Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Happy (and not so happy) Birthday in Cebu

Happy Birthday, Lia!!!

I have been waiting for this trip for months!  I booked our tickets as early as October of last year!  I could not wait to go back to Cebu and enjoy all my favorite food.  For months, almost every night, my Ate and I would talk about our food itinerary.... where we would eat for breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner!

The day to leave for Cebu had finally arrived and I was so excited.  Gilly, Ate's daughter was able to join us. We bought her a ticket just a few weeks prior to departure.

The first thing on my list was CNT Lechon.

I told Ate... as soon as we leave our things at the room in our hotel, we have to be at CNT, Ayala Center at exactly 10:00 am because I want the rib part!

So, at exactly 10 we were there and was able to get my favorite part.  They do not eat much so we only got a small platter.  Plus in my way of thinking, I would rather eat small servings at a time but often!  I had a lot on my list.

We also tried their dinuguan and it was surprisingly good.

I ate the lechon with the "puso".  It is rice cooked in leaves.

Dessert was at Gelatissimo.

Gilly got the Belgian Chocolate

and Creme Caramel.

Ate and I shared an order of Sugar Free Chocolate

and Gluten Free Peach.

We then moved to SM Cebu to look around and had our lunch at Harbour City.  I enjoyed the sio mai last time I was there in May and ordered it again.

Bacon wrapped sio mai

I also ate the Steamed Spicy Fried Rice

We also got ... sio mai


taro puff

vegetables in garlic

Gilly tried the Wanton Noodle soup.

According to some blogs, I should not miss the Chicken feet.

Gilly's dessert was the Warm Brownie Cup of La Marea.

Mine was the chocolate dipped banana.

I also tried the Ngo Hiong at Ngo Hiong House.

I have always wanted to buy the sylvanas from Mrs. Montenegro but I could not before since I was alone most of the time in Cebu or it was out of the way.  The house is just across Elizabeth Hotel ... well... almost.

I just wanted to try one ......

Well ... I could not stop at one ...

I had to eat another one ... and then another one.... I had a total of three.  This is important because it is a big part of my story later on.

The sylvanas was so light and airy!!!  Not laden with too much butter cream.  It was like eating a merengue!!!  You really won't be able to stop eating.

My most awaited food in Cebu aside from CNT Lechon was the Pochero at Kusina Uno.

They even gave me extra Marrow!!!

We also ordered the chicharon bulaklak, I wanted Ate to try it but it was too greasy for me and yet I finished it.

I was happy when we got back to our hotel... all my "To EAT" food cravings were satisfied.

On our first night, we stayed at the Executive Suite of Hotel Elizabeth Cebu.  It is a 1-bedroom unit with 2 bathrooms!

It has a living room with a dining table and a small kitchenette.

 View from our suite at Hotel Elizabeth

And then ..... the NOT so Happy Birthday in Cebu has begun at dawn!

At around 3:30 am... I experienced one of the most painful and debilitating diarrheas I have ever experienced in my life!  It was really so painful and I was not able to go back to sleep because I had to go to my own bathroom (thank God) for the rest of the morning!!!

Everybody was saying it was because I overate. I used to eat more when I was in Cebu so that was not the case.

It was the fault of the 3 small pieces of sylvanas!!!  I have been wheat-free for almost 3 months now.  In the book and wheatbelly blog, one of the side effects of ingesting wheat is debilitating diarrhea.  But I thought .... 3 small-sized sylvanas would not hurt me.  Oh boy ... was I wrong.

Excerpt from

"People tell me about their cramps, gas, and diarrhea that started within minutes to hours afterwards, gastrointestinal effects that usually last 24-48 hours, occasionally longer. And it’s often a crampy, watery diarrhea, similar to that experienced after tainted chicken or contaminated produce. Yes, the cramps, gas, and diarrhea that result from wheat re-exposure after a period of abstinence resembles food poisoning.

