Leoncio and I had long planned of visiting the Queen City of the South –Cebu but we have plenty of considerations the reason why this trip was buried to infinity until last January, when fortune comes again and got me a free accommodation at Hotel Elizabeth of my choice. Special thanks to ToT for this! I could have easily decide for its Baguio branch as this would be a perfect treat for the coming summer season then but I turn aside and contemplate of visiting Cebu. I’ve never been to Cebu and this is the chance I so waited for.
At the height of planning this trip I almost concede because I can’t chance any good airline promo at that time. I can’t travel through the regular fare because a party of four can slash my whole budget alone and I have to stay conscious of the expenses we’re up to once we hit the city. The wait was worth it, the P4 base fare was a lot of savings.
Fast forward to July 5, our departure time was quite early so we ensure to arrive at the airport 2 hours prior our 5:50am flight. In fact, we were there at around 3:30am but check in at Airphil Express was so slow that it took us another hour to get in through the pre-departure area.
Since it was my first time to board at NAIA Terminal 3, the terminal itself surprised me. It’s big and spacious, yes a lot better than the old Domestic airport which is now called Terminal 4 but Terminal 2 is still way better and if budget isn’t a problem in my case I would have booked PAL tickets ahead.
Anyhow, because we left home too early we didn’t have breakfast at all and it’s good to find out that Terminal 3 houses plenty of cafés. And despite the many options we had Café France would always be my choice only that we have to buy coffee from Kopi Roti because their espresso machine was out of service.
We moved at our assigned gate few minutes before the scheduled boarding time, the AC at the boarding gate was colder and because the airport benches are made of steel it gave a chillier effect which made me pull my jacket at once. While waiting I was praying that our flight would not get delayed in any way, and at last when boarding was announced I was relieved only that we have to transfer at the lower level and hopped in the airport bus and walk our way up from the tarmac. Oh these airlines know how to cut cost because they save funds by not using the airbridge or tube but think about its inconvenience to senior passengers please.
And yes the mention of us four means, Nanay, Sam, Leoncio and I. I’m flying with three of my favorite people this time. The airliner was half full when we left Manila.
Sam’s first plane ride
We arrived at Mactan International Airport ahead of time and after getting our check in baggage we jumped a cab going to Hotel Elizabeth. Tip if you’re riding a cab from the airport: From the domestic arrivals terminal, walk across and use the stairs to go up. There you’ll find white taxis (metered) which is a lot cheaper from the airport taxis. But I read somewhere that it is safe and reasonable to ride the yellow one if your flight is very late or very early as these white taxis tend to overcharge.
From the airport, Hotel Elizabeth is a 30-minutes drive or more if traffic gets worst along the way. Arriving at HE I felt like shutting down because I was already 24 hours wide awake by now. Yup, I didn’t sleep overnight because I had to pack on the last minute and at the same time I had to fix up the house before we left. My body longs for the feel of a comfy bed and if we could check-in earlier I might snooze in a second. But like any other hotel, the check-in time is standard at 2pm, so, we just dropped our things and explore the city right away.
Note: A separate post all about Hotel Elizabeth would follow soon after.
Two days prior our arrival I phone in Juddy Nebria of Cebu Taxi Tour if he could accommodate us. Unfortunately he was already booked but he didn’t say no to me at all, instead he referred me to his colleague who also does city tours. I didn’t contact Dante (our assigned city tour) until we landed safely in Mactan, and when we finally hit the airport I immediately informed him of our arrival and asked him to meet us at the hotel by 9am. Indeed, he arrived even 30 minutes earlier which pleased me very much. His coming early saves me from getting drowsy on HE’s cozy lobby seats.
Our Cebu City Tour will follow next…