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More Than a Coincidence | Philippines Trip 2023

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

Hey, you! 🤩

After our fabulous Jollibee meal, we were ready to leave Mactan (the airport area) and cross the bridge to Cebu City. But before that, we got a box of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts which are our daughter's favorite (click here for more). Too bad we only got one box this whole trip, but surprise surprise, they are going to open in France pretty soon. It's about time!!

In the taxi on the way to our Airbnb, I kept looking outside. Funnily enough, I didn't think a lot had changed. I know it has, but the streets we took looked the same. I didn't have the opportunity to go to IT Park, but I have a feeling that that area really did change a lot.

Anyways ...

We booked a 3 night stay at One Pavilion Place Condominium in Banawa, Cebu City.

These are the reasons why I booked here:

  • it was affordable

  • had two bedrooms

  • looked clean on the photos

  • the location (it has a mall with a supermarket and several restaurants on the ground floor)

  • walking distance to Jollibee and 7-eleven

  • walking distance to a laundry place and pharmacy

  • had air-conditioning

  • had a private swimming pool and gym

I'm always hesitant booking on Airbnb because I know a lot of people who have had really bad experiences, but in our experience, it was exactly as it was advertised. The living room / dining room was smaller than I thought it would be, but hey, the cleanliness and everything else was on point. We had a great time and communication with the host went very smoothly. I have absolutely no complaints.

Once we were there, I also saw that there was an ATM machine and money exchange counter on the ground floor which gives even more plus points to this place. Oh and a beautiful view of the city. Can't forget that one!

Would I book again here in the future? Definitely! My sister-in-law and her kids were staying with us and I know that she felt the same as we did.

Highly recommended ✔️✔️

If you're interested, here's the link to the Airbnb: click here 😊😊


Let's move on to story time:

Something extraordinary happened to me when I got to One Pavilion Condominium.

So when I left the Philippines 12 years ago, I remember having lunches and dinners with friends that last week in Cebu. One of those last lunches was with one of my high school friends. Let's call her, L. We had different group of friends then, but she and I would always get together to have one-on-one talks. That last week in Cebu, I remember going to Zubuchon with her. It had just opened and we had lunch just the two of us. I was telling her how excited I was to start my life in France and she was telling how confused she felt about her future and what she wanted to do. If I'm not mistaken, she was playing the violin. The food was good and then we had Biko for dessert, which is still to date one of the best Biko I've ever had in my life.

Oh wait, now that I think about it - I wonder if I wrote about this lunch in my old blog (Dinner at Six Thirty). Hold on, let me take a look. 🤓🤓

OH MY GOSH! I just found the post. Oh wow, I have to post this.

But first...

On the way to our airbnb, we passed by Escario Street and I was immediately reminded of that lunch and of my friend, L. Sadly, I saw that the restaurant Zubuchon was closed and replaced by something else. I told my husband that and we moved on to another topic of conversation.

We finally arrived at One Pavilion Place and checked-in and the next step was getting things for the apartment. The mall on the ground floor has a supermarket which is really convenient so while the Husband was withdrawing money, S and I made our way inside the mall and the supermarket.

And guess who was the first familiar face I saw? My friend, L! It was totally unplanned, out of the blue, and a wonderful surprise! We sometimes catch up on FB, but she had no clue that I wasn't going to Cebu.

Sooooo, one of the last persons I saw when I left 12 years ago is the first person I saw back in Cebu. You can't tell me this is a coincidence!! It's gotta be something, right??

There L was, drinking a bottle of water that she had just bought from one of those food stalls. I saw her and screamed (?) her name and she turned around, saw me, looked surprised, and then laughed. I sorta slapped her arm and squeezed it playfully. It was a a-pinch-me (but her) kind of moment. I can't describe it.

We were, surrounded by people who were coming and going, catching up. I realized that we both had lost a lot in twelve years, but I also felt like we won some.

And as I'm writing this post right now, I realized that I just can't get over. What does this mean??


Anyways, since I found it, let me share with you my old blog post, Dinner at Six Thirty.

October 13, 2011 (I left on the 21st of October)

My friend, LI, and I made plans to have lunch together today. I suggested we eat at Zubuchon since I've haven't been there since they opened their 2 branches and I was determined to visit before I left. Thankfully, LI was all for it.

It is known that the 2 Zubuchon branches are always fully occupied. This can be a problem, especially since the place in Escario is quite small and only has 5 tables. I was a little late (had to pick up my results from the hospital first) and LI arrived early, so she waited for me at Coffee Dream which is right beside Zubuchon. When I got there, Zubuchon was empty but I met up with LI, chatted a bit, and when we decided to go to Zubuchon it was already fully occupied! We decided to wait at Coffee Dream and asked to be told if a table would be vacant. We probably waited for half an hour.

I'm not big on the lechon here. It's tender and flavorful, but my thing is is that it doesn't remind me of the lechon I grew up eating A.K.A not organic lechon / with MSG. LOL. LI and I ordered the fast meals, which came with pickled papaya, plain rice, and a choice of viand. LI had the Zubuchon fast meal.

I had the Dinuguan fast meal. Dinuaguan is cooked pork blood. It might sound a little exotic especially for those in the unknown, but I love it and I think that Zubuchon's Dinuguan is the best I've had all my life. LI and I shared our viands and she thought the Dinuguan was really really good too!

We also ordered the Monggo Stew. We wanted a soup. LI especially wanted the Shrimp Sinigang, but I didn't feel like peeling shrimps with my fingers. This is one of the things I do at home exclusively because of the stink it leaves in the hands. The other soups were pricey and we settled for our second choice which was reasonably priced. The Monggo Stew was really good too. It was served super hot and I had to wait a couple of minutes before digging in. Unlike the Dinuguan, it's not the best Mongo Stew I've had in my life, but it was definitely close.

LI suggested we get a dessert and she ordered the Biko, which is sticky rice, because she liked how it looked on display. This was served hot and was very traditional - oh-so yummy! I'm so glad LI suggested we get this even though I was already so full!

I've read a lot of reviews of Zubuchon and I already had an idea of their bestsellers. Their Iba Shake is very very popular and I can see why. If you like green mango shake, you will definitely like this. I did initially think it would be a little more sour, but there was a perfect balance of slight sourness and sweetness. So good! My Sister-in-Law's friend mentioned their Santol Juice so if I get the chance to order it another time, I definitely will.

*Burp* I left Zubuchon with less than P300+ in my wallet, but I was super full! As we left the place, I couldn't help but take a photo of the Lechon made popular by Anthony Bourdain from an episode of his show, No Reservations (he mentions that this is the best roasted pork he's had!) *Pinoy Pride*

*By the way, the service was impeccable!


As I'm re-reading this old post, I feel like crying a little. It's gotta be more than a coincidence, isn't it?

xoxo Elodie


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