Finding Kindness in Cebu

Finding Kindness in Cebu | www.jhanzey.net | Photo from Unsplash
Last weekend, my friend, Cza, and I, went on an adventure in Cebu. It was our first ever backpacking trip together, and we went around Cebu City and Moalboal with nothing but a couple of clothes, curiosity, and a printed powerpoint presentation of our itinerary.

A couple of weeks before our trip, I did what any sane traveler would do — I researched on our destinations, how we could get there, and what are the things that we could possibly encounter. I was bored back then, which explains the PPT, but it was also easier for me to visualize the trip with the guide of photos and Google maps. Aside from that, I was also very eager to create decks as it was my first week at work (note: my brain is crying because of the insurmountable amount of presentations that I have to finish but OH WELL), and I thought it would be fun to send a well thought deck for a trip like this. It was proven to be very helpful, though, and I am so glad that my research for the best itinerary in Cebu (which, by the way, does not exist!) was actually very fruitful.

I’ll be sharing to you our experiences and the itinerary that we used on another post, but for now, I’d like to give the spotlight to those people who actually made our trip more memorable than ever. I’m kind of sad that we weren’t able to take some photos of those people who helped us out, but I did get some of their numbers, with great hopes that I’d be able to see them again when we get back.Cebu is the bomb and we seriously considered booking another trip as soon as we got back to MNL!

The cab that brought us to Plaza Independencia!

 

Kuya Jeffrey (Cab Driver)

 
We met Kuya Jeffrey when we got to our taxi from the airport. He was warm and very welcoming, asking us about where we are headed to and what are the places that we’re looking forward to seeing now that we’re in Cebu. We had a nice chat during the ride, and he helped us out on which food (that’s relatively cheap) should we try and what are the things that we have to prepare for. He wasn’t the kind of insisting cab driver, and he was very accommodating with all of our questions. Most importantly, once we came to a halt, he didn’t try to ask us for additional payment because of the traffic (as to what the usual cab drivers do in Manila). Instead, he just pointed on the meter and asked for the exact fare.
In case you’re in Cebu and you’ll need any service, you could contact him at 0929 743 4891. He can service you around for city tours, or if you want to have a service until the ends of Cebu, he’d be more than glad to usher you around.
The only Tagalog people on the bus.

Random Kuya on the bus

The bus was filled with Cebuanos and neither of us knew how to speak the language. Fun fact: Cebuanos understand Tagalog, but most of them cannot converse with you in full-on Tagalog. During our trip, there would be times when they’ll answer back in Cebuano, and we’d have to use some sign language to understand what is what. As we went on board to our bus from Cebu City to Moalboal, we really had no idea what to expect on the bus stop. We’re pretty sure we’ll see signs from where we’ll pass by, but since it’s already dark (we got there at around 8PM), Cza and I were both pretty anxious on reading signs and all. By the time that the bus alighted passengers three stops before our destination, we got pretty nervous already and asked the conductor if we’re already in Moalboal. He cannot speak fluently in Tagalog and he was a couple of chairs from us. We really can’t understand him through the uproar of the winds, and this random kuya talked to us instead and instructed us that our descent is still a few kilometers away.
There are two stops for Moalboal: the first one was across Mcdonald’s, and the second was in front of a pharmaceutical place and a tricycle terminal. We were supposed to go down to Mcdo as it was what the conductor mentioned, but thank heavens for this random guy, he directed us towards the right stop, where we easily took the tricycle going to our lodge. He also greeted us a “happy weekend” and wished us luck on our adventure.
Inside our lodge!

Eunus (or Eunice, we’re not sure of the right spelling) + our lodge’s attendant

We got to the lodge past 8PM, and we only decided to look for food after we’ve showered and rested… which was around 3 or 4 hours after our arrival. We took our time walking outside, looking for a place to eat, but as I’ve always reminded Cza, we are in a province and late night actually equates to 10PM. Anyhow, we ended up buying goods from the front desk of our lodge. I munched on some Bingo cookies, which left me extra thirsty and feeling sick.
As we ate and hanged around, we met Eunus, who entertained us immensely with his stories from eating spiders to slurping random worms from wood (I guess it’s tamilok, but he never confirmed if it was). The attendant of the lodge was also accommodating, trying her best to provide the answers that we needed to enjoy our quick stay in Cebu. We ended up hanging around Eunus and the attendant, exchanging stories and random expressions to each other. Eventually, Eunus remembered us (or just Cza! Yee!) and he said goodbye when we bumped into him as we made our way back to the bus station.
Good morning look featuring my super ugly and haggard face. UGH.

