Sunday, October 4, 2015 @ 1:10 AM
One of the few obvious sights that you'll immediately noticed when you're in Cebu, there are A LOT of churches or chapels around, big or small, there's a loootttt!! Majority of the people are Catholics. I did see one of two mosques while we're on the road but not that much. Temples, err, I think I saw one in Cebu City? Anyways, we did visit a few churches in our itinerary and I can say that most of their big churches are sooooo verrryyyy beautiful. Simala Shrine was one of them...

That's our 2nd destination for Day 2 :) We took the habal-habal from Carcar directly to Simala Shrine. Alternatively you can just take the bus but it won't drop you off right in front of the church though, you'll need to haul a habal-habal to get you further in!

Simala Shrine in Sibonga is a castle-like monastery. This beautiful holy place is believed to be a place of miracle where people's prayers are often heard and granted. There was also a miracle that happened where the Mother Mary statue cried! 

Entrance to the church. No shorts allowed for the ladies! But luckily, for visitors, you can rent a sarong outside the entrance for 20peso each.

The moment we stepped through the breath just caught, the view was just so...AMAZING!

Gahh my camera phone does not do the place any justice!! You really have to BE THERE to experience just how spectacular the whole church was. GO GOOGLE SIMALA SHRINE IMAGES NAOOOO!!! 

It was a place built in honor for Mother Mary, how much effort and time was spent on perfecting every inch and tiny detail of the church. If you see clearly the place is still under construction, its still an on-going project but I can only imagine how many years it has been to reach the current place the church is standing now.

I read from the Internet that believers will bring letters written for Mother Mary, asking for blessings or show appreciation for granting their prayers. We walked around the interior of the church and there were a lot of glass cabinets put up on the wall. Being curious, I walked closer to one of them and inside the glass cabinets were actually all the letters being carefully kept and displayed. There were a lot of them! Letters saying thanks for letting them pass their exams (they even put in their exam name tag, pencils, erasers and calculators inside!), I noticed mostly were from nursing schools or the marine. It was soo cool I mean I've never seen something like this before.

Another section was the granted prayers for the sick. This was a very touching section for me. I mean, just look at all medical equipment, I can't imagine how much the patients' must have suffered and prayed every day for recovery. There was one particular board I saw was about a newborn baby who suffered complications during birth, from the pictures it looked really critical and there were tubes inserted into the baby. The tubes were even bigger than the baby's tiny palm >,< But through their prayer the baby survived and grew to be healthy lah. On their board they pasted the baby's feeding equipment, all the tubes and syringes used during operations, and medical prescription etc etc. Seeing all these, doesn't it make your heart feel a bit, pained? For a baby to go through all that...huhuu! T____T

A lot of Mother Mary statues inside the church. Often you'll see visitors who came to pray would touch each and every one of the statues then looking up at the statues, silently offering their prayers hoping to be heard. I didn't take many pictures inside because I dunno, it just felt like it would be kind of intruding lah. So I'll just snap mental images it'll be enough laaa x)

Do visit this place if you're really into buildings and spectacular views. If you're bringing along a super pro camera, EVEN BETTER! No doubt you'll spend hours here just snapping pictures haha. There's something to snap at every corner, believe me. I would've done the same but gahh, if use phone camera only no feel laaaa x( Or, if you're a believer, you can even write a prayer letter before visiting here :)

Signing off....Simala Shrine, Sibonga  

Off to our third destination soon! :D

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Monday, September 28, 2015 @ 1:17 AM
Hello again! :D

It's a looong Monday today, I only have ONE class for the whole day, well only for this week anyway but still, I've got so much time and I have NOTHING to do :\ Just stay in my room and being bored. Haihhh.

