Re/Discovering Cebu, one story at a time

Marco Polo ushers in Chinese New Year with Yee Sang, Chinese buffet

It began with an eye dotting ceremony for the guests of honor, was followed by the lion dance and firecrackers, moved on to the Yee Sang or Prosperity Toss, and…

It began with an eye dotting ceremony for the guests of honor, was followed by the lion dance and firecrackers, moved on to the Yee Sang or Prosperity Toss, and ended with the dragon dance as Marco Polo Plaza Cebu welcomed the Chinese New Year in lively ceremonies last Wednesday, February 18, 2015.

These are all Chinese traditions performed to usher in the Lunar New Year, which fell on February 19 this year, and bring good fortune, said hotel public relations officer Mia Ali.

For the Yee Sang, five-star hotel Marco Polo prepared a wok-shaped container but multiplied several times in size and filled it with a mix of shredded colorful vegetables, raw fish, condiments, and other ingredients.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Chinese New Year

DRAGON DANCE. A traditional dragon dance at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu lobby.

Prosperity Toss

Twelve people led by Marco Polo Plaza Cebu general manager Julie Najar led the Yee Sang ceremony, which involved tossing the salad mix as high as they can using chopsticks and saying (or thinking) out dreams and aspirations as called for by the tradition.

Other guests in the Yee Sang ceremony include Cebu notables: Candice Gotianuy, Consul Samuel Chioson, Jessica Avila, Connie Cimafranca, Marlinda Angbetic-Tan, Doctors Henry Chua and Pocholo Yrastorza.

I see now why they call it the Prosperity Toss. It was my first Chinese New Year celebration so it was all very strange but interesting nonetheless.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Chinese New Year

YEE SANG. The Yee Sang or Prosperity Toss was among the highlights of the celebration. The ceremony  involved tossing this salad mix.

Culinary Impressions of China

Another way that Marco Polo welcomes the Chinese Year of the Sheep is through another Cafe Marco culinary journey featuring the best of Chinese cuisines. Up until February 22, 2015, Cafe Marco will serve a grand feast of authentic Chinese dishes on top of its international spread for the same price as the regular buffet.

Hainanese chicken

HAINANESE CHICKEN. This dish is among the many Chine food specialties on the menu as Marco Polo Plaza Cebu celebrates the Chinese New Year. (Photo provided by Marco Polo Plaza Cebu)

Among the Chinese food in the menu: bean curd, fish lip, ngo kong, black chicken herb, samsi for soup; shrimp ball, pica-pica, steamed fish, pork spare ribs, braised pork leg, crispy chili chicken, pork and shrimp dumpling at the carving station; crab meat, misua noodles, yang chow, Hainanese chicken, beef steak or brisket, sweet and sour pork, szechuan chicken, fookien fried rice, loohan chai vegetables for main course dishes; chicken, beef, pork, stir fry noodles; plus a dimsum trolley with siomai, shrimp ball, and kikiam.

Cafe Marco serves buffet breakfast, lunch, and dinner and from the first day of the Chinese Year of the Sheep up to Sunday, February 22, it’s including more Chinese dishes in the spread.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Chinese New Year

DRAGON. This can be found at the hotel lobby.

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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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Be Resorts Mactan plans renovation, offers exciting promos for 2015

This 2015, expect big changes at Be Resorts Mactan. This small but chic boutique resort in Punta Engaño plans to go on a renovation spree that involves repainting exteriors, redesigning…

This 2015, expect big changes at Be Resorts Mactan.

This small but chic boutique resort in Punta Engaño plans to go on a renovation spree that involves repainting exteriors, redesigning the lobby and rooms, as well as upgrading amenities.

“This year, we aim to refresh the look of the resort. We want to transform Be Resorts Mactan into a contemporary boutique hotel,” said resort manager Remedona “Em-em” Ravina.

She added that instead of a dining setup, the lobby will be turned into a lounge where guests can relax while having coffee or drinks.