 Whatever the cause, the cause-effect association is clear: Have a wheat indulgence after being wheat-free, and be prepared for a couple of days of intestinal turmoil not unlike having a hamburger at the fast food joint handled by the kid who failed to wash his hands after using the toilet. Just picture that in your mind the next time you are contemplating whether the pretzel or cookie is worth it."

So .... this is my explanation for my suffering ... and suffer I did!

Breakfast Buffet at Hotel Elizabeth Cebu.


 Pork Adobo

 Beef Tapa


 Chicken Hotdog

 Daing na Bangus


Hash Brown

 Bread and Jam


I only got the LUGAW (rice porridge)!

While I was ladling some in my bowl ... I was whispering to myself .... "Ohhhhh Pity naman"!!!!!

Then a waiter approached me and asked what I wanted.  I said .. Oh ... no! .... I was just talking to myself.

I also ordered 2 poached eggs.

My Kuya joined us for breakfast.  He just arrived from Manila and is billeted at Quest Hotel across Ayala Center.  He is still in Cebu now conducting a workshop.

I wanted them to try the Lechon at Zubuchon, The Best Pig Ever according to Anthony Bourdain.

We got the Lechon ....

Saguyon - seasonal tiny fish patties with vinegar and bagoong alamang.

I tried a little bit ... when I say bit ... as small as the nail on my littlest finger.  It tasted like dilis ukoy.

Sisig ... Ate and Gilly ate it.

Ate tried their Dinuguan but she preferred the one from CNT.

Sinigang na Hipon.

I only had white rice, broth of the sinigang and a very little piece of lechon.


After lunch, we brought our little tourist, Gilly, to the Magellan's Cross

and Sto. Nino del Minore Basilica.

Kuya has a car with driver at his disposal so we were able to go around Cebu a bit.  We went to the newly reclaimed area where they are building the SM City!

We looked at the room of Kuya at Quest Hotel.

Very nice location .. just across Ayala Center!

After checking out from Elizabeth we transferred to Marriot Hotel Cebu which is inside the Ayala Center and across Kuya's hotel, Quest.

So conveniently located.

There is a walkway going to the mall.

Merienda was at Cafe Laguna.  Ate wanted to eat kakanin.



Puto Bumbong

and Leche Flan for Gilly.

I only had a little bibingka made with rice flour and not wheat flour.

I was really feeling so bad already.

Kuya wanted to try the dimsum we had at Harbour City so he treated us for dinner at their Ayala Center branch..  We ordered the same things we had at their branch in SM, Sio Mai, Hakaw, Taro Puff, Wanton Noodle soup plus....

Steamed Chicken

Shrimp Balls

Shark'sfin sio mai

But I was in wheat hell already at that point.  I probably had a tablespoon of rice and a bite or two of the siomai without the skin.

The whole night was spent in the bathroom.  The first minute of my birthday I was sitting on the throne!!! ARRGHHH!!!  

Hahahaha, Jing dubbed me as the "Queen of Thrones"!!!

So frustrating because I went to Cebu to eat and I could not eat!  It is like a surfer going to the beach to surf but there are no waves in sight.

I bought bananas in the supermarket the day before so I was able to eat them at 3 am and drink Gatorade.

Hahahaha... That is the problem with reading a lot online.  One sign of dehydration is when you have sunken eyes.  After reading that bit ... I looked in the mirror and said:

ATE!!!  I am dehydrated! I have sunken eyes! 

Hahahaha ... Maybe if I did not read it, I would not have noticed.

The breakfast buffet at Marriot Cebu was so yum!!!!

Chicken Tocino, Danggit and Chorizo

Daing na Bangus

Stir-fried Vegetables


Sauce and Toppings


Syrup and Toppings

Baked Tomatoes


Pork Sausage Patties

Baked Beans


Miso Soup and Congee

Toppings for the Congee

Omelette Station

Native Kakanin

Chinese Noodle Station

Beef Bulgogi

Fish Balls

Vegetable Curry

Chinese Meatballs

Smoked Salmon and Spanish Sardines

Assorted Coldcuts

Salad Bar

Chorizo Cheese Rolls

Breakfast Sushi

Assorted Cheeses

Fruits and Yogurt

Cereals, Muesli, Granola, nuts, etc.

