The latter part of my day in Metro Cebu was spent looking for bike shops. My route took me first to YKK Bikes. Their website and Google Maps both indicated a certain address (Plaridel Extension cr. Legaspi Street), but they weren’t exactly where they were supposed to be based on the GPS app. I stopped at a corner and checked out the address again while jeeps and multicabs passed me by.
Jeepneys are a local form of public transport in the Philippines. They began when old US jeeps from WW2 were converted to have two rows of benches on either side to hold passengers. These days, they act as feeder buses, plying a certain route between towns and neighborhoods, and causing traffic as they randomly stop to pick/dismount passengers.
While jeeps in other towns look like the jeep you see when you search for Philippine images (colorful, arty with a level of tackiness and kitsch, like the image above), some provincial towns use L300-ish vans instead. Provincial jeeps are designed to hold a lot more cargo than city jeeps. A lot of passengers would haul sacks of rice or farm feed on the roof, while loading even more stuff inside. That’s why a lot of provincial jeeps use truck engines. They’re equally colorful though.
Anyway, back to biking. So I was looking for YKK Bikes. While cycling around, and getting lost, I saw another bike shop instead. This was outside it’s entrance. On hindsight, I think it may have been YKK Bikes. I’m just not certain anymore. The mosaic tile bike image is cute though.
I didn’t really see anything I liked in that shop, so I hightailed it to the next bike shop recommended to me by Cebuano biker Jaed Tan. Bikecology in Banilad Town Center. The route was pretty straightforward but there was a flyover that I didn’t realize I should have taken because the lower street wouldn’t allow you go drive/cycle straight. It’s right at this corner, where a branch of the Siomai sa Tisa is located. I was forced to take a right turn and then u-turn and then turn right again to continue on.
By the time I reached Bikecology I was tired and overheated. Never was I so glad to find out they were an airconditioned store! They had a lot of stuff — mostly mountain bikes and big name brands. I looked for Zack’s stuff but they didn’t have it, so I tried a couple Giro helmets but I wasn’t completely sold on them either. But they were really nice! Go check ‘em out if you’re in Cebu.
After BTC, I headed to Ayala Center in Cebu to check out ROX. Jaed told me that they had a lot of stock for bikes, but they were much smaller than the one in Bonifacio High Street. Oops! Never mind. I saw this other shop selling OZ Racing stuff (a Filipino motorbike accessories brand that also dabbles with cycling stuff) and saw these Kokonut helmets. Very nationalistic ay!
I chilled out a bit at the top deck while waiting to meet up with my friend and planned out the next day. I was going to leave the city and take the bus down south to the municipality of Alcoy and then the rest of the day’s plans would depend on the weather as the news mentioned it would be rainy.
By the time my friend arrived, we decided to have an extremely early dinner at Simply J’s Cafe. It’s right next to the Diamond Hotel, a block away from Ayala Center Cebu. Rolled the Brompton inside with no issues either, so plus points for that.
The ambiance in this restaurant is warm and friendly with just a touch of frills. Think classy country Americana. It used to be a family home which they converted into a semi-fine dining restaurant. I think we were seated at the living area or the family room of the old home. The rooms are all decorated differently. One thing you’ll notice is that nearly all the items have price tags on them — you can actually buy the pieces if you’re interested in them.
The food is ok too, once we finally got to taste it. There was a debacle during ordering because our waiter was a bit too overeager and a little deaf. LOL. We ordered a salad for starters and our drinks and before we could mention our mains, he’d already left to go to the kitchen!
For mains, I ordered the grilled tangingue (mackarel) with garlic mayo sauce. Of course the dish that came to the table wasn’t what I ordered so I needed to wait a bit more for my dish to come. No complaints though as the fish was divine! The garlic mayo was just killer. It tasted like your favorite broasted chicken’s garlic sauce! (East Saudi kids can relate to this.) The plates were really beautiful too — just like picture frames.
The only thing that made eating here a guilty pleasure were the kids staring at you through the windows. I’m not sure if they’re homeless, or poor, or squatters — seeing them while you eat just ruins the ambiance. Oh Philippines. No matter how beautiful this country is, sometimes poverty just stares at you in the face.