Re/Discovering Cebu, one story at a time

Wakeboarding, skateboarding, surfing enthusiasts form community

You stand or kneel on a board at a platform built on the shallows, hold on to a cable for dear life, and go skim over the sea in a…

You stand or kneel on a board at a platform built on the shallows, hold on to a cable for dear life, and go skim over the sea in a water sport called wakeboarding that’s gaining popularity in Cebu.

One of the places that offer wakeboarding activities is the Cebu Wake Park inside the Papa Kit’s Marina and Fishing Lagoon.

Wakeboarders met with other board riders last Saturday, February 7, at Papa Kit’s to launch the Cebu Boardriding Community, for now an informal grouping of 670 members.

The group includes wakeboarding, wakeskating, skateboarding, and surfing enthusiasts and professional riders in Cebu, said Noel Quiño Quisan of the Lazion Skateboarding Community.

Cebu Boardriding Community

CEBU BOARDRIDING COMMUNITY. (From left) Boeing Paras, Joselito Yuson Jr., Willysys Gomez Manlukot, Francs Daryl Abella, Helmut Estremos, Noel Niño Quisan and Carl Kevin Gasal during the launching of the Cebu Boardriding Community in Cebu Wake Park inside the Papa Kit’s Marina and Fishing Lagoon in Liloan.

Wakeboarding

At the Cebu Wake Park, the wakeboarding and wakeskating facility uses a 2.0 system that pulls the rider in a straight line from one point to another and back again, explained Helmut Estremos.

Along the way, there are ramps called sliders or kickers that wakeboarders can glide on or jump from and execute difficult maneuvers.

According to Estremos, who works at the Cebu Wake Park, wakeboarding is when you use a board with shoe attachments and wakeskating is when it is just a plain level board.

One hour at Cebu Wake Park costs P400 on weekdays and P500 on weekends. The fee already includes the use of equipment and guidance from an instructor, especially for beginners to the sport.

Cebu Boardriding Community

DRONE SHOT. Members of the Cebu Boardriding Community pose for a drone shot at the Cebu Wake Park inside the Papa Kit’s Marina and Fishing Lagoon in Liloan.

Skateboarding

Many of Cebu’s boardriders started with skateboarding and transitioned into other board sports, said Boeing Paras.

Paras, one of Cebu’s pioneers, started skateboarding in 1990 and went into surfing in 2003.

Like Paras and the others, Francs Daryl Abella, who is now into wakeskating, had once been into skateboarding.

He explained that once you have a feel for and balance on a board, it’s easier to take up a sport that uses a similar equipment.

Cebu Wake Park

CEBU WAKE PARK. The wakeboarding and wakeskating facility in the Cebu Wake Park uses a 2.0 system that pulls the rider in a straight line from one point to another and back again.

Surfing

“When you know how to skate, the transition to surfing for example is faster,” added Paras. There really are areas in Cebu where surfing is possible, he said, citing Carmen in the north and San Fernando in the south.

Surfing is possible when the north wind (amihan) blows and create swells in Carmen, which usually happens from December up to March, and the south wind (habagat) does the same in San Fernando from June until October.

Paras said they hold a 5-day surfing camp in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur every April for only P9,800. The camp is on its sixth year now.

Another surfer, Carlo de Asis of the Aframe Surf Company, said a lot of those who surf and join competitions in Lanuza come from Cebu. Aframe manufactures made-to-order surfing boards in Talamban, and de Asis said the price ranges from P16,000 to P25,000.

Cebu Wakeboarding

WAKEBOARDING FEE. One hour at Cebu Wake Park costs P400 on weekdays and P500 on weekends.

Boardriding community

Quisan said they’ve also invited longboarders to join the community. The idea to create a group for boardriders came about during the Lazion Skateboarding Competition in October 2014.

“We invited and asked for the support of the wakeboarding and surfing community and they showed up during the competition. It was then that we discussed the idea of creating a community,” he added.

They started organizing the Cebu Boardriding Community by creating a Facebook page in November and holding a soft launch in December. Quisan said they’re still compiling requirements for the group’s registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

He added that boardriding sports are becoming popular in Cebu, especially since there are wakeboarders, skateboarders, and surfers who’ve won competitions and caught the interest of sponsors.

Cebu Wake Park

FOR BEGINNERS. The fee charged by the Cebu Wake Park covers the use of equipment and guidance from an instructor, especially for beginners to the sport.

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Asus Zenfone 5 Lite: big-screen smartphone for the budget-conscious

BUILDING on the success of Zenfone 5, Asus recently released a cheaper version of the handset in time for end-of-the-year upgrading – the Asus Zenfone 5 Lite.

MaxBlogBUILDING on the success of Zenfone 5, Asus recently released a cheaper version of the handset in time for end-of-the-year upgrading – the Asus Zenfone 5 Lite.

The Zenfone 5 Lite has a dual core Intel Atom 1.2 Ghz processor with 1GB RAM and an 8GB internal memory that is expandable via microSD up to 64GB. The phone comes with a 5-inch qHD display of 960×540. It has an eight-megapixel rear camera with auto focus and LED flash. It comes with a .3-megapixel selfie or front camera.

The phone has with a non-removable 2,500 mAh Li-Polymer battery that should, in regular use, take you through a working day. The Zenfone 5 Lite is dual SIM and has HSPA+ connectivity.

The Zenfone 5 Lite comes with Android 4.4 or Kitkat with Asus ZenUI, the company’s custom Android skin.

Asus Zenfone 5 Lite

BUDGET SMARTPHONE. The Asus Zenfone 5 Lite is a good option for those wanting to upgrade to a smartphone on a budget.

Budget smartphone

I used the phone for a couple of weeks in December as test and found it a good enough device for those looking to upgrade to a smartphone but are on a budget.

The test unit was the white version and it looked good, even in comparison to other higher end devices. The phone is designed well and looks to have excellent finish. It also feels well-built and tough.

The phone was responsive enough to use although it doesn’t stand out compared with other units within and below its price range that I tested at about the same time. Starmobile’s UP Mini and UP Lite, both of which are cheaper, are more responsive and smoother. The Starmobile phones have quad-core processors although Intel, in its previous presentations on their processors, take pains to insist it’s not just about the number of cores but also about their quality.

Asus Zenfone 5 Lite

POWERED BY INTEL. The Asus Zenfone 5 Lite is powered by an Intel Atom dual-core processor.

Sleek Asus ZenUI interface

I used the Zenfone 5 Lite as main work phone for more than a week and found the experience okay. My go-to apps — Mailbox, Google Keep, Evernote, Trello and Slack – worked well enough as to go through a regular workday. Save for one incident of the keyboard freezing, I did not encounter any major hiccup while I was using the device.

Asus ZenUI is also a sleek interface that’s easy on the eyes. My current favorite Android launcher is CM Launcher but ZenUI isn’t too shabby either. It’s actually quite good. My favorite feature is the “What’s Next” component, which helps you keep track of and reminds you of your schedules. I also liked the way it presents the caller screen, with its sleek design.

The phone’s camera is also good enough for its price range. Eight megapixels is pretty standard for most mid-level phone cameras nowadays.

Asus Zenfone 5 Lite promo

The Zenfone 5 Lite retails for P5,595. If you buy it from any of the Thinking Tools branches in Cebu – On Junquera Extension, in Ayala Center Cebu and in the Cyberzone in SM City Cebu – you will get a free 8GB microSD card and OTG cable for free. (NOTE: Please check with the store ahead because this promo information was given in December)

For its price and build quality, the Asus Zenfone 5 Lite is a good budget option for those seeking to upgrade to a smartphone with a big enough screen, a good finish, sleek design and the brand backing of a major global company.

AsusZenfone 5 Lite unboxing

UNBOXING. The Asus Zenfone 5 Lite out of the box.

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MyStory: A confused mind is like murky water, here’s how to find inner peace

If you wander around the city, you might notice some people in stretchy pants slinging a yoga mat on their backs. They are called yogis or people who do yoga….

If you wander around the city, you might notice some people in stretchy pants slinging a yoga mat on their backs. They are called yogis or people who do yoga. They are indeed a common sight here in Cebu. They are mostly students and professionals who find time to practice before or after their work.

Claire Paredes

Claire Paredes

Now, if you are wondering what they have been practicing, these yogis do poses called asanas which will help them improve their focus, strength, stamina and flexibility. Aside from that, they also do meditation to help them find a quiet space, both outward and inward, despite their busy schedules. Also, they learn how to do proper breathing techniques to help them focus and relax.

Some people have a misconception that yoga is all about sitting down with closed eyes, crossed legs and with hands on the knees. I don’t blame them because I have also seen those kinds of images on TV. However, that is just one aspect of yoga and it’s called meditation. It helps us attain clarity of the mind.

Finding inner peace

As my guru once explained to me, a confused mind is like murky water. Every particle that is making our mind unclear will settle down slowly at the bottom when we meditate. Thus, when we meditate when we are confused,we will find the answers. Meditation enables us to find inner peace. Now this “inner peace” may sound cliché but I definitely agree that if we can be at peace with our own self, we will eventually radiate that peace to the people around us.

LESS STRESS. Most of my yogi friends agree that yoga has really lessened their stress.

LESS STRESS. Most of my yogi friends agree that yoga has really lessened their stress.

The other aspect of yoga, the asanas or poses can be categorized from easy to advance. Compared with going to the gym to lift weights, I can say that yoga will help you lose weight or tone your body faster. Why? It’s because in yoga you don’t just carry dumb bells of say 20 pounds but you carry your own weight. Now, compare that to 20 lbs!

We get more benefits from doing yoga compared to other forms of physical exercises because yoga is not just an exercise but an “inner”cise as well. I have heard a lot of positive feedbacks from my friends who have been practicing yoga.

Aside from gaining toned arms and abs and becoming flexible, they said yoga has also helped them in terms of their attitude. One friend claimed she nags less now, or she is less noisy now. Another friend said she is more pro-active now, rather than reactive. According to them, yoga helps them become more focused on their task. Now, that is really something good for students who are cramming for their tests and for those who need to beat a deadline.

Most of my yogi friends agree that yoga has really lessened their stress.

Experience to understand

I can go on and on explaining what yoga can do but I guess it is better if you experience it yourself. It’s like love that is quite hard to explain or magic. You need to experience it to understand it.

If you want to know more, you can check out my Beginners’ Class at Surya Nanda Yoga on Acacia St. in Barangay Kaputhaw. It’s just across Harold’s Hotel on Gorordo Ave. I have been teaching yoga there for almost two years now. It is in Surya Nanda where I started to fall in love with yoga and I hope to share that love to you too.

