Wednesday, October 16, 2019

New Places to Visit When in Cebu

Places evolve. That is my realization during the long time I have stayed in Cebu City. I have considered this place my second home for almost two decades now and it took on a lot of changes right before my very eyes in that span of time.

When I was a child, we regularly visited Cebu since it is my father's home city and we would visit my grandparents who were living in the southern part of Cebu Province. Our trip would not be complete if we would not drop by the malls then. Gaisano Metro felt like heaven for me and my sister, specially when we spend all our time on the rides, and do a little shopping too.

Fast forward to many decades later, though malls of our younger days like Gaisano Metro still maintain a strong following, its close competitors are not far behind, namely the SM and Ayala Malls. Going for a Cebu trip may still include shopping in these famous malls but a lot of attractions are drawing a lot of crowds too.

If you are planning to visit the Queen City of the South one of these days or in the coming summertime, you might want to include these places in your itinerary.

1. 10,000 Roses

    These are artificial LED roses that light up from dusk till night. This is the very first of its kind in Cebu City, built about less than five years ago. The roses shine brightly during evening so visitors usually flock during the night. Make sure to set your cameras or phone camera to night mode when you take pictures.  It is about an hour away from the airport, since the roses are situated in Cordova, Cebu, so you may visit this first before proceeding to Cebu City. There is also a cafe nearby where you can while away the time and enjoy the beautiful ocean view and the view of Cebu City just a few miles across the place. By the way, there is an entrance fee that one has to pay in order to view the roses, but do not worry, the fee is very affordable. 

                     Photo by Shing Camps

                                        Photo by Shing Camps

2. Sirao Flower Farm

    Fondly named as the mini-Amsterdam of Cebu, the Sirao Flower Farm is situated in the mountainous barangay of this city. One would totally be in awe that these mountains nestle such a beauty or, shall I see beauties because of the countless flowers. The easiest way to get there (aside from hopping into your own car) would be by taking a habal-habal from JY Square Mall in Barangay Lahug. The habal-habal drivers would charge at least a hundred per head per way. Prepare yourself for a mountainous ride that may be bumpy along the way. Aside from that, upon reaching your destination, get ready to enjoy the breathtaking view of a lot of flower farms and the greenery of the mountains as well. Truly, a breath of fresh air away from the city. The farms again collect a meager entrance fee, which is actually nothing compared to the view that you will enjoy. 

3. Temple of Leah

     How would you feel when someone loves you so much that he or she built an extravagant structure to show the world his or her love for you?  Well, we may not be able to know how Leah would answer that question, but the Temple of Leah was built exactly for her  - Yes, Leah - by her husband. The temple was built last 2012 as a symbol of the endless love and devotion of Teodorico Adarna to his wife of 53 years, Leah Adarna.

         I had my picture taken at the lobby of the Temple, probably one of the most instagrammable spots in the area, right infront of the grand staircase that leads to a statue of a woman, sitting on her throne - an image inspired by Leah, of course.

              The Temple of Leah is a rising favorite as a pre-nuptial shoot venue.  But whatever purpose you will have for visiting the place, surely you would feel the love. It is suggested that the Temple of Leah be your side trip when going to the Sirao Flower Farm. People visit the flower farms first, which are more uphill in location, then stopover at the Temple on their way down and back to the city.


4. Simala Shrine
    Let's head down south, this time. When you feel wanting to have a moment with God and Mama Mary, this one is the place to be, The Simala Shrine.

          Nestled in the Hills of Lindogon in Sibonga, a town in the southern part of Cebu Province, this shrine is simply breathtaking for so many reasons namely, the scenery it offers, the intricate architecture and woodworks of the structures in the shrine, and most of all the evident serenity that surrounds the place especially that it provides a unique venue for one to be one with God.  To ask for blessings and guidance in your trips and endeavors, to ask for special favors, and most of all to give thanks for the many blessings you received and favors granted, you might want to pay a visit to the Simala Shrine.

          During my first visit to the shrine, what amazed me was the collection of crutches left behind by patients who used to move around with the aid of this ambulatory device. They donated their crutches after they have been healed and are able to walk again. There is also a collection of pens, pencils, graduation photos, and letters of thanks from students who successfully passed their licensure examinations after praying their petitions to the Blessed Virgin. 

               Photo by Shing Camps

5. Baywalk at the City of Naga

                             Photo by Shing Camps

        Lastly, take a walk at the baywalk at the City of Naga and enjoy the soothing breeze breathed out by the sea. You also get to enjoy views of cargo ships sporadically spread in the canvass created by the blue waters, or views of the planes that occasionally fly over the area. All day and all night long, there is no chosen time, whatever time you decide to visit the baywalk, I assure you it is always the best time.  The sea and the baywalk is beautiful both in daylight and at night. You can also treat yourself to the gastronomic delights offered by restaurants nearby. 

          That's about it. You may want to add these places to your Cebu visit itinerary soon.

          Enjoy and take care.

8 Ways to take care of our mental health during the COVID-19 Pandemic

          During this era of the COVID Pandemic, it would be easy to overlook our mental health which is essential in order for us to h...