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Philippines: DapDap, Lapu Lapu

 

DapDap, Lapu Lapu has such a nice ring to it that I went around repeating it over and over again like a 7-year-old. It sounds like a child’s song.

“DapDap, Lapu Lapu… DapDap, Lapu Lapu…DapDap, Lapu Lapu…”

 

The address of our hotel in Cebu, Philippines was Dap-Dap, Lapu Lapu City, Cebu, Mactan Island, Philippines. 

 

Losing My Shoes On The Long-Haul Flight

After a gruelling 25 hours of flying across Canada and across the vast Pacific Ocean to Cebu, Philippines, we had barely slept. It was strange with the time difference – we had left Monday night yet we arrived Monday morning. Totally weird.

 

Upon landing I could not find my shoes, which of course, I had taken off on the long flight, but the Flight Attendants got right down on the floor and found them several seats ahead.  

 

Unfortunately, I could not get my shoes on because my feet and legs were so swollen that they looked like they belonged to a Sumo Wrestler.  We arrived in Cebu jet-lagged and exhausted, but relieved to be on the ground as I padded into the airport in sock feet.

Image result for swollen feet

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

Customs was a breeze and our luggage made it too – something that always surprises us after losing our luggage several times on various trips. We found a Currency Exchange and got some Philippine Pesos at 36 Pesos to $1 Canadian dollar.

 

 

DapDap, Lapu Lapu

 

It was pouring rain as we negotiated the taxi fare from 400 pesos down to 300 pesos from Mactan Cebu Airport to our hotel on the ocean. Driving 30 minutes through the narrow streets of Lapu Lapu and New Town was fascinating as shops and people and animals crowded into the road. The roads were flooding in places because it had been raining heavily for days.

 

Ramshackle wooden shacks/stores lined the narrow paved streets and drivers passed within inches of other cars and pedestrians. Kids, dogs and goats are often on the road, and it seemed like we swerved around barely missing them by centimetres.

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

The Sotogrande Hotel

 

Our hotel room at the Sotogrande Hotel and Resort was much larger than we expected, about 700 square feet, with sliding doors separating the bedroom from the sitting area, and with a balcony overlooking the pool and the ocean. Floor to ceiling windows graced the walls of both rooms displaying a fantastic view of the ocean. The room was spotlessly clean.

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

 

Beyond tired, we tried to sleep, but weirdly, we could not fall sleep. So we stayed awake as long as we could from morning until 4 pm. T fell asleep on the couch watching TV and it wasn’t long before the pouring rain lulled me to sleep on the comfortable bed.

 

 

Cockroaches In The Kitchen

 

We slept from 4 in the afternoon to 1 am, and woke up starving. Although a free buffet breakfast was included with our room, that was 5 hours away and we just could not wait, but upon phoning the 24-hour kitchen, the young man said it was closed

“But it is a 24-hour kitchen…” I stammered, my stomach rumbling. For us it was like 1 pm in the afternoon, not 1 am in the morning. He tried to explain but could not find the English word to describe exactly why the kitchen was closed. He asked someone else. Finally he came back on the phone saying,

“Cockroaches.” He said it flatly, as a simple ordinary explanation for the kitchen being closed.

“Oh.” I said, trying to be as matter-of-fact as he was. 

“Well, do you have just bread , butter, jam, coffee… and beer?” We were desperate for any food and drinks. 

“Yes, um… I think so Madam… we’ll bring it right up. Thank you Madam.”

 

They are so polite and respectful in the Philippines. Everything is done with a little bow at the end, after saying “Please Madame, Thank you Madame” and/or “Yes Sir, Please Sir, Thank You Sir.” And always with a big smile.

Related image

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

Image result for philippines hotel staff with big smile

 DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

 

The Soto Cafe

 

We ate our 1 am late night snack with relish, and then enjoyed the amazing free breakfast at 7 am downstairs at the Soto Cafe. There were 2 soups, rice dishes, incredible mushrooms, delicious Pork Adobe (I am going to try making that), chicken curry, eggs any style you order, calamari, spaghetti, ham in a cream sauce, cereal, coffee, artificial fruit juice, fresh pineapple and watermelon, melt-in-your-mouth buns, and marmalade. Everything was delicious and full of flavour without being salty. 

