Saturday, February 19, 2011

[CEBU] Lapu-Lapu’s Washboard Abs

Take note that the name Cebu could mean three different geographic entities on your map. The entire province which can be found in Central Visayas is called Cebu, which includes that narrow island also called Cebu, which in turn contains the city to the east also called Cebu. Other islands that form part of the province are Camotes Islands to the east and Bantayan to the northwest. The province is surrounded by neighboring islands belonging to provinces of their own such as Negros, Bohol, Siquijor, and Leyte.

There was nothing Seair in sight at NAIA 3 and the only minor glitch was that we were asked to change gates from 120 to 116. We landed at Mactan - Cebu International without incident except for a five-minute delay caused by some traffic jam at the NAIA runway. Who says traffic is only heavy along Buendia? You should have seen how our Cebu Pacific plane formed a bee line with other planes from PAL, Singapore Airlines, and FedEx before taking off.

I easily got lost in Mactan Island the moment I got on a jeep at the airport. Well, it wasn't really a jeep but a multicab as called by one of the security guards I asked for directions. They resemble those mini shuttle buses along Buendia that bring you to the Mall of Asia. I hopped on the one that said Mercado.

It's easy to catch Bisaya jeepney vocabulary by observing other passengers. They say "plete" instead of "bayad", "lugar lang" for "para", and "palihug" which means "please" or "pakiabot." Nonetheless, I stuck with Tagalog just to see if there would be any weird reactions. There were none but I easily disclosed my being a tourist by doing so. The problem is when you begin asking for specific directions to a certain place. You ask them in Tagalog and they understand you but they reply in Bisaya and you do not understand them. Nosebleed much.

My Mactan Island adventure took up the whole morning. It all seemed easy planning everything but the execution is quite another story. The multicab to Mercado went to LBC and then, to my surprise, back to the airport. At first I thought perhaps the driver did not like me and my filthy Tagalog-speaking mouth and so he was very eager to send me back to wherever I came from. It turns out we just came back to get more passengers. The world does not revolve around me. Doh.

We passed by an Islands Souvenir store and a Starbucks and I was tempted to get down because I saw a Mactan Shrine sign post. I did not get off the vehicle and instead had the driver drop me off at the Lapu-Lapu City Hall. It was when I was standing in front of that city hall did I realize that I went all the way to Cebu to snap a photo of a city hall. What the hell is wrong with me?

Next stop was Mactan Shrine. I got on a MEPZ multicab only to be dropped off at the Mactan Export Zone gate where I found two guards who happily answered my query in broken Tagalog as to how to get to the shrine. I rode another multicab to Punta Engaño and was caught in a traffic jam where we saw various multicabs and hotel vans full of Koreans. They're everywhere in this country! Wouldn't it be nice if we returned the favor and be everywhere in their country as well?

After surviving the traffic jam, the driver asked me to get off his jeep because it is supposed to be exclusive for Bisaya-speaking passengers. Of course this is a joke, and I am a moron. In front of a spa I got off the vehicle and walked to the left, to the left, to some place saying Liberty Park. That is where I found a monument in honor of Spanish royalty and Lapu-Lapu's statue overlooking the mini-beach. The only thing missing from his monument was the engraving:

Back in the 1500's we did not have Fitness First.
But I killed Magellan anyway.
And I have washboard abs.

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