Yoga For All. If you want to know more, you can check out my Beginners’ Class at Surya Nanda Yoga on Acacia St. in Barangay Kaputhaw.

Yoga For All. If you want to know more, you can check out my Beginners’ Class at Surya Nanda Yoga on Acacia St. in Barangay Kaputhaw.

I once was a beginner there who could hardly touch my toes. And mind you, I am a scoliotic too. I couldn’t even change my clothes without my daughter’s assistance. But you see, yoga has really done wonders to my spine. I have said goodbye to back pains a long time ago.

Practice with me every Saturday at 6:45 p.m. The fee is only P50 for an hour and 15 minute-class. My approach is like a Yoga 101class where I explain to beginners what to expect and do. I break down the poses in easy steps for beginners to understand it better. I also teach how to practice safely and modify your practice if you have any injury or health conditions.

If you think that yoga is just for those who are flexible, you can erase that misconception now. As I always explain to my students, flexibility is not a requirement but a result of doing yoga. All you need to do is show up and the rest will follow.

Just a few tips though before you come to your first yoga class. Make sure not to eat a full meal two hours before coming to class or you might feel weird in some poses. Wear comfy clothes like leggings and shorts and tops that hug your body.

Loose shirts often cover the nose when you’re upside down. You might find it difficult to breathe. As for the mats, we have yoga mats in the studio that youcan use for free or you can also bring your own. Bring your own towel of course and water. See you in the studio. Namaste!

claire-pose

(Claire Paredes is a grade school teacher by day and a Vinyasa yoga teacher by night. She is on a mission to share her passion of yoga and its benefits with anyone who is willing to learn. She credits yoga with helping her cope with her lower back pains due to scoliosis.)

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From humba to kan-on mais and saang, Cafe Marco buffet features Cebuano fiesta fare in Sugbusog 2015

More than 60 mostly local Cebuano dishes are featured on top of the regular buffet spread of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu’s Cafe Marco up to January 21, 2015. Cafe Marco…

More than 60 mostly local Cebuano dishes are featured on top of the regular buffet spread of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu’s Cafe Marco up to January 21, 2015.

Cafe Marco is holding Sugbusog 2015 to feature Pagkaong Inato, well-loved local recipes, in a five-star restaurant setting and amid the festive atmosphere of the Sinulog Festival 2015.

Kinilaw nga tanguige.

Kinilaw nga tanguige.

On a given day up to January 21, the pangpagana or appetizers and salads station can display gay salad (sweet potato leaves in vinaigrette dressing), kamatis og itlog maalat with pinakurat vinegar, kinilaw na sunlutan (sea cucumber salad), eggplant salad, kasahos na baka (dried beef tapa), kinusit-kusit na nokos (flaked dried squid), kinilaw na tanguige, fern salad, or pepino salad.

The boiled cardaba (kind of banana) and kamote (sweet potato) that came with spicy ginamos and green mango with hipon were just too good to resist. I ended up having seconds.

Grilled saang.

Grilled saang.

Sinulog fiesta fare

From January 9 to 21, as Cebuanos celebrate the month-long Sinulog Festival in honor of the Señor Sto. Niño de Cebu, the buffet dishes at Cafe Marco reflect your typical Cebuano fiesta fare.

There’s Cebu lechon – as no Cebuano feast is ever complete without one, inasal na baka (roasted calf), inasal na manok (roasted chicken), sinugbang isda, crispy pata at the carving station. Off the grill, there’s chicken, pork BBQ, pork belly, tuna panga, atay-batikon sa manok, chorizo, salmon head, saang (a kind of shellfish), assorted small fish.

Other offerings include beef steak bisaya, humba, adobong baboy pinauga (Cebuano adobo), kinamatisan na bulad (dried fish in heavy tomato salsa), balbacua (ox tail and knuckles in peanut sauce), adobong kangkong, bam-i, crab relleno, puso (hanging rice). You name it, and Cafe Marco probably has it in the buffet.

A very typical Cebuano dish is the adobong mais kan-on (corn grits), as Cebu is probably among a very few places in the Visayas that serve it.

Kan-on mais is a favorite among many Cebuanos.

Kan-on mais or corn grits is a favorite among many Cebuanos.

Bisaya bread, ice candy

During these days, local Cebuano breads also take center stage: bahug-bahug, coco bread, mongo bread, hopia, pig pie, everlasting. These are baked in-house with the great attention to taste that characterizes Cafe Marco recipes.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu e-marketing manager Yumny Mariot, who invited us to lunch at Cafe Marco, said the buffet usually carries international bread but makes exception for Sugbusog 2015, the restaurant’s iconic culinary journey that seeks to highlight well-loved Cebuano recipes.

As she explained the Sugbusog concept, a restaurant staff in a typical Filipino kimona and long skirt came by carrying an ice bucket and offered us ice candy. It was too good an opportunity to pass up having a favorite childhood snack.

The humba is a favorite local pork dish.

The humba is a favorite local pork dish.

Native food treats

What really excited me were those native desserts that I love so much. There’s puto paired with sikwate (hot choco drink made from cacao beans) and mango, polvoron, linusak, biko, bingka with salted egg, masareal, and saging minatamis. I had to have a little of everything.

On some days, the panghimagas (Cebuano for desserts) display carries cassava cake, turon, yemas, budbod, leche flan, siakoy, binignit, pichi-pichi, palitaw.

Panghimagas or desserts. Masareal, polvoron, puto bumbong, puto, biko.

Panghimagas or desserts. Masareal, polvoron, puto bumbong, puto, biko.

At the trolley section, there’s balut #18 with salt and pinakurat, which I lacked the courage to try. The popular street food taho finds its place in a five-star restaurant.

All these and more for the net price of P1,099 for the lunch buffet and P1,395 for the dinner buffet in Sugbusog 2015 at Cafe Marco. It’s truly an iconic culinary journey.

(Disclosure: Marco Polo Plaza Cebu is a partner of our start-up InnoPub Media. They are a sponsor of our Cebu Guide and we were the ones who created their app.)

More photos

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MyStory: A Mormon covers the Sinulog and writes about religious co-existence

(Editor’s note: Nel Mozol is an InnoPub Media intern from the University of San Jose-Recoletos. He is a Mormon or a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day…

(Editor’s note: Nel Mozol is an InnoPub Media intern from the University of San Jose-Recoletos. He is a Mormon or a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We asked him to attend a Sinulog event and write about it from his perspective.)

The Philippines has always been heralded as the cradle of Catholicism in Asia. Walk around and you’ll meet children named Niño, Jesus, Mary and Magdalene.

A ride on a jeepney will offer a peek into this deep Catholicism – often you will see a miniature Santo Niño mounted on the dashboard, a rosary wound on the steering wheel or hanging from the rear-view mirror.

A sea of people brave the downpour to attend the mass at the Basilica del Sto. Niño. (USJR MassCom Intern Nel Mozol)

A sea of people brave the downpour to attend the mass at the Basilica del Sto. Niño. (USJR MassCom Intern Nel Mozol)

Catholic Church heritage

Most of the Philippine heritage sites are even Catholic churches, hinting on the strong presence of Catholicism in the country.

And here comes us, the non-Catholics. We number less than 20 percent of the population, according to a 2013 SWS survey. We do not get as many holidays as Catholics do. But the best thing is that we co-exist nicely with them.

As a Mormon, I’ve often been teased on why we give importance to giving tithes or why we don’t make the sign of the cross and down to the more weird ones like why David Archuleta is in our church. I don’t take those jokes seriously as there are more people who understand us and respect our belief.

Also out of curiosity, I propelled myself to the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino to attend a novena mass. It wasn’t an easy feat going there, it was raining so hard, there were almost zero jeepneys available, and I had to walk and brave the heavy downpour.

I have always heard naysayers exclaiming that most Catholics don’t take their church seriously as they do not bring Bibles and hardly observe the dress code.

But they’re wrong.

Devotees light candles in prayer at the basilica. (USJR MassCom intern Nel Mozol)

Devotees light candles in prayer at the basilica. (USJR MassCom intern Nel Mozol)

Deep belief

In there was a sea of people not minding the heavy rain just to attend the mass. Not serious? A lot of people cried while singing the Gozos. Not counting those people who were weeping and shaking while lighting the small candles, praying, and asking for guidance from the Lord God.

The dress code violation was half true, but mostly violating it were foreigners. It is worth noting that despite looking “manang” by modern standards, a lot of mothers, including their daughters, preferred to wear skirts that reach below the knee.

Good thing the Basilica also provides umbrellas to keep churchgoers from getting wet.

The priest’s homily was centered on the penance of sins. In this modern time, where we casually commit sin without knowing it, the homily served as reminder that we should be more mindful and please the Lord with all the good things that we do.

Common thread among religions

The homily talked about the same subject common in many religions –praising the Lord and avoiding sin.

What totally stood out for me is the variety of the churchgoers. There were students in uniform, LGBTs, old women, and the entire sort of people you come across on any given day.

It is amazing how despite their differences, they were brought together in the same place, at the same time, not minding the environmental conditions for one cause – that is praising the Lord God.

My whole experience taught me one thing – co-existence. The world is wonderful. It is just too sad that we are divided by our beliefs, traditions, religions and views.

It is so sad that we are creating an invisible barrier among ourselves, that blinds us to what could be.

The world is amazing. Wouldn’t it be more amazing, however, if we choose to share it peacefully with the rest of humankind, regardless of religion?

SINULOG SELFIE. The author (front) with fellow InnoPub Media interns from the University of San Jose-Recoletos.

SINULOG SELFIE. The author (front) with fellow InnoPub Media interns from the University of San Jose-Recoletos.

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Cafe Racer offers hip dining, drinking experience

An old Volkswagen camper van serves as the cashier’s section, oil barrels are turned into seats, car tools decorate the walls, while a gas pump spews out beer at Cafe…

An old Volkswagen camper van serves as the cashier’s section, oil barrels are turned into seats, car tools decorate the walls, while a gas pump spews out beer at Cafe Racer, one of the newest and probably the hippest theme restaurants in Cebu.

Cafe Racer is inspired by a racing lifestyle in the United Kingdom (UK) where some bikers optimize their motorcycles for speed by stripping these down and race from cafe to cafe, according to restaurant owner Charlie Pages.

“The winner gets 20 euro,” he said. The black motorcycle inside the restaurant, Pages added, is an example of a lightweight and fast bike that cafe racers use.

CAFE RACER is inspired by a racing lifestyle in the UK where bikers race from one cafe to another.

