It's expected that airfare during the holidays would really be expensive, but, its still possible to get a good rate if you are resourceful and willing to break your direct flight to connecting fight options.
When I was trying to get a direct flight to Zamboanga, Cebu Pacific's one way fare would almost be 10k including taxes and fees. Instead, I look for flights from the Cebu hub, knowing that Cebu has the most number of domestic flights from Manila in a day. I was able to get a good rate for a roundtrip ticket Cebu-Zamboanga for December 26 and leaving Zamboanga-Cebu at 4am on Jan 1 at 3.8k.
My next challenge was to book a roundtrip flight to Cebu. I booked my Manila-Cebu flight a day before my Cebu-Zamboanga flight to avoid problems in case delay. The same goes with my return flight. I always have at least 12 hours layover in Cebu. My roundtrip Manila-Cebu ticket is only 4k, making my total ticket cost 7.8K. I know its the same if I have booked months in advance, but with an erratic schedule like mine, I think I had a good deal considering it's only days before my flight.
I was at the airport a few minutes after noon, making sure to drop by my dad at St. Therese Columbarium in front of NAIA3, and boarded the flight, arriving 15 minutes earlier than schedule amidst the threat of an incoming typhoon.
There are a lot of reasonable accommodations in Cebu. While waiting for boarding in Manila, I contacted Island Stay and reserved a standard room at their branch in Ayala. They also have a branch near the airport if you have little time to spare and would only want a place for a quick nap and shower. The room is only 950php a night, and comes with all the basic amenities of the hotel, except for the mini bar. It has flat screen TV, split type ACU, hot shower, personal care item and a single bed with comforter and towels. The interiors are kept simple yet tasteful with orange accent color and motivational quotes to decorate the interior walls. It's a real value for money, especially when I found out that I'm literally just a few meters away from the Metro Gaisano entrance of the Ayala Mall.
On board the plane, I chanced upon an article about Zubuchon at Smile Magazine, making it my top to do list while in Cebu. I was so disappointed after arriving at the Mango branch that its closed on Christmas Day. Instead, I went back to Ayala Mall, and had lunch at Casa Verde. To make up for my instant noodle noche buena, I ordered myself a serving of their famous Brian's Ribs.
After my late lunch, I went back to the hotel to get a nap until I woke up around 8PM for dinner.
Instead of exploring places to eat, I opted for something I've tried on my previous visit. I opted to go to Larsian at Fuente.
I'm coming back on January 1, still hoping that whoever found it would have the conscience to return it!
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