The Center Suites: No-fuss, good-value hotel in Cebu City

Whenever we find ourselves in Cebu, we either hie away to its far ends for the beaches, sardines, or sharks, or else stay in the city to pig out. The last time we were here, we couldn’t find time, however hard we tried, to go back to Moalboal, so the inevitable happened: we were stuck in the city’s humidity and heavy traffic, but, BUT we were also within easy reach of our favorite food haunts.

And we have The Center Suites to thank for this: its location—along Escario Street—meant we were a couple of minutes’ walk from the nearest branch of Cebu’s Original Spicy Lechon Belly (yes, that’s the name!), our favorite lechon house. It’s also one ride from almost everything else, including IT Park, Ayala, and Fuente, all of which have branches of another favorite, Casa Verde.

TWO2TRAVEL: The Center Suites, Cebu City

And although staying in this hotel did indirectly fatten us up, that’s not the only thing it does well. For one, we found the staff very accommodating and courteous, even when we arrived at the ungodly hour of 4 AM from a lechon-booze-siomai night out with friends. We were also asked to fill out a form for our breakfast choice that (same) morning, which we thought was quite a nice touch (especially for those who wouldn’t suffer a fried egg for a scrambled one). I also think it’s a prudent way to manage resources (we are not fans of hotels who waste food just because their guests can pay/have already paid for it).

TWO2TRAVEL: The Center Suites, Cebu City

Our twin room was also very comfortable, with its own toilet + hot and cold shower, air conditioning, and television. Towels were also provided.

TWO2TRAVEL: The Center Suites, Cebu City

Those who are looking for luxe accommodations won’t find it here though. There was just enough space for two people, and thankfully the room had a separate area for stowing luggage, which helped maximize the remaining floor space.

TWO2TRAVEL: The Center Suites, Cebu City

There’s also free (and fast!) WiFi, an advantage that most smaller hotels have since there are less people fighting over it at any given time. The table was also a nice touch—something that not all budget hotels are keen to add, which is a shame because it is still very useful for those who want to work and/or have a decent space to put their stuff that isn’t the mattress.

TWO2TRAVEL: The Center Suites, Cebu City

The Center Suites Bistro is also in-house, and serves a la carte Filipino breakfast for guests (each booking comes with free breakfast, which is always welcome, thank you very much) as well as an assortment of Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino dishes, available even for non-hotel guests.

TWO2TRAVEL: The Center Suites, Cebu City

At an average price of P700 per person, it’s definitely a good deal considering its central location, AC rooms, and free breakfast. It’s also not directly along the main road (you have to walk just a few meters inland), so the city’s fumes and noise do not get as far as your room window. So when you’re traveling to Cebu and would like to be in the thick of things, The Center Suites will make a great base. Trust us, that lechon belly is worth staying nearby for.

TWO2TRAVEL: The Center Suites, Cebu City

For more info:
http://thecentersuites.com/
(63 32) 416 8881
(63 32) 266 8885
+63 932 440 6950
+63 905 251 8212
info@thecentersuites.com
N. Gonzales Compound, Brgy Camputhaw,
Escario Street, Cebu City
If you’re booking via Agoda, you may use this link
Overnight room rates start at P855.

Our overnight stay at The Center Suites was complimentary. Our opinions of the hotel’s services & facilities are based on firsthand experience and are completely our own.

POSTCARDS: Pit Senyor!

Postcards | Two2travel

A Cebuana dressed as Reyna Juana dances around the streets of Cebu City during the Sinulog 2012 Carousel Parade.

Every January, the Philippines celebrates the Feast of the Sto. Nino (The Child Jesus) with processions and parades. Sinulog in Cebu province in the Visayas holds one of the biggest, capped off by a large-scale religious procession on the Saturday of the Sinulog Weekend and by a whole-day carousel parade the following day. Street parties follow the revelry and last until the wee hours of the morning.

This year, the Sinulog procession will be on the 19th, and the carousel parade on the 20th. Other festivals happening this January include the Feast of the Black Nazarene in Manila (January 9), Dinagyang in Iloilo City (January 26 & 27), and Ati-Atihan in Kalibo, Aklan (January 19 and 20).

CEBU!

How can we even begin to describe Cebu?

Of all the provinces we’ve been to in the Philippines, Cebu is that one place that always has something new to offer, no matter how many times we visit.

We love its food, its beaches, its underwater life, and the ease at which we can shuttle from one area to the next!

(Please click on the photos to navigate to their respective posts.)

FESTIVALS

Sinulog Festival

Cebu, Philippines | Two2Travel

Sto. Nino Procession

Cebu, Philippines | Two2Travel

FOOD

Lechon Cebu

Our favorite so far: Cebu’s Original Lechon Belly’s spicy lechon belly

Cebu, Philippines | Two2Travel

Puso

Wrapped in coconut leaves, dangling from stalls – that’s how Cebu does its rice.

Cebu, Philippines | Two2Travel
Also see: Table for Two: Cebu

CRAFTS

Mactan’s handmade guitars

Before there even was the ingenious Loudbasstard, the classic Cebu pasalubong—apart from the food—would be these handmade guitars

Cebu, Philippines | Two2Travel

ADVENTURE

River trekking within the city

ri

Cebu, Philippines | Two2Travel

Swimming with thresher sharks in Malapascua

Cebu, Philippines | Two2Travel

Swimming with whalesharks in Oslob

Cebu, Philippines | Two2Travel

Exploring Bantayan Island on a motorbike

Cebu, Philippines | Two2Travel

Places to stay in Cebu
Note: For a more comprehensive list of hotels, please check out Agoda. For some really cool alternatives (such as condos), head over and sign up at Airbnb.

This is just a summary of the places we, either together or on separate trips, have tried in Cebu. Some of the stays were paid for by us, some were made possible through travel assignments (referring to the expensive ones, which we apparently cannot afford).

MACTAN ISLAND
Abaca Resort and Restaurant – luxurious rooms and delicious food. There are only nine rooms in the whole property, so this is perfect for those who love peace and quiet. It comes with a price though, but it’s going to be well-spent for sure.
Crimson Resort and Spa – it’s a sprawling resort designed for families and big groups. Food is good too, and buffet spread is quite diverse.
Islands Stay Mactan – nice and clean, has big and comfy beds, and is right outside the airport. It’s good for any type of group since there are four kinds of rooms, from single to quadruple occupancy. Rates are quite affordable too.
Plantation Bay – stay here if you don’t want to go anywhere else. It has manmade pools (if you like that kind of thing), a dive shop, and bikes you can use throughout the property. Food is good, especially the lechon which they cook in the open, right by the poolside.

CEBU CITY
Hotel Elizabeth – good central location (just a couple of blocks from Ayala)
Quest – right across Ayala. Perfect for those in Cebu for business.
The Center Suites – good location; especially near Maxwell Hotel where we have our regular spicy lechon belly fix (because Mandaue is too damn far)
East Capitol Pensionne – very good value. Rooms are rather small but they’re very well thought out and are equipped with cabinets and corners in which to place your stuff so you maximize whatever space you have.

Sinulog sa Sugbu 2012

The carousel parade of the Sinulog Festival in Cebu City was the LONGEST we’ve had to take photos of: 10 grueling hours, more than half of which under the scorching heat of the sun!

Sinulog Festival, Cebu, Philippines

It also didn’t help that, although we had IDs, we were clueless about the best spots to position ourselves!
Continue reading “Sinulog sa Sugbu 2012”