Be Resorts Mactan

NEW LOOK AHEAD. Be Resorts Mactan plans to go on a renovation spree that involves repainting exteriors, redesigning the lobby and rooms, as well as upgrading amenities.

Love month offerings

This Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2015, Be Resorts Mactan offers a bonfire dinner for couples on the beach. The resort promises a romantic and unforgettable evening in “Dinner for Deux” for only P3,888 nett per couple. The 5-course meal comes with two glasses of wine.

For those who want more, Be Resorts Mactan is offering the romantic dinner with an overnight stay at the Be Classy Suite for only P8,888 net per couple.

Be Resorts Mactan

BIG CHANGES AHEAD. Expect big changes ahead for Be Resorts Mactan.

For the entire month of February, the resort’s Be Romantic offerings include a Bonfire Movie Night every Friday. Couples can snuggle in front of Be Resorts Mactan’s signature bonfire as they toast marshmallows and watch romantic movies on a stretch of fine white sand.

As part of its Be Romantic activities, the resort is giving couples a chance to wine and dine the love of their lives by joining its Instagram-only contest. To join, you only need to follow @beresorts on Instagram, post a photo of you and your loved one with the hashtag #BeRomantic2015, and write in the caption the most romantic thing you’ve done for him or her. The best story will win the P3,888 dinner package, and Be Resorts Mactan is accepting entries up to February 12, 2015.

Be Resorts Mactan

TRANSFORMATION. Be Resorts Mactan manager Remedona “Em-em” Ravina says they want to transform the facility into a “contemporary boutique hotel.”

Be Resorts summer events

For the summer months, Be Resorts Mactan will offer accommodation packages for only P3,999 per room, cited Ravina, adding they’ll have more details about this promo soon.

From March onwards, the Be Bonfire Fridays at the Salt Bar Beachfront will feature some of Cebu’s finest DJs and include an all-you-can-drink option on beers and selected drinks from 7 to 10 p.m. for only P850 nett per person.

The resort also offers an exclusive bonfire set-up in VIP Table and Bottle Service that’s perfect for a group of five. Fire starts at 6:30 p.m.

Be Resorts is also bringing back Chillout Saturdays, also on the Salt Bar Beachfront, from 5 p.m. to midnight. It’s happy hour at the Salt Bar from 5 to 8 p.m. on Chillout Saturdays. The resort is offering 2 for the price of 1 on beers and selected drinks such as margaritas, kamikazes, and more.

Also perfect for sunny weather days are Be Resort’s Boodle on the Beach and Boodle on the Boat offerings.

Be Resorts romantic dinner

ROMANTIC DINNER. Get a chance to have a romantic dinner on the beach with Be Resorts’ Instagram contest.

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Low airfares, discounted tour packages at Cebu Travel Catalogue 2015

Cebu tour and travel agencies will offer discounted packages and super low airfares especially for international destinations during the Cebu Travel Catalogue 2015 set for January 30 to February 1….

Cebu tour and travel agencies will offer discounted packages and super low airfares especially for international destinations during the Cebu Travel Catalogue 2015 set for January 30 to February 1.

Initiated by the Cebu Travel and Tours Association, the three-day event will be held at Ayala Center Cebu.

Sheila A. Colmenares, CTTA president, said around 50 exhibitors are joining the Cebu Travel Catalogue 2015. They include association members, airlines, hotels and resorts, and other industry partners, she added.

Cebu Travel Catalogue 2015

MEDIA LAUNCH. Cebu Travel and Tours Association officials launch the Cebu Travel Catalogue 2015 in a media event. (Photo taken from Cebu Travel Catalogue 2015 Facebook page)

According to her, the travel agencies are the ones authorized to offer the airline ticket promos and only during the three-day travel fair. Here are the private aircraft charter companies participating along with these airlines; Cathay Pacific, Silk Air, Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, Asiana, Qatar, Cebu Pacific Air, and Air Asia.

