It has been almost a month since we returned from our Cebu holiday. And I think it's safe to say the whole family has been missing the place badly, albeit for different reasons. The wifey & I yearn for its beautiful beaches...
While the monkies long for the waterpark...
But that's a good thing because it meant that all of us had thoroughly enjoyed the trip, and also lived to tell our experiences.
I'm kidding when I say, "lived to tell our experiences".
Mainly because the first impression most people get when we mention "Cebu, Philippines" is whether it is safe, especially for kids. I don't know about other cities in the Philippines, but Cebu is pretty much the same as Phuket or Bali - only less crowded.
And here are some travel tips if you are planning a family trip to Cebu.
The rainy season falls between June to November, with the dry season occupying the other half of the year. The hottest & driest months are between February to May, so slap on a more than generous layer of sunscreen if you do go then. Before our trip, we were extremely worried that the rain would literally dampen our glorious holiday plans.
But as we found out, it didn't rain throughout the day and if it did rain, it was usually passing and intermittent. There were heavy thunderstorms but luckily for us, those occurred in the middle of the night, hence gifting us beautiful sunny skies in the mornings. Also, the low season meant that the hotel rates are much lower and the beaches less crowded. So I think I can live with a little rain. :)
The Filipinos are quite friendly on the whole, and are generally helpful. There are touts aplenty lying in ambush outside the resorts though, with most trying to sell various tour packages. But they are not too aggressive, and they usually drop away with a friendly 'no'.
Obviously, language isn't a problem there with English being spoken widely. Or maybe perhaps you might want to learn some Korean too. Why? 'Cos the place is teeming with Koreans! We were even mistaken to be Koreans too. The first thing the locals say when they see us? Ahn-hyung-ha-se-yo!
Well, it turns out that Cebu is a popular holiday destination with the Koreans, and also many Koreans go to Cebu to learn English because it is much cheaper than other countries. But no, I didn't spot the Wonder Girls there, else I would have sunbathed with them.
No worries about toddlers being starved in Cebu. Rice & noodles are staple food there, and for the more angmoh-inclined little ones, there are pizza and pasta as well. Also, with the swarm of Koreans there, there were many Korean restaurants that served pretty authentic Korean food.
Ash loved the sio-bak (roasted pork) rice there, while Ayd adored the fried noodles so much that he declared that he wanted to have it EVERYDAY. As for Ale, we brought along jar food for her but occasionally we fed her rice which was mashed in miso soup.
Taxis are the most obvious mode of transport in Cebu. The taxis are metered, but they almost always never use them. The most common reason we encountered was that it was spoilt. So the important thing is to negotiate the fare before you get into the taxi. But if you die-die want to use the meter, you can just wait for the next taxi that comes along.
We made 7 cab rides throughout our stay in Cebu, and only ONCE did the cab that we were in use its meter. I don't know if that meant that we were lucky or unlucky. Haha.
And if you are feeling a little bit more adventurous, you can hop onto the locals' mode of transport - the Jeepney. It's very much like the Tuk-tuks of Thailand but it functions like a bus. So it can get really crowded and often we saw people just clinging onto the outside if the vehicle is full.
Oh, and unless you are just going to stay within the four walls of the resort, leave your pram at home. The walkways in Cebu are definitely not built for strollers. Well, unless you intend to buy a new one.
We devoted one day of shopping in Cebu city and for that, we went to the SM City Mall which was the largest shopping centre in Cebu. And it was huge with lots of shops & food outlets. It was definitely better than we had anticipated, even with our local brands like Breadtalk, Charles & Keith and BYSI.
But with our monkies, the word 'shopping' has the same meaning as the word 'boring'. And it never fails to illicit such a response.
But luckily, there is an amusement arcade for the kids, with each token being only 17 cents. I would have played some games myself even if the monkies didn't want to! And if the kids got tired, there are shopping buggy cars for rent at about S$10 per hour.
So there you have it, I hope that you had found certain bits of information useful if you are planning a family trip to Cebu too. There are other kids-related stuff that we didn't get a chance to do, like the Mactan Island Aquarium and the Sky Experience Adventure where one gets a chance to walk along the edge at the top of the tallest tower in the Philippines.
Well, there is always next
CEBU HOLIDAY Blog Posts
Part 1 & Part 2 - Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort
Part 3 - Island Hopping in Cebu
Part 4 - Shopping in Cebu City
Part 5 & Part 6 - Imperial Palace Resort & a Water Park (!!!)