From the Cebu Business Park, it costs about 50 pesos worth of cab ride to get to Mango Square. Mango Square, we were told, is that area on General Maxilom Avenue bounded by the Fuente Osmeña on the west and stretches about four to five city blocks going south. It is reputed to be the city's nightlife hotspot. I never really understood what that meant until we got there. We were only looking for a good gay bar to have a couple of rounds of drinks.
Mijo had done research earlier and found a few places. We narrowed down our choices to two - One is The Host 78, the other one is Vudu in Crossroads. The websites where we got the information from only included street names and not the exact address so when we finally got to the Fuente, the cab driver asked us which bar. We told him a place called The Host and asked him to drive slower while we look for the sign. We found no signs. What we did find are bars after bars with names like Julianna, Bikini and Sunflower.
After a few minutes, there were two men knocking on the window asking if we want women. "Mestiza", they said. By this time, we already got the idea that Mango square is not the kind of night life we had assumed it is. The place is dotted with girly bars. Maybe it wasn't a good idea to come here? We just grinned and asked the cab driver to drop us off on the next block by the gas station.
"You know where we can find The Host?" , we asked someone by the gas station. Nope. We asked another one. Nope. We started walking back to the Fuente until we ran into three, maybe four ladies. I could see their adam's apple and fake breasts even from afar so I thought maybe they know where The Host is? They said it is being renovated and pointed us to its direction and added that they know another place incase we get bored. We said thank you and left. Sadly, we still couldn't find the place so we switched to plan B. That is, to go to Vudu in Crossroads.
We hailed a cab and another 50 pesos, we finally reached Crossroads and Vudu. When we stepped inside, we caught the employees singing on the karaoke to the tune of The Eye of the Tiger and all together they stopped as soon as they spotted us. The scene was almost laughable. We sat down and ordered two beers while the DJ switched to playing house music. Except for us and the two women by the bar, the place was practically empty. I remember the beer was ice cold. Our server started with his small talks which was nice since Mijo and I were getting sleepy. I wouldn't mind a little amusement, I thought. Moments later, I did ask him about The Host which he obligingly wrote the details on a piece of paper, complete with landmarks and cross streets. We talked some more and after two rounds of drinks we left him our thank you tip.
After another 50 pesos, another cab ride, we got to the bar with a white gate right next to the pizza place with a well lit yellow sign. I thought, this is it. The ultimate Cebu bar with good cocktails and good music. When we got closer, there were no lights and the place looked abandoned. The sign on top of the door was obviously there at one point but now missing some letters and almost rusting. We walked to the pizza place to ask the security guard if he knows where The Host is. He said were in the right place but it closed down over a year ago. After this one, we waved the white flag, called it a night and hailed the next cab. "Cebu Hilton", I asked the driver. He nodded.
After all the site seeing and enjoying the great accommodation in Mactan Island, all we wanted is a good gay friendly bar to chill. After spending 150 pesos and three cab rides, we decided it was time to give up and go back to the hotel.
(The photo above is the Magellan shrine and cross taken in Cebu, Philippines.)