Cebu Cycle Tour
This post starts my Visayas Cycle Tour Series, dated October 18-24, 2013.
As early as the start of the year, I had planned on visiting my cousins in Bacolod, Negros Occidental in time with the Masskara Festival. I had originally planned to take the last direct flight from Davao City to Cebu City on October 18, spend the night at the airport, and take the first flight out from Cebu to Bacolod the following day but was convinced by Mae to join her group on the first flight to Cebu so I could join them in their weekend cycle tour of Cebu, at least for a day.
With the schedules fixed and the flights booked, I then prepared (well, visualized) what I needed to bring for the trip. I had to pack light, since anything extra would take away space from my allowed luggage allowance (my bike weighs 15kg already). With that mental checklist ready months before, I felt I was good to go. And 2 days before the trip, I started to pack up. Even then I was thinking I was packing too much, even at only 5-kilos for my travel bag, but it’s better to be a bit on the safe side than end up with nothing to wear.
I consider myself a seasoned traveler, but doing this cycle tour was a first of sorts for me. For one, I have never checked-in a bike at the airport, so it was kind of nerve-wracking at first. I did not know whether I’d be able to check-in our folding bikes as regular checked-in baggage or handle it as special cargo and pay extra for it. It’s a good thing the airline allowed me to check it in as regular baggage, which saved me some money since I was traveling on a budget. It was smooth sailing from then on.
Upon arriving at Mactan-Cebu International Airport and getting our luggage, the first thing we did when we got out of the terminal building was to check on our bikes for damage or such, and finding none of major consequence, we started to pump our tires to normal pressure for the short 16-km ride to Cebu City. We stopped by a fast-food joint outside of the airport for breakfast, then continued on. We had to be extra careful since it was the first time we rode our bikes on a major city with vastly different road rules and signs.
First thing we did upon arriving was look for a place to stay, since the hotel cancelled their reservations due to damage from the recent earthquake and the continuing aftershocks pose further danger to the establishment. We found a reasonably-price accommodation along Osmena Boulevard, and after checking in and getting our bearings, we had lunch and then started our day tour of Cebu City.
We first stopped to take pictures at the Provincial Capitol, then decided to push on through to visit the Taoist Temple. We were initially refused entry to the subdivision where the temple was located since it was an “exclusive” subdivision, but we were allowed to park our bikes near the guard house (good thing we bought bike locks along) and walked for about a kilometer or more to the Temple.
After working up quite a sweat, we arrived at the temple grounds and sweated a lot more going up the steps to the temple proper. We took time to recover, revel in the scenery overlooking the city, and take pictures of this sacred place.
From there we went to KartZone for a go-kart experience. It was quite a shock to see kids around 10 years old hurtle in and around corners at speeds I imagined only adults would take, but I guess taking lessons early on really does have its advantages. We were allowed 8 laps, and I spent the first lap getting to know the innate characteristics of the kart and then spent the rest enjoying the track. It was quite a rush!
When it was over, we had some ice cream and then headed to our next destination, Larsian sa Fuente, for an early dinner. Larsian is a pretty well known place, a barbecue heaven of sorts among locals and tourists alike, for its pretty cheap but tasty food.
After dinner, we headed back to the inn, rested and freshened up, before heading out again to join the Cebu Folding Bike Society on their weekly Friday Night Ride. Upon arriving at the meeting grounds, we were met by Sir Jay Garganera, who heads and leads the local cycling community in their night rides. We were shown around his shop and see his immense bike collection, to date he has around 63(?) folding bikes in his arsenal, got introduced to a few locals and waited for the rest to arrive to start the ride.
With 34 riders, we started the ride out on the streets of Cebu City, stopping by designated stopover areas to regroup and recuperate and take photos. It really makes a difference when touring a new place using your bikes, you get to see more sights compared to just riding a cab or a car. The ride ended back at the meeting place where we were served “pospas”, piping hot chicken arrozcaldo, that was served to every biker who joined the ride, sir Jay’s tradition and a healthy one at that!
With our hunger sated, we had great conversation with the locals, asked for information for the rest of our group’s itinerary, and then said our goodbyes. We had to rest for our early trips the following day, and some of us had little to no sleep at all the previous night. We had a slight error in navigation, which incidentally took us to the Sto. Nino Cathedral. It was quite heartbreaking to see the damage up close and the night added a somber feel which actually made the hair on my nape to stand on end when looking at it.
Upon arriving at the Pensionne, we took turns to freshen up, arranged our stuff for the following day’s trip; me bound for Bacolod, Mae and the rest of the guys continuing with their Cebu tour. I managed to sleep for a whole 2 hours before waking up, checking if I have packed all my stuff, before heading to the airport for the next part of my journey.
And with that, my Cebu Cycle Tour has come to an end. It was great to ride with fellow cyclists/enthusiasts in Cebu, and I hope to come back in the near future.
See you on my next adventure!
Up next: Bacolod Cycle Tour