It's not like I've been to Cebu a gazillion times. Just a couple. And on my third visit, with half a day to spare, I thought it's about time to do that mandatory photo session by the cross.
I also assumed my friend Xhy and my sister Gabe, both Cebu first timers, would love to see it. Since I was sort of in charge of the itinerary (yes I made an IT due to time constraints), I was the one who looked up options for accommodation. It was my decision to stay downtown, in a place that's within walking distance to Magellan's Cross.
Initially, I wanted for us to check in either Century Hotel or Hotel de Mercedes. I cannot remember which is which, but one was more expensive than I thought and the other, we mysteriously couldn't find.
We found Cebu View Tourist Inn the night before while walking along Sanciangko Street. Room rate ain't bad. Our air-conditioned twin bedroom cost us about P300 each, already inclusive of the charge for an extra person (but exclusive of extra pillow, bed and towel).
Our morning begun early. At 7:00 AM, we were already out. After a quick brekkie at Pete's Kitchen along Pelaez Street, we finally made our way to Magellan's Cross, a mere kilometer from where we were.
On the way to the cross, we passed by Basilica Minore del Santo Niño along Osmeña Boulevard. It is a 16th century church built on the spot where a sculpture of Sto. Niño (image of the Holy Child Jesus) which dates back Magellan's time, was found by Spanish explorers. This particular Sto. Niño is said to be miraculous. I reckon it truly is, after it survived three church fires.
Flocks of pilgrims, tourists and locals shuffled to and fro. I was getting nauseous with the chaos and heat. Reason why I did not attempt to enter the church anymore. The two did not express any interest in doing so either so we moved on.
The human traffic we followed led us to Magellan's Cross, in front of the city hall, just a few meters away from the church. The cross is a replica, and locals claim that it houses the remains of the original one.
After quick snapshots, we left the structure. The sun was glaring at 10:00 AM but I insisted we walk to nearby Fort San Pedro instead of taking a cab to save a few pesos.
Fort San Pedro or Fuerza de San Pedro, the smallest and oldest fort in the country, used to be a military defense structure built in 1565 under the supervision of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. It's located near Pier 1, along S. Osmeña Blvd (take note of the "S.", it's different from the Osmeña Blvd where Basilica Minore del Santo Niño is). Admission fee P30 for adults, open from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM.
The fort is now a charming walled garden. A refuge from downtown Cebu City's bustle. Perfect time to visit at sunset when the crumbling ruin is highlighted by a faint orange glow.
It's unfortunate that we didn't have time to linger on its benches. Gabe's flight back to Manila was that afternoon, and the rest of us will be roadtripping (and roro cruising) our way to Dumaguete after lunch.
Drained by the heat, we hailed a taxi to go back to the inn. After checking out, we'd have to bid so long to Cebu.
[This is part of the Voyaging Visayas Series which took place February 2010. Price of goods, transportation and so forth may already be different.]
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