Featured, Opinion, Places

I Didn’t Like Cebu


(by Monch Salazar)

I didn’t like it in Cebu. In fact, I think I was never meant to enjoy Cebu. Yes, I hate to say it, but I think I was bound to hate Cebu—it was raining hard that Saturday afternoon, and it was already snowing inside flight PR 191.

I never really understood why my family and I had to go to Cebu—there was absolutely nothing to do there. Tacloban was where everyone lived. My family, my relatives, my cousins, even my cousins’ cousin all lived in Tacloban. The business side of things was in Ormoc. That was where the farm – and all of dad’s chickens for “sabong” were located.

The summer of 2010 started off like any other summer would. It was a routine for the most part – fly to Tacloban, drive to Ormoc, go to Cebu and then circle back to Tacloban. On the way to Cebu however, I remember a really pretty girl—tall, mestiza, full-bodied hair, milky skin, doe eyes, pointed nose, thin lips; seated beside me with a bag of Lay’s Original—and she was offering me some. I couldn’t resist it. No one could resist a serving of Lay’s.

I started to hate my Cebu trip then.

What’s strange is that I have absolutely no reason to visit Cebu – but I continue to do so every single year. I have a lot of reasons to dislike Cebu. Yes, it wasn’t me. It was the rain, the icy air-conditioned airplane, the pretty girl—oh the tall, mestiza girl!—and her big bag of Lay’s.

Cebu is not known for it’s secret, virgin island beaches. Beaches that have crystal-clear water, white-sand, untouched wildlife that shames well-known Boracay. I guess it wasn’t just me. It was the secret virgin island beaches. Of course it was the secret virgin island beaches. Blame the weather, blame the air-con, blame the pretty girl—yes, the girl with milky skin and doe eyes and her bag of Lay’s!—blame the secret virgin island beaches. It wasn’t my fault I didn’t like it in Cebu. How could it be mine?

Or maybe it was the lechon. That crispy-skinned, mouth-watering, delectable lechon was the reason why I didn’t want to visit Cebu. It wasn’t just me. It was the lechon. It was the rain, the icy air-conditioned plane, the pretty girl – the tall, mestiza girl and her bag of original Lay’s.

Probably the reason I despised going to Cebu was the Sinulog Festival. The Sinulog always came right after my birthday. That meant a lot of people attended my birthday parties because they were always around, waiting for the festival. The Sinulog meant watching an endless number of parades, fireworks and programs. It also meant sleepless nights. Which brings me to another reason why I loathe Cebu – Voodoo.

Voodoo was the Fiamma of Cebu. It was the Opus, the 7th High, the Attica of Cebu. It was where people went for party. If you wanted to get spotted, meet new people, pretend to be with the in-crowd like I do, you go to Voodoo. It was also the reason why I abhorred Cebu. It was not me. It was definitely not me. It was the rain, the icy air-conditioned plane, the pretty girl – the tall, mestizo girl and her bag of Lay’s, the secret, virgin islands, the lechon, the Sinulog Festival and Voodoo. These are only some of the reasons why I can’t stand Cebu.

If there’s one thing Cebu has taught me, it’s that nothing can stop you from appreciating beauty. I hate the Cebu because I love it, and everything in it to a point of passion that unhinges my soul. I love the rains, the winter airplane, the pretty girl (with pointed noses and thin lips and their bags of Lay’s), the secret, virgin island beaches, the lechon, the Sinulog, Voodoo and Cebu.