While recovering from the damage brought by typhoon Ondoy, we stayed in Lahug for a much needed break. It was a brief but invigorating and comfortable sojourn because Lahug and its neighboring barangays of Mabolo and Busay offered us an assortment of interesting hangouts endemic in the Queen City that are conveniently located from our home away from home.
The place we stayed in Cebu is near a 24-hectare prime industrial land that was once the location of Cebu’s main airport. The Cebu Lahug Airport used to run on one of main thoroughfares in the area up to where the Cebu Waterfront Hotel currently stands.
When the Mactan International Airport in Lapu-Lapu City was opened for commercial flights in the 1960s, Cebu Lahug Airport was closed and abandoned until 1996 when investors developed the idle land into what is known today as Asiatown I.T. Park.
Cebu’s old airport has become a lifestyle destination in the city where metro-cultured Cebuanos hangout to experience wellness, recreation and great food with cosmopolitan flare.
On our first morning in Cebu, we had our breakfast at Hebrews –a cozy café located on the ground floor of Skyrise 3 building in I.T. Park. Breakfast is served all day. For less than a hundred peso, we enjoyed breakfast combos of bacon, chorizo, tocino, tapa, etc. with bottomless coffee and free WiFi access.
Since Lahug is located on the hilly part of Cebu City, we took the advantage of climbing the several vantage points for compelling views of the downtown and port areas. The Taoist Temple of Cebu is located in one of the elevated sites in Lahug.
With an altitude of 300 meters above sea level, we climbed the winding road of posh Beverly Hills to reach the steps of shrine. Perched on a hill, the towering temple was built in 1972 by the Chinese community practicing Taoism –a religion which follows the teaching of philosopher Lao Tze.
After our Cebu Heritage Walk, we had lunch at Don Merto’s in SM City Cebu. This restaurant served us flavorful quarter-pound burger and rich pasta in Cabonara. We learned that recipes at Don Merto’s have been inspired by traditional cooking of the Escaños –one of the prominent families in Cebu. Vintage photos of Cebu City on the walls of Don Merto’s added more interest to our discovery of Cebu’s heritage.
Desserts were always ordered and served first whenever we have our lunch at the Dessert Factory on the Terraces of Ayala Center Cebu. We have tried almost all their sinfully irresistible treats but we love their Blueberry Cheesecake, Concorde and Pistachio Ice Cream Cake.
There are several restaurants along Salinas Drive in Lahug to choose from. Most of them start opening their doors around dinner. Chikaan sa Cebu serves mouthwatering Filipino comfort food. We sampled their fried chicken, pork sinigang and deep fried crab smothered with toasted garlic. A bowl of rice filled to the brim was always ready to be served whenever we finished one.
During our entire stay in Cebu, we experienced food in generous servings. Golden Cowrie served us with crunchy crispy pata, kare-kare with thick peanut butter sauce and pork sinigang.
Those visiting Cebu should not miss AA Barbeque. They have several branches in Cebu City but we’re comfortable dining in its branch along Salinas Drive in Lahug. Food selection of skewed fresh and dried seafood, marinated pork and chicken meat and shell varieties at AA Barbeque was overwhelming for us because we want to try everything.
On Christmas Eve morning we drove the winding uphill road to Busay for another overlooking view of Metro Cebu. This time we went up 2,000 feet above sea level to Tops. The 30 minute ascending approach and the hundred peso entrance fee were all worth the overlooking view.
While were back in San Mateo to start our lives after the horrific storm, we’re thankful for Cebu because our stay in the Queen City has recharged our hopes this New Year.