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

 DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

 

Cebu City

 

The next day we hired a taxi to drive us to Cebu City for 400 pesos. The Cebu Airport is actually on Mactan Island, whereas Cebu City is across the water on the mainland.

 

The Miss Universe Contest in Lapu Lapu

 

Driving through Lapu Lapu in the taxi, we saw rows and rows of young people dressed in colourful costumes waving flags and looking down the street eagerly. We were told the miles of onlookers and supporters were waiting for the Miss Universe contestants to arrive from the airport. They were all so excited! High School and Public School children were excused from school and lined the streets for miles and miles through the city in the pouring rain. (Please excuse the rain-smeared photos)

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

 

It was an hour’s drive from our hotel to Cebu City across one of the two main busy bridges.

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

 

Jay Jay was a super nice guy but he did not recommend going to The Carbon Market, advising us that there were purse snatchers, and it was also very muddy after the heavy rain yesterday. Instead we just drove slowly around the blocks and blocks of The Carbon Market, filled with hundreds of open stalls with vegetables and fruits spilling into the streets, housewares, clothes, lots of people, delivery carts, a busy area bustling with activity.

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

 

Cebu City is a very very busy city with no traffic lights at intersections! It is a maze of criss-crossing buses, trucks, cars and motorbikes all passing through a grid-locked junction within inches of each other. 

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

This is not a traffic jam, just an ordinary intersection with no traffic lights, vehicles within inches of each other ready to go across the intersection at the first immediate opportunity.

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

 

Jeepneys

 

Besides taxi’s in the Philippines, which are quite reasonable, you can opt to take a much cheaper Jeepney, half-bus, half-jeep, for 9 Philippine Pesos or 20 cents Canadian, for a distance of 5 kilometers of less. Jeepneys will stop anywhere you ask, but you should have 20 pesos notes on hand. Here are the rules for riding a Jeepney:

To stop call out “Para” or clink a coin a few times on the hand rail running along the inside roof.

–  If no change, pass your money forward to driver saying (don’t yell) “Bayad Po!” (My payment). Somebody will take your money and pass it along to driver.

–  When driver gets money, say “Dalawa!” (2 people) and call out where you want to go, driver will pass change back.

–  If you are at front passing money say “Buy-add Dao” meaning for someone else.

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

 

Our taxi driver basically took us on a 3 hour unsolicited tour of Cebu. He drove us to see the oldest building in the Philippines, San Pedro Fort, Magellan’s Cross, and the oldest street, Colon St. Maybe he thought he was going to make some extra money with the offer to drive us to all the sights, but really a short tour is exactly what we had hoped for.

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines


DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

 

We also saw a lot of garbage, flooding, a balloon man and a man on the side of the street about to burn something… we were not sure what exactly he was doing. Anyone know?

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

 

The Taxi Driver

 

Jay Jay, the taxi driver, told us that he was married with 3 children aged 10, 7 and 4 years old respectively. He said he works driving taxi 7 days a week, but tries to take Sundays off to take his children out somewhere. A service worker in the Philippines makes the equivalent of about 4 Canadian dollars a day, so after driving us around for over three  hours, we didn’t mind paying him extra.

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

 

He recommended Gaisano Mall on Mactan Island rather than in busy Cebu City, so back across the water with both bridges backed up, an hour later we finally arrived at Gaisano Mall on Mactan Island. It was a huge relief to be away from noisy busy high-trafficked Cebu.

 

When we asked Jay Jay how much we owed him for the 3 hours, he promptly said whatever we would like to pay him and refused to give us a price. We offered 800 pesos and gave him $1000 pesos ($18C) but he had no change. He agreed to drive us to the airport the next morning free. The next morning we wondered if he would show up. The taxi was there, but he had sent another driver because he could not make it. Of course we had to pay the new driver. C’est la vie. Taxis were inexpensive to begin with, so we felt that we were just helping a man feed his family.

 

 

Cebu City Shanty Towns

 

The drive back across the other bridge back to Lapu Lapu on Mactan Island revealed thrown-together houses piled close together under the bridge creating their own little shanty towns under power stacks and under bridges.

