Alternative Things To Do While In Cebu + Some Thoughts On Solo Traveling

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

I've been to Cebu several times over the past years, for vacation, for work, or for a family wedding. So when I received an invite to hold a talk in the sunny south a few weeks ago, I Googled for alternative places that I can sneak in my itinerary, sites that I haven't been to and can visit around the city considering the time constraints.

I only have two days in Cebu, with the first one already dedicated to work. With barely 24 hours during my second day, I decided to rent a taxi so I can easily go to my list of places. I would have gone for the more adventurous motor bike option I've read on the internet, but it was rainy during my stay so I opted for comfort. With the help of the hotel staff, they got me a cab driver and haggled for a good price of Php 2000 inclusive of 3 site visits, + pick-up and drop-off straight to my hotel. Usual price I've read during my research is Php 2500! And so we began our mini excursion....

Sirao Flower Garden

I enumerated the three places that I aimed to visit with Kuya Cab Driver, namely Sirao Flower Garden, Temple of Leah, and TOPS. We first went to the farthest of the three which is in Sirao--45 minutes away from the city center. According to the internet, they also call this place the Little Amsterdam or Mini Holland of Cebu. In photos, you will see a really vast garden of flowers, burst of oranges, reds, and yellows all over a wide field! So beautiful! But like an expectation vs reality meme, I arrived there and it was rainy, muddy, and blooms were not in season. HUHU! It's also just a patch of garden with cute photogenic areas here and there. I learned that a coffee shop is in the works, so I'm looking forward to that. Ideally, bring someone or a tripod to take better photos of yourself, if that's your goal! I ended up just taking a few self-timer shots just to have a souvenir. Barely 30 minutes and I went back to look for Kuya Cab.

Temple of Leah

I had no idea about this place, but upon researching, I learned that it is Ellen Adarna's lolo's monument for her lola. Much like the story of the Taj Mahal, the Temple of Leah was created because of love.

When I asked my Cebu friends about this place, they discouraged me to go because it's still under construction but they still charge for entrance fees, plus dozens of tourists flock the site to take their photos which they said can be annoying. I went nonetheless since it's my only chance as of the moment, and to be fair, it's a nice place to practice my photog skills! Roman and Greek inspired structures and statues, with the gloomy cloudy day as background for my perfect A7 filtered photos--haha! It was raining which I might as well thank for the minimal tourists gathered that day. I went around for my "artsy shots", and again took self-timer OOTDs by the pillars, then went back on the road. 

Taoist Temple of Cebu

I was already soaking by the time we were off to our third and last stop. It didn't bother me so much though, I was enjoying the fast-paced tour before my night flight! Sadly, Kuya Cab discouraged my plan to go to TOPS because of the zero visibility due to the bad weather, huhu. I was hesitant and wanted to tell him to just go for it just for the sake of going, but I got myself a very stubborn (but nice) driver. He suggested that we go to the Taoist Temple instead.

I've been here 4 or 5 years ago, during my first visit in Cebu for a Sinulog trip. I went in and the place felt unfamiliar already. There were no entrance fees, so I freely just walked around. The temple requires a lot of workout with winding staircases heading up, while its entrance replicates the Great Wall of China. I decided not to go all the way up, and just checked out the attractions within the vicinity. They have a chapel, library, souvenir shops, wishing well, etc.


I was supposed to meet my Cebu friends here again after my morning tour, but had a bit of communication troubles. I still went for it just for the experience! The place is called Elizabeth Mall or E-Mall, which is luckily near where I am staying. E-Mall resembles Metropolis here in Alabang, with all the fast foods, arcade, and of course, the thrift shops here and there. I entered around 2-3 of them before I decided to get a few pieces here in Joemil's RTW. Picked a dress and two skirts and paid for around Php 500 only. Check out my other finds below!

Sugbo Mercado

For food, one of the new places I've tried for this trip is Cebu's food park Sugbo Mercado. I love the vibe! I came in late after my talks, so my friends have food already and I didn't have to go around anymore to order. There's good music, random contests for the diners, and the most important part: FOOD IS GOOD! I love everything that I tried from my vegetarian pizza, lemonade, down to our Instagram-worthy desserts! Thank you to my blog friend Banisa for inviting me here!!!

Korean Cafe Hopping

They say that more and more Koreans go to Cebu to learn English, that's why Korean establishments like restaurants and cafes are sprouting around the city! I was able to go to three different K-cafes for just a weekend trip, which I blogged about here.

To end this post, here are some thoughts on solo traveling. I was browsing my Instagram while waiting at the Mactan Cebu International Airport for my flight back to Manila, when I received this direct message from one of my readers:

Japierceee: Did you travel alone Ana?
Me: Yes! :)
Jaypierceee: Seriously? Haha single goals 😍 Kaya? I mean pano mo ma-enjoy Ana? 😊
(Seriously? Haha single goals 😍 Is it bearable? I mean, how do you enjoy it Ana? 😊)

To answer him, solo traveling is one of the best experiences I have recently given to myself. To me, I don't even need to consciously put an effort to enjoy it! First of all, it makes planning for the trip easier. I can just book that taxi and go to places that I prefer without asking for anyone's consent, preference, or budget, and be flexible enough if I needed to modify a game plan. No hard feelings, no stuff I need to be considerate about other than what I want. I know this sounds like a selfish reason, but there will come a time when you need to give that to yourself. The chance to choose what you want instead of always following a leader. I would rather like to describe it as empowering.

Just recently received this Avon Philippines package, and along with the Briana Bag & Imari Bold perfume is a bracelet that says "Believe in Yourself"... How timely! It comes with a box that says "You are much stronger than you think". Thank you, Avon! Get your own Love Yourself Bangle and other Avon essentials at

Aside from these, traveling alone is really a journey to self discovery. You choose what you want, and you get to reflect more on your experiences and choices since there will be days that you THINK more than you SPEAK. It's a good exercise from time to time, the silence leaves you with no choice but to listen deeply to your heart. I also learned a thing or two about happiness, that its source is inward rather than something I should go looking for outside or through the people that I am with. That's just not me anymore. I have become self reliant in more ways than finding the next destination, I've learned to love and actually enjoy the company of my self.

And at the end of another solo trip, I always feel so proud. That I made it! On my own! And these stories, travel achievements, and memories are all mine to keep or share to the world. ❤

1 comment

  1. I always enjoy reading your blog kasi naririnig ko boses mo while reading <3 see you soon, ana! <3


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