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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cebu Tourist Spots: The Facade of the Basilica de Sto. Niño

Here is the facade of the Basilica de Sto. Niño.  When we were there, since it was fiesta time, there were plenty of banderitas outside of the church.  My friend, Jen, liked the eight statues, four on each side that stood like they were watching over us or guarding us from some danger coming from the heavens.

Cebu Tourist Spots: Paintings Inside the Basilica

There are some interesting paintings inside the Basilica de Sto. Niño, located mainly in the hallway that squares off the new courtyard just beside the church.  Here are some of the interesting paintings I saw there.

This is my most favorite painting of the lot.  See how handsome the priest is!

Cebu Tourist Spots: Basilica de Sto. Niño (Set 1 Pictures)


There is now a 'prayer area' in front of the church where people can light a candle and offer a prayer.
At the end of these rows of candles is a 3D mural of how the Sto. Niño was brought here to Cebu.

Cebu Tourist Spots: Magellan's Cross

It's easy to find Magellan's Cross.  You can just say that to the taxi driver and they will bring you right to it.  I suggest you visit it first before you visit the Sto. Nino Church.

An Ariel balloon puts a funny twist into this historical mural on the ceiling of the Magellan's Cross.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Our Tune Hotel Cebu Digs

This is how our room looked at the Tune Hotel here in Cebu.  It's reminiscent of those compact budget hotels you see in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Yes, they had those large LED TVs and a wide selection of cable channels as well!

Their toilet has a glass door with their hotel brand emblazoned on it!

Their towels came in this cool duffel bags!

I love their packaging of their soap and their shampoo!

My work desk was in my bed!  Loved it!

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Enjoying My Stay at Tune Hotel Cebu City

Since I was on a strict budget this trip - I had to find a hotel in Cebu City that would fit my meager budget but still be conveniently located, have clean rooms, be in a safe part of town and most importantly, have wifi in its rooms!  I was very happy to discover the Tune Hotel which was right in front of the Ayala Center.  For me, it was the perfect location since I had to go to the Fitness First gym everyday which was located in the mall - and since it was near that mall - it was also convenient to have places to eat after a long day of going around town!

There is no grand lobby to welcome you. In fact, the lobby is on the second floor!  There is just an escalator in the first floor and a car rental counter.  Checking in was a breeze though.  The hotel staff were efficient and courteous.  I love the duffel bag they gave for the towels!  The wifi is quick!  We were spoilt for choice with the cable channels.  The room was clean and the pillow was soft.  The toilet was also clean as well.  The AC was functioning fine.  All in all, I had a good night sleep here and I was able to use their wifi!

And I only paid around 4500 pesos (around US$113) for a four-day, three night stay!

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Flying SEAIR for the First Time

We are really spoiled for choice nowadays in terms of choosing an airline that suits our needs.  In my trip to Cebu this time, I decided to use SEAIR.  Among all the airlines, it had the best price (I paid around P4400 pesos - roughly US$110).

SEAIR uses the original domestic airport as its point of departure.  Also, the terminal fee is already built into the ticket price!  The queueing can be a mess though since the terminal people only put the sign of the places at 8:30AM - when there was already a long queue at 7:30AM, when we arrived!  

The day we flew, the queue were for passengers going to Tacloban, Cebu and Davao and since there were about 7 counters, the hapless passengers just formed lines wherever they could, only to realize that certain counters were for certain places so there was some sort of pandemonium of people transferring to their proper counters later on.  Good thing my friend and I just waited patiently for the signs before transferring to our proper counter. 

As for the plane we used, it was not big, a bit medium sized.  We also had to walk to the tarmac and up the stairs like the olden days.  So if you're a senior citizen who cannot walk up a long flight of stairs, don't use SEAIR.  Ditto for PWDs, especially those with walking problems.  They are not exactly PWD-friendly.  Otherwise, climbing those long steps can be a problem!

It drizzled when we arrived in Cebu so they used umbrellas to shade us from the rain and a bus picked us up and brought us to the terminal.  I guess that's the only inconvenience we met in the trip.

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Revisiting the Original Domestic Airport in Pasay

Throughout the 80s and the 90s, the old domestic airport was the one I used when I had to go Manila from Cebu and vice versa.  When I worked in Cagayan de Oro in the 90s, it became some sort of friend I revisited time and time again in my course of work.  However, I haven't been to the place for almost 20 years now since I ended up going to the other airports like the NAIA Terminal 3 (Cebu Pacific) or Terminal 2 (PAL).

However, when I got my SEAIR ticket and it said NAIA Terminal 4, I immediately asked the travel agency where THAT was - and she said it was the original domestic airport.  It was like revisiting an old friend - and I was happy to see that the place hasn't fallen into disrepair.  It is almost exactly the same as it looked before - but this time, SEAIR and Zest Air are using it!  

There are still food stalls in the waiting area, a massage area, a Seattle's Best Coffee and Cinnabon and Dunkin Donuts and a cellphone load area, money changer and a store that sells magazines.  

No wifi though.

By the way, I also used the Quezon Avenue - Quiapo - Manila City Hall - Roxas Boulevard - Pasay Domestic Road - route going there - and it was quick and a sort of deja vu from the old days! Took us just 43 minutes to go there - it helped though that it was at 7AM Saturday morning - so I guess it's the best flight to get getting out of Manila!

Here we are taking our breakfast.  Food is a bit pricey though - like most airports.  I ate pork and rice and my bill was 160 pesos (US$4).  It's serviceable though, not really delicious.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hari Harilela Bio: My Most Favorite TV Show of the Week

The Biography Channel is currently featuring several tycoons from Asia and last night, I was able to catch the incredible story of Hari Harilela, a real estate and hotel tycoon from Hong Kong.

This week also, the Biography Channel featured a series of Celebrity Ghost Stories episodes so there are some in my top 10.  Also, it was tennis week as the Australian Open 2013 went into its second week.

Anyhow, here are my favorite shows for the week ending January 25, 2013 -

#1 Bio - Hari Harilela

# 2 Bio - Celebrity Ghost Stories - Daryl Hannah

#3 Bio - Celebrity Ghost Stories - Vince Neil, Sonja Henie

#4 Star Sports - Australian Open - Li Na vs. Sharapova

#5 Star Sports -Australian Open - Kuznetsova vs.  Wozniacki

#6 - HBO - Footloose

#7 Star Sports - Australian Open - Serena vs. Sloane

#8 Bio - Celebrity Ghost Stories - Debbie Gibson

#9 Star Sports - Australian Open - Li Na vs. Radwanska  

#10 Velvet - America's Next Top Model

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

My Epiphany and Holden Caulfield

I think I just found the voice that I needed if I did want to write a novel - and it came from a book that was just lying in one of our book cabinets, dusty and waiting to be read - J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye.  I won't divulge much of the story here since it's such a short book, something you can actually read in a day - nonstop - and the main character, Holden Caulfield is such a 'character' you'd find it hard to put the book down!

Anyway, one thing I loved about the book was its voice and its point of view.  I have been searching all my life for a technique that I could use when writing - and I finally found it!  I'm an "I", "I", "I" person so this book really fits my writing perfectly!

And Holden's character sounds so real and you can actually feel him and imagine him and touch him and see him - and know who he is - and his emotions are just there - as he opens up himself to the reader - just the perfect character one can write about. 

Whew!  All my life I've been wanting to write a novel and finally, I think I found a technique that can suit what I want to tell a story about.  The style fits me perfectly since my mind goes off tangent many many times, so I guess, with Holden Caulfield as my muse and J.D. Salinger as my "mentor" - it's about time I start writing my first novel!
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Saturday, January 19, 2013

The 2013 Golden Globe Awards My Favorite Show For the Week

The Golden Globe Awards signals the start of the 2013 awards season.  This was an astounding Golden Globes award show with so many plus points going for it - Amy Poehler and Tina Fey as hosts were just marvelous, funny and witty - bravo girls!! Jodie Foster's speech was heartfelt and frank and open - plus all the surprise wins for HBO's Girls and Ben Affleck's Argo.

Here are my favorite shows for the week ending January 18, 2013 -

#1 Star World - 2013 Golden Globe Awards

#2 Star Sports - Australian Open - Kvitova vs. Robson 

#3 Bio - Visionaries - Anne Leibovitz

#4 HBO - Take Shelter

#5 Star Sports - Australian Open  - Serena vs. Muguruza

#6 Star Sports - Australian Open - Sharapova vs. Venus Williams

#7 History - Tiwanaku ruins

#8 CI - Real Crime - Murder of a Father

#9 Star Sports - Australian Open - Cibulkova vs. Ashley

#10 Star Sports - Australian Open - Hewitt vs. Tipsarevic

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ben Affleck: #GoldenGlobes 2013 Best Director

I was so happy to hear Ben Affleck's name being called out as Best Director in this year's Golden Globes!  I know the Oscar's snubbed him so this award is just as impressive especially that he has consistently been directing really good movies now.  I haven't seen Argo yet, but I'll certainly pop it into my DVD player later tonight.  I just hope it's a clear copy!
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