Cebu City

Yesterday morning was a sleep-in-ish kind of morning. I still woke up early. I think I’m still not adjusted to this time zone. The clock is six hours earlier than Hawaii, but the date is one day later.

Anyway, once we got ready, we headed out to meet Efren. He is Denis’ friend’s son’s friend. He is also a realtor. Several of Denis’ friends have been telling him he should invest in a condo here. Yesterday he checked a couple of the condos out. One interesting one is in a building that will look like the Flat Iron Building in New York. It’s just a hole in the ground now, but they did have a model.

At a different place, the person showing us around wanted to give us an idea of the view. Her building wasn’t built yet either, so she took us to the roof of the building we were meeting in. It was cool to see the city from that vantage point.

After we were done looking at condos, we went to lunch with Efren. It was a lechon place (roasted pork). Denis saw a specialty item on the menu and ordered it. It was called chicharron bulaklak, which means “pork rind flowers”. But instead of being pork skin, it’s pork intestines. It was good. It tasted like crispy pork.

We went shopping a little after that. There are malls here called “SM Mall”, and in those malls there is always a place called “The SM Store”. It’s kind of like Macy’s. We were in one of those, and I saw a Nebraska hat. Ha!

In the evening, we were back at the Air B&B condo, then to the mall next door, where we met Denis’ brother and his family for dinner.

We stopped after dinner to get a cell phone battery, because we’ll be taking some excursions today and tomorrow. The store was full of cute Asian-style products, so instead of a plain battery, I chose a teddy bear one.

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4 Responses to Cebu City

  1. Debbie says:

    Hmmmm, imaginary views and baby buildings? I would really have to ponder on all that. Ok, i just got over the corn in the icecream and then you eat pig guts that are called, of all things, a flower? Oh my…… you better find a cute monkey today…. or tomorrow? Whatever day you have there now. I guess your new battery pack counts as cute….. but not enough to wipe out the flower guts. Keep going! I’m still having fun!!

  2. Carol says:

    Ending with the teddy bear phone accessory ALMOST makes up for the picture of those crispy pig guts. Really. there’s brave and adventurous, then there’s … that.

    –she whose father, the butcher, used to bring home beef stomach (tripe) or brains to eat. The latter would be prepared as scrambled eggs. Not too awful, as i recall now…

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A Little Bit of This and That

Yesterday we headed to the city of Ormoc (still on Leyte). A son of Denis’ cousin met us at a hotel restaurant. He and his wife joined us for breakfast.

After breakfast, we dropped the wife off at the market for her job, and the husband, Mark, drove us around a little.

Up above the city of Ormoc, there is a lot of farm land. It used to be all sugarcane, but they are switching over to pineapples. They’re growing a variety that is small and sweet.

Mark then took us to a resort hotel in Ormoc. It was really beautiful – and so inexpensive to stay there! Maybe next time…

Soon we were on the ferry back to Cebu island. We stopped at Iday’s house to pick up some stuff we had left there, then went back to the Air B&B condo we stayed at before. We had left some unopened milk and water in the refrigerator, hoping maybe it would still be there when we got back. It was!

It was already evening by then, so we walked to the mall and had dinner. After dinner, Denis got a halo halo from a place he used to go to a lot when he lived here. He’s been on a search for the best halo halo here. This was his fifth place. It still wasn’t the magical ‘best’ yet.

‘Halo halo’ means ‘mix mix’. It is made of shaved ice, purple ube (sweet potato) ice cream, coconut milk, and various toppings, including jello, coconut, beans, corn flakes, and (in this particular case) corn? You mix it up into ice cream soup and then eat/drink it. It’s sweet, creamy, and delicious.

I got a more familiar dessert. They have Dunkin Donuts here! I haven’t had a Dunkin Donuts donut in ages. Mmm…

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Baybay Day

(It is pronounced bye-bye, like when you’re saying goodbye)

Happy birthday to brother Brent and niece Alicia! Yay!

Yesterday morning started with breakfast with two of Denis’ cousins’ children. The view from our table was beautiful.

One of them stayed with us while we toured Baybay, Denis’ home town. She spoke English the whole time, so I was able to understand her.

Our first stop was the old church. Denis wanted to get some candles for a visit to the cemetery. The church was beautiful.

We took a look inside.

The next stop was the cemetery. It is a public cemetery, and there seems to be no plan to how graves are put in, so it’s very jumbled-looking.

Denis’ parents graves were off to the side. We had to wind our way through. There were people living in the cemetery. We had to walk through their kitchen to get where we were going.