But I've decided to blog. Take me back to that happy place where I was travelling and having an adventure! :D :D

We got up early the next morning upon arriving Cebu City to catch the early bus to Carcar City. OH! Did you know...5:30am in Philippines the sun is already up and shining?!?! It was soo weird for us hahaha cause living in Sabah, you just get used to the sun popping out around like, 6am-ish. 9am there felt like afternoon time for us lololol. And we had to get used to the early night time as well, 6pm in Philippines felt like..8pm in Sabah? XD

Anyways, our backpacking journey is around Southern of Cebu area. Our first destination is...CARCAR CITY! Famous for being the heritage city of Cebu (like Melaka for Malaysia), crispy fried pork skin chicharon and of CAN-NOT MISS THIS....LECHON!! That's the super-juicy, super-tender roasted whole pig being sold in their public market *salivates* So early in the morning, first thing's first was to hunt down lechon for breakfast!

Us on the bus to Carcar City! It's super easy to go around, if you're going to Southern part of Cebu, you'll have to get a bus from Cebu South Terminal (can just google its location laaa..). It was just walking distance from our hotel, we had no trouble locating the place at all! x)

"Ampao, chicharon, banana chiiiippppssss?" XD (sellers often get on and off the bus to sell local snacks to passengers! You can also buy these as pasalubongs aka. souvenirs!!)

Ampao = rice puff crackers
Chicharon = fried pork skin
Banana chips = banana chips XD (which we loooove by the way!)

Bus ride was about an hour or less from Cebu City I think. For first timers, you'll want to get off at the famour Carcar city Rotunda (aka. roundabout, it's a very obvious roundabout, I think it's the only roundabout in the area). Weeeelllll...........due to some miscommunication with the boyfie *hint hint* we ended up getting off before we reached the rotunda, so we ended up taking the habal-habal (motorbike) to the public market. By the way, the public market is just next to the rotunda and all the other heritage sites/monuments are within walking distance :)

We got off at the public market....OUR HUNT FOR LECHON BEGINS!! :D It's a pretty big market, we walked all the way to the back part of the market....

Pass by fresh produce veges and fruits, then the meat section (just look at all the meaty meat!!)


JENG JENG!!! Different stalls selling lechons, each have their own taste and sauce! The sellers will offer you the pig skin to try, but err, I'd prefer the meat please hahaha. The skin is a bit, err, fattening @____@

SEE!! IT'S A WHOLE PIG!! I wonder how they roast the thing whole @___@ surely they're gonna need a super huge roasting fire to fit it @____@

Anyways, we bought our lechon for 1/4kg, about 75 pesos! It was just right for 2 persons' serving x)

Here's the stall that we bought our lechon from. The aunty thought we were pinoys HAHAHAHA. Did I mention we get that a lot? Every stalls we stopped by or buses that we hop on, someone will surely ask "Bisaya? Tagalog?" or they'll just immediately talk to you in Bisaya hahahaha. In return, we'll just stare at them blankly and say "English" or we'll just smile and nod politely at them hahaha. Probably it's the boyfie lah. HAHAHAHA XP

We bought some puso (aka. hanging rice, something like Malaysian version of ketupat) to eat with the lechon. Heheheee. A super nice aunty let us sit at her table, we ordered coffee from her just to say thanks lahh x)

Tadah! These are puso-s...they're super cheap 20cents MYR for rice!! During our whole trip we bought 10 puso-s, fed us for 2 days! Saved us a lot of money loh...we bought fried manok (aka. chicken) which can be found everywhere to eat with the rice x) And they'll give you soy sauce together with the fried chicken so that's rice, kicap and ayam goreng, comfort food there you go XD

Enjoying our meal like the locals XD Being me, I've thought waaay ahead and brought along wet tissues during this trip, very very useful! Since we had to eat with our hands right and it's so hard to find clean water so yeah.

The lechon meat was really juicy and tender, pairs very well when you eat with the puso and dip it lightly into the lechon sauce. I didn't know the sauce was SUPER SALTY, made the mistake of dunking my spoon into the sauce and slurping it like soup LOLOLOL. Very very salty @____@ But pair the three together it's really yum! X3 However, we're not a big fan of the skin though. Too hard for our liking @___@

After getting our tummies filled, we walked around to visit the heritage sites (haven't transferred the photos from my phone sowwwiiieeee) then took a habal-habal to our next destination! Which I'll continue in my next post heeeeh! x)

The famous Carcar City Rotunda. See properly this is where you're supposed to get off hahaha XD Also, take note of the nice weather. I think we were really lucky lah no heavy rain or typhoon during the day time during our entire journey. Sun was shining majestically and the sky a crystal clear blue sky, NO HAZE AT ALL!! Gahh, something I really appreciated there because the haze in Malaysia now is very very bad. The condition in my campus is getting worst  as well, yesterday evening I had to skipped my jogging routine because it was just too hazy, you could smell the smoke if you're outside @____@ I haven't seen a pretty blue sky in a really really long time before our Philippines trip @___@ huhu!

