Sunday morning arrived much too quickly and as we listened to the church bells tolling and the roosters crowing around the city, we hemmed and hawed about going to Mass.
We’d already eaten breakfast and it was only 7:30 a.m. Our flight didn’t leave until 3 and check-out was at noon, so what else were we going to do until then? Ian wasn’t keen on the idea, but I’ve always found going to church in completely different environs a wonderful way to immerse neck deep into the culture. It only makes sense. St. Therese was down the street, so we crammed into a cab and took the 5 minute ride down, only to arrive 20 minutes early and wander around the open air church reading all the bulletins and newspaper clippings. A pastor came out and seemed a touch confused by our presence. He told us repeatedly that Mass would be at 9 and it would be in English, but the 10:30 Mass would be in Cebuano. We assured him that we were here to attend church at 9 and he seemed to accept that. I’m not quite sure what it was all about. But a few minutes before the service started, we took a pew only to discover after sitting down that a stray dog was napping underneath. That’s what you get for a church with minimal windows and wide open doors all around.
The music ended up being mostly English with an electric keyboard, and a mix of Cebuano and gospel touches. The homily was in English, except for every punch line (we’ve noticed that in newspapers too). Katherine did her best to pay attention but the woman next to her kept asking her questions which even she found distracting. After Mass we realized that we didn’t have a taxi home, but the weather was overcast and cooler than normal so we walked back to the hotel. Ian and I both commented that breathing in Cebu was so much easier than in Manila. The air was clear and bright, the traffic was bearable, there were actual sidewalks, and overall the pace in Cebu was much more pleasant.
The time arrived to check out of our hotel. The kids were sad we were leaving, they really do enjoy hotel living, but mom and dad were ready to get home and not move for a few hours. Even though we were gone all day Friday, we’d asked the housekeeper to come in and pick up so when we arrived back it would be to a relaxing, stress-free house. We picked up a few last minute souvenirs in the airport lobby and finally took our seats on the plane. Jonathon conked out before the snacks arrived and Katherine finally won a prize, for saying a tongue twister. Flying out of Cebu was amazing as we could finally see the city and the surrounding waters from the air. Wow, clear blue-green water and long reefs. It was gorgeous. We’ve promised ourselves that we will go on a beach and SCUBA trip at some point during our stay here. Afterall, the Philippines so have some of the best beaches and SCUBA sites in the world, how can we not see them?
I have to say that the kids did amazing for the whole trip. From getting up before the crack of dawn on day one to touchdown on day three, they were fantastic. Our family is a spectacle no matter where we go, and this was no exception. I was so thankful at the end of the trip that they had all behaved admirably. We certainly like an adventure.