Welcome to Cebu
Trip Start Jun 03, 2006
132Trip End Jun 03, 2009
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If Cebu is a gateway to the Philippines, then whilst you may not be inspired, I cannot fail to feel welcome
The outside world's image of the Philippines is not a kind one. After all, Filipinos are often found doing jobs that other people don't want to do in other countries, and pick up a guide book anywhere in Asia and there will be references to Filipina girls and the sex industry. Granted, I'm not looking for the less salubrious side of life and the girly bars are not exactly hidden, but as a whole, I'm surprised by how conservative the society is as a whole. Religion - whatever you think of it - is very much in evidence, and people's dress is very much on the practical, conservative side, and despite the huge piles of clothes to be found in the local markets the Japanese/Chinese penchant for glam & kitsch is nowhere to be found.
Above all, the people are charmingly polite, whether it be in welcoming you to a restaurant or helping you onto a jeepney. Even when people try and make a bit of extra money out of us like the motorbike taxi guy who suddenly invented a waiting fee at "The Top" (which by the way, is a viewing point well worth visiting), they are impeccably polite and friendly about it. Likewise, when we arrived at the airport, the taxi driver quoted us US dollar prices which bore no resemblance to the Peso price we got from him later. He was just trying his luck, but I didn't mind that we paid a few pesos over the odds because he was so nice about it and conducted price negotiations through the middle of other conversations about family and his country.