For many travelers, defining a memorable travel experience usually entails a destination far away from home. A destination with culture and food so different from what they are used to. But personally, memorable experiences can be 3-hour-bus rides away. I’m used to living in the bustling city of Cebu. The traffic, the noise, the electronic sounds of phones, machines, cars - somehow it comforts me; gives me a sense of not being alone, a sense of being surrounded. 

With that said, I’ve never been much of a traveler. I swamp myself with working the busy hours of the medical field as a medical technologist. Until one day when a few of my friends sent me a text message asking if I could clear my schedule and tag along on their trip to the southern part of the province of Cebu. 

Of course, at first I was skeptical since the only kind of travel I enjoy is riding on airplanes and the feeling of lounging for hours at the airport. And menial as it may sound, visiting the gift shops is the highlight of that trip. I wasn’t really sure what to expect in traveling on a bus from the city to the rural town of Boljoon, Cebu. But was I wrong to be skeptical. 

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To my surprise, my first trip was my most memorable one and I even plan on returning soon; probably when we don’t have a viral pandemic going on. You know, just to make the trip a little less stressful. Living at the heart of the province, and destined to arrive a good few kilometers from the southern tip of Cebu, we had to be early to catch the first bus to Boljoon. The trip took about 3 or 4 hours but the sights along the way were well worth it. From the busy, grinding city, to the serene towns of southern Cebu, I was quite excited on the way there. 

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We arrived in a town of around 16,000 locals, which is surprisingly quiet and peaceful. When we got to our room, I was amazed to find breath-taking shorelines right outside our window. At dinner, we walked to the more busier part of town. Probably a kilometer from the public market was their plaza with the Boljoon Church at the center and a small food park and sports arena across. The food park had all sorts of dishes like grilled pork, inasal na baboy (spit-roasted pig), steamed dumplings, chicken and seafood, as well as more common cheap thrills like kwek-kwek, fishball and other popular Filipino street food. 

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The food experience was definitely an amalgamation of what Filipino cuisine is all about - flavor that evokes emotions, nostalgia. The sights however, are on a level of its own. Sure, it’s a quiet town with a beautiful beach, like everywhere else. But, like the food, the scenery is just what sticks long after you leave. It’s what pulls you back, calling you to visit it again.

The view from our window is like a painting of a scenic beach particularly at sunrise. You see that orange ball of flame over the horizon, slowly creeping up, illuminating the waters with different hues of yellow and red. But if sunsets aren’t your thing, you can still take great pictures at the plaza, with once again, the Boljoon Church at the center of the attraction. The Boljoon Church, locally known as the Nuestra Señora del Patrocinio de Maria Parish Church, is devoted to the Lady of Patrocinio and is Boljoon’s National Cultural Treasure. It is made out of coral stones and emulates a classical baroque style of architecture with subtle gold accents. 

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The church complex also houses Escuela Catolica built in the 1940s, as well as a huge foreground of open land where various activities now take place. The open grounds are perfect for taking wide photos and is great for shooting videos for vlogs or short films. The town of Boljoon, Cebu is truly an assault on the senses, despite its quiet and serene facade. A drastic change of pace. Perfect for taking things slow as opposed to the rush of the city. I would definitely love to come back probably on my own and explore the unseen parts of town, which I think would be a totally different experience.

After this trip, I had learned to take things slow at times and stop to take a few moments of relaxation and recuperation to myself. Luckily, I came across the RedDoorz app and learned that they have hotels both within and outside the city, at stunningly reasonable prices. I tried taking the weekend off and staying at one of their Plus hotels in Cebu and the feeling I got from the stay was like the feeling I get when lounging at the airport. A fancy place to stay and loosen up while still keeping in touch with the amenities you find in the city - fast WiFi connection, Satellite TV, extremely fresh linen, it’s the thing I look forward to on my days off. 

RedDoorz hotels are easy to find and in any place you go the quality of service is consistent. I’m definitely booking a RedDoorz hotel next time. Until then, I’ll be looking forward to my next travel experience and hope it will be as memorable as my trip to the scenic town of Boljoon, Cebu. To learn more, like and follow @reddoorzph on their Facebook and Instagram.

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