Cebu City Observations

I recently went to Cebu City to see my doctor. From Bogo City, that means a three hour bus trip one way. I’ve been needing to go for sometime but have been putting it off for various reasons. The long trip is a big one. That the doctor keeps talking about insulin is another. That he wants to put me in the hospital for five days is another one. The cost of those five days will be around $750. That will likely follow with fighting with my insurance company and possibly never getting reimbursed. I fear they will say an admission is not medically necessary but my doctor demands that it is impossible to do these test without an admission. So I have to be prepared for the full cost.

Cebu City Medial TripLately my hands and feet have something going on that demands I do something. I don’t know what is going on. It looks like scleroderma, a somewhat rare auto-immune disorder that can be mild and it can be deadly. I have a similar auto-immune disorder known as lupus. Sometimes scleroderma is misdiagnosed as lupus. This missed diagnoses is more likely where there are no skin lesions that is commonly a part of lupus. I have many symptoms of scleroderma but that doesn’t mean I have it.

In fact, I’ve learned that what could be going on with my hands could be related to diabetes. I have non-insulin dependent type II diabetes. It first came about as a result of the medications I took to keep me alive. Lupus tried to kill me in the 90s. Sometimes I felt so bad, I was afraid I wouldn’t make it through the night. I didn’t like the look on my lupus doctors face when I told her that. I was just very weak. Why I tried to keep working like that, I don’t know. Maybe it was denial as to how sick I was. Doctors don’t prescribe 90 milligrams of Prednisone a day unless you’re really sick. Funny thing was, at the time they did that, I didn’t feel all that bad.  I just couldn’t move my face. I called it face failure. They really didn’t know what to call it. It was like Bells Palsy, a scary thing to those new to it but usually harmless. I had it on both sides of my face which is extremely rare and indicates a problem with the central nervous system. Some doctors were never convinced that it was lupus.

Anyway, that’s enough of that.  That’s why I went to Cebu City. My hands are burning and it may very well be that I have yeast infections in my hands and feet. Diabetics have problems with yeast infections. I have been taking antibiotics too often because of chest infections. I won’t be doing that any more.  If it is a choice between antibiotics or smoking, smoking will have to go.

For me, nicotine addiction is a monster. I have never drank very much because I know how it will end up. I have an A type and addictive personality. Moderation is not my strong point.  Anyway, back to my Cebu City Trip.

On The Way To Cebu City

There were about six  processions along the highway on this trip to Cebu City. I thought they were funeral marches but it turned out they were funeral marches where the saint for the locality is paraded through town. They march down the street with globes aglow.  It is good that I have Jessie to help me with Filipino culture.

Even though the medical portion of my Cebu City trip was a complete bust there were some interesting things along the way to Cebu City and within Cebu City as well.   I will be returning soon and I will try to go see a local dermatologist in the interim.

Plenty of Air Conditioned Buses En-route to Cebu City

These days there are many buses with air conditioning making the run from Bogo City to Cebu City. We didn’t have to wait for an air con bus, there was always one ready for us at the bus terminal both coming and going. That was true for our last two trips. The air con buses make the trip a lot easier for me without the old medical issues I use to have.

The buses have slowed down, not as exciting but it feels a lot safer. It has also added 15 to 30 minutes to the trip. It use to take 2 and half hours for the trip but both of my trips to and from Cebu City took almost exactly three hours this time.

We stayed at CebuView Tourist Inn also known as Cebu View. I wrote a review on the pension house not long ago and said then it probably isn’t the place for someone new to living in the Philippines. It isn’t in the best part of Cebu City.

The pension house itself is fine but once on the street you’ll see quite a few colorful characters. Some of what I saw, I found disturbing. The most disturbing was the number of underage girls working the streets. One offered me her services for P500, well her cousins services who appeared to be at most 17 but probably 15.

I talked with them as one could speak English. The younger girl couldn’t. I was sitting outside smoking and they approached. After the offer, I asked them  how old they were. The younger girl stumbled and said 18. I said “Nawww, you’re about 16.” She had a look on her face that said she I was not far off. She was cute and really looked 18 but something just told me she wasn’t.  She was also scared.

Another espisode with a working girl was a bit humorous. I was outside and had been approached byCebu City Working Girl another somewhat attractive working girl but she was skin and bones. She was a likable person. I was never interested in that kind of thing.

