I just knew I'd come back for Cebu.
I got an invitation from my friend, Ate EJ to join her and the rest of Gensan based friends to celebrate her birthday week in Cebu which coincided with the famed Sinulog Festival. I gamely said yes, waited for my 13th month pay and booked a ticket!
I was anticipating for this trip, not only for the destination but for the journey itself. My travel buddies will be flying from Gensan while I'm the only one from Davao. They were expected to arrive first in Cebu while I was to follow. Hence, this became my first solo flight.
Traveling solo has always been on my mind. It is something that genuinely appeals to me, something that I could see myself doing (more) in the future. I'm used to doing things alone so why not take the level of independence a notch higher? I think I owe it to myself to get out of my comfort zone and see how I'd fare in the real world far from home. Wehhhhhh.
I decided that I'll explore the city the way locals do. I researched the cheapest way to get to Cebu City from Mactan International Airport and thru local commute. Taxi? What taxi? Hahaha.
I found this blog article from Bisdak Explorer very helpful: Mactan Airport - Cebu City Route For Only P26.00 It served as my game plan.
Upon arriving at Mactan International Airport, the journey to Cebu City by local commute begins with you looking for this yellow multicab (with code 05A) :
The next destination was Marina Mall. The first few hints of fear were starting to hit me since I'm not sure where exactly to be dropped off. Apparently a lot of the passengers (who were mostly airport staff who just ended their shift) were alighting off in Marina Mall. Also, I saw the Starbucks and Island Souvenirs shop that were pictured in Bisdak Explorer's blog. That was the tell-sign and I figured: I'm on the right track baby, I was born this way. Hahaha.
Basically, I just asked for directions and what jeepney to ride afterwards. I am Bisaya anyway so no language barrier whatsoever with the locals.
Two things I have realized:
(1) First, you have to possess this "I'm-A-Smart-Aleck" vibe but with the right mix of "I-Need-Your-Help" vibe. You know what I mean? You have to carry yourself well and look smart but at the same time prepare to look stupid especially when the moment comes that you realize that you're riding the wrong jeepney the entire time. Haha. But just shrug it off. The mistakes are part of the fun and that's when you learn and duh, nobody knows you anyway.
(2) And second, choose carefully who to ask for directions. Don't just ask anyone you see on the street. At one point I asked the school children because I figure kids don't lie. Or I asked the people in office uniforms who are on their way home from work. That person could've been me in my hometown.
I managed to get to Ayala Terraces for P33.00. It could've been P26.00 only as what the blog post suggested but I had one wrong sakay so that's plus P7.00! Hahaha
I had dinner, did window shopping (H&M!!!) and decided to kill time and people-watch at Seattle's Best. I needed to rest my aching shoulders too. #BackpackerFeels pa kasi more! Hahaha. Thank you Shaira and Dyna for lending the backpack. :)
As I was riding the jeep and looking outside the window, I just felt I'm not on the right track baby. I asked the girl sitting beside me and she wasn't sure herself but as far as she knew, I'm doomed. Joke. She tip that I get off the jeep and pointed the direction that's leading to Banilad.
I got off the jeepney and started to walk, a very, very long walk to say. At that point, I admit I was beginning to feel frustrated. My back was really tired with the heavy backpack and so are my feet. I was so close to hailing a cab. But I said to myself "this is my choice, I wanted this". Adventure pala ha?
Looking back, I don't even know how I made it. Not to brag or anything but I had no GPS with me and my mobile has no Data Internet, I live on wi-fi at home or in cafes.
Or well, maybe it's because it's my second time in the city anyway, so a few places looked familiar and again, the no language barrier situation helped.
When I was sure I was heading to the right direction, I decided to ride the habal-habal (motorcycle). I was very much in the right track, in fact, I was so close already that I could've just walk a few more steps. Sayang yung bente!!!
To finish this story, I made it at the hotel in one piece and all for P60.00! I was sweaty from all the walking and dirty from all the city fumes but happy and accomplished! I actually had my celebratory dance inside the CR. Hahaha :))
I remember feeling a mix of fear and excitement not knowing what's gonna happen next. Am I gonna make it or not? Turned out when I did, the feeling is amazing!
I got to know myself better too. I enjoyed braving the streets alone, asking strangers for directions and just going with my guts which I admit it's not 100% right at all times but I learned to welcome mistakes (there's no one to blame and fight with). Time alone is really the time you build a relationship with yourself and traveling solo is one way of doing it. Baby steps, these are all baby steps for future goals. :)
Anyway, that's only Day 1 of 4!
I hope you come back reading for the rest. :)