Part 14: Ang Mga Unang Impresyon ni Andrea sa Siydad ng Cebu
Ang Mga Unang Impresyon ni Andrea sa Siydad ng Cebu (Andrea’s First Impressions of Cebu City)
After an enjoyable three hour crossing on the very comfortable Super Cat ferry from Ormoc, I was struck at the evidence of prosperity as we saw numerous ships and barges anchored at the mouth of the strait waiting for their turns to dock and unload and reload, and as we went further in, more and more ships docked along the piers, with lots of evidence of industries, high rises filling the horizon behind the docks and industries with a backdrop of beautiful forested mountains rising behind them even though shrouded with haze from Indonesian forest fires and the high humidity. In the midst of this prosperity was the contrast of shanties built on stilts right on the water’s edge, with the affluence of pleasure cabin cruisers and modern buildings surrounding the shanties. This was my introduction to Cebu City.
As we disembarked and waited for our luggage we were blessed with a lovely sea breeze which made the temperature much more bearable. We made our way to our transportation and as we drove through the large port area I was astounded by the mountains of shipping containers filling lots on both sides of the road, and massive, towering cranes loading and unloading containers. This was indeed a very prosperous city. As we made our way to our hotel, though we encountered some traffic it was a drop in comparison to the traffic in Manila. Cebu is the second largest city in the Philippines but with its population of only 3-4 million, it barely compares to Manila’s twenty plus million and this naturally make a huge difference.
We arrived at the beautiful Maayo Hotel and it’s incredible service. This hotel topped all our other accommodations by far and as soon as we got to our room I changed and made my way to the rooftop pool terrazzo where we enjoyed an incredible panoramic view of the city, looking out on the strait through which we’d come, the mountains surrounding the harbour but sadly also seeing an area of shanties, much larger in area than what we had seen at the water’s edge, but nonetheless a beautiful view. As it became dusk we headed to the main restaurant where we feasted on a variety of foods and where I was able to enjoy delicious green salads for the first time since we left home. As I was about to take a mouthful of fried rice I suddenly saw a very small fish eye and head looking at me and I immediately recoiled back and upon further investigation discovered even more fish eyes to my horror. I discovered that what I thought was ‘dill’ fried rice was ‘dilis’ fried rice which means small anchovies with their heads on. I was unable to eat the rice after this and had our team laughing at my response. There are certain foods I struggle to eat and fish eyes are definitely one of them!
After a fun evening of much laughter and good food, as our bill was being paid, we got into a conversation with one of the waitresses who wanted to know why we were there. Upon our response she asked if we had a website where she could receive good teaching. She shared that she was going through a very painful time and just that morning had asked God to send someone to help her and here we were sharing and encouraging her. It was obvious that she was searching and since she was working we couldn’t continue our conversation so John and Mario arranged to meet her after work at 11:00 pm when they shared the gospel with her and she eagerly put her faith and trust in the Lord Jesus. Imagine our joy to learn of this the next morning and we are following up with her and connecting her with a church in Cebu. This was truly a God ordained meeting.
After a good night’s sleep and enjoying a wonderful breakfast with the delicious fruits of pineapple, mango, lansones and watermelon, we made our way to the Cebu airport for the last leg of our journey to General Santos City (Gen San) and the church leaders waiting for us in Banga, South Cotabato.