CAFE RACER is inspired by a racing lifestyle in the UK where bikers race from one cafe to another. (Photo by Marlen Limpag)

Cafe Racer, which opened less than a month ago, is a rectangular flat-roofed building, with about a third of the top used as additional restaurant space. Inside, the ceiling is bare and the ventilation cables are out.

Automobile theme

Restaurant furniture is a hodgepodge of regular and specially made furniture and fixtures. Those oil barrels ingeniously turned into two kinds of seats, stool and couch, can really make you take a second look.

Then there’s that cashier’s area walled off with an old Volkswagen van.

COUNTER. Cafe Racer's counter is walled off by a VW camper van. (Photo by Marlen Limpag)

COUNTER. Cafe Racer’s counter is walled off by a VW camper van. (Photo by Max Limpag)

Other automobile odds and ends are used elsewhere in the restaurant compound. Some outside tables are made from colorful car hoods. The hand washing area has vehicle transmission parts for sinks and radiators as mirror frames.

The washrooms use license plates to designate the men’s from the women’s.

Al fresco dining

Cafe Racer sits on a big lot along Ouano Avenue in Mandaue City, shortly after Vivo Sugbo (formerly Amnezia Superclub) if you’re coming from Cebu City.

Aside from the main restaurant, there is a separate snack bar counter that features more al fresco dining and a coal grill under the open hood of a VW beetle.

What appears to be the gas pump island of a gas station is actually a beer drinking area as the malt brew, not fuel, comes out of the lone dispenser.

In this case, it serves fuel for humans not automobiles, said Pages. Aside from local beer, Cafe Racer serves important brands as well.

GRILL STATION. Check out this cool barbecue station. (Photo by Max Limpag)

GRILL STATION. Check out this cool barbecue station. (Photo by Max Limpag)

Menu

On the menu are sandwiches, burgers, pasta, pizza, salads, street food, desserts, steak, as well as chicken and pork dishes. Off the grill, there’s pork and chicken barbecue, chops, even hotdog.

It was mid-afternoon when we first visited the place, and Cafe Racer mostly functioned as a cafe. Customers were having coffee or snacks.

We came back at night and the place was overflowing with diners and people having drinks with friends. A few played loud music from their car stereos. It was a complete contrast to the quiet afternoon scene.

Cafe Racer operates from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. or even later and serves snacks and coffee, lunch, dinner as well as alcoholic beverages.

FUEL UP! This Cafe Racer "gas pump" loads beer by the pitcher. (Photo by Max Limpag)

FUEL UP! This Cafe Racer “gas pump” loads beer by the pitcher. (Photo by Max Limpag)

More Cafe Racer photos

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Other side of Sinulog: Cebu turns into a big party zone; here’s where you should go

Sinulog is both festive and religious. It is the biggest religious gathering in Cebu; it is also its biggest party – on the street, in dance halls and open air locations….

Sinulog is both festive and religious. It is the biggest religious gathering in Cebu; it is also its biggest party – on the street, in dance halls and open air locations.

LifedanceCebu

GIANT PARTY. Lifedance says it is the country’s first outdoor EDM or electronic dance music party. This year’s Lifedance will be held on January 16 at the SRP. (Photo taken from official Lifedance Facebook page)

 

Revelry starts on the week leading to the grand parade and continues way into the early hours before dawn breaks each day. If you’re out to have fun during Sinulog 2015, here are the parties you should join. Pit Senyor!

(UPDATESmart Prepaid kicks off ‘Live All Out’ season with 2 of the biggest parties in Sinulog 2015 (and we’re giving away tickets!!); subscribers get chance to win iPhone 6 (Read all about it in an updated story here)

Sonic Boom Secret Show

Sonicboom Secret Show

January 15 to 17
Known for gathering the best local rock bands in one stage, Sonic Boom is one party to look out for. “Enjoying 8 years of making gigs that don’t suck,” it says. Sonic Boom has raised their game by making it a 3-day music event with 8 artists per day.

WHERE: Chillage, North Reclamation area
TIME: 7 PM
TICKETS: Early bird price P250 Php (see SONIC BOOM Philippines facebook page for details)
CONTACT www.facebook.com/sonicboomph

Life Dance

Life Dance

January 16
Life Dance is known for having epic parties that are joined by locals and tourists alike. It said in its website that it is the country’s first ever outdoor EDM or electronic dance music party. This year, they have prepared a night of Electronic Dance Music by local and international DJs

WHERE: South Road Properties
TIME: 4PM
TICKETS:
Patron (Before Jan 15) P750
Patron P1,000
VIP (Before Jan 15) P1,500
VIP P2,000
VIP Table P25,000 (10 VIP tickets + 2 premium drinks)
CALL Mike Orlanes +63921 258 8178 (tap on number to call on your phone)

Threadfest Sinulog 2015

Threadfest-Sinulog

January 17
Threadfest Sinulog showcases rad T-shirts from Threadfest brands, live performances by over ten bands and music by DJs.
WHERE: Parkmall, West Gate, Parking Lot
TICKETS: General Admission P350

Take Over 2

Take Over 2

January 16
Take Over 2 is a night of music featuring this generation’s greatest Cebuano bands such as Urbandub, Franco, Powerspoonz, Junior Kilat, and more.
WHERE: KOA Tree House, Lahug
TIME: 4:20 PM
TICKETS: P400
CONTACT: www.facebook.com/SkillsandBones.ClothingCo

Sensation

Sensation
January 18
They made history last year by hosting one big party and this year, they are about to do the same. Situated beside the grand parade route, they surely will lure the crowd with the beats by local and national DJs.
WHERE: Alchology Parking lot
TIME: 1PM
TICKETS: General Admission (before Jan 12) P350 with free shirt
General Admission P500 with free shirt
VIP P15,000 10 tickets + freebies
CALL Via Chan +63927 366 4301 or +63933 449 6899

Sinulog Invasion

Sinulog Invasion

January 18
Having hosted Masskara Invasion, Kadayawan Invasion and more, Spectrum is known for hosting the wildest parties in the country. With a line up of the best of Filipino DJs and 4 international DJs they sure will make your Sinulog experience unforgettable.

WHERE: Fooda Parking Grounds
TIME: All day
TICKETS: General Admission (before Jan 16) P500
General Admission P650
VIP (before Jan 16) P1,200
VIP P1,500
You can buy tickets online.
CALL Alexandra +6392 9798 4176 or visit the Spectrum website

Download Sinulog Guide to be updated on Sinulog events and parties.

sinulog-2015-guide

Download Sinulog Guide 2015 here.

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#TBT: Old Opon Church or the Nuestra Señora Virgen de Regla parish

Since the devotion to her started in Africa, this church’s patron – the Patroness of the Rule of St. Augustine – has been depicted as dark-skinned. Lucy Urgello Miller, in…

Since the devotion to her started in Africa, this church’s patron – the Patroness of the Rule of St. Augustine – has been depicted as dark-skinned.

Lucy Urgello Miller, in “Glimpses of Old Cebu: Images of the Colonial Era,” wrote that this church’s first parish priest way back in 1735 brought with him an original painting of the Nuestra Señora Virgen de Regla from Africa.

Opon Church

OLD OPON CHURCH. This photo taken in 1910 shows the old Opon Church, which is known for its Virgen de Regla devotion. This church, however, was torn down in 1960 and replaced with what you see now in its location in Lapu-Lapu City. (Photo used with permission from the Cebuano Studies Center)

The priest – Augustinian friar Francis Avalle – used this painting to teach people about her and as basis for the religious icon of the Patroness of the Rule that he commissioned also in 1735.

Both objects are housed at a special room at the back of the church where devotees line up to kiss or touch the Virgen as part of a “panaad” or devotion. Devotees usually come in throngs during the Lapu-Lapu City fiesta on November 21 or days leading up to or after this date.

Fr. Stephen Cuyos, who once served as assistant priest at the parish, wrote in his blog that the devotion to the Patroness of the Rule originated with St. Augustine who hand-carved the first image of the Virgen de Regla.

He said he learned during his research into the parish’s patron that she got the name Virgen de Regla, which means Lady of the Rule, because St. Augustine dedicated to her the reglas or rules he created for members of his order to follow.

Virgen de Regla

The image of the Virgen de Regla as published in Balaanong Bahandi. (Reprinted with permission from the Archdiocese of Cebu)

Miller described this church, built between 1735 and 1744, as having a pathway of coral blocks that led to the sea during the early days. The structure is near Muelle Osmeña, a Spanish structure that now serves as docking area for passenger ferries plying the cities of Lapu-Lapu and Cebu.

Originally built from coral blocks, Miller added, this church was damaged but not badly during World War II and repairs brought it back to its original condition. It would have been among the oldest churches in the country if Dutch priests assigned there in 1960 had not decided to tear it down and build a new one in its place. They spared the nearby convent built in 1885 that is connected to the church to an arched gateway.

She also said that the Dutch priests sold off the church’s coral blocks and later its altar to the University of San Carlos museum.

Fr. Cuyos said Opon started out as a visita of San Nicolas and was elevated to parish status in the 1730s.

Virgen de regla bas relief

Antique bas relief of the Virgen de Regla carved on wood and salvaged from the demolished old church. It is now on display at the University of San Carlos museum. (Photo from the Balaanong Bahandi and reprinted with the permission of the Archdiocese of Cebu)

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REVIEW: Huawei Mate7 is a good, powerful big phone

WHEN you first hold the Huawei Mate7 in your hand, what is immediately apparent is how sleek its design is. At 7.9 mm thin, the Mate7 is a well-built device with top-of-the-line specifications worthy of a flagship device.

MaxBlogWHEN you first hold the Huawei Mate7 in your hand, what is immediately apparent is how sleek its design is. At 7.9 mm thin, the Mate7 is a well-built device with top-of-the-line specifications worthy of a flagship device.

I tested the phone for a few days this week and found the device a great option for those who prefer their phones with larger screens.

The Mate7’s 6-inch screen is bright and sharp. While it’s not quad HD, the difference isn’t by much, at least as far as I can see. I use an LG G3, which is a quad HD phone, and I didn’t see any glaring difference with the Mate 7’s display.

The phone packs a powerful octa-core CPU that’s more than up to the task of running any app or game. In my few days of using the device, I found it very responsive and quite zippy. I loved using it for work – managing emails with Mailbox, taking down and organizing notes using Google Keep and Evernote, working with interns in our startup via Slack, writing and editing using Google Docs, reading articles and keeping up with news updates via apps Flipboard, Pocket and Zite.