Anyways, next post will be about the Simala Shrine Church in Sibonga :D A sacred place with a breathtaking view, I must say! So stay tuned yaaa!! :D :D 

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Saturday, September 26, 2015 @ 5:36 PM
Greetings and salutations! I have just came back from my first ever overseas backpacking CEBU, PHILIPPINES! Can I say it's one of my BEST EXPERIENCE yet!!! It's so so sooo different than going on overseas tour trips with my family, because they prefer a bit more luxurious type of travelling, as compared to walking countless kilometers under the hot blazing sun or under the rain (wearing cute yellow ponchos that made us look like Big Bird, hahaha!), hunting down local food from street stalls/markets (lechon *salivates*), catching the local bus to the next city and staying at backpackers' hostel that won't bleed the money outta your pockets hahaha. We did all that in our 5D4N trip!

Technically, the 5D4N trip was reduced to 3D2N, because day 1 and day 5 was wasted on airplane travel :( Initially, the tickets I bought were direct flights from Kota Kinabalu to Cebu, but due to some reasons it was changed and we had to transit Manila first before arriving Cebu. Ahh, here's the super long details that I'll spare you. Let's just say on the first day, when we FINALLY arrived Cebu, we were dead tired and hungry and dirty and tired and hungry @__@ Can you imagine our luck...1 delayed flight from KK, and 3 delayed flight from Manila?! A person can only take in so much... @___@

Anyways, we won't let that ruin our trip, shall we? :)

So here's our rough itinerary for the whole trip, might come in handy if anyone is interested for their own Cebu Backpacking Adventure! :D

Day 1 - flight BKI-MNL, MNL-CEB

Day 2 -
  • Carcar City: Carcar public market, famous Rotunda, St. Catherine of Alexandria Church, local museum/monuments/heritage buildings
  • Sibonga: Simala Shrine Church
  • Dalaguete: Osmena Peak
  • Overnight: Moalboal (Moalboal Backpackers' Lodge, Panagsama Beach)
Day 3 -
  • Moalboal: snorkeling (Pescador Island, Turtle Bay Sanctuary and sardine shoals)
  • Bandian: Kawasan Falls, local cockfighting event
  • Cebu City: Cebu Larsian
  • Overnight: Cebu City (GV Tower Hotel)  
Day 4 -
  • Cebu City: Colon Street, Basilica del Santo Nino, Magellan's Cross, Fort San Pedro, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Carbon Market, SM City Cebu
  • flight back to MNL
Day 5 - flight MNL-BKI, HOME SWEET HOME!!

5D4N trip, planning took about...a few months' time but finalizing everything just two days before the trip hahaha. Anyways, we travelled on 14th SEPTEMBER 2015 until 18th SEPTEMBER 2015. Against all odds, the weather was perfectly fine in the day time. At night it would rain but we didn't mind much (we've got our Big Bird ponchos also bhaa XP). Maybe we really just got super duper lucky because I checked weather forecasts in Cebu it was predicted to have rain storms the whole day with the threat of typhoon (monsoon season over there currently)! O___O but than God non of that happened!! My mum would go ballistics if she ever finds out...

Overall, it was an AWESOME trip and yours sincerely is already thinking of the NEXT BIG ADVENTURE TO EMBARK ON!! HEHEHE. Mum wouldn't be quite happy I suppose (well you know how parents tend to worry sometimes, bless her heart), she already "warned" me to tell her first if I'm going outside the country while I'm back in campus now lololol. So that's all for this post!! I'll update more about the places we've visited in the the next post! :D


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