Saturday, February 19, 2011

[CEBU] Quality Time with the Beggars

I took another MEPZ multicab going back to the Chowking branch I saw beside the bright orange Islands Souvenir store. I attacked my food like there was no tomorrow. I have only seen one landmark and I was already spent. I was probably suffering from low blood pressure brought about by the multiple nosebleeds I got trying to understand Bisaya. I had more luck with the Chowking cashier as she explained in Taglish how I could crossover to Cebu City. However, the many alphanumeric codes of the jeepneys I should ride just lost me. I ended up boarding the first jeep I found, which was coincidentally headed to SM City Cebu.

Around 40 minutes and 14 pesos after, we reached SM City Cebu. The bridge we crossed to get to Cebu Island was the bridge connecting Mactan to Mandaue. I wanted to "lugar lang" the driver and snap a picture of the bridge but decided that it was against everyone's interest, including mine. VIP? It is just that after the light bulb moment at the city hall, I was already depressed and feeling like a total idiot.

I did not go inside SM. Instead, I walked around it until I reached a junction and then followed a multicab that announced Ayala as its location. I ended up outside a church called St. Jerome. After snapping a photo I decided to spend some quality time with the beggars and reminisce lost times when we used to sniff rugby together while running around naked and chasing tourists within the vicinity of Magellan’s Cross. Wild days. Anyway, I sat on the ditch in front of BPI because I had not the slightest idea as to where I was going. Is it that hard to read about the destination before going there? I so hate my lazy self. After 15 minutes or so, I boarded a multicab to Ayala Center Cebu.

After an hour wandering around the mall, I figured I did not like Metro Cebu that much, or perhaps not the city itself but the very fact that it is, just like Metro Manila, a highly urbanized city. The Ayala Center area felt very much like Makati, while the roads and buildings one sees going to Magellan's Cross were so like Binondo and Quiapo. It was as if I never left Metro Manila, which frustrated me because I left Metro Manila for the weekend to get away from the city, only to find myself in a similar city. To make matters worse, I felt sort of alienated since I am not well-versed in Cebuano and I was not familiar with the place.

I waited for my companion at Plaza Sugbu after checking out the Basilica Minore de Sto. Niño and Magellan’s Cross itself. I cheated and took a taxi to get there instead of relying on cheaper alternatives. Magellan’s Cross is surprisingly small. It is not even the original cross, but rather just contains a part of the original erected by Magellan on that very spot. The Basilica Minore de Sto. Niño is a cultural hotspot just like any other cathedral built during the Spanish era. Imagine getting caught in a time loop while attending mass. You might just get to experience how it was like to live in Spanish Colonial Philippines. Oops, my bad. My inner geek found a way out of its shackles.

When my friend arrived we took the jeep going to the South Bus Terminal and got on a Ceres Aircon Bus headed to Dumaguete. Of course we were to get off at Argao, which was our destination. We were supposed to make a stopover at Carcar but time was against us. Either way the bus does stop at Carcar for a few minutes since it connects Cebu City to the other cities down south.

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