Everyone deserved a break after the Sinulog madness. And I had been meaning to try this “Chill Out Sunset Cruise” offered by Islands Banca along the Cebu harbour, so a few days after Sinulog we booked passage for a dozen managers and crew who weren’t on duty on this 1.5 hour cruise… It was a revelation. I am often at a loss when visitors ask me what there is to do in Cebu City as a tourist (unless they head to beaches, churches elsewhere on the island, etc.), but now I have a new thing to recommend. For PHP295 per person, you get this spectacular view of the city from the water — very relaxing, somewhat unusual and light on the wallet.
Weather permitting (they make the final decision whether it’s on or not by 4pm or so), you assemble at the Cebu Yacht Club, about 2 minutes from the Islands Stay Hotel in Mactan where our Zubuchon branch is located, and at 5:30 cast off for the cruise. They sounded very strict about the timing, and warned guests would be left on the docks if late, but on our cruise they waited 18 more minutes for a couple of guests… This detail can be crucial, depending on what time the sun sets the day you take the cruise.
A customized banca or native outrigger boat is set up to accommodate perhaps 30 or so folks, but the day we took it, there were just 18-20 people and it was extremely spacious and there was lots of room to vege or move about as you pleased.
Despite some clouds, the sunset we experienced was spectacular nonetheless, and the photos here capture but a fraction of the experience. The bridges to Mactan never looked so beautiful…
…and what about one of two beautiful rainbows that presented themselves just minutes into the ride. :)
Snapshots in all directions yielded varying degrees of light, beautiful shades of blues, yellows and orange…
…architectural details of bridges lit up and appreciated from unusual angles…
…and as we returned to the docks the sky had turned pitch black. The cruise comes with a free drink of iced tea. Don’t be fooled by a steward who offers beer and softdrinks up front (they are for sale), before he takes out the free iced tea. We brought along some chicharon to munch on. And once back on shore, had a satisfying meal at a nearby Thai restaurant.
Next up, I would like to try a day-long lease on one of the larger Islands Bancas that operate from the other side of Mactan, and head out to isolated islands and beaches closer to Bohol. I understand for varying sizes of boats and lengths of trips, at say PHP5,000-10,000, a group of 20-30 could have a really nice beach experience. This last photo courtesy of the Islands Banca website, here. And no, despite having a store in one of the group’s hotels, we paid in full for this sunset cruise and the drinks consumed, and I was not asked to do a post on it.
P.S. If you do arrange a banca hire and want a lechon for lunch, please specify a Zubuchon if you desire to be specific. :)