Cebu City, Philippines – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

A vacationer visiting Cebu Metropolis for the primary time might be turned off by a few of the metropolis websites. The town has a number of world class resorts, motels, seashores and dive websites. It additionally has some areas of the world’s most devastating poverty. Cebu Metropolis is the capital metropolis of the Cebu Province and it’s the second largest metropolis within the Philippines following Manila. I all the time really feel at residence within the metropolis and lived within the metropolis earlier than constructing my house within the rural Cebu Province of Camotes Islands. Cebu Metropolis is a mixture of the previous and new, wealthy and poor, good and dangerous and fairly and ugly. There’s additionally the combination of unpolluted and actually soiled or filthy. The rule for anybody going to Cebu for the primary time is to not make a snap judgment.

My first journey to Cebu Metropolis was in February 2004. I went to the Philippines to satisfy a woman (Judith) now my spouse. I flew into the Cebu-Mactan Airport and was met by Judith and certainly one of right here sisters. My flight began in Florida and the final leg of the flight was from Hong Kong. The Cebu Worldwide airport is just a bit outdated, however very practical. As soon as outdoors of the airport doorways I noticed waves of individuals ready to satisfy individuals coming off of the flight from Hong Kong. The airport was not all that busy once I arrived and I feel my aircraft was the one arriving flight on the time. As individuals from my flight stroll outdoors of the airport door they have been bombarded with shuttle, taxi and V-hire greeters, all making an attempt to get a fare. I met Judith simply outdoors the airport doorways. She, her sister and I all jumped into an previous Kia Taxi and we have been off to my lodge.

The taxi was previous and never very nicely maintained. The Air conditioner did not work and the window would not go down. In fact that did not matter as I could not shut the door as a result of the door latch was damaged. So, I acquired plenty of air. The lodge was a few 30 minute drive from the airport. As we traveled the town streets I noticed crowded sidewalks made much more crowded by the various sidewalk distributors and road distributors. A number of the roads we traveled have been reasonably maintained whereas others have been in very poor situation. The roads have been crowded with many kinds of automobiles, however principally Kia’s and Hyundais. There have been additionally numerous Jeepneys, a Philippine conventional technique of journey. A jeepney seems like a stretched military jeep with a hardtop and a big cargo space used for 2 benches for passenger seating. Jeepneys are usually painted with a number of totally different colours and plenty of chrome. Most of the jeepneys are poorly maintained and most have bald tires and the braking techniques could also be questionable. Additionally, there have been numerous small bikes.

After touring just some minutes I made a decision that probably the most harmful car in Cebu was the Jeepney, the Taxi and eventually the motorbike. The jeepney drivers are likely to rule the street and cease on both aspect of the street to select up or drop off passengers. I noticed many jeepneys minimize each lanes of visitors off simply to drop off individuals after which noticed others swerve shortly to the aspect of the street chopping off visitors so the driving force might bounce out of the jeepney to urinate alongside the aspect of the street. Taxis are not any higher, however pose a barely smaller menace as a result of the automobiles are smaller than a jeepney Bikes appear to be a hazard solely to the motorbike driver and passengers and anybody strolling alongside aspect the street or on the sidewalk. Bikes make their very own visitors lanes on no matter little shoulder the street might have to supply or typically drive on the painted divider line as a slender roadway to make an additional visitors lane for themselves. At different occasions I noticed bikes throttle down sidewalks weaving round pedestrians. But, the pedestrians appeared little involved of the carelessness and simply continued on their means.

As we continued on our option to the lodge we drove by way of many various areas of the town. Some areas have been very previous and the buildings seemed as if they have been prepared for demolition years in the past. Many buildings and retailer fronts are concrete with plywood or corrugated metal sheets added to damaged home windows and metal bars cowl the window or plywood. I can not think about what can be value the price of the metal bars because the buildings have been so poor. I used to be positive the contents inside have been no higher. I observed a number of small retailer fronts with one huge open widow coated with hen wire. These little shops are concerning the measurement of a small closet and there are dozen of those little shops on each road. They’re referred to as sari-sari shops and promote only a only a few gadgets corresponding to canned fish, rice, snacks, cigarettes and so forth. Most of those little shops are hooked up to the entrance of personal homes and are crudely constructed of unpainted plywood and tin roofs. A lot of the Sari-sari shops block the sidewalk, forcing individuals to stroll on the street to get across the protruding plywood field. Different Sari-sari shops have a small desk or tables alongside the slender sidewalks for his or her rum shopping for clients and a karaoke machine help in blocking the sidewalks.