Kuya Driver from Lodge

On our second day at Moalboal, we decided to embark on an adventure that involves a lot of snorkeling and swimming. Our first agenda was to visit a falls nearby, and we were so glad that our tricycle (or traysikol, as they call it) driver was very eager on helping us save up. We both mentioned that we were traveling on a budget, and he was more than happy to give us tips on how we can maximize the trip without burning too much money. He mentioned that the trek to the falls was easy, we no longer need to hire the guides who can sometimes be a bit insistent and overwhelming with the sight of a possible customers. He also ushered us into a decent karenderya in the plaza, and pointed us to the bus stop (which we have gotten wrong. Blame the sleep deprivation).
The majestic Kawasan Falls

Kuya Ramil from Kawasan Falls

When we got to the falls, Cza and I had no idea where we could leave our belongings. Apparently, Kuya Ramil helped us out and assisted us on renting out the cottage. He was also kind enough to take photos of us and to actually sit down by our table as we float and swim away for an hour or so at the falls. We never really asked him to watch out for our things, but he did it anyway, and as the people started to pour in on the area, he made sure that nobody would touch our things. He also offered us a very affordable package for canyoneering, which we unfortunately turned down because we planned to snorkel and go island hopping that same day.
Anyway, you can contact Kuya Ramil through 0998 4142252. He’s a licensed guide and offers the canyoneering package at Php 1,200.00 per head, complete with the gears. You can also haggle with him!
Kuya Arnel, the ultimate guide

Kuya Arnel (Motorbike Service)

As I’ve mentioned, we waited at the wrong side of the road for our bus to Kawasan Falls. When we finally figured it out, it was already too late — we attempted to chase the bus, but we were left dumbfounded anyway. Kuya Arnel approached us with his trusty motorbike and offered us a ride to the falls. It was a good deal, so we agreed.
Eventually, when we were on our way, we asked him about the White Beach and how much were the usual cost of tricycles (Google is reliable, but nothing is more reliable than a local). By the time that we realized the hassle and the extra expenses that traveling can incur, we agreed for Kuya Arnel to be our official service. He ushered us around and introduced us to his friends who offers snorkeling, and helped us find a nice karenderya to eat lunch. As he was very kind to us, we ended up treating him for lunch and asking him to tag along as we snorkel around the area. Cza and I was supposedly the only people who’d go snorkeling, so we didn’t mind an additional company. As his way of saying thanks, he obliged on taking photos of us and taking photos of corals up close.
If you happen to need a service or a ride, you can contact Kuya Arnel at 0943 5898886. He has a motorbike, and also offer services through his tricycle (it can ride up to 11 people, he said!).
Fun fact: Drivers prefer their service to be called as ‘motorbike ride‘ rather than ‘habal-habal‘. They don’t like how habal-habal sounds, so they do not use the term around the area.
Snorkel-mates!

Kuya Ariel and Ate Sheianeil

As we were about to get into our boat, a random girl approached us and asked us if it would be okay to share the boat for snorkeling as there were only two of them. We agreed as it meant that we would end up spending less than the original amount that we’ve agreed with the bangkeros.
As we made our way through the sea, Kuya Arnel informed us that the owner of the boat is asking us to pay Php 500.00 more than to what the couple would pay. It made us a bit irritated, but by the end of the tour, they were nice enough to split the bill in half, as how it should be.
Kuya Ariel and his wife were also very friendly, and we ended up chatting as we took a rest at the shore. We found out how they got back to Cebu (both of them were working in Manila a few years ago), and the tragic accident that shook Ate Sheianeil’s life. Apparently, she and her officemates got mugged, leaving her with a couple of bullet wounds at the back, and their driver dead.
After the gruesome story that is the incident, they gave us tips on where we could buy affordable pasalubongs and how we can put dangget in our bags without having it checked in. Kuya Ariel was also kind enough to take photos of the sardines (more on that on my next post!) and encourage us to go ahead and dive to the deep waters without our life vests… which we gladly turned down. Hehe.
Snorkeling! Peace out!

Czabear (My Adventure Buddy!)

