When we visit Cebu
and we have so little time,
go to these places.
Cebu is a very big province here in the Philippines, with one big main island and more than a hundred smaller islands all around. That is why it is not surprising that there is a wealth of places to go, sights to see, foods to eat, and delightful noises to make in Cebu. But we all do not have the luxury of time to stay there and explore this wonderful province. Even one month is not enough.
In our case, we had a one-day event in Cebu with the launching of Globe at Home and the turn over of the Global Filipino School Mobile Cart to the Cebu City National Science High School. But the day before, we already traveled to Cebu from Bacolod on board the 9:05 am flight of Cebu Pacific. PR Works already arranged for our itinerary, with us having lunch in Lantaw Busay. Since it was the first flight, we were on time, and we got to Cebu around 9:45 am. The problem started with the traffic in Cebu because of an ASEAN event that coincided with ours. From Mactan Cebu International Airport, We got to Quest Hotel where we were billetedat Archbishop Reyes Ave., Cebu City, around 11:30am already. We had to check in and because of the many guests also wanting to check in, we were done around 12 noon already and we were pretty hungry.
So instead of going to Lantaw Busay for our lunch, we settled with having lunch at the hotel’s restaurant where a buffet spread was already waiting for us– a regular fare at the hotel.
Cebu Half-day Tour
On board rented vans, we took off from Quest Hotel and our official half-day tour of Cebu started at 2pm. Here’s our itinerary, as prepared by PR Works. If you do this, I suggest you bring a liter of water and some snacks that you can eat along the way so that you will not waste time stopping to eat. You can go straight to dinner afterwards. This trip was made possible by our friends from Globe Telecom. Thank you very much! #WonderfulCebu
Cebu Taoist Temple
Our first stop was the Cebu Taoist Temple in Canyon Road, Beverly Hills Subdivision of Cebu City. This is my second time here, the first time was several years ago, when my youngest wasn’t born yet. So that’s around 5-6 years. Standing on top of an elevation of 300 meters, the temple is a sight to behold with its multi-level buildings and a wall that is a replica of the Great Wall of China — just the way I remember it. Many come here to meditate or just bask in the glorious nature surrounding it. The entrance is free but if you are a devotee or just want to support them, you can give a donation.
The entrance to the temple only has one guard but the main worship hall is heavily guarded, mostly against vandals and people who would like to steal a photo of the altar. Yes, photography in the worship area (or even outside the hall but looking in) is strictly prohibited. They do not want their statues and worship implements photographed. There are so many signs around the area telling us not to take photos. But not everyone will obey. One guy was caught taking a photo while we were there and he was asked to delete the photo he took. I am not sure if it has any religious reason, as I never bothered to ask, but if that is their rule, so let’s just respect it.
While it is nice to relax around here, we only stayed for about 30 minutes as we have several other stops to go.
Temple of Leah
We traveled about 35 minutes for the Cebu Taoist Temple in order to reach the Temple of Leah in Busay, Cebu City. I have been seeing this in photos but never did I imagine how big it is in reality. It’s GINORMOUS (all caps for effect)–like you are in a castle in Rome. The Greek-Roman style edifice is a celebration of one man’s love and devotion to his deceased wife, Leah Villa Albino-Adarna. The husband is businessmam Teodorico “Rico” G. Adarna, grandfather of sexy star Ellen Adarna, who lovingly built this temple after his wife succumbed to cancer several years back. He said he was helped by his children in terms of finances.
The temple sits atop a 5000-square-meter property on top of a mountain and features seven storeys, 24 rooms, a museum, and more than 60 humongous columns to support the whole structure. The highlight is a nine-foot bronze statue of Leah, fashioned during her prime, when she was crowned Matron Queen of the University of Southern Philippines back in the day.
According to Mr. Adarna in an already published statement, he built this temple starting in 2012 “as a symbol of my undying love for and ceaseless devotion to Leah Villa Albino-Adarna, my wife of 53 years. I adopted an architectural and structural design that can withstand time and still be appreciated for a millennium so this Temple will become a landmark of Cebu where future generations of the Adarna clan coming from her can come and trace the roots and heritage.” The building also houses her lifetime collections that are showcased in the 24 chambers of the Temple. These are supposed to be for the members of their family to cherish and remember her by.
There is not really much to do here except go around and take photos so we stayed here about 40 minutes. But it’s a beautiful sight, something you should not miss because we don’t have something like this anywhere in the Philippines. But if there’s one thing that left an imprint on me — it was the idea that my husband would want to build a monument for me. hahaha I went on to telling my husband that if is planning to build a temple for me, he should build it somewhere nearer the city. Ha! Assuming. LOL
Entrance fee: P50 per person. Children and seniors are free.
Terrazas de Flores Botanical Garden
Going to the Terrazas de Flores Botanical Garden from the Temple of Leah took only a few minutes, as it is in the same area and on the same road. Actually, this is also where the Lantaw Busay is located, which is the reason why our hosts planned to have our lunch here. You can do this, too, if you only had one afternoon in Cebu. In our case, we could have stayed in the area all afternoon–foregoing the Cebu Taoist Temple visit. But all is well. We also liked going to the Beverly Hills area.
The Terrazas the Flores is a wonder. Opened earlier this year, the whole place took 8 years to build. It is nice to go up and down the steps, enjoying the scenery and the flowers and capping your visit with refreshments at their cafe. There are so many areas that are picture perfect, so don’t wonder why so many Instagrammers are posing here and there and everywhere, taking lots of selfies.
The garden was only opened to the public this year, but the owner said that it took them eight long years to build the garden like it is today. I love it that their local businessmen are building sites like the Temple of Leah and the botanical garden in order to build tourism in their province.
Entrance fee: P100 for adults and P50 for kids
SM Seaside City Cebu
I was bushed after Terrazas because of the high altitude and the long walks on steep inclines going to our destinations. It felt like a really long, winding drive to get to SM Seaside City Cebu located at South Road Properties, Cebu City. While my companions are still energetic, I slept most of the time during the trip, both because of exhaustion and also the early morning wake up call. Since I have motion sickness, I was lucky not to have thrown up in any part of the trip. When we got off SM Seaside, however, my head was still spinning while inching towards the third floor where we were to have our dinner at Casa Verde Restaurant–a Cebu homegrown restaurant that’s famous for its yummy ribs.
When we got to the top floor, we did not immediately go to the restaurant. Since the sun had already set at that time, we went out to their roof deck garden and we were amazed at their landscaping, the playground, and even their outdoor restroom that has become a photo wall because of its outer green wall.
You can have other different combinations of places to visit in Cebu, especially if you are staying in a different area and you don’t have a private vehicle. But I loved how we were able to spend our afternoon, thanks to our gracious hosts Globe Telecom and PR Works. Sa uulitin! 😀
Flights to Cebu
Cebu Pacific flies from Manila to Cebu 12 timesa day while from Bacolod, it’s three times daily, which takes about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, Philippines Airlines has nine daily flights from Manila to Cebu. International flights from both airlines also land in Cebu.