Day 7: Bohol - Cebu
We were fetched by our rented van in the morning and brought to Tagbilaran pier for our onward journey to Cebu City. At the dock, we first had to fill out forms again even though we already bought our tickets for 600 pesos/each the day before and we had to pay some kind of port fee. We had to check in our pieces of luggage which the porters immediately took from us for another charge. Then (not so) surprisingly, our baggage weighed 10 kilos more each, more than the 16 and 17 kilos respectively that what we've checked-in in Berlin and in Manila. (btw, on our onward flight this 20 kl. magically disappeared). But I was too tired to argue and paid the excess which cost an additional 65 pesos.
Finally, we were let to go through without much ado and waited inside the waiting area while being serenaded by three singing blind men.
The sea was a bit rough as there was a typhoon coming within the Philippine area of responsibility, but the ride with the Supercat was excellent, even though it feels like riding a rollercoaster at times. The boat was quite safe and really fast, and we were in Cebu City in no time.
The City of Cebu (Tagalog: Lungsod ng Cebu; Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Sugbo) is the capital city of Cebu and is the second largest city in the Philippines, the second most significant metropolitan centre in the Philippines and known as the oldest settlement established by the Spaniards in the country.The city is located on the eastern shore of Cebu and was the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines. Cebu is the Philippines' main domestic shipping port and is home to about 80% of the country's domestic shipping companies. Cebu also holds the second largest international flights in the Philippines and is a significant centre of commerce, trade and industry in the Visayas and Mindanao regions. According to the 2009 LGPMS census, the city has a population of about 822,628 people.Cebu City is the centre of a metropolitan area called Metro Cebu, which includes the cities of Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Talisay. Metro Cebu has a total population of about 2 million people. The Mactan-Cebu International Airport, located in Lapu-Lapu City is only a twenty-minute drive away from Cebu City. To the northeast of the city are Mandaue City and the town of Consolacion, to the west are Toledo City, the towns of Balamban and Asturias, to the south are Talisay City and the town of Minglanilla. Across Mactan Strait to the east is Mactan Island where Lapu-Lapu City and an aquarium attraction are located.
Upon arrival in Cebu City, we decided to walk to our hotel at "Hotel Pier Cuatro". We've read that it was not so far from the pier so after a quick look at the map and some orientation we were off on our feet, which btw, didn't hinder some taxi drivers to want to take us with them and follow us for a minute. Worst is that some were already trying to take our suitcases to put into the taxi even though we've already said loud and clear no.
The area was not particularly pleasant - a bit like Manila: smog, noisy and chaotic, and it was no fun crossing the main road in spite of the traffic light. Then we saw the sign of our hotel. The place is where it is as described on their website. Directly opposite is a kind of seedy-looking strip club and another small street going inside some short-time getaway.
It was a huge relief knowing that the hotel has 24-hour security. Naturally, our mood became lighter. The entrance was very clean and looks quite modern. I've even seen the cleaners almost always at work trying to keep it tip-top. Our mood sank again when we saw our room. It was a cheaper (24 €), tinier Deluxe Room with no windows. I suddenly become claustrophobic. Actually, it has a window, but it opens into some kind of dark ventilation shaft or something. There was a TV but no fridge, a very loud air-conditioner that made watching tv or talking or even sleeping impossible. I probably would have not really minded at all since we were both tired and sleep would come so easy, but at least a small window would have made a big difference.
That's why we had a room upgrade to Superior Room which is, by the way, only 3-4 euros more expensive than Deluxe. Unfortunately, the Deluxe rooms were already occupied when we got there late from Bohol, but the friendly people from the reception assured us that we will be getting the superior room the next day, and we did. But first, we had to spend the night in the windowless and loud room. It must be good advice to fellow travellers to take the Superior Room which also has a fridge, a big window and a modern (digital) aircon.