That kid in the background followed us the whole way. He was waiting to see if we wanted to hire him to clean up the gravesite.

For the memory archive:

After the cemetery, we headed into downtown Baybay and walked around. It was crowded with people. I loved it! The roads were full of bicycle and motorcycle taxis.

We stopped at the house Denis grew up in. It’s empty now, and in disrepair, but family members have plans to renovate it.

Denis’ dad’s doctors office is in front. The house is in back

Here is the main living area upstairs:

This is Denis’ old bedroom:

After a little more walking around, we took a motorcycle taxi to Denis’ brother’s house. I took a picture of the living room while we were waiting for lunch to finish cooking.

Lunch was really good. It included steamed crabs! They didn’t have Old Bay on them, but they were full of delicious, sweet crab meat. Mmm…

After lunch, we went back to the hotel for a bit, then joined Denis’ old classmates at a barbecue place. It was another night of good food, lots of laughing, and conversations whose contents I could only guess at.

People feel embarrassed about their English, so they don’t like to speak it, but everyone was very friendly to me and kept offering me food and drink. One man there teaches, and teaching here is done in English, so he was more fluent and spoke with me for quite a while.

After dinner was more talking, and nibbling on lanzones, a fruit that is in season now, and one of the reasons Denis wanted to come here in October. It’s juicy and refreshing. I think it tastes a little like sweet grapefruit.

The last stop of the night was on a hill above Baybay. An artistic/tourist installation has been done up there that consists of 16,000 led lights in artificial flowers. Red flowers amongst the white ones spell out: “heart” Baybay. The view of Baybay is beautiful too.

Today we head back to Cebu.

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Yesterday morning we took another ferry boat. This time, we were headed to Leyte, the island where Denis grew up.

Two of Denis’ friends from the night before were on the boat with us. We sat across the aisle from them, but didn’t talk much because they were too far away. When we arrived on Leyte, another classmate of Denis picked us up and drove us to the place we were staying.

It’s a small hotel right on the beach. The inside is clean and air conditioned.

Out the back door is the ocean! So cool!

The hotel is on the campus of Visayas State University, Denis’ alma mater. Denis’ classmate drove us around the campus. It’s large and so beautiful

After our driving tour, we went into Baybay city, where Denis is from. We stopped at his brother’s house, but he wasn’t home, so we walked to his aunt’s house.

His aunt lives with her children and grandchildren. They were all waiting for us at the end of the road. The family reunion was happy and loud, and I didn’t understand much of what anyone was saying. And of course they fed us. 🙂 We had our fourth lechon. It was delicious. But I must make a note of the dessert we had. It was called binigmit, and it was amazing!

From there, we headed to the house of another former classmate of Denis. It was the fifth anniversary of her death, and her family was holding a novina at their house. I didn’t understand much of the service, but the part afterward felt very familiar. Many old classmates of Denis were there, and everyone ate and chatted and ate some more.

Then they brought out the beer and more food. It was a great celebration.

Today we plan to do more reunionizing and socializing. I’m really looking forward to it. I have LOVED all the people-watching I’m getting to do. Because I only speak English, I’m quiet, and they forget I’m there, and I just watch and listen. It’s so fun!

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And Then We Ate Some More

Yesterday morning we met up with some of Denis’ friends from grade school. We went to a fancy hotel and had their breakfast buffet. It was expansive.

I was excited to see that they had champurado. It’s like oatmeal made from rice, if the oatmeal was floating in chocolate soup.

After breakfast we went to the mall to walk around a bit.

Then we jumped in a Grab car (like an Uber), and drove to a different mall. I was excited, because I saw this mall from our ferry boat the other day. It’s really unusual-looking from the outside.

When we got there, we ate some more. This time it was a dim sum restaurant. There was so… much… food…

Then we shopped some more. We spent a lot of time in a shop where all the pictures on the wall were of thin Koreans. I felt a little out-of-place.

But then I saw a shirt on the “on sale” rack that I could wear for Aloha Friday. It was only 499 pesos! I bought it.

After that, we ate some more. This time, it was halo halo, a frozen Filipino confection. It was tasty, but I was so full…

We took a Grab car back to the condo we are staying at, and everyone came upstairs. Then Denis’ friend’s son, who had been with us all day, went out to get Jollibee. Then we ate some more.

There was lots of talking and laughing into the evening, most of which I didn’t understand because it wasn’t English. It was still fun though. What a good day!

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