Google data show Metro Cebu residents slowly returning to work, going to beaches, parks

Metro Cebu residents continue to slowly return to their workplaces. They have also been heading to beaches, parks, and plazas, according to mobility data tracked by Google.

But overall, data Google gathered from Metro Cebu phone users of Google Maps showed that visits to places outside the home were still way below the baseline in January 2020. “The baseline is the median value, for the corresponding day of the week, during the 5-week period Jan 3–Feb 6, 2020,” Google said.

The numbers published by Google are percentages compared to the baseline.

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Work and leisure from the city to the mountains with the Ford EcoSport

I did get the wrong unit, I said on the quick and urgent phone call as I left the meeting room. I knew that the Ford EcoSport was assigned to me but by a mix-up, I got another unit, which I drove from the dealership in Nivel Hills to the venue of our meeting at the Archdiocesan museum.

After the meeting wrapped up, I quickly headed back to the dealership to get the EcoSport and rushed from one delayed appointment and meeting to another.

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Lapulapu was ready to submit to the King of Spain just not to Humabon: historian

Far from the simplistic and nationalistic recounting of the Battle of Mactan as local warriors repelling foreign invaders, what happened had more to do with local infighting over control of the Mactan channel.

Historian and National Artist Resil Mojares said Lapulapu had offered to submit to the King of Spain upon Ferdinand Magellan’s demand but not to his rival Humabon. Magellan had decreed Humabon as local sovereign to whom the other chiefs should submit.

“One wonders whether Lapulapu would have resisted if Magellan had chosen him as ally instead,” Mojares said.

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When it’s about the journey, not just the destination

I’ve always been tepid about that cliche on the journey being the destination. It is a frequent travel bromide on Instagram, often posted by the very people who ultimately share fantastic photos of their destinations.

Surely the journey and the destination make for the whole travel experience. with one literally leading to the other. I always thought people consoled themselves with the phrase after encountering disappointments upon reaching the place. Man, that place sucked but at least we had fun getting there.

As for me, wake me up when we’re at the destination, thank you very much.

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Cebu business leaders ask government: revert Cebu City to GCQ

Business leader in Cebu released today a manifesto supporting the call by Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella for the city to revert to General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

The leaders of various business groups said the decision to place Cebu City under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) was based on flawed data. It was also done “without factoring in the economic aspect.”

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Extend enhanced quarantine in Cebu City to prevent resurgence of cases: UP researchers

As Metro Cebu prepares to reopen for business by June 1, a group of researchers based at the University of the Philippines recommended that the enhanced quarantine (ECQ) in Cebu City be extended to prevent a resurgence of cases.

The COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) is expected to decide this week whether to extend the ECQ in Cebu City.

“For NCR and Cebu City, the number of new COVID-19 cases is still very high,” the researchers said in their “Post-ECQ report.” The researchers recommend that the government “continue significant restrictions in NCR and Cebu City” and expand this to other high-risk areas.

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Location data show how Pinoys stayed home, avoided public places during ECQ

Visits to public places such as groceries, pharmacies, retail outlets, transit areas, and workplaces plunged as a community quarantine was put in place in the Philippines in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19, phone location data show.

Stays at home dramatically increased in the same time period, according to information made available by Google as part of its early release of the Community Mobility Report to help in the fight against COVID-19.

Data released by Apple also showed a massive decrease in driving, walking, or taking transit as can be detected by direction queries for Maps.

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Confirmed COVID-19 positive cases: an interactive map

More cases of COVID-19 infection have been detected in areas throughout the country. Cebu City is among the areas with an increasing number of confirmed cases. These infections are clustered in the city jail and communities like Barrio Luz, Barangay Suba, and Mambaling.

Below is an interactive map of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Cebu. It is being continually updated so please bookmark this page. We are synchronizing data with publicly available statistics released by local government units. We published below the maps sources of our data.

Open source: the data is publicly available through an online spreadsheet here. Please feel free to check the data for veracity and currency. If you spot errors or have data that could be added, feel free to contact us via Facebook Messenger on our MyCebu.ph page. If you want to collaborate on this data mapping, do message us above or send an email to [email protected].

An important note on the location of map pins: we based it on the GPS coordinates of the barangay halls as indicated in Google Maps.

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1918-1919 influenza pandemic: the 2nd wave was a tsunami of deaths

The second wave of the trancazo pandemic in 1918 will be less severe and only the very young and old are vulnerable, health officials said in a story on Manila Times published on October 27, 1918. They were gravely wrong.