Huawei Mate7

PHABLET. The Mate7 has a 6-inch display, about the right size to use your phone as your main portable computer. (Photo by Max Limpag)

Powerful octa-core processor

I also used the phone to watch a couple of episodes of my favorite TV series The Newsroom, Person of Interest, Forever and The Flash and found the experience even better than watching these shows on the G3, primarily because of the larger screen and the more responsive performance of the Mate 7.

And what a processor it is. According to the company website, “boasting octa-core architecture, Mate7 has an intelligent Huawei Kirin 925 processor made up of four large A15 1.8 GHz and four small A7 1.3 GHz chipsets which are activated in different configurations depending on the power needs of a specific app or function so the smartphone can be smarter with power management.”

The phone saves up to 50 percent of battery life by using smaller A7 cores to run standard apps, which the company said consumers use “at least 80% of the time.” The phone uses the bigger A15 processors for high-demand use such as in gaming.

That explains why the phone was such a joy to use when I tried out a few games in it.

Huawei Ascend Mate7

UNBOXING THE ASCEND MATE7. The Huawei Ascend Mate7 is a great phablet with long battery life

Great battery life

The Mate7 has a 4100 mAh non-user removable lithium polymer battery – a beast considering its svelte frame. I got the device about half-way charged on a Monday and it still had power even by Wednesday night, after more than a day of heavy use taking photos – often trying its rapid-fire multiple shots capability by pressing continuously on the shutter button – watching TV shows, listening to music and podcasts and trying out a few games.

I gave it a full charge Wednesday night and used the phone for reading, checking emails and keeping up with news on Thursday and then doing a factory reset on Friday before returning the device and it still had more than 85 percent battery charge. Like I said, a beast.

The phone comes with an ultra power saving feature that the company said “is designed to intelligently shut down the most battery draining features as your phone starts to lose power, meaning that you get extra life with the last 10 percent of your battery.”

Emotion UI

The phone comes with Huawei’s EMUI or Emotion UI and it looks good. I’ve long used Nova Launcher and when I tried EMUI for the first time with the Mate 7, I found it visually refreshing and actually liked the experience of using that interface with the phone. I tried out a few of its themes and the selection was good.

The phone comes with Android 4.4 or Kitkat, the penultimate version as of this year.

Fingerprint scanner

The Mate7 comes with a fingerprint scanner located just below its camera lens. The company said the phone is “possibly the market’s first six-inch smartphone with instant single-touch fingerprint access to put an end to password fatigue.”

“It enables users to unlock the phone at least 80 percent faster than devices that use a slower sweeping recognition option,” Huawei said in its website.

I tried it on the test unit and it does live up to the company’s promise. The phone took only one touch to unlock the device using my fingerprint – a pretty nifty feature that saves you a lot of time (multiply the time it takes to enter your PIN by the number of times you check your phone in a day and you’d get a peek into how much time the system saves for you – time you can then on the latest viral mobile game).

Huawei Mate7

THIN FRAME. The Mate7 is just 7.9mm thin and looks very sleek.

Camera

The Mate7 comes with a 13-megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash. It’s front camera is 5 megapixels. I used it to take a few test photos and liked the results, especially those taken in low light condition. It’s at par with my favorite cameraphone, the LG G3. The phone can do 1080p video recording and playback.

Storage

The phone comes with 16GB built-in memory that is expandable through a microSD card up to 128GB.

Connectivity

The company says the Ascend Mate7 uses a “dual antenna optimized to provide fewer dropped calls and smooth 4G LTE navigation.” It said the the device is compatible “with a wide range of network spectrums worldwide . . . and uses smart antenna switching to intelligently detect the strongest signal, choosing the ideal source for emission or reception of data.” The company said the device uses Cat6 4G LTE technology with a download rate of up to 300 Mbps within a compatible network.

The test unit I used was the amber gold model and it looked really good.

The package comes with a good quality folio case.

The Huawei Mate7 retails for P27,890 in regular phone stores and in retailers like Thinking Tools, which lent the unit used for this review.

For its price, the Huawei Ascend Mate7 is a great phablet that should be on top of your list if you’re planning to upgrade your phone this year.

Huawei Mate7 Test Photo

TEST PHOTO. A test photo taken with the Huawei Mate7 of the wooden robot on top of my computer in the Sun.Star Cebu central newsroom. Click on the photo to view the full size. I did not edit the photo and merely compressed it to save on file size using the TinyJPG service.

Huwaei Mate 7 specs

RAM: 3 GB
ROM: 16 GB
Display: 6 inches FHD Screen,1080p (1920 x 1080), 368PPI, 16M colors
CPU: Hisilicon Kirin 925 4×1.8GHz + 4×1.3GHz + 1x230MHz
OS: Android 4.4/Huawei Emotion UI 3.0
Camera: Rear: 13 megapixels, 4128 x 3096 pixels, autofocus with LED flash, 1080p at 30fps; Front: 5 megapixels, 720p
Battery: 4100mAh
Height: 157.0mm
Width: 81.0mm
Thickness: 7.9mm
Weight: 185g (including the battery)

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Top 6 pasalubong or bring-home gifts from Cebu

Are you travelling to Cebu for the Sinulog Festival 2015 celebration? It’s never too early to be on the lookout for the best pasalubong to bring home to relatives and…

Are you travelling to Cebu for the Sinulog Festival 2015 celebration? It’s never too early to be on the lookout for the best pasalubong to bring home to relatives and friends.

Cebu is known for such native delicacies as dried mangoes, otap, rosquillos, and masareal. Many tourists consider them the best bring-home gifts.

The secret to getting the best products is to buy from the top manufacturers. Here’s a list of Cebu specialty products and where you can get them.

1. Dried mangoes

Although there are now many companies manufacturing dried mangoes all throughout the Philippines, Cebu has been known as the first and best source of this healthy and delicious snack.

Sources:

Profood Gallery

In Cebu, the biggest dried mango manufacturer is Profood International Corporation. It sells dried mangoes under several brands: Philippine Brand, Cebu Brand, Happy, and Grace.

The company has a big store and museum called the Profood Gallery at its factory in Maguikay, Mandaue City. The gallery serves both as mango museum, where you get to learn about the mango industry in Cebu, and gift shoppe, where you shop for dried mangoes and other Profood products.

Philippine Brand. This brand of dried mangoes is among the most popular in the market.

Philippine Brand. This brand of dried mangoes is among the most popular in the market.

A tour at the Profood factory needs to be booked in advance. Here are the requirements and rates for the Profood Gallery tour. (Link: Profood Tour Booking)

Profood dried mango and other products are also available at big supermarkets and pasalubong shops in Cebu.

Islands Pasalubong

Dried mangoes and other Cebuano delicacies are also available at Islands Pasalubong. Aside from dried mangoes, Islands Pasalubong also carries other Cebuano specialties like otap, rosquillos, chicharon, and even dried fish or buwad. It also makes available native snacks like palitaw, sapin-sapin, puto, biko, budbud, kutsinta, fresh lumpia, pichi-pichi, ensaymada at the Pinoy Deli section. Since these are easily spoiled food, you may have difficulty bringing them home but you can certainly try any that suits your fancy.

There are currently six Islands Pasalubong branches in Cebu: Salinas Drive in Lahug (across Golden Cowrie), Cebu City; Marina Mall in Pusok and another in Punta Engaño, both in Lapu-Lapu City; Molave St. across Ayala Center Cebu on Archbishop Reyes Avenue side; Raintree Mall on Gen. Maxilom Ave.; and the flagship store on Magallanes St., which is in front of the Sto. Niño Church and Magellan’s Cross.

2. Otap

Otap is a crisp, flaky, and saccharine-coated biscuit that is a specialty of the Shamrock Bakery and Restaurant Corporation in Cebu.

Shamrock is the most popular Otap brand.

Shamrock is the most popular Otap brand.

Shamrock, which has racked 50 years of baking experience, expanded its take-home delicacies to include hojaldres, galletas de huevo, baked polvoron, lady’s finger, patatas, rosquillos, and other baked products.

Its pasalubong centers are in downtown Cebu City at the corner of V. Gullas and Mabini streets, Don Gil Garcia Street in Capitol, Fuente Osmeña Circle, and along the national highway in the southern town of Barili.

3. Rosquillos

IT HAS TO BE TITAY'S. If you want to buy rosquillos, make sure you pick Titay's. (Photo taken from Titay's Facebook Page)

IT HAS TO BE TITAY’S. If you want to buy rosquillos, make sure you pick Titay’s. (Photo taken from Titay’s Facebook Page)

Titay’s is synonymous with rosquillos, a favorite pasalubong and anytime treat that a young woman by the name of Margarita Frasco or Titay started baking in 1907. More than a century later, Titay’s oven continues to produce quality home-baked goodies using artisan methods and with Lola Titay’s well-guarded recipe. Titay’s products now include torta, penato, ensaimada, pastries, and assorted breads.

The store is Liloan but Titay’s products are sold in Cebu’s big supermarkets, pasalubong centers, and many other shops.

4. Masareal

Didang's Masareal is the most popular brand of this sweet confection made of ground peanuts and sugar syrup.

Didang’s Masareal is the most popular brand of this sweet confection made of ground peanuts and sugar syrup.

Masareal is a sweet confection made of ground peanuts and sugar syrup. It originates from Mandaue City, and one of the more popular brands is Didang’s Masareal.

Juliana “Didang” Suico went into the masareal business in 1914. Today, her brand continues to stand out. When Cebuanos are asked about the best masareal maker in Cebu, they refer to Didang’s. Aside from the main Didang’s store where you can buy fresh masareal, it is also available in Cebu supermarkets and pasalubong centers as well as the marketplace in Mandaue City.

Didang’s Masareal
Location: Labogon Road, Labogon, Mandaue City
Contact number: +6332-3451168 (tap on number to call in your phone)

5. Shirts

Local shirts, especially ones that bear the names of the place visited, are favorite souvenirs. In Cebu, Islands Souvenirs is behind the “I Heart” campaign that allows customers to personalize their shirts.

Aside from Cebu, Islands Souvenirs has expanded the line to other key destinations such as Davao, Bohol, Manila, Boracay, Vigan, Camsur, Baguio, and Palawan.

The “I Heart” campaign has also transcended international boundaries as it has quickly become the favorite pasalubong of Filipinos living abroad. Islands Souvenirs has stores in SM City Cebu, Ayala Center Cebu and on the Airport Road.

ONE-STOP SHOP. Island's Pasalubong is a  one-stop shop for all your pasalubong needs, including popular shirts by Islands Souvenirs.

ONE-STOP SHOP. Islands Pasalubong is a one-stop shop for all your pasalubong needs, including popular shirts by Islands Souvenirs.

6. Lapu-Lapu guitars

Quality guitars are made and sold in Lapu-Lapu City much cheaper than at the malls. If you’re pressed for time and you want quality guitar, drop by the showroom (located shortly after you turn left from the First Mandaue-Mactan Bridge) along M.L. Quezon Highway in Lapu-Lapu City on your way to the airport. Several stalls sell quality-crafted guitars from various factories in Lapu-Lapu City.

Another option, if you have the time for it, is to buy from the guitar factories in Barangay Abuno, Lapu-Lapu City. You can find both backyard and established guitar makers in the barangay. The bigger ones are Inday Celia’s, Alegre, Lilang’s, Susing’s, and Jerry’s.

Tricycle drivers in Lapu-Lapu and taxi drivers know where the guitar factories are. If you’re bringing your own vehicle, then go straight from the old Mandaue-Mactan bridge until you reach Mactan Doctors’ Hospital where you take a left turn and continue on until H. Mall where you take a right turn straight for Abuno. You know you’re on the right track if you see a big guitar monument on the middle of a crossing as you turn right from H. Mall.

Lapu-Lapu Guitar. If you want to buy quality guitars at an affordable price, head to Lapu-Lapu City. (Photo provided by Lapu-Lapu City Hall)

Lapu-Lapu Guitar. If you want to buy quality guitar at an affordable price, head to Lapu-Lapu City. (Photo provided by Lapu-Lapu City Hall)

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Robberies, murders and disasters: Top 10 Cebu news stories of 2014

With the opening of 2015 we look back at 2014 with relief that we made it through and with a fervent wish for a better year. Crime and the fight…

With the opening of 2015 we look back at 2014 with relief that we made it through and with a fervent wish for a better year. Crime and the fight against it hog the headlines of Cebu news organizations. With 2016 approaching, politics is starting to heat up. This year, politics will start to dominate news.

Here is MyCebu.ph’s countdown of the 10 biggest news stories in Cebu for 2014.

1. LBC Express robberies

They say that bad luck comes in threes, but it was more than double this number for the courier company LBC Express in Cebu which was hit by robbery after robbery in 2014.

On September 2, the seventh LBC Express outlet in Cebu, located in Punta Princesa, Cebu City, was hit by robbers who ran off with P5,000 in cash. Just a few days before that, the LBC branch along a busy street in Subangdaku, Mandaue City lost P24,000 in cash and valuables to robbers in just within three minutes. The seven robberies cost LBC a combined total of around P200,000.

“They can afford to invest on security but they are not doing it,” — Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.

Police have cited security lapses in these outlets, such as the lack of security guards and damaged security cameras. LBC management, in a close-door meeting with police, still wouldn’t hire guards but agreed to have their cashiers and tellers undergo training on what to do when robbers strike.

In Cebu City, Mayor Michael Rama ordered the temporary closures of all LBC outlets not found within malls in the interest of public safety.

Western Union robbery

NOT JUST LBC. This Western Union outlet was also robbed in the spate of crimes that hit shops like these in Cebu last year. (Photo by Allan Tangcawan)

Stories on the LBC robberies:

2. Noel Archival ambush

In mid-February, reports from Dalaguete that Cebuano lawyer Noel Archival was killed in an ambush along the southern town’s national highway shocked the Cebuano community. Killed along with Archival was his aide and driver Alejandro Jaime.

Archival, 52, and his companions were heading back to Cebu City from a court hearing in Dumaguete City on February 18 when his vehicle was peppered with bullets by assailants on separate vehicles.

An even more horrific development in the story: three policemen of the Highway Patrol Group Region 7, including former chief Senior Supt. Romualdo Iglesia, were charged with multiple and frustrated murder charges soon after the February 18 ambush.

Police go over the vehicle lawyer Noel Archival was riding when he was ambushed and killed in Dalaguete. (Photo by Mark Luzano)

Police go over the vehicle lawyer Noel Archival was riding when he was ambushed and killed in Dalaguete. (Photo by Mark Luzano)

Stories on the killing of lawyer Noel Archival:

Barely a month after, a similar violent attack in Toledo City claimed the life of a barangay councilor and left her common-law husband in critical condition. Alexander Alquiza, Captain Claudio barangay chief, was on his way home with his family when they were assaulted on the boundary of Barangay Carmen and Dumlog around 4 p.m. on March 4, 2014.

Alquiza’s live-in partner, who was a barangay councilwoman, was killed. Their adopted son, 4, and three other passengers were unharmed.

3. Dispute over Naga-Carcar century-old trees

Arguably one the most contentious issues in Cebu in 2014 was about the century-old trees that line the national highway in the southern towns of Naga, San Fernando, and Carcar. Attention became focused on the 100-year-old acacia trees when one toppled and crumpled a passing dumptruck at 3 p.m. along Balud, San Francisco in July 9, stalling traffic for hours.

In response to the call of local officials in Cebu’s first district, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) conducted an assessment of the health of the trees and identified 41 of various species that need to be cut immediately. It directed the local officials and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in July 18 to immediately cut the trees it had found defective or diseased.

Despite appeals from conversationists and well-known environmental advocate, running priest Fr. Robert Reyes, DPWH started cutting some of the trees in August. The agency, however, had to suspend its work when some of the conservation advocates holding a rally nearby to protest the agency’s move climbed the trees in the City of Naga.

PETITION. Heritage interpreter Balbino Guerrero started an online petition to stop the cutting of the trees.

PETITION. Heritage interpreter Balbino Guerrero started an online petition to stop the cutting of the trees.

Upon the order of Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, DENR-Central Visayas Executive Director Isabelo Montejo recalled the permit covering three remaining diseased acacia trees. He added that future applications for the cutting of trees from Naga City to Carcar City will not be granted, a decision lauded by conservationists but met with objection by local officials of Naga and San Fernando.

DPWH said the road widening along this stretch will be further delayed as its engineers will have to find ways to not harm the trees in the course of the construction work.

Stories on the dispute:

4. NPA couple’s arrest

A joint team of the Philippine Army, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), and Carcar City police arrested the couple in the top helm of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in the Cebu town of Aloguinsan.

Benito Tiamzon, 63, is the party chairman while his wife, Wilma Austria-Tiamzon, 61, is the secretary general. The couple and five others arrested with them were transported to Camp Crame shortly after their arrest on MArch 22, 2014. They were on board a Starex van and Toyota Innova when caught.

The couple, who was arrested in a mountain village in Aloguinsan, had been staying in a house owned by a businessman in San Fernando. Chief Supt. Danilo Constantino, Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 director, said the Tiamzons had been staying for about two months in Cebu, probably for rest and recreation.

Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria-Tiamzon during one a court hearing. The top officials of the Communist Party of the Philippines were arrested in a mountain village in Aloguinsan on March 22, 2014.  (Photo taken from the Facebook Pge Free Benito Tiamzon, Wilma Austria and ALL Political Prisoners)

Benito Tiamzon (center) and Wilma Austria-Tiamzon (front) during one a court hearing. The top officials of the Communist Party of the Philippines were arrested in a mountain village in Aloguinsan on March 22, 2014. (Photo taken from the Free Tiamzons Facebook Page)

Stories about their arrest:

5. Cebu City Council realignment

Allies of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama tried but failed to wrestle control of the City Council from Bando Osmena-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) councilors in early October.

Councilor Roberto Cabarrubias and Mayor Michael Rama during the distribution of self help kits last November 23 in Barangay Basak Pardo. (Photo taken from the Facebook Page of Councilor Roberto Cabarrubias)

Councilor Roberto Cabarrubias and Mayor Michael Rama during the distribution of self help kits last November 23 in Barangay Basak Pardo. (Photo taken from the Facebook Page of Councilor Roberto Cabarrubias)

Team Rama councilors expected help from four of their colleagues who bolted out of the BO-PK in August 19 to form an independent bloc, over disagreements on how the South Road Properties (SRP) should be sold.

The four included Councilors Gerardo Carillo, Noel Wenceslao, Roberto Cabarrubias, and Richard “Richie” Osmena.

After Cabarrubias voted with the BO-PK during the October 8 reorganization of the City Council’s 22 committees initiated by Team Rama, three other councilors from the independent bloc lost their chairmanships.

Stories on the council drama:

6. Carcar and Boljoon accidents

Two fatal road accidents occurred during the first half of 2014. The first one was on February 6, when a sedan driven by a medical representative hit a group of high school students as they walked home from school in the southern Cebu town of Boljoon.

Three seniors of the Boljoon National High School were killed while another three of their friends were wounded. They were walking by the side of the road when a silver Toyota Vios driven by Al-Dhinier Hadjula Sanaani swerved and flipped over on the Lusapon Bridge before hitting the students. The three girls killed were thrown from the bridge into the riverbed some 15 meters below.

On April 10, nine people were killed while 24 others were wounded when a truck slammed a concrete fence and plowed into a house before falling on its side in Carcar City. The truck, which had 30 passengers, came from the market day or tabo in Barangay Mantalongon, Barili and was on its way to Argao when the accident happened in Barangay Guadalupe.

Five people were killed on the spot while two others died on the way to the hospital. Two more succumbed to their injuries a day later.

A complaint for reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and multiple physical injuries was filed against truck driver Mario Famulagan, 58.

Stories on the accidents:

7. Taping of newborn’s mouth

A photo posted on Facebook of a newborn boy with his mouth taped caused an outcry from netizens. After contracting an infection shortly after he was born on May 3, the baby had to stay for a few days more in the hospital.

His parents were shocked to see their son’s taped lips when they visited him on the hospital on May 9. The nurse told them the boy’s mouth was taped with medical adhesive because he was crying too loudly and was always asking for milk.

The attending nurse’s supervisor further explained that their son’s lips were taped so he could suck on this pacifier properly and that it just might have fallen from his mouth.

The couple took the matter to social media where they earned sympathy from netizens, who also expressed outrage against the hospital. Government agencies like the Department of Health (DOH) and Commission on Human Rights (CHR) conducted investigations on the taping of the infant’s mouth.

taping of baby

SPREADING ON SOCIAL MEDIA. A mother posted this photo of her newborn child on Facebook with a pacifier taped to her mouth while confined at the Cebu Puericulture Center and Maternity House (CPCMH).

About 15 days after, another mother posted pictures of her newborn child on Facebook with a pacifier taped to her mouth while confined at the Cebu Puericulture Center and Maternity House (CPCMH).

The baby was only two days old when the picture was taken. The infant’s mother said her daughter was born on February 22 and when she visited her at the nursery, she found her baby and two to three others with a pacifier taped to their mouths.

Stories on the incidents:

Another incident that was brought to the public’s attention through social media is the berating by a priest of a young mother during the baptism of her son in Barangay Jagobiao, Mandaue City on July 6.

A video of the priest scolding the unwed mom was posted on the video-sharing site YouTube that very night and garnered 4,000 likes within two days. It was shared over 20,000 times. The teenage mom said she was deeply hurt and affected by what the priest did.

“I deeply regret that I have done this. I only later realized how cruel my ways to educate and impart lessons for the said event.” — Fr. Romeo Obach in his apology

The priest later apologized personally and through a handwritten letter to the 17-year-old mother and the video was taken down from the YouTube site.

APOLOGY. The letter written by Fr. Romeo Obach to apologize to an unwed mother he scolded when he baptized her child.

APOLOGY. The letter written by Fr. Romeo Obach to apologize to an unwed mother he scolded when he baptized her child.

Stories on the incident:

8. Tale of two storms

The best example of how unpredictable the weather has become involved two storms that passed by Visayas in December.

Weather forecasters in early December warned of an incoming deadly typhoon that is packing sustained winds of 205 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 240 kph as it barrels toward the Philippines. The warning sent many people fleeing their homes and sparked panic-buying sprees in stores as it brought back memories of the 2013 deadly onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda. Over a million people were evacuated from their homes in preparation for the typhoon.

Typhoon Ruby (international codename: Hagupit) weakened into a tropical storm as it made landfall in the central Philippines. It tore down homes, felled power poles and trees, and caused floods but the death toll was low at 21.

On the other hand, tropical storm Seniang (international codename: Jang-mi), which packed winds of 65 kph near the center and gusts of up to 80 kph, was deadlier. Seniang killed 53 people as it swept across the Visayas and Mindanao from December 29-30.

Three Cebu towns have been placed under a state calamity and local officials said damage to the province could reach P1 billion.

Tropical storm Seniang killed 53 people as it swept across the Visayas and Mindanao from December 29-30 and destroyed the Dumlog Bridge in Sibonga, Cebu. (Photo by Allan Tangcawan)

Tropical storm Seniang killed 53 people as it swept across the Visayas and Mindanao from December 29-30 and destroyed the Dumlog Bridge in Sibonga, Cebu. (Photo by Allan Tangcawan)

Stories of the 2 storms:

Ruby

Seniang

9. Fight against illegal drugs

If there’s one issue that consistently hogged the headlines in Cebu in 2014, it involved heightened efforts against illegal drugs, particularly shabu or methamphetamine hydrochloride. Police reported in late June that the were able to confiscate P34 million worth of illegal drugs from January to June, P27 million more compared to the same period in 2013.

The Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 said it conducted over 1,000 operations against drugs in the first six months of the year. Police anti-drug efforts were intensified in the second half of 2014.

On August 8, a 14-year-old girl was caught with P5.9 million worth of suspected shabu in Barangay Labangon, Cebu City. More shabu dealers were arrested in follow-up raids in Cebu City, Consolacion, Liloan, and Lapu-Lapu City on August 20 and 21.

DRUG RAID. Suspects are rounded up in a drug raid in Barrio Luz. The fight against drugs was one of the biggest news stories last year with many policemen getting killed in the campaign. (Photo by Allan Tangcawan)

DRUG RAID. Suspects are rounded up in a drug raid in Barrio Luz. The fight against drugs was one of the biggest news stories last year with many policemen getting killed in the campaign. (Photo by Allan Tangcawan)

Over at the neighboring island of Bohol, the police chief of the town of Ubay was killed in an ambush in June and six of his suspected assailants, one of whom was a former policeman and identified as the number one drug lord in the province, were killed in a police operation.

On August 22, police suffered a setback in the fight against drugs when another policeman, part of a team verifying reports of a pot session, was killed by a lone assailant in Tagbilaran City, Bohol.

Some stories on the anti-drugs campaign:

10. King shot dead in Davao

A prominent Cebuano businessman was shot dead on June 12 in Davao City. Businessman

Richard King, owner of the Crown Regency Group of Hotels, was eating with his employees as well as participants and guests to the closing ceremony of the wellness training for Vital C when the gunman walked in the shot him several times. The event was held inside the Vital C Building on Sobrecary St.

The business community in Cebu said it was saddened by King’s death and asked the police to prioritize the resolution of the case. Police formed a special task force to investigate the shooting and identify and arrest the people behind the businessman’s death.

Four suspects, including a police official, were arrested in late June for their involvement in King’s slay.

KILLED. Sun.Star Cebu's front page story on the killing of Richard King. (Taken from Sun.Star Facebook Page)

KILLED. Sun.Star Cebu’s front page story on the killing of Richard King. (Taken from Sun.Star Facebook Page)

Stories about Richard King’s killing:

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Pizza Republic Cebu offers Pick + Mix options

That particular night we decided to have pizza at the Pizza Republic Cebu branch along Salinas Drive, the place was crowded, loud, and chaotic. I don’t know if it was…

That particular night we decided to have pizza at the Pizza Republic Cebu branch along Salinas Drive, the place was crowded, loud, and chaotic.

I don’t know if it was just because we picked a particularly busy time, 7 p.m. on a Friday, or this place really draws a big crowd, especially the younger population.

Pizza Republic Cebu Pick + Mix counter features rows of toppings.

Pizza Republic Cebu Pick + Mix counter features rows of toppings.

What hit us the first time we came through the door was a din of voices in varying degrees of intensity.

The line was packed and noisy, and the crew didn’t always hear us correctly when we picked our choices. Our pizza didn’t quite come out as we intended, as both pies were spicy and they forgot the fresh basil leaves.

Pick + Mix

Nevertheless, the whole make your own pizza experience was fun. Our pizza tasted delicious and we soon gobbled it up.

The Pizza Republic Cebu counter, where diners go through to create their favorite combinations, featured rows upon rows of toppings and is every pizza lover’s dream.

It's make your own pizza at Pizza Republic Cebu.

It’s make your own pizza at Pizza Republic Cebu.

Pizza Republic “Pick + Mix” by Giuseppe Genco says it has “all the toppings in the world.” If it isn’t that, then it comes quite close.

They have several kinds of cheese – mozzarella, cheddar, white, and cream, and all sorts of sausages – barbecue, frankfurter, hungarian, pepperoni, garlic, beef, pork, bologna, italian garlic. There’s ham, salami, and chorizo as well as non-meat toppings like mushroom, olives , tomatoes (fresh and sun-dried), onions, and pineapple. You name it, they have it.

Pizza Republic Cebu

The Pizza Republic menu consists of only one size of thin crust pie with all the toppings you want for P245.

Pizza Republic Cebu operating hours run from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Big groups can reserve the function room, which is good for 15 people. Just text or call Pizza Republic Cebu at 0998-9805700.

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Samboan is home to natural, heritage attractions

As one of the few towns located at the southernmost tip of Cebu, Samboan is an unspoiled gem of natural wonders and ancient stone monuments. It is home to rivers,…

As one of the few towns located at the southernmost tip of Cebu, Samboan is an unspoiled gem of natural wonders and ancient stone monuments.

It is home to rivers, springs, waterfalls, caves and clean coastlines as well as structures that are hundreds of years old and bear silent witness to Samboan’s early years. Here are Samboan town attractions you can visit and instructions on how to get there.

The town center is perched atop hill and forms a landscape that offers a panoramic view of the Tañon Strait and neighboring islands like Negros.

Town officials explain the name Samboan as coming from “sinamboang,” a method of fishing once commonly used by local fishers.

The story goes that during the early Spanish period years, the Spaniards who were the first to reach the town asked a fisherman for the name of the place. The fisherman, who didn’t understand a word of Spanish, thought they wanted to know what he was doing and so he answered “sinamboang.”

The town center of Samboan from the third level of the Spanish period belfry and watchtower named Campanario de Antigua.

The town center of Samboan, as seen from the third level of the Spanish period belfry and watchtower named Campanario de Antigua, sits on a plateau that is over 200 feet above sea level.

For reasons of simplicity and brevity, the name was shortened to Samboang which later on became Samboan.

History

Located shorly before the very tip of the island, Samboan is one of the oldest towns in Cebu.

A painstaking restoration of the original watchtower, the Campanario de Antigua in Samboan formed part of a series of fortifications in southern Cebu aimed at providing coastal settlements early warning of pirate raids during the Spanish colonial era.

A painstaking restoration of the original watchtower, the Campanario de Antigua in Samboan formed part of a series of fortifications in southern Cebu aimed at providing coastal settlements early warning of pirate raids during the Spanish colonial era.

Historical accounts state the town was spotted by combatants of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi while they were doing reconnaissance of the island from March 15 to April 22, 1565, during the first few months of their arrival in Cebu.

The tranquil place started out as the Encomienda Canamucan and became one of the visitas of the Parroquia de Barili de Santa Ana (parish of Barili) in the 1600s. As a visita, it was under the jurisdiction of the parish priest of Barili who made scheduled visits to hold masses and other religious activities.

The first of Aguinid Falls' five tiers, each of which has a unique cascade.

The first of Aguinid Falls’ five tiers, each of which has a unique cascade.

Samboan was made an independent parish on November 3, 1784 under the patronage of San Miguel Arcangel (St. Michael Archangel), with Ginatilan, Malabuyoc and Alegria under its territorial jurisdiction. Its first parish priest was Romualdo Avila, a Franciscano Decalzo.

One of the priests that came after him was the great Fray Melchor de Vera, a Jesuit priest that was credited with having built the Spanish fortifications that served as protection against pirate raids.

People’s paradise

Life in Samboan, which is 140 kilometers or four hours of travel by bus from the central city of Cebu, is rustic and simple. For visitors who want to stay for a few days to truly enjoy what the town has to offer, there are a few facilities offering accommodations in Samboan.

Da-o Falls is the tallest waterfall in Samboan, if not the whole of Cebu. It is a 90 feet vertical drop of water in lush surroundings of endemic and other tree and plant species.

Da-o Falls is the tallest waterfall in Samboan, if not the whole of Cebu. It is a 90 feet vertical drop of water in lush surroundings of endemic and other tree and plant species. (Photo provided by the Samboan Municipal Government)

The town has progressed with the times while preserving the old ways, evidenced by the extant centuries-old structures and collection of rare items that offer glimpses into Samboan’s distant past. The ubiquitous tricycle and motorcycles for hire (what locals call habal-habal) are still the best way of getting around Samboan.

People still live on the bounties of the water and the soil.

They seek to preserve the seas that provide them with an abundant catch by creating marine sanctuaries and the land that yield a plentiful harvest by keeping the forests untouched and the waterways clean.

View of Tañon Strait from the centuries-old watchtower in Samboan. Below is the Escala de Jacob, a stone staircase that provided coastal communities easier access to the church in olden times.

View of Tañon Strait from the centuries-old watchtower in Samboan. Below is the Escala de Jacob, a stone staircase that provided coastal communities easier access to the church in olden times.

As a result, they’ve created a people’s paradise for everyone to enjoy, in the form of unspoiled waterfalls, rivers, and seas.

Interested in traveling to or learning more about Samboan? Get InnoPub Media‘s free mobile guide to Samboan.

Quick facts

Classification: 5th class municipality
Population: 18,140 (2010 census)
Land Area: 4,500 hectares
No. of barangay: 15 barangays Basak Bonbon, Bulangsuran, Calatagan, Cambigong, Camburoy, Cañorong, Colase, Dalahikan, Jumangpas, Monteverde, Poblacion, San Sebastian, Suba and Tangbo
Distance from Cebu City: 140 km, southwest of Cebu City
Estimated time of arrival from Cebu: 4 hours via public transport
Means of transportation from Cebu: Bus
Livelihood: Farming and fishing

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TBT: Fuente Scandal

It’s hard to imagine today but the Fuente Osmeña circle was considered dangerous in the 1900s because it was far from the city center. Fuelling the fear in that period…

It’s hard to imagine today but the Fuente Osmeña circle was considered dangerous in the 1900s because it was far from the city center. Fuelling the fear in that period was what author Lucy Urgello-Miller described in her book “Glimpses of Old Cebu” as a “scandalous, melodramatic case” that happened in the area.

On the morning of March 22, 1915, two bodies bearing multiple stab wounds were found near Fuente Osmeña, Miller recounted in her book. The two were identified as Ramon Santiago and Natividad Garcia Reyes.

Santiago was single. Natividad, on the other hand, was married to Carlos Reyes, whose family owned Bazaar Rizal, which Miller described as one of the biggest stores in Cebu at that time. The two were rumored to be having an affair.

Carlos was in Manila during the killings. His brother Elias, friend Isidro Jureidini and three of Elias’s servants were accused of the murder.

Fuente Osmeña history

Fuente Osmeña. This Cebu City landmark was built in 1912 to mark the opening of Osmeña Waterworks, now known as the Buhisan Dam. This photo was taken in 1915, close to the time of the murders discussed in this article. These three, it must be said, had nothing to do with the killings. (Photo used with permission of the Cebuano Studies Center of the University of San Carlos)

Sensational case

“It was a sensational case where the people of Cebu attended the packed trial faithfully for two years,” Miller wrote in her book.

A tartanilla driver later testified that he brought Natividad to Fuente, where Santiago was already waiting to bring her to the thickets. Another tartanilla driver testified that he brought Elias, Isidro and 2 other men to Fuente. Miller, however, wrote that the latter kept on switching his story.

The judge later convicted all the suspects and sentenced them to 17 years in jail, save for Sergio Orias, one of Elias’s servants. They appealed their case to the Supreme Court and were exonerated on January 22, 1917 because the magistrates found that the testimonies of witnesses were tampered with. They were subsequently released.

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Grand Majestic offers buffet promo leading to grand launch

Good food at an affordable price is what Grand Majestic, one of three restaurants at the Grand Convention Center in Cebu City, aims to provide customers. With their selection of…

Good food at an affordable price is what Grand Majestic, one of three restaurants at the Grand Convention Center in Cebu City, aims to provide customers.

With their selection of varied cuisine, iHoldings Inc. president Winglip Chang said they’re offering what Cebuanos are used to in a buffet without them having to pay a lot.

“We want to show that a good buffet doesn’t have to be expensive,” he said.

Grand Majestic buffet

THROWBACK PRICING. When we ate in Grand Majestic yesterday, the restaurant announced a “throwback” price of P195 for the buffet from the regular P499. The restaurant will hold more throwback pricing promotions, which will be announced on the day it happens, in the days leading to the grand launch in September.

Although many of Grand Majestic’s dishes are Chinese-influenced Filipino fare, there are sections that carry international flavors. There’s a Japanese food display, carving station for steak, as well as dessert and salad bars.

Grand Majestic serves noodles and dim sum as well.

Roast beef Grand Majestic buffet.

Roast beef. Must eat.

Grand Convention Center

Chang said they have full-time food technologists working in the kitchen to ensure the quality of every dish served at the Grand Convention Center of Cebu.

“We make sure that the manufacturing and cooking process follows the standards,” he cited.

Grand Majestic buffet japanese

The Japanese station.

The two other restaurants at the newly renovated Grand Convention are Tsay Cheng and Seafood City.

Tsay Cheng is a Chinese restaurant with function rooms where small groups can meet for business or leisure while Seafood City is tailored for travelers who want to experience the fresh bounties of the sea at affordable prices. Like the popular Sutukil (for sugba-tuwa-kilaw), diners get the option of having their fresh seafood grilled, stewed or prepared as ceviche or kinilaw.

Grand Majestic Buffet Dimsum

The buffet’s dimsum station.

Promo campaigns

From today up to the grand launch in September, Chang said they’re running promotional campaigns that include a price throwback for Grand Majestic and discounts for Tsay Cheng and Seafood City. Each of the restaurants can seat around 300.

The price cut for the Grand Majestic lunch buffet, which starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m., goes down to P195 from the regular P499. Dinner is from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. and costs P599. Grand Majestic’s popular Peking duck is served at night.

Chang said the announcement for Grand Majestic’s price throwback may be done on their Facebook page on the day that it happens.

Tsay Cheng diners get 10 percent off on their lunch bill until September 15, 2014 while travellers who can present a boarding pass or ticket with Cebu as destination enjoy a 15 percent discount at Seafood City.

Grand Majestic buffet desserts

Dessert. Have your fill of sweets at the desserts station.

MICE market

Grand Convention Center can cater to big social events like wedding receptions and birthday parties or host Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibits (MICE).

Chang said they would like to compete in the MICE market and believe their second floor facilities, which can accommodate a maximum of 1,200, are well-equipped for such events.

At P550 per person for a minimum of 300 people per event, Chang said Grand Convention has the lowest charge among similar establishments. He added that although the minimum cost for a function is P165,000, they’re flexible and prospective customers may request for other arrangements.

Grand Convention has international chefs as well and can accommodate food preferences of guests.

Grand Majestic buffet carrot cake

Take a slice or two of carrot cake.

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Be Resorts Mactan introduces Boodle on the Boat

Island visits, fish feeding and snorkeling, and food make up the fun experience called Boodle on the Boat that’s now being offered by Be Resorts Mactan. The sea off the…

Island visits, fish feeding and snorkeling, and food make up the fun experience called Boodle on the Boat that’s now being offered by Be Resorts Mactan.

The sea off the island of Hilutungan is the best place to do the feeding and snorkeling since it has been declared a marine sanctuary and schools of fish congregate in the area.

Be Resorts Boodle on the Boat

BOODLE FIGHT ON THE HIGH SEAS. Be Resorts Mactan brings the boodle fight dining experience to the seas off Mactan Island. The package combines 2 of the top things to do in Cebu: hit the beach and sample the delicious local fare. (Photo by Max Limpag)

Good for 4 to 6 persons, the Boodle on the Boat provides two menus to choose from: Sunny Seaside and Big Beach, said Be Resorts marketing communications assistant Therese Carmita Maligon.

Boodle On The Boat options

DELICIOUS COMBO. The Boodle on the Boat package offers 2 variations: Sunny Seaside and Big Beach. (Photo by Max Limpag)

The Big Beach features Filipino favorites like crispy pata, bangus, beef dish, and grilled chicken plus rice. The Sunny Seaside has grilled pork belly and chicken, shrimp, beef dish, and eggplant.

The dining concept has its roots from the “boodle fight,” a style of communal eating where people gather around a table on which rice and viand are laid out, traditionally on banana leaves or newspapers, for everyone to eat with their hands. The boodle fight is said to have originated from the shared meal practice of soldiers.

Be Resorts Boodle On the Boat

CHECK OUT THE VIEW. Eating lunch with this view has to rank way high in your to-do list when in Cebu. (Photo by Max Limpag)

In Be Resort’s Boodle on the Boat, you have the option to use plates and you are provided with plastic gloves.

Boodle on the Boat

Boodle on the Boat is for a minimum of four at P2,300 per person, said Maligon

It comes with complimentary drinks, boodle food, and two island visits on a motorized outrigger boat, she added. Equipment is provided for the fish feeding and snorkeling activities and entrance fees are included in the Boodle on the Boat package.

Be Resorts Sulpa Island

SULPA ISLAND. This was our second stop after Hilutungan.

This new Be Resorts Mactan offering can accommodate up to a maximum of 20 to 25 persons. The boat leaves the resort for the islands of Hilutungan and Sulpa at around 11 a.m.

Boodle on the Boat is an offshoot of Be Resort’s Boodle on the Beach. Its dinner setup is on the sand as the sun goes down and torches are lighted up. The Boodle on the Beach is P1,800 per person.

Be Resorts Boodle On The Boat

BACK TO THE RESORT. The kids sit on the bow as we head back to Be Resorts after a fun day island-hopping. (Photo by Max Limpag)

Some more photos of our enjoyable boodle experience:

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Bigby’s brings back old favorites as it opens at The Terraces

Bigby’s Cafe and Restaurant features new dishes and brings back old favorites as it opens at a more visible location on the second level of The Terraces in Ayala Center…

Bigby’s Cafe and Restaurant features new dishes and brings back old favorites as it opens at a more visible location on the second level of The Terraces in Ayala Center Cebu.

Although smaller, the new spot beside BonChon Chicken provides better access to guests and can operate for longer hours because it’s no longer inside the mall, explained Henrik Yu, marketing manager of Bigby’s Quality Food, Inc.

He said the restaurant is bringing back the classic dishes it offered but later removed from the menu when it first opened at Ayala Cebu back in 1998, such as the seafood kebab as well as some salads and sandwiches and pasta.

Bigby’s bestsellers

Bigby's family platter

Ribs, chops and calamares in Bigby’s Family Platter.

Bigby’s bestsellers among others are still the ribs, which they gather all effort to get from suppliers in Cebu and other areas, fajitas and steaks.

