Progress propels Cebu motorization; PAL expansion up

THE City of Cebu is fast becoming to be the Metro Manila of the Visayas. As the place now teems with people, it follows, almost, that car ownership over there increases unstoppably. As a result, there is both human traffic and road jams as well all over now.

“We used to have a population of about 4 million,” said TonyBoy J. Entienza, a balikbayan from Seattle, Washington State. “I guess our population has now grown to about 8 million [Metro Manila has about 13 million today].”

Well, migrants from Mindanao constantly trek to Cebu to escape the conflict in deep-down South, further bloating Cebu’s population.

Still, TonyBoy marvels at Cebu’s rapidly changing landscape.

“You now see people everywhere, almost from Monday to Sunday, either walking on the streets or just malling, or even going to public parks and visiting churches and other places of worship,” TonyBoy said. “We are also a city of religious people, you know, Cebu being the first spot where the seeds of Christianity were sown, led no less by Ferdinand Magellan.”

Almost yearly, if not twice a year, I am in Cebu. While there, I almost make it a habit to visit Santo Niño Basilica, salute the replica of the first Cross brought by Magellan to Cebu (now made of tindalo tree) and drop by the Fort San Pedro at Plaza Independencia, where the kalachuchi in white blooms majestically standing beside the Bastion of Concepcion seems to have the biggest kalachuchi trunk in the world.

I was in Cebu last April, at Mactan Shangri-La initially, for an event of personal, if not special, dimension. That was just months after my last visit in the Queen City of the South.   And, boy, what a big change the city had undergone: skyscrapers, new roads, condos everywhere, vehicles of almost all shapes and sizes.

Progress almost always spells motorization.

I was in Cebu again only last week, and I saw several new car dealerships in and around the city. Have they been sprouting like mushrooms while I was away?

“Yes,” said TonyBoy. “I was in the US for decades, and, when I came back, I could hardly recognize my city of dreams. Cars of many models, several of them I couldn’t recognize at first glance, whiz by me virtually like flies in summer every time I do my walking and stray out of the village to have a look-see of the city’s new-look environs.”

The hotel I had stayed in last week at Cuenco Avenue in Banilad is just about 3- or 4-kilometers away from the sprawling Ayala Center Malls. But, like in Manila, traffic makes your destination much, much farther away than the usual.

A couple years back, I was booked at Quest Hotel. From there, it was better to walk going to Ayala Mall than to ride a car. Last year I stayed at Diamond Hotel and, likewise, I found it easier to reach Ayala on foot from Diamond than by car.   Well, both hotels stand side by side, and they suit you fine if you love walking from either of both hotels to places that interest you, such as restaurants, pubs and bars that are in abundance in Cebu.

Like when you are in Makati’s Ayala, BGC or Cubao, don’t take a ride if you can in Cebu when you go to a place reachable by foot.   Walk. If you drive, quickly look for a parking lot and park. Driving through jams, if not gridlocks, only drives you crazy.    

Now if lechon—the Cebu kind, that is—awaits you, then drive crazily for it.   Nothing like it anywhere in the world.

“I agree,” TonyBoy said.

P20-B PAL terminal up

IF plans run true to form, Philippine Airlines might yet start building soon a new airport terminal costing almost P20 billion. PAL owner Lucio C. Tan, a.k.a. Kapitan, said the terminal site would be the 16-hectare property where the defunct Philippine Village Hotel now stands.

“When completed, the terminal can handle as many as 15 million passengers every year,” said PAL President Jimmy J. Bautista, a.k.a. JJB. “Add our passenger capacity of 11 million at the Centennial, the Naia [Ninoy Aquino International Airport] 2 expansion will easily accommodate a total of 26 million passengers annually.”

Motorists will benefit much from this new PAL venture as all three terminals, including Naia 1 and Naia 3, will be declogged of choking traffic almost daily as the enormous volume of passengers has continued to grow by leaps and bounds in our ever-changing world.  

So, to Kapitan and JJB, go for it, Sirs, and become instant heroes of tomorrow.  

PEE STOP Royce and Jeane are the new additions to the powerhouse Toyota media-relations team of Jade B. Sison.   I will miss you, guys, in the Vios Cup September 15 and 16, as I’ll be out of town. But in spirit, I’m in….  Again, my gratitude to Dodo Cuenco of Toyota Cebu. Through Sherwin ChuaLim, Dodo delivered the goods so well I couldn’t ask for more.   Yes to that, Dodo: “The tribe is increasing…” Ha-ha! …Over in Bacolod, Susing Chua deserves commendation and Robert Uy a huge hug for their unrelenting assistance. Thank you, Sirs, as always…. Happy birthday Pareng Ramon (Uy)!  I pray for more to come as I am hopeful that God’s grace showers eternally to those whose feet remain firmly planted on the ground even as they had already achieved success beyond their wildest dreams. Cheers, Pare!