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Last week we left Palawan for the island of Cebu. We’ve spent the past week camped in the tallest apartment building of Cebu City, Horizon 101.
Cebu City is one of the most popular expat cities in the world. It’s cheap, has decent internet service, and enough of an international clientelle to warrant decent restaurants. The reason we chose to spend the week in Cebu City was for these very reasons. We’ve had an amazing time flitting from place to place in search of culture and adventure the past few weeks, but, once again, it’s time to settle in to a spot where we can get some Western influence and work done.
Let me translate that in just one word: BORING.
The past week has been a little boring.
The church friends we made in Palawan have contacts in Cebu City and arranged three days of babysitting for Whit once we arrived. The family has two children around Whit’s age, and they have had a great time together! I’m so incredibly grateful for the worldwide support we automatically have from our extended church family in each new place.
The original plan this week (as with every city we stay in long enough for a babysitter) was for Whit to play with other children while we have some alone time to work, he comes home for a little quiet time to recoup, and then we go out as a family to explore some area sights and get a great dinner together. This schedule works perfectly in every other place we go, but Cebu City has been different.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but there just isn’t much to do here. I’m not sure why so many expats move to this city! It does have modern housing, cheap massages, and a few good restaurants, but there’s very little beautiful, historical, or cultural things around the city. There are a few fun things to do, but most don’t allow children as young as Whit to participate. Or are so far away we’re saving them for when we rent our own car.
Additionally, the city’s infrastructure is kind of annoying. The urban is sprawling too quickly, so the area ends up without a responsible trash collection system or transportation. We’ve ended up stuck in traffic so many times that we’ve started to dread going anywhere further than a 5-10 minute walk around our neighborhood, which means we’ve been spending a lot of time in about 3 square blocks.
This is a new one for us. We often have low-key mornings and fun afternoons, marrying the work day and sightseeing perfectly. It’s how we survive having to get through some boring work while being constant tourists in new places. It’s strange to not have much to do for once, and it feels like we’re traveling wrong. Does that make any sense?
The more ironic part of it is that next week we celebrate our one year travelversary. Hopefully there’s more to life next week than this one- otherwise why did we leave our home?
A couple of highlights of stuff we actually DID do:
– Ben and I visited the LDS temple in Cebu City. It was the first time we’ve been in the same city as an open temple in 10 months, and it felt so wonderful to be inside again!
– We tried to see the city’s rooftop roller coaster, but ended up paying for an hour at their indoor playground, instead, when Whit wasn’t old enough to ride the coaster. Ben and I had a great time competing in air hockey while Whit cheered us on from the ball pit (where he played alone)
– Whit and I got the most disappointing massages we’ve ever had. I try not to memorialize the negative, but they were SO BAD it’s actually worth remembering! Oh, good times.
– We went to a Korean BBQ buffet that ran out of kimchi and Ben was hilariously disappointed that they’d dare call themselves a Korean restaurant and stay open without kimchi
– We took a Jeepney and spent an afternoon braving the crowds to see Magellan’s Cross and the outdoor mass on a Sunday, which was definitely the most fun thing (and authentic) thing we’ve done in Cebu City
– We rode lots of motorbike taxis after giving up on our Grab drivers, which brought back old memories of living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia