On the flip-side...in Cebu
It was a hot afternoon when we arrived in Cebu city, The Philippines' 2nd biggest city. Our family wanted to experience the real Philippines. We decided to head for provincial Cebu. We caught a multi-cab (a type of Filipino small public transport, like a jeepney) and set off down Cebu's one and only highway. Unfortunately, the multi-cab broke down less than halfway into the trip. I thought this was a bad situation. However, while stuck on the highway, I found and learned to appreciate the essence of what is The Philippines.
The people in The Philippines are some of the nicest and pure people I have ever met. The locals helped and offered water to cool down the multi-cab’s engine, even though we were strangers. The kids, with almost nothing, are always happy and dancing, singing carols with their heavy Spanish and American influenced tongues.
The urban views of Cebu Island are something else. There is such a clash of culture, with South-East Asian styled steel huts/shelters next to the Spanish and American colonial buildings, which really showed the history of the Philippines. I thought it is really cool in that way.
Although the people are very poor, they love adding 'little' touches to their houses, whether it is overly large pictures or idols of Jesus, or fake advertisements of their favourite beverage.
Another example of popular culture being infused into the Philippines is the public transport itself, with even more ads and 80s music playing on the big speakers in the buses.
The street food we ate waiting was better than restaurant food any day. Chicharon, a Spanish-influenced version of pork crackling, may not be the healthiest food, but it sure is delicious! And lechon, another Spanish food, is a Cebuano specialty, was very tasty. Street food in Cebu is something everyone must try.
I think that even though our multi-cab broke down and changed our whole day, that change was for the better. And seeing this version of the Philippines is really the best way to view the country, and is better than staying in the resort and not experiencing the real Philippines.
Liam dela Fuente is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program
All photos courtesy and copyright Liam dela Fuente