Archive for cebu city

get crazy and high

Posted in architecture, events, health, interior design, lifestyle, locales, news, people, sports, technology, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2010 by mijodo

 If New York has the Empire State Building, and Paris has the Eiffel Tower, then Cebu may just have Crown Regency Hotel. Afterall, in these tall landmarks, it is not unusual for many tourists and locals to come up, and take in all the panoramic views the eyes can afford to see from such edifices. People in the city of New York clamber up to the 86th floor of the famed Art-deco office building to set eyes on the uniformed street blocks of Manhattan and its countless skyscrapers. In Paris, all try to move up into the observation platform of the iron tower of Eiffel, and gush at the lush garden sceneries down below, particularly the Trocadero Fountains. But once in Cebu, visitors go to the highest floors of the hotel edifice, and try to admire the vast aerial views of the metropolis, but possibly, even quite literally, with a twist.

 Of course at the very top of the building which is said to be the  tallest in Cebu, and probably in the whole Philippines, there are the usual coin operated binoculars and telescopes to zoom in on specific areas of Cebu City, but one can be most appreciative of the commanding and extensive views of the city without the necessity of such peering device. But alas, still that would be a little unexciting as there are more atypical ways to get a 360 degree views of this historic and economically robust southern city destination through the Sky Experience Adventure, at the very top of the Crown Regency, along President Osmena Boulevard.

Take the Plunge.  One can even get out of the comfort zone by checking the vista a little outside the perimeter of the building through its Edge Coaster. At the 39th floor, one can take on the ride, similar to the cabs of a rollercoaster, that takes you around the building, yet facing full frontally the views. But then the seat tilts down 55 degrees giving one the impression of plunging 430 feet towards the ground. In fact, if both parties (the cab can only seat two at a time) decide to increase the slant more, the seat can even go to an extreme 90 degree down slope. But then one gets to realize that one is strapped safely at the coaster. Still the experience is intense and may not be advisable for those who have the fear of falling.

 The ride starts with the gracious staff giving all pointers for safety. And not like the usual rollercoaster where cabs move together, each cab in the Edge Coaster moves independently. Then the cab slowly tips over and gives one that feeling of falling down. One just prays that one does not actually fall off from the seat. Expectedly, people just hold on to the to the seat’s handlebars for dear life. But as the cab moves slowly around, then the safety features of the ride are guaranteed ok. During the ride, it is a little straining and awkward for some because of the position they are in. But then the ride is not very long, it just goes around for a minute or so.

 Look Ma, No Railings. If the Edge Coaster gives one a sensation of dropping toward land, another feature of the Sky Experience Adventure, the Sky Walk provides an impression of flying – or at least walking on air. At the 38th floor of the building, there is a four foot wide ramp around the building to walk on, without the supposed security of the railings or barrier. At the ramp there is only the harness which is securely tied from the ceiling to the suit worn by person that provides some sense of protection.  The harness’s length is short enough to make the person stay only on at the ramp, making it difficult for one to fall off from the ledge. Again, one gets to see the whole scenic vistas of Cebu. But of course, somehow there is just more mind thrill when one is romping around on the tallest building in the city, and without supposedly the safety net of the guardrails.

 But indeed, the Sky Experience Adventure team does all the precautionary procedures to avoid all untoward incidents. The team of ladies and gentlemen who have mostly mountaineering experience briefs everyone on the safety measures provided for the Skywalk Experience and how everyone should conduct himself during the walk. One must don on the blue and yellow suit specifically for such walk. And if there are those who are in slippers or highheeled shoes, the team can lend rubbershoes to provide them sole traction while on the ramp. The team also says that harnesses which can carry a weight of 5000 pounds are there for the utmost safety of the people. The ramp is strong enough and can accommodate a number of people at a given moment.

Then people are instructed to get out of the building premises, and go out and step on the actual walkway. Together with some members of the team crew, people are instructed to start walking guided by the harnesses that dangle from ceiling top. With some trepidation, one walks, and in due time, he or she enjoys a seeming moment of freedom. Then somehow, one is even emboldened to perch and sit at the very rim of the pathway. Or he can show off  a one foot standing trick at the glass edge as well, directed by the team leader. Everything can be documented by an official photographer that goes along with group for the romp.

Everything to see and feel. During the day time, you get the whole arresting vista of Cebu’s Metropolis, with the Cebu Harbor at the Southeast, and the other neighboring cities of Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, Naga and Talisay.  There might be some challenge to find famous landmarks of Cebu such as Tops at the hills of Busay. But definitely, one can easily find the iconic memorial plaza – the Fuente Osmena Circle, and of course, further up – the beautiful and majestic Capitol building of Cebu Province.