On the other hand, discounted tour packages include trips to Asian and European countries, Turkey, and the Holy Land, among others.

Not only do customers get hotel and resort, tour package, and airfare discounts and an iherb coupon, they can also opt to pay in cash or use their BPI credit card at zero interest for three months.

Colmenares said BPI Cards is a major partner in the Cebu Travel Catalogue 2015.

Cebu Travel Catalogue exhibitors will also be giving away prizes during the three-day fair, she added.

cebu-travel-catalogue-poster

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Delicacies, specialty items on sale at Sinulog Trade Fair in SM City Cebu

One of the best things about the Fiesta Señor is the opening early in January of the Sinulog Trade Fair where you get to buy Cebuano specialty products without needing…

One of the best things about the Fiesta Señor is the opening early in January of the Sinulog Trade Fair where you get to buy Cebuano specialty products without needing to travel far.

This year, the Sinulog Trade Fair in SM City Cebu features popular local products like ukulele and guitars; accessories and home furnishings made from seashell or wood; chicharon, torta, tableya, rosquillos, and other Cebuano delicacies; and even Pope Francis shirts.

Small enterprises from Tupi in South Cotabato, Zamboanga City, and Laguna are also selling their products at the fair.

Sto. Niño de Cebu icons of various sizes and designs are on sale in one of the stalls in the Sinulog Trade Fair in SM City Cebu. (Photo by Max Limpag)

Sto. Niño de Cebu icons of various sizes and designs are on sale in one of the stalls in the Sinulog Trade Fair in SM City Cebu. (Photo by Max Limpag)

In the rows of stalls, you’ll see guitars and ukulele from Lapu-Lapu City, accessories like bangles, charm bracelets, earrings, necklaces, handbags, clutches, and purses by handicraft enterprises; home furnishings made of shells, wood, or rattan from manufacturers in Banilad and Minglanilla in Cebu; native food like the torta and tableya from Argao, and chicharon from Chilen in Guadalupe.

Titay’s rosquillos and other pastries are also sold at the Sinulog Trade Fair, making it a good source of pasalubong or bring-home gifts from Cebu.

Opened a few days ago, the Sinulog Trade Fair will continue up to January 18 or later, if organizers decide to extend it.

SPICY, DARK CHOCOLATE. This product by the Kablon Farms in Tupi, South Cotabato is delicious! (Photo by Max Limpag)

SPICY, DARK CHOCOLATE. This product by the Kablon Farms in Tupi, South Cotabato is delicious! (Photo by Max Limpag)

We tried out the spicy dark chocolate from the Kablon Farms in Tupi, South Cotabato and bought some of the Arabica and Robusta coffee bean varieties harvested from Mt. Matutum. These were delicious.

At one stall, we discovered the yellow chicharon, a favorite childhood snack, that we used to buy for P1 a pack. Only, it costs P35 and came all the way from Laguna.

There are Pashmina scarves sold by a vendor from Zamboanga City.

SCARVES from Zamboanga City are among the items on sale at the fair. (Photo by Max Limpag)

SCARVES from Zamboanga City are among the items on sale at the fair. (Photo by Max Limpag)

Department of Trade and Industry 7 Director Asteria Caberte, in a newspaper report, said there are 46 exhibitors in the 2015 Sinulog Trade Fair. Of this number, she added, 34 are micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from Cebu while 12 come from Bohol, Baguio, Manila, Laguna, South Cotabato, and Davao.

The vendors, which occupy 56 stalls, sell at the lower ground floor of SM City Cebu.

More Sinulog Trade Fair photos (click or tap on them to enlarge)

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Sinulog fashion: Cut and style shirts at Islands Souvenirs or do it yourself

Sinulog Festival fashion is still all about the Cut and Style Sinulog shirts that have become popular over the last few years, especially during the Grand Parade when thousands dance…

Sinulog Festival fashion is still all about the Cut and Style Sinulog shirts that have become popular over the last few years, especially during the Grand Parade when thousands dance and party on Cebu City streets.

