Cebu Road Trip

A travelogue (in pictures and in video) around the central mountain region of Cebu, Philippines.

Yesterday was consumed by a big road trip! I hired a car and brought some locals to show me around the central mountain region of Cebu. I’ve edited the best parts together into a 15 minute travelogue. I’m still working the bugs out of my presentation (I tend to mumble, it seems), but it’s a nice step in the evolution of I Just Disappear and you’ll be able to travel with me for the highlights. There’s also a brief explanation, and more pictures, of the places I visited in the written blog below.

I blew most of this month’s earnings for the blog on this little adventure, so if you’d like to see more this kind of thing, why not consider becoming a subscriber or Patron? You can investigate that option here.  Regardless, enjoy your trip with me around Cebu, and sorry about the mumbling!

Map of today’s trip. Ignore the As and Bs. They don’t mean anything, I just couldn’t figure out how to get rid of them.

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, but fortunately the condo I’m staying at has a Bo’s Coffee attached to it, though it seemed to take the young barrista a couple of years to bring it, since she made sure to prepare breakfast – from scratch – before doing the French press (they don’t keep brewed coffee in a pot here in general, outside of Starbucks). My two guides spoke exclusively in Visayan the whole way so I seldom had any real clue what was going on but I have no complaints over the sights I was taken to…

The Temple of Leah

If your husband loves you enough to build a temple for you, I guess the golden penis makes statue makes a lot of sense.

The first stop was the Temple of Leah, a rather ostentatious monument to the love of Teodorico Soriano Adarna for his wife for 53 years, Leah Villa Albino-Adarna, grandmother of noted Filipina actress Ellen Adarna. This may also go some distance to explain the puzzling statue with a gold plated penis I encountered on one of the lower floors. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this vast complex has only existed since 2012. This takes some of my annoyance out of the young yogini who delayed a shot of the altar by insisting on doing an elaborate back bend pose on it, and then had the cheek to tell me that I had to come out of bridge pose first when I mockingly did the same pose on the floor of the temple. Yeah, well, you come out of bridge if you want to spend a full minute preventing anybody from taking a picture, sure.

The ornate temple in a rare moment where it is unoccupied by an overenthusiastic Milennial Filipina yogini.


Top Of Cebu

Next stop is the local tourist attraction, Top of Cebu, which I’ve tried to reach before but been discouraged by the motorcycle-driving touts in Lahug that offered to take me up there. It’s a nice enough view of Cebu’s coastline, but the view at Temple of Leah upstages it, and there were some intriguing views of the mountain ranges on the way in that grabbed my attention more.

You have to drive a long way, pay an entrance fee, and cross a huge platform to get to this point. Is it worth it? Maaaaybe…


Terrazas de Flores Botanical Garden

I got a much better view of the rolling, steep green hills of the Cebu Mountains from this small little inholding off the main highway. There was some kind of a film shoot going on there (besides mine) but I resisted the temptation to interrupt them for an interview. Really nice spot, though a bit smaller than I expected.

Views of the rolling green hills from in and near the Botanical Garden:

Sirao Garden

A peculiar, though quite beautiful, little park nestled up in the mountains, full of giant sized multi-colored models of ears of corn, various birds, a checkerboard, windmills, teddy bears, and Jesus, not to mention a massive hand reaching up to the sky, and a non-functional john that will nontheless set you back 10 pesos and a pair of pants if you try to “discarge stool” in it. This place gets brownie points for only charging 50 pesos admission (about$1; everyplace else is $2, and it adds up when you’re paying admission for multiple people!).

In and Around Sirao Garden:

Endless green hills of the mountains of Cebu, seen from the highway traversing them.


Capilla Santa Ana Chapel

It didn’t occur to me to get a shot, either on video or by photo, of this privately-constructed chapel and honestly, the outside is nothing that really motivated me to do so. The real action is in the labyrinth (which you can watch me fail to navigate in the video), and the ornate interior of the church. Both the guide and the signs inside discourage frivolity or excess picture taking so I limited my time here.

Beach Restaurant on Tañon Strait Beach

After a fascinating trip over the mountains – my favorite being the crest where there were the ruins of an abandoned adventure park on one side and the expanse of Cebu’s west coast on the other (you can see more of this in the video), it was a short drive down the coast to Toledo City and a small resto north of Pinamunghan – typical of the tiny little mom and pops that dot Philippine coastlines, though I was unable to relocate precisely which one this was – that featured a sturdy though somewhat cockeyed causeway that enables you to walk to some primitive tables that enable you to dine out on the bay. Menu options were limited – noodles and rice, basically. We all tried both, as did the stray cats that insisted on crashing the party.

After that it was back over the mountains on a more southern (and less interesting, more traffic-infested) route to Naga City, where I ended the day taking in the Baywalk there – more modern than the one in Puerto Princessa but with far fewer amenities to offer, though the view of the boats in harbor just offshore was pretty special.

Intriguing line of trees on top of a rolling hillside on the drive back over the mountains near Naga City.

For more on my day exploring Cebu, make sure to check out the video posted above…and if you’d like to see more blog entries like this one, consider becoming a subscriber to the blog. Thanks for joining me!


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