Quiet respite in Cebu’s Cordova

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Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu

September 11, 2022

The dynamic city of Mandaue, Cebu is eerily similar to downtown Manila. Take it from someone who studied in the Philippine capital for four years.

While it was confusing initially, the familiarization trip hosted by the Department of Tourism Region 7, Cebu Pacific, and Bai Hotel made me see things differently.

Though our group took the earliest flight, there were almost no empty seats — a sign that travel is back to normal levels.

CEB flies from Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Mactan International Airport 15 times a day. Apart from Manila, the airline also flies directly to Cebu from 21 provinces such as Pampanga, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, Davao, among others.


City tour

Arriving early in Cebu gave us time to relax in our respective deluxe rooms at Bai Hotel and eat a hefty meal at Café Bai.

Amid a sunny day, off we went to explore the city.

Cebu is rich in history. The Portugese explorer Ferdinand Magellan led the Spanish expedition of the first circumnavigation of the world and landed in Cebu on 21 April 1521. It led to the Spanish colonization of the Philippines.

Among the landmarks of Spanish rule were Plaza Independencia, Fort San Pedro, Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu, and Magellan’s Cross.

As a child, I was fortunate enough to have visited Cebu but, similar to my Bohol trip, seeing the place with more mature eyes is a unique experience.

Unfortunately, this part of our trip was marred by strong winds and heavy rain. Still, we managed to see the Yap-San Diego ancestral house owned by Chinese merchants in the 1600s. It was opened for public viewing in 2008.

Capping off our first day was Museo Sugbo, formerly the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, which now houses four galleries.


Marine biodiversity

Day two was all about marine biodiversity with a side trip to architectural sights.

To get to Cordova Wharf, we had to pass the newly-built Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway.

CCLEX is the 8.9-kilometer link of mainland Cebu and Cordova. Surpassing San Juanico Bridge as the tallest and longest bridge in the country, it formally opened for public use in April 2022.

Staying true to Cebu’s roots, its pylons’ design was derived from Magellan’s Cross Pavilion.

Magellan’s Cross.

With the creation of CCLEX, tourism in Cordova has become more busy.

Off the wharf are the majestic Hilutungan Island, Caohagan Island, Sulpa or Tres Marias Island, Olango Island, among others.

We went snorkeling and witnessed Cebu’s rich marine biodiversity.

Ending day two, we stopped by 10,000 Roses Café and More.

The writer at 10,000 Roses Café and More. | PHOTOGRAPHS BY RAYE SANCHEZ FOR THE DAILY TRIBUNE

It’s a picturesque café known for 10,000 artificial LED flowers. It’s best to visit at night.

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