In most of the previous areas the sidewalks are full of vendor’s shacks, tents or another sort of hurried shelter to promote items. The sidewalks belong to the distributors and the pedestrian is left to seek out his personal method across the ugly obstructions. These small vendor shacks on the sidewalks block the shop buildings behind and I nonetheless marvel why the shop house owners permit the distributors to dam their shops. The previous neighborhood streets and sidewalks in most areas are filthy. Trash is everywhere in the streets, chickens are tied to utility poles or road indicators in addition to canine. Most of the previous houses alongside the town’s business streets might or might not have operating water and a sewer system. Many individuals use the streets and sidewalks as their rest room and even tub on the sidewalks. The infrastructure of the previous neighborhoods is nearly non-existent. There’s poor drainage, poor sewer methods, and electrical strains grasp low to the bottom with lots of of wires hooked up carelessly to a single wimpy pole. I typically marvel how vans make it underneath these wires with out hitting the wire. In lots of instances the larger vans do certainly hit the wires and knock out energy to giant part of the town.

The one factor that stood out for me as we previous by all these areas within the taxi was the individuals all appeared joyful. Regardless of, what I noticed as nice poverty and horrible dwelling circumstances, these individuals, or least many individuals have been joyful. Though, most people I noticed have been dashing down the sidewalks going about their every day routine. I assumed these individuals are doing the identical factor as different individuals do in any main metropolis around the globe. But, my first go to in Cebu Metropolis opened my eyes to the truth that on the very least, the town was poverty stricken or had a big inhabitants that lived in poverty.

After about 30 minutes driving within the taxi we got here right into a a lot nicer space of the town and there like an oasis in the midst of all of the poverty was this lovely Lodge and a big trendy shopping center subsequent to it, in addition to a number of giant trendy nicely keep excessive rise buildings. The scene was a stark distinction to the previous areas of the town. This space could possibly be present in any trendy US metropolis and appeared very very similar to a business space of a US metropolis. The world is known as the Ayala Enterprise Park and the Ayala Mall. That is trendy Cebu Metropolis and it’s every little thing you’d discover in any trendy metropolis.

As soon as on the Lodge, the Marriott, I checked into a really good room and all of us went to the dinning room for a pleasing lunch. Quickly after that it was simply Judith and I as her sister went residence. Judith then took me throughout the park to the Ayala Mall, only a 5 minute stroll and as soon as contained in the mall I used to be amazed. The shops have been the identical as within the US, Ace Hardware, Levi, MacDonald’s and so forth. Plus, a number of Philippine Department shops and lots of several types of eating places and occasional outlets. All the shop clerks and sale individuals spoke English and most all of the Filipinos strolling via the shops have been talking English. Others used a mixture of English and their native Cebuano. All the shop indicators are written in English and the restaurant menus are written in English. In some ways I felt as if I simply traveled 20 plus hours from Florida to be in a US metropolis.

Though there have been many different foreigners within the mall many Filipinos strolling by requested the place I used to be from and generally everybody was very pleasant to me. Whereas on the mall I purchased a number of memento sort issues to take house and Judith and I simply did a number of window buying. I used to be comfortable to see the costs of most issues within the shops have been very low cost in comparison with the US. At the moment one US greenback purchased 56.00 pesos. Immediately it is one greenback to about 44.00 Pesos. Nonetheless a superb deal, however in the present day I am cautious in my spending. By the center of the afternoon I used to be prepared for some sleep after my lengthy flight to Cebu. Judith went residence and I retired to my lodge room.