“Our ribs are very choice cuts and you get only four pieces of such from one pig. We also get from suppliers in Cagayan de Oro,” Yu added.

Another favorite of diners – the Kimmy Chunky Stew – was introduced during Father’s Day in 1999 and remains among Bigby’s bestsellers.

kimmy's chunky stew

Kimmy’s Chunky Stew, a restaurant bestseller introduced during Father’s Day in 1999.

Bigby’s sinuglaw – a dish made of raw fish and grilled pork belly soaked in acids like vinegar and kalamansi juice and seasoned with herbs and spices – is special. It has distinctive seasonings – such as the tabon-tabon and biasong (local lime) that are available only in Cagayan de Oro – that provide the dish an added zing.

Titanic Treat

If you’re into desserts, try the Titanic Treat, an assortment of about 30 scoops of ice cream and various toppings. Better still, if you can eat this monster of a dessert in five minutes or less, you won’t need to pay for it.

Mango Shortcake

Mango Shortcake

With so many restaurants cropping up all over Cebu, Bigby’s continues to be popular because of its reasonable price and big servings, cited Yu.

Also, he added, Bigby’s international menu has gained a reputation for being comfort food that one wants to eat all the time.

According to Yu, possible new sites for Bigby’s are IT Park and the South Road Properties (SRP).

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Lambug Beach in Badian offers perfect, peaceful getaway

Fuel cost for a three-hour drive from Lapu-Lapu City to Lambug Beach in Badian, Cebu and back for three vehicles carrying 16 adults and kids. P3,000. Dinner and breakfast. P2,000….

Fuel cost for a three-hour drive from Lapu-Lapu City to Lambug Beach in Badian, Cebu and back for three vehicles carrying 16 adults and kids. P3,000. Dinner and breakfast. P2,000. Overnight stay in two of the resort’s huge rooms. P3,000. Our fun and enjoyment at the powdery fine white sand beach of Lambug. Priceless.

The town center of Badian in southeastern Cebu is a good 96 kilometers from Cebu City and Lambug is 15 minutes more of travel on a narrow though asphalted road. The beach is still a 400-meter walk from the parking area on a footpath cut out through cornfields and muddy ground.

Lambug Beach in Badian

Lambug isn’t as overcrowded as Basdako in Moalboal or the beaches in Mactan Island.

When you reach Lambug Beach, with its wide swath of fine white sand and clean aquamarine water, you can’t help but act like the kids in our party. You squeal with delight and run along the surf. You dive into the water without changing into your beach wear.

Unlike the overcrowded beachfront of Basdako in Moalboal, Lambug offers a peaceful respite from the hubbub of urban life.

Lambug Beach

It’s not the summer season and there was a weather disturbance during our trip but it didn’t make our stay at Lambug Beach in Badian any less fun and memorable.

The overcast skies and strong winds that caused waves on an otherwise calm sea added to the experience.

Kids at play on Lambug Beach in Badian

Kids at play on the beachfront in Lambug, Badian.

We stayed at Magic Beach Resort which is right on the beachfront. It has big beach huts made of native materials. Rooms come with two queen-sized beds and extra pillows and mattresses.

There are tents for rent or you can bring your own and pitch it right on the sand. We did that, too. Until the wind got so strong it almost flattened the tent, some of the children slept there. A few adults kept guard by dozing on mats spread out on the sand.

Magic Beach Resort on Lambug, Badian.

We stayed at Magic Beach Resort.

Spartan amenities

Amenities at Magic Beach Resort are basic at most. There’s no restaurant but you can arrange your food requirements with the caretaker ahead of your stay. A better option is to bring meal ingredients and just cook the dishes yourself.

Be warned though that you have to rough it with the cooking as it is done on a dirty kitchen using firewood. No need to bring a cooler for perishables or drinks since the resort provides a ref for guests to use.

The resort is some distance from the town center so buy ahead anything that you might need during your stay, such as shampoo, soap, sunscreen. The rooms come with extra pillows, mattresses and blankets but towels are not provided so don’t forget to pack some. Shower rooms and toilets are clean but are outside of the beach huts.

Lambug Beach Badian

Lambug has a wide swathe of white sand beachfront with clear water.

Aside from Magic, there are other resorts along Lambug Beach. One of these is Grandeur, which is located right beside Magic. A few resorts offer air-conditioned accommodations.

To book your stay ahead, you can call Magic Beach Resort at 0922 322 5168 (Sun), 0906 307 7210 (Globe), or 0926 120 5042 (TM) (if you’re reading this on the phone, you can tap on the numbers to make the call) or Grandeur Beach Resort at 0926-2789880.

Getting there

Getting to Lambug Beach is as easy as driving south through the South Coastal Road and when it exits at Minglanilla continue on to the Cebu South Road until the Carcar Rotunda where you have to take the right turn for Barili and the rest of the southeastern towns.

After Barili comes the towns of Dumanjug, Ronda, Alcantara and Moalboal before Badian. When you reach the Badian town center, continue driving until you reach a big sign on the right side of the road that marks the turn for the Cebu International Golf Course and Resort. This narrow street also leads farther on to Lambug Beach.

Entrance to Lambug from the highway

Entrance to Lambug from the highway in Badian.

If you’re taking public transport, the easiest way would be to take the bus for Badian at the Cebu South Bus Terminal along N. Bacalso Avenue in Cebu City. Tell the bus helper to drop you off either at the town center or at the Lambug Beach turnoff. From there, there are tricycles for hire that can take you to the beach.

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Pepper Lunch Ayala introduces new dining concept in Cebu

My first time at Pepper Lunch soon after it opened in Ayala Center Cebu, they brought my beef still very red and looking raw. When I told the waiter I…

My first time at Pepper Lunch soon after it opened in Ayala Center Cebu, they brought my beef still very red and looking raw. When I told the waiter I wanted my steak well done, he explained I was still supposed to cook it on the hot plate.

This “zizzle-it-your-way” serving style is a distinctive Pepper Lunch feature and allows diners to have control over how their food is done and seasoned, explained chef Jeroen van Straten.

Straten’s company – Benmark Holdings, Inc. – holds the master franchise for Pepper Lunch Philippines. The Pepper Lunch in Ayala’s new wing is the 23rd and newest branch in the country, Straten added during a media get-together in Cebu this week.

The secret to the Pepper Lunch dining experience is the patented Iron Plate, which is heated up to 250 degrees Celsius using a special electromagnetic cooker in just 70 seconds. The plate remains hot for more than 20 minutes, ensuring that your food remains warm up to the last bite.

Van Straten of Pepper Lunch Philippines

Chef Jeoren van Straten of Benmark Group Holdings, Inc. pours Pepper Lunch’s signature sauce on its bestseller dish beef pepper rice.

Straten said this do-it-yourself fast-service dining concept was created by Japanese chef and inventor Kunio Ichinose. His goal was to provide fast and quality food even without a trained chef, and he realized this with the establishment of Pepper Lunch in Japan in 1994.

Signature sauces

Pepper Lunch servings also enjoy the advantage of the restaurant’s signature sauces, honey brown and soy garlic. Aside from beef dishes, other choices are chicken, pork and salmon.

At my first Pepper Lunch dining experience, I learned enough to grill the meat on the hot plate but I missed out on the sauce. The best way to have your beef pepper rice is to mix the steak with the rice with its pepper, corn and spring onion toppings and then season it with any or both of the signature sauces.

Not a fan of pepper? Just tell the restaurant crew to omit it from your dish.

I’m not a sauce person but they persuaded me to try it during Thursday’s media launch and it did go well mixed with the steak and pepper rice.

According to van Straten, Pepper Lunch delivers on its “fine steak, great value” promise through strict quality control standards on its imported US and Australian beef.

The restaurant also offers seasonal menus, and this time it’s carrying the typical Filipino fares of lechon and sisig.

Pepper Lunch Ayala

Van Straten said response of the Cebu crowd to Pepper Lunch has been favorable and two more branches are planned for next year. They’re also thinking of opening this year a Pepper Lunch Express, which is more like a food court stall where the portions are slightly smaller and prices cheaper.

The first Pepper Lunch branch in the Philippines was opened in 2008 in Rockwell and 22 others have been added since then. The latest one is the Pepper Lunch branch in Ayala Center Cebu’s new wing.

Although they wanted to put up a restaurant as early as two years ago in Cebu, van Straten said they weren’t able to find the right partner or place.

“Now is the perfect time for us to come to Cebu,” he cited, adding they found the perfect local partner in Pepper Up Cebu, Inc. led by Allen Arvin A. Tan.

Pepper Lunch at Level 4 Ayala Center Cebu is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday, and up to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Pepper Lunch has over 200 outlets in Japan and all over Asia, including China, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand.

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Cafe Namoo provides different cafe experience

If you want a place where you can drink coffee and do some work or business on the side, then Cafe Namoo is not for you. Cafe Namoo, which labels…

If you want a place where you can drink coffee and do some work or business on the side, then Cafe Namoo is not for you.

Cafe Namoo, which labels itself as a dessert cafe and bistro, is more for lounging around or hanging out with family and friends. My son describes it the coolest coffee shop in town. He’s 11.

cafe namoo

Cafe Namoo in City Time Square, Mandaue City is filled to the rafters with messages on post-it notes by customers.

Instead of tables and chairs, the cafe has sections separated by wooden partitions. Each square section is closed off on three sides and curtained on the remaining open side. Cushions are provided and guests, who have to sit on the wooden floor, can use them as back props or pillows if they want to lie down. I learned the hard way that a short dress is a definite no-no.

There’s a low table where you can put your food and drinks.

There are sections with a top tier, like bunk beds. The top areas are accessible through wooden stairways. I haven’t tried it though. I don’t know if there is a limit to the number of people that can quite safely and conveniently stay on the top areas. Vandalism is prohibited but you can bring post-it notes, write inspirational words on them and paste them on the walls.

cafe namoo sections

At Cafe Namoo, guests squat on the floor and are provided with pillows for their comfort.

The Cafe Namoo I’ve tried out is one at City Time Square across Parkmall in Mandaue City. I heard there’s a Cafe Namoo along Old Banilad Road in Cebu City. It’s at the second floor of Northgate Cente, across Gaisano Country Mall, in Banilad.

Getting there

Cafe Namoo is just near Parkmall in Mandaue City. From Cebu City, you can take the Urgello or Mandaue jeepneys that pass by Parkmall. It’s a short trip by cab.

Address: City Time Square, Mandaue City
Business hours: 8 a.m.-1 a.m. (weekdays); 8 a.m.-3 a.m. (weekends)

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