A perfect getaway in Cebu

RAZZLE-DAZA - Pat-P Daza - The Philippine Star
A perfect getaway in Cebu
Chèvre Chaud salad: Goat cheese on toasted bread, lettuce, walnuts, cold cuts and tomatoes.
STAR / File

This past long weekend was a welcome break to unwind and recharge with my kids.

For the last six months, my lifestyle has changed drastically thanks to NET 25’s TV-radyo show, ASPN (Ano Sa Palagay Nyo?), which I co-host with Ali Sotto. On weekdays, I wake up at 4 a.m. for breakfast while reading the research materials and the day’s headlines. I am in the studio by 6 a.m., get made up and stand in front of the cameras from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

After ASPN, I go to the Brightlight office to do administration work until 4 p.m., after which I’m ready to head home. Dinner is at 6 p.m. so that I can be in dreamland by 9 p.m.

And so, when the long weekend arrived, I was one of the millions of people who eagerly wanted to go on a trip and do some “revenge” traveling. And why not? The number of COVID cases was down, most of the country was under alert level 1, and our show had taped its Maundy Thursday and Good Friday episodes the week before.

Yummy escargot!

Cebu beckoned as an ideal getaway destination with my kids. The last time I was there was in 2018, when my good friend, Mr. Lam Nam of Polyyard Petroleum Inc., invited me to the inauguration of their oil field in Alegria, Cebu, with no less than Pres. Rodrigo Duterte inaugurating the project.

The prospect a riding a plane again after a two-year hiatus was enough to get me excited. My kids also wanted to go somewhere outside Metro Manila for a change of scenery. We all agreed to just stay in Cebu City and go on a food trip.

Cozy ambience at the Cafe Des Amis.

I prayed that our trip would be blessed with good weather since the weekend before, Cebu was hit hard by Typhoon Agaton. Fortunately, by Holy Wednesday, Agaton had left the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR).

When we got to NAIA 2 at 4 a.m. for the 6 a.m. flight, the airport was already thronged with expectant travelers. Our flight was 75-percent full and I must admit I was very happy to be riding a plane once again.

Pan-fried sole fish in butter with lemon and parsley.

As soon as we landed in Cebu, I couldn’t help but be dazzled by the beautiful new airport, which was quite a sight to behold and so much nicer and cleaner than our airports in Manila. We were also pleasantly surprised by the absence of traffic from the airport to our hotel in Lahug, which allowed us to check in early.

For lunch, we went to Café des Amis, a French coffee shop located at Plaza Nouvelle along Benedicto St. that was highly recommended by my cousin, Sandy Daza. The waiter shared that the owner is a French guy named Philippe. The shop was full — most of the café’s customers were foreigners — and I was glad we had made reservations earlier.

Though everything on the menu looked good, we ordered the escargot, the Chevre Chaud salad (which was goat cheese on toasted bread, lettuce, walnuts, cold cuts and tomatoes) and the French country pâté for starters.

While waiting for our orders, we were given a basket of freshly baked sliced French bread paired with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I also had a bowl of the hearty tomato soup. For my main course, I had the simple but flavorful sole meunière, which is imported sole fillet pan-fried in butter and seasoned with lemon and parsley. For dessert, I had a slice of the apple milieu, which was excellent.

Throughout the meal, I couldn’t help but feel such joy and gratitude for this already wonderful trip to Cebu. After just a few hours in the “Queen City of the South,” and with more culinary pleasures such as a Cebu lechon dinner awaiting, this was already a perfect getaway that was more than two years in the making.


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