Everything Cebu has another guest blogger. Julie Mae H. Bacus, who is currently based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, has written an article that talks about how she feels when she visits her hometown.
by Julie Mae H. Bacus
So let me begin with the fact that man in nature would always look for a greener pasture, a venture to a new life.
Replay: I was contented doing my passion for teaching way back in 2008 as an ESL instructor till my cousin from Abu Dhabi (the capital of UAE, whose city Dubai is more popular) asked me if I’m interested in going abroad. Young as I am, I look forward to seeing new places and have a fresh start and vision overseas. So I did!
Life here in Abu Dhabi has been not that easy especially in the earlier months: new palate of food, Arabian/Indian/Western and others (Filipino restaurants exist though), new people to deal with from all walks of life, particularly in type of job that I have here (marketing for a safety training centre). All people from different parts of the world convene here; name it, they're present!
Weather too is a new thing to face; it could either be too cold during UAE’s “winter (no ice) season” or a humid, steamy, arid climate in summer that goes up to 62 degrees Celsius. And the feeling that I thought I wouldn’t feel, but I did! I experienced being homesick, a longing that would want me to go home, ride the plane and just come back. Thank God for a religious community I am into; now I’m an active member of CFC-Singles for Family & Life.
I find it charming, actually alluring to meet a fellow Cebuano in the region of Abu Dhabi; when I go around and take a look at some parts of the city, I often find myself eavesdropping on others who are speaking Bisaya – my heart leaps! Oh yes! I’ve been meeting a lot of maanyag and gwapo nga mga Cebuana ug Cebuano around the Emirates. I frequently share it to my friends that here in UAE, Dubai is like Manila and Abu Dhabi is like Cebu! You know that feeling of being at home in a foreign country always sinks in when I hear others, not to mention there is this sense of a friendly atmosphere when you are dealing with a “kabayan na Bisaya.”
So much for Abu Dhabi, let’s talk about CEBU!
I have gone around the whole UAE and never felt the way how it feels to be home; to be back in Cebu after a year never felt that good and grand.
I miss the Queen City; I miss its ambiance and everything else about this beloved metropolis. It always offers me the same great feeling every time I have my annual vacation. It’s been almost 4 years and the feelings have never changed. The passion of being a Cebuano (a proud one of course!) never ceases.
Just when my plane touched down in Cebu-Mactan Airport, nothing was more memorable than a smell. There is this distinct scent that makes you feel you’re home, you are in Cebu. The vibes drew closer to my senses; the warmth they conveyed and the soothing air made me feel so secure of being back to the place where I belong.
Well, let me start with the very first thing I missed; I missed baboy – hahaha! You know UAE, as a Muslim country, rarely has pork (but it’s possible), so the first stop aside from church was Larsian! Then it was a barbecue overload night.
Street food tempura and fishballs, siomai sa Tisa, Kara’s chicken with puso, these are just some of the foods I long for the most. And who would say no to Cebu’s lechon? My friends from the other provinces were happy to savor it and even wanted more; opppsss, forget about diet for now.
There go all my usual rendezvous – when I was still working or dwelling in Cebu, I often visited areas that some people find a bit dangerous; some friends wouldn’t come with me when I invited them to Carbon, especially in Freedom Park. I call it “Tour Colon” including Carbon, Magallanes St. and so on. Oh, I just miss the atmosphere. And though I have gone around the major spots of Cebu, every time I go home (3 times now, once a year), I always make sure to go to places I couldn’t find abroad.
There have been a lot of changes since I left, more infrastructure, more home-based businesses from Cebuano entrepreneurs, which basically make me proud as they are also making their own name abroad. I’m deeply touched to see “my Cebu” growing more than ever. Establishments have grown like mushrooms, additional recreation areas and malls that could possibly surpass the size of the capital’s malls. SM, Ayala, or places like Fuente Circle, the clubs and bars in Mango, SRP, Sto. Niño, Magellan’s Cross, Taoist Temple, TOPS, Fort San Pedro, Mountain View, Kan-Irag Nature Park, etc., name more and I did my very best to cover it in my more or less 28 days! I have not even mentioned its beaches (the attractive, fine white sand and turquoise water), the breathtaking waterfalls, and the new attractions like zip line and Sky Adventure – all in one gorgeous city like ours!
New places to visit that surely wow the tourists – even I am still amazed with its continuous growth and development from every aspect of it, may it be in the local media, religion, fashion, foods, business, education, sports and others. Cebu’s character of being open to new horizons, accepting or changing a bit of its way of life, and a diverse culture, which is influenced by our guests from East to West, have been worthy of becoming keys to its progress. Cebu, in fact, can give more and even made it to the top 10 of Asia’s promising cities! Plus the fact that Cebu’s festivity never runs out; almost all of our municipalities have an event to offer both local and international visitors. That’s why we’re dubbed as the “Island of Festivals.”
To make it memorable, I often make sure that my vacation falls during December to January as I will hit 5 birds at the same time! My grandpa’s birthday, then Christmas the next day, New Year, SINULOG and my parents’ wedding anniversary – all in!
This year makes it all more special as I am able to bring my boyfriend/fiancé from Iloilo and have been a proud tour guide of our beautiful CEBU!
Charming, Enticing, Beautiful, Undeniably great! CEBU!