This early, Islands Souvenirs is already offering the Cut and Style service to customers who buy its Sinulog t-shirts.

Islands Souvenirs allows customers to choose their favorite cut and style design from a variety of options. You only need to pay P100 on top of the cost of the Sinulog shirt.

CUT AND STYLE. Islands Souvenirs offers various options to cut and style your Sinulog shirt. (Photo by Max Limpag)

CUT AND STYLE. Islands Souvenirs offers various options to cut and style your Sinulog shirt. (Photo by Max Limpag)

Cut and Style fashion show

Want to get a free pass to the Islands Souvenirs Cut and Style fashion show on January 16, 2015 at SM Northwing? Head on over to the Islands Souvenirs FB page for the contest mechanics. Celebrity stylist Liz Uy and fashion blogger Laureen Uy will be among the show’s guests.

Islands Souvenirs Cut & Style is available at the following areas: SM City Cebu Northwing, SM City Cebu (lower ground floor), Ayala Center Cebu, Islands Souvenirs Sinulog Square and Robinson’s Cybergate.‪

Islands Souvenirs Cut & Style

By paying an additional P100, you can have Islands Souvenirs staff cut and style your Sinulog shirts for you. They offer various cut and style designs. (Photo by Max Limpag)

DIY cut and style shirts

You may also choose to cut and style your Islands Souvenirs Sinulog shirts yourself. There are DIY projects for no less than 30 cut and style shirt designs over at Buzzfeed and 100 pins on Pinterest. The sites provide step-by-step instructions to sprucing up your shirts in time for the festive Sinulog Grand Parade celebration.

Doing it yourself lets you save P100. There’s also the added benefit of not too many people having the same cut and style design as your shirt.

Many designs take only a few hours at most to make. Simple or fancy, the designs are certainly eye-catching and let you show off those henna tattoos.

Islands Souvenirs Cut & Style

Islands Souvenirs Cut & Style is available at SM City Cebu Northwing, SM City Cebu (lower ground floor), Ayala Center Cebu, Islands Souvenirs Sinulog Square and Robinson’s Cybergate.‪ (Photo by Max Limpag)

More photos of Islands Souvenirs Cut & Style:

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Mövenpick offers free sunset cruise for overnight guests

An overnight stay at the Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts-Cebu in Lapu-Lapu City comes with a free sunset cruise for local tourists. The promo is good up to the end of May,…

An overnight stay at the Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts-Cebu in Lapu-Lapu City comes with a free sunset cruise for local tourists.

The promo is good up to the end of May, said Mövenpick Assistant Director of Communications Joanna Cuenco.

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CMG footwear complements runway’s feminine looks

CELINE Mix Group (CMG) takes inspiration from the Spring 2011 runway by bringing the fresh and feminine into its footwear. Wooden clogs, strappy sandals, and sky-high wedges are making their…

CELINE Mix Group (CMG) takes inspiration from the Spring 2011 runway by bringing the fresh and feminine into its footwear.

Wooden clogs, strappy sandals, and sky-high wedges are making their way back into CMG’s closets to complement this season’s biggest looks: cropped 70’s sophisticated glamour to 60’s ladylike dresses that foster femininity and accentuate women’s curves.

Hong Kong brands Staccato, Oro Nero, Matthews, and Lewre take the spotlight at CMG stores to complete Spring 2011’s loungewear motif.

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Etam Cebu unveils 2011 lingerie collection

Imagine brassiere or lingerie in the sheerest lace or softest satin that you can wear with a blazer to the office or for a night out on town. Check out…

Etam Lingerie

Stylish and sexy brassiere and lingerie available at the Etam branch in Ayala Center Cebu.

Imagine brassiere or lingerie in the sheerest lace or softest satin that you can wear with a blazer to the office or for a night out on town. Check out a lacy black number that is the ultimate party dress or a blue off-shoulder piece that is the epitome of glamour and chic.

