94 – The Monching Visits Cebu (Day 3)

Wonderful as it may seem, all good things must come to an end. Our Cebu trip was no exception.

As much as we wanted to visit the other parts of the island, we had to return to Manila. Thus, it entailed us to leave in the afternoon as our return flight was scheduled at around 5:00 pm. We started off our last day with our second and final buffet breakfast, but this time I ate a lighter set. A plate of rice and two waffles did me good. Initially, my first attempt to make my own waffle ended up being under-cooked – but I increased the temperature and cooking time on the second try. The result was stunning; a perfect waffle that can compete with Famous Belgian Waffles. Even the American who was right behind me at the waffle station was looking at my plate.

After our breakfast, we prepared for our last stop and took a cab to the Cebu Taoist Temple. Since the temple is located in a rather uphill area, prepare an additional P50 on top of your regular taxi rate. I find this reasonable, as this entails passing by steep roads and an exclusive village that provides a good view of the entire island. The Cebu Taoist Temple is a popular destination for both Taoists and non-Taoists alike. Visitors can have their pictures taken on the temple grounds, and worshipers can pay their respects to the Queen Mother of the West, Jade Emperor, and other deities in the same location. As this is also a temple, silence is a must especially when there are worshipers present. Taking pictures of the altar is also prohibited.

CJ and I went inside the main temple. Thankfully, the temple attendant was present to help us out with the ritual. Having had previous experiences with Taoist shrines in Binondo, it wasn’t that hard. I admit I felt a bit afraid of the temple attendant, though—being an old Chinoy gentleman. However, CJ assured me that I had nothing to fear; most old Chinoys are like that. After we finished paying our respects, we then walked around the temple ground to take more pictures.

A large dragon sculpture is on the slope, protectively watching over the islands. Dragons are symbols of power and protection in Taoist mythology, so the temple dragons not only protect the structure—but also the island. Dragon sculptures also adorn the temple’s roofs, extending their protective aura to all directions and beyond. To the side of the temple, you will find a small replica of the Great Wall with a painting of the actual section in China to boot. With this setup, I can’t help but be reminded of the Haw Par Villa in Singapore. The villa contains a lot of life-sized and larger-than-life dioramas of icons from Chinese religion and mythology.

We didn’t stay for long at the temple, leaving around 11:00 in the morning. We still had to pack up our things for our afternoon flight. Before returning to the city, we passed by Rico’s Lechon to buy some roasted suckling pig; her mother specifically requested that we buy this brand. Once she got her orders, we told the driver of our taxi (the same vehicle that brought us from Taoist Temple) to drop us off at Banilad Town Center. It was walking distance from our hotel, and there was a Dimsum Break branch in it—so we chose to have lunch at that branch. Besides, I haven’t tried Dimsum Break in Cebu (only the one in SM North EDSA) so it’s best to try here and see how it fares.

CJ and I walked to our hotel from Banilad Town Center, packed up our things, and checked out of our room. We took a cab to Mactan airport, and boarded the plane to Manila at about 5:00 in the afternoon. We arrived at Terminal 3 two hours later, but I wasn’t feeling well anymore due to an intense cluster headache, maybe because of the cabin pressure. It was so intense that even moving simply caused excruciating pain. Imagine your skull being crushed in a vise; that’s how painful it was. Not even a mefenamic acid tablet could do me good, so I ended up sleeping the night away when I arrived home. We were originally supposed to stop by Resorts World Manila across the airport, but the headache really brought me down to my knees. What a waste.

Our three day vacation has come to a close. However, I admit I wasn’t able to enjoy it fully – and it’s something I regret. From physical problems such as headaches and pressure buildup in the ears, to things beyond our control such as language barriers, our vacation wasn’t exactly smooth sailing. Compounding the issue was my rather short patience, something that I have yet to develop. I admit that it’s my fault that the mood was dampened at times, but let’s not focus too much on the blemishes.

Exploring a new location and getting out of your comfort zone isn’t easy, but it makes good memories to treasure for years. Who would have thought that displacement would be a wonderful thing?

And with that, I wrap up the Cebu vacation series here at The Monching’s Guide; do check out the earlier entries. Until the next post.

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