Our trip to Cebu, Philippines got off to an interesting start. We walked into the Beijing airport and were greeted by a crowd of excited young women. Sensing that they weren't waiting to see us I took out the camera and in a few minutes later this guy (in the shades) walked in with his entourage.
Turns out he is a famous Korean actor who's name is Lee Min-ho. Me neither - but he has a lot of fans in China.
Click on this picture to get a sense of the greeting he received.
Our flight was delayed by 4 hours in Beijing because of the horrible smog and rain so we missed our flight from Manila to Cebu. When asked which flight we wanted to Cebu I said the earliest possible. Turns out that is 5:00 AM so we had a pretty short night at the hotel. Just as well - Tom's flight from Seoul was delayed also and he arrived about an hour before us.
On the small world topic - during the flight we were chatting with the Australian guy in the row in front of us. We got to the transfer desk in Manila at the same time and handed our passports to the agent to get re-booked. A lot of confusion ensued when I was handed my boarding pass and his passport. We all were amazed when we learned that his name is Paul Thomas Savage.
Misheil had already checked us into the room early so we went right to the hotel and got some breakfast then headed out for a full day of activities.
First up was a monument summarizing the history of Cebu. This side shows the ship of Ferdinand Magellan. Cebu is the place Magellan claimed the Philippines for Spain. It is also the last place he visited since he was killed after he got involved in a local dispute here.
Next up was the home of a prosperous Chinese trading family. The Yap-Sandiego house was built in the late 17th century and is one of the oldest houses in the Philippines.
It is still owned by family descendants.
Here are a few shots of the interior.
This is the dining area.
No, I guess this is the dining area. Not sure what the one above is.
Check out the roof support structure.
Here is the address.
Next up was the monument to Magellan. This wooden cross allegedly encases the original cross that Magellan planted when he claimed the Philippines for the King of Spain.
We stopped by the oldest Roman Catholic church in the Philippines which is right next to the Magellan monument. It is the Minor Basilica of the Holy Child. It sounds better in Spanish as Basílica Menor del Santo Niño.
There is a large area outside the church with a number of these candle stands. There were a lot of people there, I thought, lighting candles and offering prayers - especially for a Monday afternoon.
If you don't want to say the prayers yourself you can buy some candles from these ladies and they will say the prayer on your behalf and perform a little dance while they do it.
I wish I had taken some video.
Here are some of the relics used in processions, etc.
(Please correct my terminology or function if I have made a mistake.)
The building was completed in 1740.
This is the main sanctuary.
This is the main form of public transportation in the Philippines.
You see gaudier version in Manila - stainless steel bodies, lights, painting, etc.
The guy on the back is the fare collector.
Here is another one. They run on fixed routes and I think they stop anywhere along the route on request.
This is a village on Mactan Island.
Later in the afternoon we took a ride on a boat similar to this out into the channel between Mactan and Olango islands.
A lot of water sports including diving. The water is very clear - at least it was until the ferry disaster that happened the day after we left. Ferry Disaster
Here is a link to the location of Cebu in Google Maps. Cebu, Philippines
We had to try a couple of locations but we did eventually find the fancy fish we were looking for.
It is tough to take a good picture but these fish are about 8 inches long.
We got back near low tide and had to move to this boat to get to the pier. The Philippines is a fairly inexpensive place. The fee for the transfer was 50 pesos (about $1.25) for all eight of us.
It was almost dark when we returned.