Why it was humorous is that Jessie came down to let me know the food had been delivered. She said the guard was worried and told her “He’s just smoking.” Jessie went on to report that the guard thought there was going to be trouble as he looked down and started shaking his head haha. I’m sure he’s seen this situation many times.

Since Filipina tend to be crazy jealous, I’m also certain he’s seen a few female explosions on the curb.

Jessie is not crazy jealous, she knows I’m interested in interacting with Filipino but I’m not interested in this kind of thing.

Late that night, I was out again. About 1am and this time approached by a pimp. A couple of them, one wanted to go back and bring me two girls. The other already had them with him. He said they were 18 and 19. Hmm, that girl was not 18 but wow she was pretty. Okay, she could be 18 but I doubt it. She looked 16 to me but Filipina can look quite young so it is hard to tell. If I were going to be tempted, it would have been with her.

One pair of young Cebu City teens in short shorts passed by. They were at most 14 years old. I am usually friendly but when one of them said “Hello my friend” this time I didn’t acknowledge. There was no way I would give anyone the impression I might be doing business with the girls.

I couldn’t help but think, “With all the complaining about human trafficking and men coming to the Philippines to pursue underage girls, why is the Philippines allowing it to be so easy.” The other girls could have been of age, but these two clearly were not and I’m also pretty sure that really cute one was not either. If I wanted an underage girl I could easy find one in Cebu City. I think you’d have to be out of your mind! With it so common, one could be lulled into thinking it was permissible.

I don’t judge these people. I have not walked their path. Life can be very hard for the poor in the Philippines. On the other hand, with it being so easy to get underage girls on this street and so obvious that they can be had it is no wonder that men inclined for this kind of thing will come to Cebu City.

I also saw a guy that was stopping all the Jeepneys and collecting P10 from each one that passed. Some tried to avoid him at times and he became quite demanding. I asked Jessie if she knew what was going on and asked “Was he in uniform or giving out tickets?” When I told her “No” she shrugged. They were not even stopping, they were just passing by. There are barkers and conductors that assist people getting on and off and it is common for drivers to give them some money.

I understand that getting a Jeepney route means getting into “the club.” I suspect I was seeing the collection of duties required to be a member of that club. The guy was middle aged, in a dirty t-shirt and had a pretty girl with him that I think was his daughter. She was doing her school work on the side of the street and he gave her some money.

There was also the few obviously mentally ill people. One guy stopped infront of me with a scroll that had pictures of dragons on it. He traced the dragons with his burning cigarette for a few moments.  I sure wish I had been able to capture that on video. I did manage to get some video on the streets of Cebu City.

I was not feeling well so I never strayed from the hotel. Sleep was hard to come by, fatigue and burning hands and feet were common for me. I couldn’t sleep and I couldn’t stay awake. I woke up too late to even check out the first day so we stayed for a second day. I used it to rest and to see what was going on around the hotel. I like watching the people in this part of town.

CebuView is downtown, you’ll see all kinds of Filipino. Many well dressed Filipina, many students, some in military uniforms others in normal school uniforms. Many of the women seem to be afraid of what I might say to them.  Some of the foreigners staying at CebuView don’t seem like the most upstanding folks in the country either. One guy, covered in tattoos and as skinny as some of the drug infested people I saw on the street.

There are a lot of intersting things to see in the area but I just couldn’t do it. There is an electronics store near the hotel. They have tons of batteries. Jessie went to see if they had one for my video camera. The first two she came back wouldn’t charge at all. The third appeared to be charging but before it fully charged, it started blinking and it too is dead. P650 down the tubes. Either the battery is very old or it is a counterfeit. I don’t think Sony has made the battery for years so it is either old or a fake. In any case, three attempts resulted in nothing.  I paid over $100 for the same battery when the camera was new, about 10 years ago.  Time to face it. I need a new video camera. But I need medical treatment first.

Life is in the details, that is what I find to be true. I’ve been living in Cebu  for more than three years but Cebu City still provides entertainment for those like me. This trip to Cebu City didn’t provide any thing spectacular but it provided more details.  I found the details in this area of Cebu City to be very interesting to observe.

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Filed under: Living in Cebu

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