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

 DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

 

The Happiest People On Earth

 

It is sad really, how some people must live to survive, and yet, as one Philippino woman told me, even her poorest neighbors with 6 children and no jobs are always happy and smiling. In fact, in all of our travels around the world, we have found the Filipino people to be the most cheerful and caring. Even during disasters, they are still smiling. What would we look like in this situation?

Image result for filipinos with big smiles

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

Image result for filipinos with big smiles

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

Image result for filipinos with big smiles

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

No matter where you come from, the people of the Philippines welcome you with open arms and huge smiles. Visitors always feel welcome, respected and happier when they come to the Philippines.

 DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

 

Gaisano Mall

 

Gaisano Mall was a modern 4-floor shopping centre with wild electric-pop rock blaring on every floor. Clothes were cheap, but luggage was poorly made and expensive.  We tried some Filipino deep-fried snacks which were just ok, and a mango-lichi drink that had long stringy husks in it making it undrinkable even though the fruit flavour was great. Peanut Rolls from the grocery store were tasty and not too sweet.

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

 

Cafe Soto

 

We quickly found out that while Cafe Soto in our hotel served absolutely amazing breakfasts, their lunch and suppers left a lot to be desired. They were often ‘out of ‘ items on the menu, 9 out of 10 meals! T’s pork chop one night was truly a thin slice of fat with a white sauce and rice. The carrots and cauliflower were good though.

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

 

My Crispy Pata, a highly recommended Filipino dish of deep-fried pork knuckle with soy-vinegar sauce, was over-cooked, dry and fatty.

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

 

Ironically, in Canada I love Filipino food, especially Filipino barbecue pork, but in the Philippines, we never saw the sumptuous barbecue sticks offered anywhere.

Image result for filipino barbecue sticks

DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Cebu, Philippines

 

Don’t Go For The Beer

 

Cebu, DapDap, Lapu Lapu, and New Town, all had a raw and natural charm that I liked, so did T, but in the end he rated it low, advising, half-jokingly, that if you are an avid beer lover, as he is, don’t even consider Lapu Lapu. First of all, he explained, the beer quality would be about a five out of ten, but it doesn’t matter because you are not going to get any anyway! Not only was the beer poor, but they were always out of it. Even at neighboring hotels, they were out of beer. In a stifling hot country such as this, even I like a nice cold beer occasionally.

 

But don’t let that stop you from visiting a fascinating place with an exotic address: Dapdap, Lapu Lapu. Say it out loud, I dare you. Bet you can’t say it just once.

 

*Our next stop has been labelled as the most beautiful beach in the world – El Nido, Philippines. In the next post we will tell you if we think it really lives up to its reputation…

 

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DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Philippines

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DapDap, Lapu Lapu, Philippines 10.260871, 124.008179

 

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2 Responses to Philippines: DapDap, Lapu Lapu

  1. Wow, that’s a lot to take in…..no traffic lights – strange/yikes.
    Interesting that the breakfast was included in room rates and so lovely while the other meals left a whole lot to be desired. Your suite looked lovely.
    Cockroaches in the kitchen – all righty then. I know they are common in the tropics, but still.
    Did it rain a lot there? Surprised it was muddy, in a big city – not all paved.
    The money exchange is amazing. Inexpensive taxis is an understatement. Makes one wonder how they can survive. The shanties were understandable in light of all that.
    The beautiful smiles on all the people is so heartwarming and in the midst of a flood??? Just goes to show….it truly is a matter of attitude! We all need to take lessons. Such food for thought.

  2. Yes, no traffic lights, and yet it is amazing how the congested traffic still keeps moving. I loved our suite and it was so refreshing after a long-haul flight. Cockroaches are actually quite harmless – they just look awful. They had just had more rain in two days then they would normally have in a month. Most roads are paved but even they were flooded and then ran off into the dirt on the sides and under houses. Many house are on stilts for that reason. It surprised us where the shanty towns were… like under giant power rigs or under and around the bridges. For sure, the warm smiles and kind perspective of the Filipino people in any circumstance is an attitude we would do well to adopt. So glad you enjoyed the article and taking the time to comment is much appreciated.

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