And since the Sky Experience Adventure opens until past midnight, particularly during weekends, it is very worthy to visit and participate in both rides during the evenings as well to see the luminous lights of the Capitol and Fuente Osmena Circle, and experience another enthralling aspect of the whole Cebu City. One must do the rides then twice – during the day and during the night.

Bill Killgore, General Manager of Sky Experience Adventure, devised ways to make the rides affordable, even offering two rides for the price of one promotion, many times. The patrons even get a certificate after each ride – detailing the exact date, time and even the condition of the weather. Then of course, one can purchase a picture of himself enjoying the rides, and if hungry, then he may have some food at the Sky Lounge or Sky Resto Bar.

And if there is some more money to spend, one can go several floors down to watch and experience a movie of a 4D kind! In other words, not only will he view movie scenes almost realistically through state of the art magic, he also experiences and definitely feels everything almost authentically what is shown on the screen. It is not good to spoil a film by spilling out the details, but it is recommended that one brings a hanky or small towel at the theater.

Bill Killgore, recollects that Cebu locals had some hesitations when the Sky Experience Adventure started late 2008, and it was people outside Cebu who were more adventurous and enthusiastic to partake in such rides. But it has changed through the months. In fact one local Cebuano guy, through the help of the Sky Adventure Experience team and its manager, surprised his girlfriend and popped the ultimate question – “Will you marry me?” – at the 38th Floor during their promenade at the Sky Walk. “I am just waiting that a marriage ceremony will be done here one of these days,” Killgore says a matter of factly. Well, that surely is another way of taking the plunge – 30 plus floors above the ground in Cebu.

Advertisements

(lg2a) city of life

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, events, health, history, letsgopinas goes to america, lifestyle, locales, news, people, technology, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2010 by mijodo

It has definitely been a privilege to crisscross North America, and see some great cities in this part of the world –  from the flashy glitz of Las Vegas to the can-do character of New York City. However it seems that there is a place in Canada which is esteemed to be the “most livable” among all the cities in the world. And if you happen to be living in Vancouver City, British Columbia, then you are one lucky dude.

However if you just happen to visit Vancouver, it is not difficult to be impressed with what it has to offer –  a working, thriving, and clean metropolis in the bellows of scenic landscapes and sea vistas.  People may be working hard in the city, but the city is not working hard on its people.  The city seems to be aware on how it  can assist its dwellers in making life accessible to convenience and prosperous growth. There is a web of trains and trams that bring its people to work and home – even right to its airport. Passengers don’t need to box out fellow passengers for valued commuter space, during rush hour as commuter crowd is quite sparse. 

It is quite possible  not to even own a car, if a bike ride (or even skateboard) is sufficient (and certainly efficient) for you. There is a bike lane that goes around the city. And however way you explore the city, there are always the surrounding mountains and Fraser River that accompany you, and make your stay, in awe of Vancouver and its environs such as Surrey, Richmond and New Westminister.

The temperate climate even during winters make the whole place bearable, particularly that one can delightfully see from the city snow capped mountain sites, around Vancouver.

Our Version Apparently, it is not only the transport infrastructure or the sceneries that make Vancouver on top of the surveys (one of which is Mercer’s Quality of Living Survey) as “most livable.”  Of course, prime importance are the economic viability of the place and the secured neighborhoods.  Such criteria may be applied on the cities within the Philippines.  And among such places, Davao stoodout, beating out Manila and Cebu City, as “most livable city” in a survey (http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideLifestyle.htm?f=2010%2Faugust%2F24%2Flifestyle3.isx&d=2010%2Faugust%2F24).

Just like Vancouver, Davao City is a bustling megapolis (considered the biggest city in the world in terms of sheer size) with a progressive economy, almost zero percent crime rate, and significantly less traffic hassle compared to that of Manila, Makati and Cebu City.  Since it is located in Mindanao, its weather condition has been mild and almost typhoon free.  Also like in Vancouver, Davaoenos enjoy the short distance access to many beaches, particularly in Samal Island, and the rustic settings of its many mountains, such as Mt. Apo, the tallest mountain within the Philippines.

City of New Life It is no wonder expatriates and newcomers, looking for  opportunities, with a kinder way of life, gravitate towards such cities, such as in Davao, but more particularly in Vancouver.  You right away get the impression that the city of Vancouver welcomes people from all over the world, but more particularly the Asians – Chinese, Indian, and yes, of course the Filipinos, wanting to have a peaceful, rewarding life.

The Vancouverites don’t discriminate. In fact they encourage the people from different nationalities and ethnicities to profess and manifest their own cultural identity without much hesitation.  There is no need to assimilate. Vancouver  wants its people to add on to the vastness of customs and conventions to form a “mosaic” instead of a “blend.” 