Assorted Muffins and Bread

The bacon was so light and CRISPY it could stand by itself!!!!

I asked Ate to give me a small piece so I could try.

I also tried a small cube of Cebu mango... so sweet!

I had an apple and a banana from the buffet!!!!

I also had plain yogurt with my banana.

It was soooooo good!!!

My Ate and niece, Gilly said, Are you trying to convince yourself?????

Well ... it was really good.

I was so "lucky" they had plain steamed fish!

Imagine all those delicious choices and these were the only food I got for breakfast.....

Hehehe!  Normally, I would not even look at the food I got from the buffet but I wanted to become better since I was flying home that night.  I wanted to get well enough to be able to go home without any incident.

I told my Ate I only wanted to eat grilled fish and rice for lunch.

My BIRTHDAY lunch!


We were scheduled to eat the buffet lunch at Cafe Marco in Marco Polo Hotel but I could not! :((

Instead, we ate at Hukad by Cowrie Grill in Ayala Center.

My birthday food:

Chicken Tinola

Crispy Shrimps for Gilly

Grilled Tuna Belly for Ate

Grilled Kitong for me.

Baby ( damulag) Back ribs.

Gilly had dessert at Dessert Factory.

Chocolate Fudge - Chocolate Ice cream on top of a chocolate crust drizzled with chocolate syrup.

We checked out of the hotel at 2:00 pm and rested at the lobby.  I was so tired from my sleepless couple of nights.  I was just texting my friend Catherine one minute and the next .....

Gillian had to wake me up because she could hear me snoring from across the lobby!  Ahaahahahahahaha!


Well, it was not the first time it happened to me.  I attended a retreat at Mandarin Oriental last May and the same thing happened during the exposition of the blessed sacrament.  It was Holy Hour and everybody was meditating and Mona had to elbow me to wake me up!  Hehehehehe.  I think when one is getting older, it is but inevitable those things happen.

I just turned 43 years old yesterday!!!  Age is just a number for me.  I feel as though I am only 25.

Some say I do not look my age.  My niece, Gilly, thought I was just in my mid 20's!  My little girl guest at my Mexican Party who is Gilly's classmate in CSA thought I was just in my late 20's or early 30's.

Ate felt so bad when we were in Boracay last year for my birthday because the head waiter of Two Seasons Resort asked: "Ma'am, daughter niyo???"     It also happened to Mona in Boracay when I brought her to my favorite Japanese resto, my usual waiter, Ton-Ton, asked if she was my mother!  I told them not to feel bad.  They do not look old, I just look younger than my age.

Even though I was not able to go through my entire "Cebu to eat list" ... I was still very glad because I was able to celebrate my birthday with my family.

God was probably saving me from eating too much because I really planned on eating a lot.  My sugar would have probably sky rocketed  and I would have gained 10 lbs.  Ate gained 5 lbs. in 3 days and yet she did not eat that much.  I lost 4 lbs. in 3 days!  Well ... I probably lost all the lbs. I gained from celebrating  every day of August.

 Thank you, Ate for the Cebu treat!

Looking forward to our next eating Birthday trip in 2013!


  1. happy birthday li. your food trip in cebu made me drool. lets plan our trip in cebu with corry next year. by the way d ka lang mukang bata boses bata pa. kaya sa susunod na tatawag ka sa mcdo tawagin mo nanay mo, hehehe....

  2. Lia, sorry to hear about your next morning diarrhea...pero naman no, nagutom ako sa blog post mo, lol!

    1. Hehehehe Kat! Imagine if I could have eaten more?!?!?!

  3. Ate doesn't look like your mom now, she really lost a lot of weight! She has nice long neck. CNT or zubuchon masarap? D ko na maalala.

    1. I prefer CNT because it is saltier plus Zubuchon uses a certain herb that I do not like.