The subsequent morning Judith was on the lodge vibrant and early and we had breakfast on the lodge after which off to see the town and a number of the seashore resorts. Cebu has fantastic and delightful resorts and all very reasonably priced. The resorts are all properly maintained and trendy. The most important inhabitants of consumers on the resorts are foreigners and the employees Filipino. I shortly change my opinion of the town from a poverty stricken third world to a contemporary business and vacationer metropolis with a couple of previous areas that wanted numerous assist.

Throughout my journey to Cebu we went into the previous space of Colon. Colon is the oldest road within the nation and has a number of landmarks. Nevertheless, Colon is a unclean space of very previous and poorly maintained buildings. Prostitution is a serious drawback within the Colon space as is road crime. There are some fantastic markets and nice bargains to be present in Colon, however not an space for the brand new vacationer to wander alone. Inns might be had for a very low cost worth in Colon. Some simply $20.00 an evening, however these motels cater to these choosing up road women and each the women and the rooms are actually soiled. Final yr Judith and I stayed at two totally different Colon Lodges. We went into the town for our month-to-month buying journey from Camotes Islands. We determined to attempt the resorts as they’re low cost and near most of the outdoors markets. I might by no means keep at both of those resorts once more. The most effective phrases to explain them is previous, filthy, rat infested and filled with prostitutes. Each of those lodges appear to cater to single overseas males and any women the lads might discover on the Colon bars or on the streets. The world has a number of little Bikini sort bars with Bar Women (Prostitutes) additionally referred to as GRO’s. Until you’re in search of a prostitute there’s little purpose to go to Colon after darkish and even then one must be very cautious. This isn’t meant to say that each one of Colon is dangerous. There are some good shops and eating places in Colon. I take pleasure in buying within the Colon space, however one wants to make use of warning in Colon.

Throughout my first go to I noticed most all of the areas of Cebu Metropolis and felt protected always. In fact we did not go into the previous elements of the town after darkish. Fairly we have been on the resorts or round Ayala Park and these are all very protected and fulfilling areas.I might advocate Cebu Metropolis to anybody that desires to go to a fantastic resort and spend time on a fantastic seashore, go diving, take a ship tour of the outer islands and never spend some huge cash. There’s simply a lot to do in Cebu Metropolis and so many nice issues to see. Staying at any of the resorts could be very reasonably priced nearly $60.00 per night time and a few as excessive as $250.00. Dinner at eating places can also be very low cost. Meals at good eating places can value simply $10.00 to $20.00 for 2 individuals, I had an exquisite time throughout my first go to. Nevertheless, I had Judith as my tour information and as my girlfriend. I am unsure I might have appreciated Cebu Metropolis as a lot as I did if Judith wasn’t with me through the first journey.

Quickly after my first go to to Cebu Metropolis I moved from Florida to Cebu Metropolis in 2004. By this time Judith and I have been engaged to marry and I needed to reside in Camotes Islands. Nevertheless, we determined to stay within the metropolis whereas in search of land to construct a home in Camotes. Camotes Islands are a rural province of Cebu and simply two hours from the town by boat. We rented a model new two bed room home within the Lahug space of Cebu Metropolis. The month-to-month lease was simply $125.00 plus our TV cable for about $15.00 a month. The home was situated on a hillside overlooking the town and near the whole lot we would have liked. Lahug is a really good space and now there are numerous new housing sub-divisions constructed within the space. Our month-to-month price range whereas dwelling in Lahug was roughly $700.00 and that included the lease, utilities, meals, taxi cabs and even plenty of dinners at eating places and leisure. I assume if we nonetheless lived in Lahug the finances can be just some extra dollars a month.

Inside simply a few weeks after shifting into the Lahug home I felt as if Cebu was my metropolis and I actually loved the town life. The town has many issues to supply the foreigner and the town is all the time making an attempt to draw extra overseas retirees. It really is a overseas (expat) pleasant metropolis. The most important group of foreigners in Cebu is Korean then People, Australians, British and Japanese. There are not any racial tensions or issues within the metropolis that I’m conscious of and the town could be very protected. Nevertheless, like several main world metropolis there’s crime, however utilizing widespread safeguards and precautions one can have a cheerful life in Cebu Metropolis. Driving within the metropolis is one thing I’ve by no means tried and I do not assume I ever will drive within the metropolis. The taxi cabs can get you virtually anyplace within the metropolis for $1.00 to $2.00 and that is superb for me.

Buying within the metropolis is nice and there are merchandise from everywhere in the world in Filipino shops. Many meals shops inventory western manufacturers so you’ll by no means get homesick on your favourite meals from house. The surface markets, situated everywhere in the metropolis supply nice bargains and it is all the time enjoyable to barter costs with the distributors. Cable TV is obtainable within the metropolis and it gives many American exhibits and information packages. You possibly can go to the film cinemas and see a brand new launch film for about $1.00 and the popcorn is just some pennies. The town has grown since I moved to the Philippines. There are various new gated housing Sub-Divisions that cater to overseas consumers, new excessive rise rental buildings and the resorts all proceed to draw foreigners. The 2 main malls within the metropolis, Ayala and SM are each increasing. Most of the roads have been upgraded in addition to the infrastructure in lots of areas. The town is a serious draw for tourism and is all the time trying to usher in extra vacationer and extra overseas retirees.

Any expat on a month-to-month pension of about $1,00zero.00 can reside like a king in Cebu Metropolis. You’ll be able to stay on lower than $1,00zero.00 however I feel $1,00zero.00 is the correct determine for those who embrace saving just a little every month for emergencies, journeys again residence and medical wants. The town has excellent hospitals and medical value are a lot much less within the Philippines. Good dental care at very affordable charges can also be out there within the Philippines. Many individuals go to Cebu for medical or dental holidays. Simply keep in mind, should you assume you need to transfer to Cebu Metropolis do your homework. Do you need to stay in a brand new nation? do you need to be separated from your loved ones and grandchildren?, in case you are married how does your spouse really feel about dwelling in Cebu? When you have younger youngsters would you like them to stay in a brand new nation and what about their schooling? Do you’ve got the endurance and understanding to study and reside in a brand new tradition? Do you’ve gotten the cash to stay an excellent life in Cebu with out the necessity to discover work? Do you find the money for to cowl any sort of emergency which will require 5 to 10 thousand dollars? Lastly, what’s your cause for eager to reside in a brand new nation? For those who may be trustworthy with your self and have a constructive reply for the above questions, then perhaps Cebu Metropolis is for you?

Keep in mind too, The Philippine financial system is struggling. Filipinos with 4 and 6 yr school levels are driving taxi cabs or working as retailer clerks. Unemployment within the nation is thru the roof. Poverty is a serious problem within the nation. For all the great thing about the Philippines Poverty continues to destroy many Filipinos and their futures and creates an unsightly face to an in any other case lovely nation. Simply this week on November eight, 2007 an 11 yr previous woman in Manila dwelling together with her mom, father and little brother in a shanty city hung herself. The rationale left in a notice from the little woman was due to the poverty she and her household lived. The daddy not capable of finding work for months and the mom working for simply $1.00 a day. The little woman had simply the night time earlier than requested her father for P200.00 for a faculty venture. The daddy didn’t have the cash, slightly below $four.00. All of the woman needed was to complete faculty and purchase a brand new bike. A easy dream difficult by extreme poverty in a rustic struggling to beat political corruption and theft. Please keep in mind, what you might spend in simply at some point within the Philippines is what a Filipino might should reside on for a month. Poverty does certainly take lives.

I actually love my way of life within the Philippines, nevertheless it took a while, endurance, understanding and some sacrifices to reside within the Philippines. I made a number of errors earlier than coming right here and some since dwelling right here. I did not manage to pay for once I got here right here in 2004. I’ve made a couple of journeys again to Florida to do some contract work after which returned to my beloved Camotes Islands. I am presently away from house on a educating contract. Nevertheless, for me, it is well worth the worth to have just some months a yr in my paradise referred to as Camotes Islands, Cebu, Philippines. I feel anybody in search of an awesome trip will take pleasure in Cebu Metropolis. These trying to retire on a modest pension can reside nicely right here, however simply make sure dwelling in a brand new nation is best for you. Earlier than making a choice to maneuver right here it is clever to return on a trip first and see the town for your self. Then you’ll be able to determine if that is the life you need. As soon as once more, for me that is paradise.

Source by Patrick Mcgrain