The city government offers all the aid and help to new settlers – particularly, to couples with children.  You are given housing assistance, especially if the family’s income may have difficulty with coming up with rental money.  If you are just starting out, this indeed is a sweet deal.

It is not sure if Davao does the same to its new lifetime guests, but for as long you are able to work, contribute and be a good partner in building both cities, then you and your family may just have the life you have been wanting for – a great and productive one. Welcome to the Cities of Life – Davao and Vancouver.

the vanguard island: madridejos

Posted in artifacts, culture, food, history, locales, nature, people, tradition, travel with tags , , , , , , on December 6, 2009 by mijodo

(preceding story: https://letsgopinas.wordpress.com/2009/11/14/the-vanguard-island-bantayan-proper/)

Island gatekeeper. You then haggle with your guide to bring you to your final destination – Madridejos, specifically at the Kota Park. This is where you get to see vestiges of fortifications that had been all around the island during the Spanish Era.

The island during the 17th century had several mortal and coral watchtowers and two fort settlements which were protecting other neighboring islands such as the whole Cebu Island, Leyte, Masbate and even other islands in Mindanao from seaborne Moros hence the appellation  “Bantayan” (to guard).

But you need to wait for the sunset at its coastal line to appreciate the incredible beauty of the area. There you get to make out silhouettes of people as they pick some crablets for dinner from rockstones where the seawater has receded. It can be a powerful picture of the quintessential coastal life. And the long newly constructed way to its viewdeck just enhances the drama of the beach.

Daing for pasalubong. As you end your travel, with very inexpensive daing na danggit (dried fish) just bought from the market at Bantayan Proper as homecoming treat, and as the sea changes its hue from aquamarine of the shallow waters to blue cobalt of the deep ocean while taking a ferry out of the island, then you realize that Bantayan is only a memory that will linger for many months to come.

the vanguard island: sta. fe beach

Posted in history, lifestyle, locales, nature, people, travel with tags , , , , , , on September 7, 2009 by mijodo

kid floats on his back at sta. fe beach

You gaze at an island with its white shores, abundant coconut fronds, and native dwelling structures, increasingly coming into view. Your heartbeat raises a bit as the ferry slows down to a halt at the pier of Sta. Fe. You anticipate how this place can rock you out with its facilities and yet relax your fragile body and soul, without much of the clutter of commercialism in other popular island destinations. Afterall, this is Bantayan Island, Cebu Province’s Northern most tip, far away from the hustle-bustle of its metropolis.

 Bantayan Island can be reached from Cebu City, with a two hour bus ride from the North Bus Terminal, although it can be accessed as well with airconditioned vans for hire, at SM Cebu. Then once you arrive at Barangay Hagnaya Port at the town of San Remigio, another one hour ferry boat is to be taken to the beaches of Sta. Fe which is among the three towns at Bantayan Island. Madridejos and Bantayan Proper are the other towns which offer inviting aspects for you to explore and encounter.

Mingle with its waters and people. There are just no two ways about it – because of the proximity of the waters and Sta. Fe town community, as you admire the fine powdery white sands of the shoreline, and the expanse of the turquoise colored waters, you also unobtrusively observe the simplicity of the people living in the area. In the morning, kids prepare for their flag ceremony, and by lunch time, they just hang out, at the sandy beachfront, not exactly cognizant of their fortunate existence in Bantayan. Some teens and adults will happily oblige you to some short conversation about life in the island.

The beachfront during the weekdays is almost deserted, save for some locals and travellers, taking a sampling of its calm sea. There are lots of dwellings to choose from. The more uppity Sta. Fe Beach Club, and Ugtong Cave Resort, pamper you as any five star hotel will do. But Ugtong Resort has a bonus, you can swim in the shallow pool inside the natural cave as its name implies. But if you are in a budget, there are good cottages at P350 per night. During the summer months, particularly during Holy Week, room rates can triple. But during lean months of June, July and August, price points take a dip. And you wish that Sta. Fe and the rest of the island will forever remain inconspicuous to marauding guests so as not disturb its tranquility and unassuming character.

For food, there are several open-air restaurants, usually in native hut motif which tempts you to savor its seafood delicacies owing to Bantayan’s rich amount of crustaceans, seashells and large fish. Have them your way – grilled, fried, adobo and kinilaw (raw food, usually fish, soaked in vinegar). You may even want to partake its famous rock lobster for about P160 pesos a piece. Mingle with the owners, some from foreign lands and are lucky enough to have beautiful native ladies for their wives.  Then develop deep friendships with travelers alike while having such meals. Afterall, the island can be intimate enough – balmy nights, secluded place, and in many instances, very few guests.

(continuation – https://letsgopinas.wordpress.com/2009/11/14/the-vanguard-island-bantayan-proper/)