Dining

Quest Hotel Cebu: A Conquest of the Now Normal

Before anything else, I’d like to say my New Year’s Resolution for 2021 is to stop titling my posts with ‘New/Now Normal’. Until then, it’s fair game.

Given how this year has turned out, I didn’t have my hopes up for my annual Christmas Tree Lighting pilgrimage. I didn’t also realize how much I’ve taken these events for granted—sure, they’re really fun and a great excuse to drink champagne every night without being judged, but they can take up so much energy that my introvert tendencies demand I retreat to breathe and recharge for a while. Last year was particularly insane.

It was a bit saddening to see so many of the places I frequent forego tree lighting ceremonies completely, but that also makes the ones that did have events even more special—if a bit more mindful because of so many protocols we now have to observe.

Last month, I was fortunate to be invited by Quest Hotel & Conference Center Cebu for their annual Bell-Ringing. I didn’t really know what I was expecting—perhaps the significantly-reduced guest list would make it a somber affair? But to my delight, the festivities stirred the beginnings of some much-needed holiday cheer.

Dining

Sugbo Mercado: The Definitive Guide to the New Normal

“Where to, next?”

I looked to my new acquaintance Emerson for actual literal guidance after placing my order for a Tom Yum (“As spicy as you can make it!”) at Dee Soi 40, which had opened recently.

It was a dreary October day and Emerson was my dream guy for that afternoon because of his ability to make decisions regarding something that has always rendered many a girl (and yes, guys too) indecisive when dining out: “What do I want to eat?” This is especially happenstance in Sugbo Mercado where there are currently 42 tenants—not only are there too many choices, but there are too many good choices.

Dining

Still Got the Blu’s: Radisson Blu Cebu

Photo: Radisson Blu Cebu/Facebook

I continue to be fascinated with how establishments are adapting in these strange, unprecedented times. There are so many things to consider now, all the same but different as well—full face shield, or half? Contact tracing in several mall outlets, but not to the entrance of the mall itself? Is border control even still a thing?

So many inconsistencies, it’s comforting to know one thing that remained constant: Radisson Blu Cebu. After a few months of being closed because of the pandemic, this beautiful city hotel with the best beds ever recently reopened their doors. They did so in epic fashion as well, with the excitement-inducing drone shots of their room windows counting down the days.

It was such a delight to finally be back, yet it’s striking how the hotel’s once-bustling lobby is eerily quiet, though not any less welcoming. Radisson Blu Cebu is SGS-certified and follows a 20-step hygiene protocol that includes social distancing measures, implementing hand hygiene stations around the property, and increased frequency in cleaning and disinfection. 

Dining

We All Deserve a Good Drink This Year, and Cicada Gets It

Item no. 48 on things-I-will-never-take-for-granted-again-after-quarantine: A craft cocktail.

No one come at me for how far down it is on my list. Being able to freely leave the house, having work, hugging people, spending time with friends, watching movies in theaters, not having to put on face masks, and wearing lipstick all have to go somewhere.

A craft cocktail never even crossed my mind, perfectly content as I was to have my alcohol content in the form of a Rum Coke I can easily fix myself. One part rum to three parts Coca-Cola, and I’ll even add a lemon garnish if I’m feeling fancy.

I’m not bitter. Also, I don’t have bitters—which is why my drinks at home are rudimentary at best.

But with the shitshow that is 2020, we really do deserve a good drink, and thankfully Cicada by Circa 1900 gets it.

Dining, Journal

Some Sense of Normalcy: Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

Well, it only took 160 days since the pandemic outbreak, but I finally went out for purely leisure reasons for the first time today.

It is kind of hard to turn down lunch at Hai Shin Lou, not when there’s peppercorn squid at stake.

(And also an actual meal in which I don’t have to do the dishes, let’s be real.)

Throughout the quarantine period, I’ve been doing the sensible thing and staying home as much as possible, not that I had much reason to go out if you don’t count my rapidly dwindling mental health. Milk tea deliveries and video calls became the norm, and suddenly five months have passed and we’re halfway through the year already.