The Birthday Trip 2010 (Part 1)

I had to put an end to uneventful, severely disappointing birthdays, so a few weeks before December, I got myself cheap plane tickets to Cebu, and had arrangements with old college friend and dormmate Kaloy to crash at his family’s place for a few days. Once I let friends in on my plan, they suggested I take the ferry to Bohol. Sure, I thought to myself, not a bad idea, since I haven’t been to either place.

Oh, and why Cebu? The photo below takes a good chunk of that decision:

Susing's Koa-Top Concert Ukulele
Susing’s koa-top concert ukulele, and a Danelectro Honeytone mini-amp

Left not-so-early in the morning of my birthdate, and arrived in Cebu an hour later, lugging a new huge gym-bag full of clothes, camera bag slinging to the side. Had a cab take me to Ayala Center Cebu, where I was to meet Kaloy. During the long ride, I had my mp3 player scan the local radio stations. Of course I wanted to listen to the last rock radio standing, NU107 Cebu. Had coffee at Bo’s, and Kaloy arrived donning the same hair he had for Sugarfree’s Mariposa video. We had lunch at the foodcourt, wolfing 1/4 kilo of the infamous CNT Lechon. Spent the rest of the day in multicabs, with me tagging along for his errands (he and his family were going back to Manila 3 days after my arrival), and me dragging him to the Susing’s Guitar factory in faraway Lapu-lapu city to discuss my custom ukulele specifications. A bit past mid-afternoon, we were at his house, tired, and I was ready for my designated couch, as I didn’t get to sleep the night before.

Cebu is humid, and though summer heat, piercing sun rays would be fine with me, humid is different. Humid may have been the cause of foul crimes against humanity, for all I know.

Asked Kaloy and wife Rachell where they’d want to have my dinner birthday blowout for them, and they said Larsian. It was one of the places in my hurriedly researched places-to-go in Cebu, and the suggestion did come from Kaloy, so I know it won’t be a tourist-trap of a place. I’ve known him since my freshman college year, at the dorm, and the first time we had a conversation he was playing Bolt Thrower death metal songs on a classical guitar. He has since then become a constant visitor in my dorm room, where we played our favorite tapes on my mono player.

Larsian was pretty interesting, and I would’ve taken more photos, if only I was in the mood to do so. I willingly took in the enveloping ihaw-ihaw smoke, the not very unpleasant smell, and the earthy vibe. Devoured siomai sa tisa, the appetizing but not necessarily delicious pork barbecue, and puso. It was a mistake to order fish there though, which we did. I had great company anyway, which was a birthday milestone, since the past ones didn’t have any social stamp on it.

Siomai sa Tisa
Siomai sa Tisa

The day after, I decided not to bother my hosts anymore, and headed off solo on another cab for the Sto. Nino Church.

Basilica Minore del Santo NiñoBasilica Minore del Santo Niño
Basilica Minore del Santo Niño

During the ride, I passed by Fort San Pedro and SM Cebu, where I went to right after. Late lunch was had at the mall, where I also made calls for accommodation on the phone for the ferry ride the day after. I only had one number of almost-beachfront lodgings, so I got that already. Again, this wasn’t a photography trek, and the mood followed that: this was a break from everything.

Took another cab, and headed off to the Mactan Shrine, and the Taoist Temple.

Mactan ShrineTaoist Temple

There wasn’t much to marvel at Mactan Shrine. The Taoist Temple looked interesting enough.

On the good advice of the cab driver, I got my ferry ride tickets for Bohol right after he dropped me off. I found myself again at Ayala Center, and had a meal at the foodcourt again, and it was something unimaginable for a Tagalog: tinolang isda.


My last night at the Olavides household was spent taking quick snaps of Agos, the household’s prince who-would-not-sit-still. Kaloy and I got into some music talk, too, which was hardly any different from the topics we had more than a decade ago. I’m glad we still had similar taste in metal (namely Meshuggah; he was highly curious about the Gojira songs I made him hear), and that he also got into Japanese instrumental rock (Miaou). I even asked him to figure out the chords for Local H’s Bound for the Floor, so I could play it on ukuleke, a usual request I may have made back in the mid-to-late 90s (minus the ukulele adoption).

With day 2 of the birthday trip over, things are going fairly well. I’m not the adventurous sort, I’m surprised myself I went ahead with this, but so far, no regrets here.

4 thoughts on “The Birthday Trip 2010 (Part 1)”

  1. hi laurence. you can search for “susing’s guitar” over at Facebook, and they’d have their roster of ukulele’s and means of contact there. this was around 3k+

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