And of course, there is Cza. One of the kindest people that I’ve known ever since. We were room mates for four years, and we’ve known each other for seven (!!!) years already, and she has proven to be one of those people that you can always count on. You can tell her pretty much everything, and she’ll give you no judgement at all (okay, she’ll react pretty violently at times, but by the end of the day, she would still make you feel loved as if you never said anything). Although we’ve known each other for a long time, it wasn’t until we were working that I was able to bond with her more. Don’t get me wrong, we have always been good friends, but we usually hangout with the whole gang, and experiencing her one on one made me open up with her more than I usually do. I don’t usually share my vulnerability with people, and I’m still learning as time goes on, but talking to Cza is actually a great start to tap that part of me who stopped trusting people, who recoils to jokes and sarcasm whenever the subjects are getting too emotional. She’s very warm and fun to be with (even if she has a resting bitch face), full of vigor and passion. She also finds beauty even in the simplest things, she’s very strong, and she’s the type of person that you’d love to have around.
I can’t really give you her number (lol) but she has a blog that you can check for her personal posts. She’s very animated when she expresses her feelings (a.k.a. she has random spazz attacks for spoken word poetry and good music), and her energy and enthusiasm for the world is definitely contagious.
Thanks Cza for tagging along with me. This trip wouldn’t be complete without you convincing me that life vests are safe, that waking up on the early hours of the day is okay, and that energy can always run out but enthusiasm can always sustain. I am forever grateful for this trip and I hope that this opens up more opportunities for us to travel more soon! Until next promo (and destination)!
Yay to more travels!
As you can see on my stories, what they did aren’t really as extravagant as what you’d expect, but their act of kindness and their sincerity to help the two Tagalog girls figure their way around is definitely something that I would be forever grateful for. It felt wonderful, with no one taking advantage of your lack of knowledge.
Sometimes, it’s nice to just feel like you could trust people. Just like Amanda Palmer who believed in the kindness of strangers, I, too, believes that there is still humanity and kindness left in all of us.
How about you? When was the last time that a random person helped you out? 🙂

79 thoughts on “Finding Kindness in Cebu

  1. Traveling is so awesome, even more so when the people around you showers the experience with kindness. It's such a great thing, meeting other people in your adventure and them being part of it! 🙂

    Well, there's this one experience. My friends and I are on our way to another friend's debut. The problem is, it's secluded and we didn't know how to get there. We rode a tricycle and told the driver the name of the place but he dropped us off at the wrong one. UGH! >:c Good thing there was this another tricycle driver who REALLY helped us out… When we asked for his name, he just smiled and said, "Tricycle driver ako, responsibilidad kong tulungan ang mga pasahero." So nice! 🙂

    Salvé at INDIE KITTY

  2. Traveling is so awesome, even more so when the people around you showers the experience with kindness. It's such a great thing, meeting other people in your adventure and them being part of it! 🙂

    Well, there's this one experience. My friends and I are on our way to another friend's debut. The problem is, it's secluded and we didn't know how to get there. We rode a tricycle and told the driver the name of the place but he dropped us off at the wrong one. UGH! >:c Good thing there was this another tricycle driver who REALLY helped us out… When we asked for his name, he just smiled and said, "Tricycle driver ako, responsibilidad kong tulungan ang mga pasahero." So nice! 🙂

    Salvé at INDIE KITTY

  3. ^^ might I suggest you try and speak to them in english. … I don't know but when I visited Cebu last year, most of the people I met preferred talking to me in english rather than tagalog. Also, there are really a lot of great people down there.. one thing I also love about cebu is that the food there are pretty affordable compared to manila.

  4. ^^ might I suggest you try and speak to them in english. … I don't know but when I visited Cebu last year, most of the people I met preferred talking to me in english rather than tagalog. Also, there are really a lot of great people down there.. one thing I also love about cebu is that the food there are pretty affordable compared to manila.

  5. Wow! What a coincidence, I just got back from Cebu a few days ago! 😀 (Hope to post a blog entry on that soon)

    It's true that there are a lot of kind people there- my mom has been to Cebu loads of times so she managed to make a Cab Driver friend. Cool thing is, when we went there recently, the driver toured us around the city for a reasonable price (he's super friendly). 😀

    Hope to be back there again.

  6. Wow! What a coincidence, I just got back from Cebu a few days ago! 😀 (Hope to post a blog entry on that soon)

    It's true that there are a lot of kind people there- my mom has been to Cebu loads of times so she managed to make a Cab Driver friend. Cool thing is, when we went there recently, the driver toured us around the city for a reasonable price (he's super friendly). 😀

    Hope to be back there again.