“This official announcement is interesting not only for its dismissive tone and lack of seriousness, but also for the high level of misinformation made by health authorities in informing the public about the nature of the pandemic,” Ateneo de Manila history professor Francis A. Geologo wrote in his paper “The Philippines in the World of the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919.”

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Spanish Flu pandemic deaths in the Philippines: an interactive map

The 1918-1919 influenza pandemic claimed more than 80,000 lives in the Philippines. As in other parts of the world, the contagion came in three waves, with the second surge being the most virulent.

Areas hit by the first wave of infections in the middle of 1918 had fewer deaths during the more virulent episode at the end of the year, according to a paper by Dr. Francis A. Gealogo “The Philippines in the World of Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919” published in Philippine Studies in June 2009.

The phenomenon, health authorities concluded, showed that an initial exposure to the virus offered immunity to the more malignant strain.

Infection waves

Manila and the nearby provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, Batangas, Rizal, Laguna, Tayabas, Pampanga, and Nueva Ecija accounted for most of the influenza cases in the first wave of infections from May to June, according to Gealogo.

Regions “that were mostly open to global commerce” outside of Manila were hit hard during the second wave later in the year. These include Cebu, Iloilo, Pangasinan, Negros, and Camarines.

Gealogo, however, offers a caveat to the data on influenza deaths. His paper said the low numbers in Mindanao and Cordillera are likely “under enumeration and underreporting” than actual low contamination.

Below is an interactive map of the number of influenza deaths during the pandemic. The figures were printed in Gealogo’s paper and taken from the Philippine Islands Census Office 1920 to 1921.

Bantayan is under the patronage of St. Peter; how did St. Paul get into the picture?

Upon its turnover to secular priests at the dawn of the 17th century and for 400 years, the Bantayan parish was under the patronage of St. Peter and only under him. When the parish celebrated its 400th founding anniversary, it did so under the patronage of the fisherman held by Catholic traditions as the first Pope.

In the 1980s, however, a priest assigned to the parish added St. Paul motu proprio. The two pillars of the church share June 29 as liturgical feast anyway, he justified the change with the resistant townsfolk.

The addition of St. Paul, however, was done without consultation, approval, or even undergoing a canonical process, MyCebu.ph learned.

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Sinulog a spectacle for tourists, ‘not authentic’ representation of indigenous roots: historian

The Sinulog grand parade is a spectacle for tourists and locals and devotees should just stay home and let visitors enjoy it, a historian said in a forum tracing the roots of Sinulog yesterday.

It is not authentic but a commercial celebration designed for outsiders, said Dr. Jose Eleazar Bersales, an anthropologist at the University of San Carlos, during the forum “Retracing Sinulog: A forum on the precolonial roots of the Sinulog dance” at the Palm Grass Hotel in Cebu City.

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itel offers consumers ‘good phones at low prices’

Make quality phones and sell them at low prices, that’s the business model of itel as it moves to grab a bigger share of the market in the Philippines, company officials said on Saturday.

In just a year, the company sold 1 million phones, itel Country Manager Lei Zhang announced in a briefing in Cebu for its partners and the media last Saturday, January 11. The company celebrated its 1st anniversary on that day and gathered its partners in Cebu.

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Cisco highlights disaster response, management solution

Drawing from lessons its TacOps response team learned during Typhoon Yolanda, Cisco has made available a response and management solution that taps its various technologies to innovate disaster response and management.

The product is Cisco KONEKTADO, an end-to-end solution that enables easy and effective collaboration and communication before, during, and after a disaster such as a strong typhoon.

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Safe refillable LPG canisters launched in Cebu

A company has introduced in Cebu a refillable aluminum LPG canister that is government-certified as safe to use. The Gaz Lite Mate, a 230-gram version of the refillable LPG canisters of Pascal Resources Energy, Inc. (PREI), can be used with existing portable gas stoves and grillers in the market, company officials said in a press event.

The refillable canisters emerged from a corporate social responsibility initiative of PR Gaz, a pioneer in the Philippine LPG industry founded by Nelson Par. It is being produced and distributed by PREI, a social enterprise that continued the program after PR Gaz was acquired by another LPG company. Par serves as CEO and Chairman of PR Gaz.

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Jessica Sanchez returns to Cebu for 1st major concert

American Idol singing sensation Jessica Sanchez is returning to Cebu with her first major concert here on November 29 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

Sanchez rose to prominence in her stint with American Idol, which included a dramatic save by the judges after she was nearly voted off. She was just 16, a petite singer with a soaring voice highlighted when she performed “And I am Telling You.” Her season culminated with a masterclass vocal calisthenics with Jennifer Holliday in the series finale, which many still litigate on YouTube that she should have won.

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Cebu Archdiocese, CBCP to focus on first baptism, spread of faith in 2021 celebration

The baptism of Cebuanos led by Rajah Humabon will be the focus of the Archdiocese of Cebu and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in their celebration of the 500th year of the Christianization of the Philippines

On December 1, 2019, the church will start a 500-day countdown to April 14, 2021, the 500th anniversary of the first baptism in the Philippines. On that day in 1521, 800 Cebuanos under Humabon were baptized by members of the Spanish armada led by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

On April 14, 2021, 500 children with special needs will be baptized as part of the reenactment of that first baptism.

Jubilee Cross sendoff

Also on December 1, church officials will send off the Jubilee Cross, a replica of Magellan’s cross made of tindalo wood that will have in it a relic of the True Cross. The Jubilee Cross will visit the different parishes in Cebu and the rest of the Philippines.

The activities were announced earlier today by church officials led by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma and CBCP President and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles during a press conference in the Executive Lounge of Oakridge Business Park in Mandaue City.

2021 EVENTS. Officials announce the official activities for the 500th anniversary of the Christianization in the Philippines. Present during the press conference in Oakridge Business Park are (from left) Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili; Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, who is also the CBCP president; Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, designer Kenneth Cobonpue, who heads the Visayas Quincentennial Committee; and Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones.
2021 EVENTS. Officials announce the official activities for the 500th anniversary of the Christianization in the Philippines. Present during the press conference in Oakridge Business Park are (from left) Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili; Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, who is also the CBCP president; Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, designer Kenneth Cobonpue, who heads the Visayas Quincentennial Committee; and Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones.

Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili said the 2021 celebration has three pillars around which events are organized – celebration, formation, and legacy. He said the 2021 celebration has many highlights – including the arrival of the Sto. Nino, for which the Augustinian community started a countdown today. He said the archdiocese chose to focus on the baptism because “it is when our faith was planted in our hearts.”

Open Holy Door

Fr. Balili said they requested Pope Francis for permission to open the Holy Door for plenary indulgence and extend this to the 9 oldest churches in Cebu. Archbishop Palma will also celebrate the Misa de Gallo in 2020 in these 9 oldest churches, which include Bantayan, Argao, Barili, Boljoon, Carcar, San Nicolas, among others.

Key events leading to 2021 including the holding of monthly jubilees involving church organizations, ministries, and sectors of society. The jubilees are pegged on feast days of saints.

Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones highlighted the importance of the events saying 2021 is unrepeatable, irreplaceable and irrevocable. He said it is a “once in a lifetime event.”

“If Bethlehem is point x of our salvation history, in the Philippines, Cebu – the cradle of Christianity – is the point x where faith spread,” he said.

HERITAGE WALK. Designer Kenneth Cobonpue, head of the Visayas Quincentennial Committee, discusses the heritage walk the Cebu City Government and various stakeholders want to put up in time for the celebration.
HERITAGE WALK. Designer Kenneth Cobonpue, head of the Visayas Quincentennial Committee, discusses the heritage walk the Cebu City Government and various stakeholders want to put up in time for the celebration.

Mission congress

Part of the preparation for the year-long celebration leading to the quincentennial is the holding of mission congresses in the different parishes from August to October 2020. The Archdiocesan Mission Congress will be held on October 24, 2020. This will culminate with the sendoff of 500 missionaries outside extra during the National Mission Congress on April 12-16, 2021.

On April 11 to 18, 2021, organizers will stage an Amorsolo Painting Exhibit. One of Fernando Amorsolo’s most important paintings is “The First Baptism in the Philippines.”

Triduum celebrations will also be held three days before the baptism anniversary. Preceding it is the arrival of the Jubilee Cross scheduled on April 10, 2021. The first day of Triduum on April 11 will be held at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The second day will be at the National Shrine of St. Joseph while the last day will be at the Sto. Niño Pilgrim Center. The Triduum will end with a procession around Cebu City.

First recorded Easter Mass

Valles said the church will mark the first recorded Easter Mass with a national celebration of masses. The Mojares panel is still looking into the question on where the first mass in the Philippines was held. Two previous panels have ruled in favor of Limasawa against the other claimant Butuan.

During today’s press conference, renowned designer Kenneth Cobonpue, who is head of the Visayas Quincentennial Committee, unveiled the planned downtown heritage walk that would take people to historical buildings and locations, including churches, in Cebu City. (See separate story).

Valles said the CBCP will send an invitation to Vatican for Pope Francis but they said they are aware of how tight his schedule is. He said it is likely that a papal legate will attend the events for the Vatican. He said they will also be sending an invitation to President Rodrigo Duterte.

