Of Chances and Closure in Cebu

Of Chances and Closure in Cebu

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Call me crazy but I am writing an open letter to Cebu as if the place is a person. The place deserves to know this. Because I thought we have a long distance and long term relationship.

Dearest Cebu,

My friends have been constantly asking the reason why I keep on coming back to you. As I wander, they wonder. Because they had been with you before and enjoyed your company too but they are pressing me to reveal if there’s something between us that they missed. They want me to reveal what caught my attention spanning for years.

Truth to be told, I fell in love with you. Many times. Our experiences were unexpected but I intentionally let my love grow. Remember these times?

1. Infatuation, 2012

Just like any tourist who happens to choose you as the destination, my college friend and I visited your key features within the city – the Basilica, Tops, and Fort San Pedro to name a few. You probably felt how my heart beat as I walked and was hung at the edge of Crown Regency tower.

I thought you are like Manila as we tried to immerse to your urban setup. And it wouldn’t be that hard to adjust if my career would be relocated here. You effortlessly convinced me that through Death by Chocolate ice cream cake of Casa Verde.

I knew our first meeting then is surely not going to be the last.

Cebu Infatuation

2. Solo, 2013

Before I was able to hug you again, I lost my cellphone that holds my itinerary in Oslob inside the taxi in NAIA. Even I was isolated from online guides and I was still developing my backpacking skills that time, it didn’t hinder me in appreciating what’s left for me – your beautiful paradise down under.

I met your interesting people – A resort caretaker who let me in as early as five in the morning for shelter, a hired habal-habal guide who took me to Tumalog, Inambakan and Aguinid waterfalls and other tourist spots, and a bunch of locals who invited me to join their inuman session. One great discovery is Emperador Light and condensed milk solution mix. Because of them, I didn’t feel alone.

Not until I got in Sumilon Island for a day. It is because I didn’t have any hand to hold while strolling over your famous sandbar. Or maybe I just missed your intentions for sending your good people. Maybe someone from that bunch should end up with me during one of those lonely nights of mine. Maybe.

Cebu Solo

3. Rebel, January 2015

But you gave me another chance. After I sought wilderness, it was my time to witness your wildness then. I am glad that I wasn’t too late for this – Sinulog!

Perhaps when the heavens showered the earth with pretty genes, you were first in line to catch the most. They all look good. They party good. To complain is the last thing to do. Whenever they put paint on my canvas face, it felt like being touched by these angelic creatures. Pit Senyor!

If I were to die because of a stampede in Mango Avenue, I am at least seen smiling with my fist up in the air. That was a sweet chaos.

Cebu Rebel

4. Quick Trip, February 2015

It was a quick side trip after I went from Siargao. You see, you are like the gateway to many awesome places. You are the cool kid with many connections.

Cebu Quick Trip

Despite how little my time was to spend with you, you never fail to give me something winsome to remember. I met your wingman for the first time in person. I celebrated my birthday that Tuesday and he would celebrate his on Thursday. Our eyeball happened halfway on a Wednesday. It was kinda preset.

It was nice to meet another adventure enthusiast from Instagram who loves to explore off-the-beaten path. Your wingman disclosed your little secrets unknown to many. We planned to chase them one by one.

5. Teenage Dream, Early April 2015

Your wingman introduced me to his friends. Next thing I knew we’re like shooting our own version of Teenage Dream in our road trip. I was back to your southern arms. And it felt so right.

You are not like Manila. You are way better than the city where I was used to. I touched the greens and blues even within the city. I discovered that you had more than 40 waterfalls hydrating your island. I bet only a handful knows this information which works in favor of your Nature.

On the second day, I went to Osmeña Peak alone. The fog was covering the sights. But I hoped for a clearing. I was stuttering a bit. I eventually shared my feelings out loud among the mist. Like in that movie. But to tell this – “I like Cebu. I really like you.” Then as a response, you opened a small window for me to see the unique topography. I had enough timeframe to capture the terrain by my lens. You were speechless at first until you replied, “It’s okay, Jonas”. Then the fog embraced everything in the peak again. You confused me with that okay.

Cebu Teenage Dream

6. Clingy, Late April 2015

You see, you are more than your waterfalls. You got more ways for me to fall. And I fell hard.

Blinded, I booked a trip for a weekend again two weeks after. Thanks to your wingman again and his another gang of weekend warriors for accompanying me in another adventure to trails less traveled.

First day, we’re okay. Like you had promised. But the next day, you seem unaccommodating. You dried up one of your waterfalls. It was closed for the visitors. When the group decided to push plan B, the beach, you showered us some rain in Hermit Cove’s. Maybe those were your signs that I had been so attached that you needed to distance yourself.

It only took one glance at my phone to see the reality – a beaming dots of red notifications. My life in Manila was suddenly hitting me. Things won’t work. It’s complicated to begin with. It’s time to go back.

Cebu Clingy

7. Separation Anxiety, June 2015

Months later, I was invited for an interview in CNN Philippines. It was my third appearance in national TV but a first because of my travels. And the news team knows my hugots too.

When I was asked for three top destinations in the Philippines for everyone to see, I first named the obvious favorites – El Nido and Batanes. And since you’re another lesson where I can draw emotions from, the third choice in the shortlist is you. I saw how one of the hosts baffled with my answer. Her hometown is Cebu and was figuring off camera what made Cebu special. Everyone else have no idea.

8. Moving Forward, 2016

Recently, my friends invited me to go to your northern sandy kingdom. I get excited but this time with different expectations. Because the next time I fall, I’ll be in my skydive parachute.

We all have moved on.

Your good friend,

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