  7. Wow, this is a great experience. I've encountered a lot of good people in different places and I wouldn't forget them. Sadly, earlier, I commuted and rode a jeepney. A lady bumped me when I was going inside but she was the one who got mad. I said sorry just to end the conversation but she humiliated me inside the jeepney in front of all the other passengers. I felt so bad 🙁

    Have a nice day!

    xoxo,
    SHAIRA
    http://www.missdream-girl.blogspot.com

  8. Wow, this is a great experience. I've encountered a lot of good people in different places and I wouldn't forget them. Sadly, earlier, I commuted and rode a jeepney. A lady bumped me when I was going inside but she was the one who got mad. I said sorry just to end the conversation but she humiliated me inside the jeepney in front of all the other passengers. I felt so bad 🙁

    Have a nice day!

    xoxo,
    SHAIRA
    http://www.missdream-girl.blogspot.com

  9. Aww that's why! Maybe isa yan sa reason why foreigners love to go here in the PH, kasi napaka warm daw nating kasama, as it s very obvious in your post. May faith at hope nga sa humanity. That also reminds me of our tour guide kuya Gary in Baler, i really wonder as well of what he is doing now. 🙂 Thanks for this Jhanz. 🙂

  10. Aww that's why! Maybe isa yan sa reason why foreigners love to go here in the PH, kasi napaka warm daw nating kasama, as it s very obvious in your post. May faith at hope nga sa humanity. That also reminds me of our tour guide kuya Gary in Baler, i really wonder as well of what he is doing now. 🙂 Thanks for this Jhanz. 🙂

  11. A simple greeting from a taxi driver really made my day just a few weeks ago. It's just rare kasi pagsumakay ka parang wala lang eh.
    Glad you enjoyed your trip to Cebu, Ate. I really hope I could meet you soon 🙂

    Lou | wandersoul.co.vu

  12. A simple greeting from a taxi driver really made my day just a few weeks ago. It's just rare kasi pagsumakay ka parang wala lang eh.
    Glad you enjoyed your trip to Cebu, Ate. I really hope I could meet you soon 🙂

    Lou | wandersoul.co.vu

  13. It's such a blessing to find people who are kind during travelling to an unknown destination. I remember once I had left some important papers in school van (we were in a new town for exams) and I couldn't catch back to van but two strangers went after van and got me my papers. This is how the world's still a great place to live (:

  14. It's such a blessing to find people who are kind during travelling to an unknown destination. I remember once I had left some important papers in school van (we were in a new town for exams) and I couldn't catch back to van but two strangers went after van and got me my papers. This is how the world's still a great place to live (:

  15. That sounds like a fun trip, and the Kawasan Falls looks beautiful! That's so great that you met so many helpful people during the trip. It's really nice when people actually care and aren't trying to take advantage of you. Cebu sounds like a great place for visitors because of that 🙂 It reminds me of when I visited Japan without knowing much Japanese. Everyone there was so polite and friendly!

  16. That sounds like a fun trip, and the Kawasan Falls looks beautiful! That's so great that you met so many helpful people during the trip. It's really nice when people actually care and aren't trying to take advantage of you. Cebu sounds like a great place for visitors because of that 🙂 It reminds me of when I visited Japan without knowing much Japanese. Everyone there was so polite and friendly!

  17. I'm glad you enjoyed Cebu! Let me know when you visit next time and when you're free, maybe we can meet up? 🙂 Good to hear too that you bumped into good people especially the cab driver. I usually ride the white taxi from the airport. I've been to Kawasan and Moalboal and both are very charming!

  18. I'm glad you enjoyed Cebu! Let me know when you visit next time and when you're free, maybe we can meet up? 🙂 Good to hear too that you bumped into good people especially the cab driver. I usually ride the white taxi from the airport. I've been to Kawasan and Moalboal and both are very charming!

  19. Awww. This is such a heartwarming post! I am not originally from Cebu but I've lived here since 2003 and I can attest to Cebuanos being warm and friendly. Sayang we haven't "met" online before your trip. I could've given you more tips, or I could've also showed you around. Let me know when you plan to visit again! 🙂

  20. Awww. This is such a heartwarming post! I am not originally from Cebu but I've lived here since 2003 and I can attest to Cebuanos being warm and friendly. Sayang we haven't "met" online before your trip. I could've given you more tips, or I could've also showed you around. Let me know when you plan to visit again! 🙂

  21. Ohhh… you were here in Cebu pala! This was the week I got hospitalized so I missed out on this entry. I see familiar names in your comments… maybe the next time you visit we all can meet up. It would be nice to get to know the faces behind the blogs I follow. Hehe!

    Am glad you had such a fun experience. Bless those people who were kind enough to provide you and your friends with tips. 🙂

  22. Ohhh… you were here in Cebu pala! This was the week I got hospitalized so I missed out on this entry. I see familiar names in your comments… maybe the next time you visit we all can meet up. It would be nice to get to know the faces behind the blogs I follow. Hehe!

    Am glad you had such a fun experience. Bless those people who were kind enough to provide you and your friends with tips. 🙂

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