Lapulapu statue implicated in deaths of Opon mayors

In the old town center of Opon, the old name of Lapu-Lapu City when it was still a municipality, stands a statue of Lapulapu carrying a staff. Far from being the warrior that is depicted in the bigger and more popular statue in Liberty Shrine eight kilometers away, this Lapulapu looks less menacing.

He’s more shepherd than warrior. It’s ridiculous, said historian Jobers Bersales in an interview, “alho man daw na.”

Lapulapu legends

That alho or pestle figures in the many legends and myths that obscure the historical Lapulapu, National Artist Dr. Resil Mojares said in a paper he read during the Symposium on Lapulapu at the University of San Carlos on April 21, 1979.

One of the legends had the mythical Datu Mangal, said to be Lapulapu’s father, asking the warrior to make an alho out of a biyanti tree and hurl it against a coconut tree and if the pestle pierces the trunk then it would serve as a good omen that he will be victorious in the upcoming battle with the Spaniards. Lapulapu did so and not only did the pestle pierce the coconut trunk, it went through five, according to some accounts.)

Mojares said that folk tradition has Lapulapu himself killing Magellan with a blow of the alho.

Lapulapu statue then and now.

While interesting, there are scant historical bases for the tradition, Mojares said.

The killing by Lapulapu of Magellan with a blow of the alho does not jibe with Pigafetta’s account of his killing. He was killed with a poisoned arrow, Bersales said.

Also, Oponganons during Lapulapu’s time may have been orang-laut or sea-nomads who inhabit the sea, Mojares wrote. “They were obviously more attached to the sea than the land,” he wrote.

Canuto Baring and stories of Lapulapu

“It strikes us therefore as strange that an alho, an agricultural implement, should figure prominently in the Lapulapu legend,” said Mojares.

The alho myth ties up with the stories of Canuto Baring “a popular source of Lapulapu legends who claimed direct descent from the hero.” He died in 1962.

Mojares wrote that in 1930, a giant alho and kuwako (pipe) said to be of Lapulapu and owned by Baring were put on exhibit. Kuwako ug alho ni Lapulapu ipasundayag sa Kamabal, reported Bag-ong Kusug on January 3, 1930.

His daughter Antonia, however, told Mojares in an interview that “these were just old artifacts that were dug up and “ascribed” to the hero.”

LAPULAPU. A photograph of the Lapulapu stature on October 10, 1949 by “Life” photographer Jack Birns. Beyond the statue is the old Opon church. (Photo from John Tewell’s Flickr account)
LAPULAPU. A photograph of the Lapulapu stature on October 10, 1949 by “Life” photographer Jack Birns. Beyond the statue is the old Opon church. (Photo from John Tewell’s Flickr account)

Deaths of Opon mayors

But when the statue was put up in 1933, Lapulapu was armed with a bow and arrow and aimed at the direction of the old Opon municipal hall across the town plaza.

Three successive mayors then died in office – Rito de la Serna, Gregorio de la Serna, and Simeon Amodia – all serving short terms. Superstitious townsfolk blamed the Lapulapu statue for their deaths.

It was modified during the term of Mariano Dimataga, who assumed as Open chief executive in 1938. The bow and arrow were taken away and replaced with the staff or pestle. Dimataga remained chief executive for the next 30 years, the longest serving town mayor of Opon and the first city mayor when the town became Lapu-Lapu City.

Marica! Bisaya words in use when Magellan was in Cebu

I’ve long been curious about the word marica, which I first heard when I relocated to Cebu more than 20 years ago. I never heard it growing up in Polomolok, South Cotabato where we talked a patois that was a mix of Cebuano and Ilonggo.

For us, it was “dali” or “adto diri” or “ari di.” For years I spoke an ungrammatical “adto ko dinhi ugma (I’ll be here tomorrow).” The correct phrase is “anhi ko ugma.” To come here is anhi, to go there is adto, I was to learn soon enough.

I can no longer recall when I first heard marica but I’ve always thought it a modernism, a portmanteau of “muari ka” (edit: several people have said the root is the phrase “umari ka“) that evolved into a single-word bidding.

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Magellan’s Cross offers indulgence to Catholic faithful

Augustinian friar Santos Gomez Marañon, who served as bishop of Cebu from 1829 to 1840, granted the Magellan’s Cross plenary indulgence to those who pray before it every Feast of the Triumph of the Cross on September 14.

The indulgence is gained by praying the Creed.

For those unfamiliar with Catholic teachings, an indulgence is a way to reduce the punishment for sins. It can be attained by performing a good deed or reciting a prayer or visiting a place.

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