My family and I are back from our trip to the island of Cebu in the Philippines. We had a great time, snorkeling in warm waters and recharging our batteries sitting by the pool doing what’s known in Japanese as ゆっくりする yukkuri suru, meaning “take it easy and do as little as possible,” which is always a good thing to do if you can get away with it. We learned many things about the Philippines, including that they enjoy playing Christmas music until February, and we discovered many unique foods such as chicken inasal, spam, egg and grilled cheese sandwiches plus something called “banana ketchup.” Last year we visited the island of Penang in Malaysia, which is a Muslim country, so naturally we were prepared to see things like women wearing headscarves. We didn’t particularly expect to see religious imagery in the Philippines, which is why I was surprised when the store we were in (the department store inside the SM City mall) played the Lord’s Prayer and Hail Mary over the store speakers at noon, which would be quite surprising in the U.S. Anyway, Cebu was great fun, and we recommend it if you’re looking for a wonderful vacation destination in Asia.As usual with visiting another country, there’s more to see than just the country itself, and I found myself having fun people-watching the other tourists, which included visitors from Australia, Northern Europe and Russia along with Japan and South Korea. I was surprised to see quite a few people swimming in the pool while wearing long-sleeved hoodies and hats, something I’d never noticed before. “They are Koreans,” my wife explained. “Maintaining perfectly white skin is really important in Korea now, and they’re making sure they don’t get any sun at all, even while at the pool or beach.” Because there were visitors from so many different countries, the hotel offered a wide range of cuisine, including local Filipino dishes, kimchee (spicy Korean pickled vegetables), Indian curry and flatbread and Vietnamese noodles. It was hard finding room for it all.
We had lots of fun relaxing in Cebu, the Philippines.