Europe’s number one lingerie brand, Etam, unveils at its Ayala Center Cebu branch its Spring/Summer 2011 collection, which carries pieces that “reflect the timeless class and sophistication found only in France.”

Etam lingerie offers style and function and is for the modern Filipina who is not afraid of mixing and matching her innerwear with outerwear, said Frank Briones of Thinline, Etam’s marketing partner.

Briones and Etam branch manager Kim Reyes presented on Thursday the brand’s swimwear and lingerie as well as loungewear and sleepwear collection that comes in simple and plain designs, playful and feminine forms, or elegant and sexy cuts.

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Plan your 2011 with any of 3 power planners

Get your 2011 planner with your coffee purchases, either at Starbucks or Bo’s. At any Starbucks stores in Cebu, customers are offered a sticker pamphlet that they must fill up…

Get your 2011 planner with your coffee purchases, either at Starbucks or Bo’s.

At any Starbucks stores in Cebu, customers are offered a sticker pamphlet that they must fill up to be able to redeem any one of three planner designs.

There are 17 sticker slots that need to be completed: nine from buying the Starbucks Christmas edition beverages such as Toffee Nut Latte, Peppermint Mocha, and Praline Mocha and the remaining eight from the store’s regular drinks.

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Branded clothes, shoes at SM’s Northwing

If a P3,495 dress doesn’t faze you, you’d feel right at home shopping in SM City-Cebu’s Northwing. The Northwing is home to brand shops selling imported clothes, shoes, bags, accessories…

If a P3,495 dress doesn’t faze you, you’d feel right at home shopping in SM City-Cebu’s Northwing.

The Northwing is home to brand shops selling imported clothes, shoes, bags, accessories like Mango, NafNaf, Onesimus, Montre, Aldo, F&X, Accessorize, Espada, Skinfood, Kipling, Osh Kosh B’Gosh, Traffic, Bayo, Promod, Regatta, and Levis, among others.

Bohemian bags in Accessorize sell from a little over a thousand pesos to P3,000 plus, scarves from P1,000 to P2,000 plus, bracelets and necklaces from P600 to P1,000 plus.

Accessorize products have the equivalent cost in Euro and British pound in their tags.

At Promod, an ensemble consisting of a summer dress, a cotton jacket, knee-high suede boots will make you poorer by P13,000.

Montre carries brands like Issey Miyake, which has a watch priced at around P20,000, and Tissot, with a silver sports timepiece costing P42,000.

Watches in another shop, also at the Northwing, range from P7,000 (Ann Klein) to P14,000 (Dior).

Aldo pumps sell at close to P5,000 and flats at P2,000 plus.

Kultura, a shop featuring Philippine products, sells breezy dresses for a surprisingly low price of around P500 each, though these can be had for P200 a piece at Tabo sa Banay.

Take a break from shopping by dining or relaxing at any of the restaurants and coffee shops in the zone. Gerry’s Grill, Laguna Garden, Tempura, Chikaan, Flavours of China, Bigby’s, La Mesa Grill, Cabalen, Leona’s, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, and Starbucks have branches at Northwing.

SM City-Cebu opened the Northwing on November 30, 2007, dubbing it the “ultimate lifestyle center of Cebu.” The whole Northwing is Wi-Fi-enabled and offers free and unlimited Internet access. SM is 15-30 minutes away by taxi from any point in Cebu City.

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Fashion for less at Tabo sa Banay

Cebuanos love to bargain. In Cebu, bargain means Tabo sa Banay. Tabo is a Cebuano word for gathering or the verb to meet or to gather. Banay means family or…

Cebuanos love to bargain. In Cebu, bargain means Tabo sa Banay.

Tabo is a Cebuano word for gathering or the verb to meet or to gather. Banay means family or race. Tabo sa banay for the locals refer to a gathering of the community where selling and buying take place at affordable prices.

For a P500 blouse you get from the malls, you’d get at Tabo for P200 or even less.

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