Because I had to: Stories from the Queen City

What usually takes me to Cebu is a trip to a destination to which the Queen City is the gateway. Maybe it’s a Philippine Airlines (PAL) press conference for a launching of a new destination or a junket by a fancy hotel.

Because I had to, I flew to Cebu for a Marks & Spencer task. It was a trip to reconnect with friends and connect with new ones in the print and digital media Cebu family.

Marco Polo Plaza Hotel was my residence (again and I love it) and with a good deal to extend a hosted night would be a nice way to enjoy the hotel’s amenities—a cooling dip at the pool, a relaxing massage, a VIP treatment at the Continental Club lounge and, yes, a Malicious Cookie fiesta.


Personal note, Malicious cookies with fresh milk, basket of fruits always signal a great stay at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

Spoiled at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu. Handwritten welcome notes, Malicious cookies overload, Continental Club Lounge access are just few of the perks when I’m “home” in Cebu.

Perhaps there was no better place to meet up with my lunch dates than Café Marco. A private room can be requested for a group of ten plus a fab “My Summer Café Marco Plate” is ongoing this May — P880 net for buffet lunch inclusive of bottomless healthy coolers from Monday to Friday. What a treat!


Ever tried the Mr Hauri pasta from the Cafe Marco pasta station? Chef Ricky can whip it upon request.

Always a treat to catch up with Marco Polo Plaza angels Manna Alcaraz & Yumz Mariot.


It was good to know I was with fellow dessert-loving individuals, which made the confectioneries-filled Marks & Spencer bag the perfect gift to take home — but not until a game of flatlay challenge.

The group accepted the dare and took off to their desired spots to post their best single entry on Instagram. The winner will be chosen by Marks & Spencer marketing office in Manila.


Meet the powerhouse of Cebu fashion blogging and social writing: Marco Paulo Diala, Toni Pino-Oca, Jean Yu, Sophia Sanchez, Marymil Cabrera, Niza Mariñas & Doyzkie Bienaviaje.
Challenge accepted.Cebu fashion bloggers & print media shooting their Life is Sweeter with M&S flatlay entries

As much as the eight entries deserved to win, one has to be declared the winner. So who’s shopping at M&S Ayala Center soon? Fashion blogger and stylish mom, Toni Pino-Oca.


Cebu fashion blogger, Toni Pino-Oca’s winning M&S flatlay challenge entry posted on Instagram.

This talented and fashionable bunch was truly fun to be with. Check out their obras at #marksandspencercebu.

Because I had to, I took a Cebu lechon tour.

What witchery is this! If you know me, I stay away from pork and beef, meat, basically. But I had to accompany a foodie from Manila who wanted to go as far as Carcar to try the lechons of Cebu. I had to partake of his feast. With limited time, the tour had to be within the city.


Off to a Cebu lechon tour with this foodie & designer from Manila


How did CnT (Ayala Abreeza Food Court), Zugbuchon (SM Seaside City) and Rico’s (AXIS) fare on our taste buds? Although Rico’s came highly recommended by the locals, it landed second on our list with CMT on the lead in terms of meat flavor.

I broke a diet rule but it was worth it for the sake of knowledge.

Because I had to and wanted to, I flew PAL to Cebu.


Because I want to. Flying PAL is always my preference


For some reason, I always get to my destination on time. Getting an exit row seat with ample leg room is certainly a bonus. My friend though was unlucky, his PAL flight out of Manila was delayed for four hours.


Always to get a seat with legroom on board any plane

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Also published in the SunStar Davao newspaper.