THE last time I was here in Cebu was two years ago. Visiting the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño was first and foremost in our bucket list. Attending the novena masses in His honor and hearing the faithful sing “Batobalani sa Gugma” filled my eyes with tears. It’s a wonderful feeling to be there with the thought that the Holy Child in the image of the Sto. Niño is welcoming me and my family back.

But it’s disappointing to see how dirty and stinky are the side streets leading to the Basilica. Street urchins and families live in the sidewalks and gutters.

It is normally the time of the year when most of the people from both here and abroad come to pay homage to our dear Sto. Niño de Cebu, but how come the Cebu City Government is not even doing its very best to maintain the cleanliness of the city?

At the end of the revelry, my brother in law and my sister, along with my niece, took us around for a tour in the various places in and around the city. I couldn’t believe what I saw after all these years.

The traffic was horrendous though I can understand why. But what caught my attention was the way motorcycles driven by daredevil drivers weave in the traffic with no thoughts about safety.

At C. Padilla St. before one turns to the SM Seaside City mall are conflicting traffic signs. You can see from afar two left-turn signs but you are not allowed to turn left. How come?

Also, the roads are bad not only within the city limits but also out there going to the southern towns and of which I assume isthe same also with the ones going north.

Traffic lights are in a very poor state or shall I say the way the drivers drive is, as there is utter lack of discipline.

But there is also the good side, and I am proud to say that we have here in Cebu City beautiful, caring and hospitable people. My family and I were in the malls during the opening hours till late afternoon.

Indeed these malls bring a wonderful feeling for us who are used to the life abroad, a life where all you have to do is work, work and work.

We also had the chance to visit Fort San Pedro and the Plaza Independencia and I really admire the way they are attracting local and foreign tourists.

Of course there are hundreds of places where one can find local food, from my favorite halo-halo to the sugba-tula-kilaw.

It has been a wonderful two weeks visiting several places here in Cebu that included an overnight stay in Ginatilan and of course getting the feel of driving in and around the city. There is still no place like home.--Jose Vicente “Butchoy” Sievert III