The Queen City of Cebu truly holds true to its reputation, the hustle and bustle of the city, with a sense of a town growing into its new place on the stage of growth. People are friendly and the food is fantastic, but it’s the nightlife the truly drives the allure of Cebu City.
Testimony to this fact is the growing population of westerners and foreign expatriates that call Cebu City home. High end malls and a trendy nightlife scene seems’ to be the basic vibe that most expats and tourists love about the city and without the seeming endless wave of people that comes with Manila.
The truth is that the best Cebu City has to offer is behind the scenes. If one would look past ”The Walk” of IT Park or “Timesquare” near Park Mall and even past the tall skylines into the edges of the city. To more where it all came from, you would find the small places and slices of the Philippines that lay in wait for the true adventurer. The places where the Queens City still means everything and the smiles are sincere.
One of these places is Cordova. A quite coastal town, on the island of Mactan, this small yet bustling town caters to the curious and serves as the home to the “10,000 Roses” display which is a long time dream of Miguel Cho, who is the proprietor of a Café and Coffee shop with the same name.
Inspired by the famous “25,000 Roses” landmark of his home town, Cho brought the LED lighted white roses to place before his Café as a romantic creation to inspire a couple’s love. Meant to be a destination that a man could propose or profess his love to his partner, it has grown into a well known travel destination for all.
As captivating as the “Rose” garden is during the day, as the last rays of light succumb to the horizon, a symphony of light and image comes to life as the garden seems to slowly bloom into light. The scene is truly romantic, but is also a image of art that anyone could appreciate. From children running and giggling with “ahs” and “wows” to couples cuddling up for a romantic picture. Even an elderly couple walked slowly hand in hand to enjoy the soft glow of the white light permeating the evening.
Truly an event for all, there seems to be an almost fairytale awe about the garden. Yes, it is truly a garden even if it is of manmade origins. The results are just as visceral as the most cared after botanical display and will leave one with a no less inspired emotional imprint.
The Café rests on the edge of a pier that faces westward and captures the setting sun in a way that seems to set the “Queens City” a blaze if the sun is just right. The views are both inspiring and restful in the same sense captivates the imagination and a will touch the deepest corners of any mans romantic nature.
You can sit and watch as the last of the fishing boat come home to lay land fall for the night. Impressions and shadows simply glide across the still waters of the bay. Rippling colors dancing as the fire blazes above Cebu City and the contrasting color simply plays out the remainder of the day. The scene is euphoric and simplistic as you sit at the edge of the water taking in all the visual display.
As the sun finally calls retreat behind the tall mountains of Cebu, almost capturing it and relieving it of daily duty, the night begins to come alive as the city lights come to life one by one. A symphony of cityscape that reveals the signature landmarks across the horizon inspires those that seek the pulse and life beat of the city vibes that permeate it.
If one seeks to enhance the evening with dinner and drinks, Lantow provides quality table fare and is locate just at the entrance of the pier to the Café and the roses. Here the restaurant floats on a bamboo construct and allows for a continued effect of rippling water and dancing tiki lamps as you dine and indulge in your favorite beverages.
Although a fine dining experience, there is so much more to the small town. If the franchised endeavor or Café is not what you look for, perhaps the expansive choices of dining options just down the small road leading to the area is more to your liking.
The walk from the pier to the city of Cordova is long. 2 kilometer and requires the use of a pedal tricycle for the less inclined. Yet the trip back into the small, but bustling town, urges reflection upon the artistic display that one has just witnessed. The reflection tends to stir some long unmoved corners of one’s emotional vault.
Once back into Cordova proper, the all too familiar vendors and tantalizing assault of street foods and vendors overcome you. The people are friendly and helpful as you make your way from vendor to vendor to find your favorite street side delight. The smell of fresh bread and BBQ permeate the air as you stand aside the masses to enjoy a pork or chicken delight presented on a stick.
Culinary delights set aside, the town of Cordova is a hidden jewel tucked away for the adventurous. This is a place that can cultivate one love, or recharge ones spirit to explore, and where the views are peaceful as well as mindful. Here is where hospital exists and the smiles are still worn with honesty.
The trip off the beaten path is well worth the time and the venture here will be one that enhances both the memories and experiences of you Philippine Island trip. Crodova offers what the big city of Cebu has forgotten and remains a reminder as to why it is called the “Queens City”.