into the clear broth.  Sizzling Sisig is a Filipino dish made from parts of pig’s head and liver, usually seasoned with calamansi and chili peppers.

Cebu loves their pig and it must be the Lechon capital of the Philippines as there appeared to be an outdoor stand carving up one of these things of beauty on every street corner.  The Lechon (suckling roasted pig) was my absolute favorite food item in the Philippines with CNT Lechon taking the top suckling pig award.  Lechon is a real cholesterol killer, especially if you eat the extra crispy super artery clogging skin that tastes just so damn good.  I think passing on eating this skin would be a real wimpy thing to do and very un-American.  Therefore, I indulged and put my cholesterol watch on hold during our brief stints in Cebu City.  Barbie’s favorite pig dish was the deep fried pork belly.  This was a supercharged artery clogger on steroids.  I really did not want my heart stop like right now, so I had to pass on Barbie’s crispy pig dish.

Restaurants – CNT Lechon, Chika-an Sa Cebu, Zubuchon

Staying in a western style hotel can do wonders for the stools.  Some may call this cheating but I call it SSRT (Strategic Stool Recovery Time).

During our journey, we would find ourselves traveling alongside a network of budget backpackers who are on the same exact SE Asian circuit as Barbie and I.  They are on a super tight budget, in many cases living on only $50 per day, all in. (Sometimes even less.) Granted they are not staying in very comfortable places given their budget constraints but despite their lack of funds, they are essentially covering the same countries as us and are having very similar experiences.  I give them a lot of credit for making it happen with their limited funds and seeing the world on their own terms.  With my interaction with these budget travelers I have observed common admirable traits that they possess.  I have found them to be friendly, considerate and selfless and with the ‘we are all in this together’ mentality with everyone looking out for each other whether they are friends or strangers.  The camaraderie is really cool.  One of the most valuable things I have learned from these budget travelers is money really does not mean so much in the scheme of things.  Your currency is who you are as a person.

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