Tasting mangosteen from street-side fruit stands:
Colorful vehicles; free-spirited children who shouted loud, friendly greetings to the "foreigners":
Feasting on lechon (crispy-skinned roast pork) at Zubuchon, proclaimed by Anthony Bourdain as the "best pig ever":
Continue reading for more photos...
Buying streetside bbq'd skewers for dinner, grilled on the spot then paired with mangoes, sticky rice, and salted fish.
While flying Philippine Airlines, I got hooked on their Happy brand chicken adobo-flavored peanuts. Unfortunately, each package contains about 5 peanuts so I had to restock early on. When asked how much, the lady at this shop replied "one twenty five." Aghast that she was trying to charge me a hundred and twenty-five pesos (~ $3 USD) for five little peanuts, I huffily went off, looking for another vendor. Turns out this flavor is more popular than I thought, and I ended up right back at this vendor 30 minutes later, faint from the heat and still peanut-less. I forked over the money and found out that she had meant 1.25 pesos (~ 3 cents USD) per package.
Left: Nick's parents had gone to the "special" foot spa before we arrived and insisted we try it as well. Right: Local woman selling yams from her head.
Jeepneys - the most popular means of public transit. Riders sit knees-to-knees, packed to capacity and extra passengers hang off the back.
We first stayed at Casa Escano, a bed & breakfast run by a young UC Davis graduate. It was fun to wake up every day and try a new breakfast out on the terrace. Below top: chicken arroz caldo, a Spanish-influenced rice porridge served with egg, scallions, peppers and fish sauce. As a Chinese congee lover, I couldn't resist trying this despite the heat and humidity. Below bottom: A variation of loco moco, a Hawaiian-influenced breakfast involving a hamburger patty, a fried egg, plus gravy.
We had dinner once at AA BBQ at the recommendation of our hotel owner. Thank goodness growing up in China trained me to not be skeevy about food safety : ) We got in line to pick our "catch" and skewers of meat from open displays, then handed them over to be cooked in whatever way we pleased. The open-air restaurant was quite bustling with many families enjoying a meal together.
Above: the "before," including conch, bangus, squid, and giant prawns. Below: the "after" - feast of seafood grilled, fried, seared, and even made into stew
I hope you enjoyed the first part of my Philippines travel diary. This post was comprised mostly of snapshots from Cebu city, before we made our way to Nick's aunt's remote beach hut. The second part of the trip was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me, and I can't wait to share photos from that next.
Readers - I'd love to hear any local must-dos or must-eats for a future trip!