Philippines: Visayas - February 2008
Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text:
Here I am back in Rennes. More than a week has passed, already, since my last article published in the Philippines... I left Dauin with regret. And I promise to come back.
Return by bus
The return to Cebu City was easy. The yellow bus line Ceres connects the islands of Negros and CebuThe crossing is made by a kind of barge-ferry, at the point where the two coasts are closest.
The path Dumaguete-Cebu City lasts about 4-5 hours. Price: 190 pesos for the bus + 60 pesos for the ferry.
During the 20-30 minutes of the crossing, I had another chat with a Filipino family, who of course asked me the same questions I was asked everywhere during this trip: "What's your name ? Where do you come from ? How old are you ? How long are you in the Philippines ? Are you married ? Do you have children ? Are you traveling alone ? etc. etc.
The conversation is led by a little Eva. Her father is American, her mother Filipino. The little girl, as tall as three apples, did the translation for her cousin, a shy teenager who didn't dare speak to me, with a more hesitant English.
Cebu City is a big city, not very beautiful, of which I saw only some streets and shopping centers, these famous malls that we find everywhere in Asia, often occupying several floors of a building. A lot of concrete, jeepneys, motorcycles, a lot of agitation. Lots of begging children too, at the foot of the hotels and the mallsrushing on the tourists, or prostrate, in rags, on dirty cartons on the floor.
Having avoided large urban areas until now, I had not yet been confronted with the raw spectacle of misery. A feeling of helplessness. The passers-by of Cebu and the customers of the shopping mall pretend not to see these street children. The security guards chase them away. And me, with my indecent purchasing power, I spend almost 3,000 pesos for my room, that night, at the Midtown Hotel.
Ideally located in the center, but purely functional. Not much charm, breathtaking views of the concrete and the bay of Cebu, indifferent welcome.
On the shopping side, I was a little disappointed. The malls from here are not worth those of Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur. But I had the great pleasure, before my departure, to see again Marika and Shareef, also in Cebu City. We had exchanged our phone numbers in Siquijor to be able to send SMS. In the meantime, they went to spend a few days in the island of Cabilao, which they moderately enjoyed, with resort too "posh" to their taste. And the weather was not very nice either...
So we have a last drink together, not far from my hotel, on Monday, in the beginning of the afternoon. My luggage is done, I booked a cab to take me to the airport. We are very happy to meet again, to tell us our last travel anecdotes.
They are here to visit the dive stores and try to find a new suit for Shareef, but they haven't found anything interesting yet. Prices are the same as in Europe, the choice is not huge. Cebu is definitely not the best place for shopping!