Sun brings together powerhouse Cebuano artists for ‘Para Nimo, Cebu’ in IT Park

Gear up for a one of a kind musical experience as Sun brings together powerhouse Cebuano artists for ‘Para Nimo, Cebu’, Ang Pinakalingaw Nga Concert, on November 23, Friday, at the Garden Bloc, Cebu I.T. Park, Cebu City.

The event lines up Cebu’s homegrown artists including Mandaue Nights, Honeydrop, Three Legged Men, FOC Fashion, Sunday Sunday, Shiela and the Insects, and Silingan ni Felicity, as well as top Cebuano singers including Jacky Chang, Jewel Villaflores and Kurt Fick.

Also joining the fray are some of the country’s top artists including Unique Salonga, Clara Benin, and alternative rock bands Sandwich and Ang Bandang Shirley.

Sun ‘Para Nimo, Cebu’, Ang Pinakalingaw Nga Concert


Big celebration for ‘Sun Country’ Cebu

Organized in partnership with top vinyl distributor Satchmi, ‘Para Nimo, Cebu’ is Sun’s big way of celebrating its pinakapaspas nga (fastest) LTE network in Cebu, a known ‘Sun Country.’

Cebuanos can now experience Sun LTE through Sun’s best value data, calls and texts promos, including the new Sulit Surf Plus 20, which comes with 300MB open access data, unlimited text to all networks, and unlimited SUN, Smart and TNT calls valid for 2 days for only P20.

Complimentary tickets for Sun customers

As a big treat, loyal and new Sun customers in Cebu can get a complimentary pass to ‘Para Nimo, Cebu’ concert as well as enjoy fun and exciting activities at the event.

Sun customers can get 1 complimentary pass to ‘Para Nimo, Cebu’ concert by registering to Sulit Surf Plus 20. Sun subscribers can also score 3 or 5 complimentary passes by registering to Sulit Surf 99 or Sulit Surf 249, respectively.



Sun customers can load up and claim complimentary passes at designated areas, such as in Parkmall; Innodata in Mandaue City; Copytrade in Sanciangko cor. Osmena St in Cebu City; near Gaisano Grand Fiesta Mall Tabunok, and Across Super Metro Lapu Lapu.

On the other hand, new Sun customers can get a complimentary pass by first activating a new Sun LTE-ready SIM and registering to corresponding Sun’s Sulit Surf Plus packages.

Don’t miss your favorite Cebuano artists in one big music celebration! For more information, follow Sun Prepaid’s official accounts on Facebook ( and Twitter (@suncelldeals). (Press Release)


Don’t cancel BRT but pursue LRT: Cebu chamber; group warns: Cebu in a crisis

The economic benefits of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system are clear and canceling it is “not the right thing to do,” the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) said in a statement today.

What government can do is to make road widening an integral component of the project, CCCI said.

The organization issued the press statement after reports came out that the Department of Transportation recommended to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez that the BRT project be cancelled.

Urgent need for mass transport

In the letter, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Presidential Adviser for the Visayas Michael Dino government will come up with “a replacement project superior to the BRT.”

“Cebu urgently needs a mass transport system today. It has already reached choke point with traffic congestion affecting all sectors of society,” CCCI said.

“It took more than 10 years for the BRT to go through its approval process not to mention countless time and resources spent in the process. The economists have computed a very high Economic Internal Rate of Return (EIRR) for the BRT at 53% meaning that the economic benefits are very clear. The project is ready to take off,” CCCI said.

Cebu BRT station
A proposed BRT station.

BRT, LRT will complement each other

“While BRT is a short-term solution ready for implementation, LRT which will benefit a bigger volume of commuters over a wider area of Cebu should be actively pursued today for implementation within the shortest time possible to support the high growth of Cebu. LRT and BRT will complement each other.”

“Cebu is in a crisis situation. Cebu Chamber would like to enjoin all sectors of society to set aside political differences and work together to solve the traffic problems in order to achieve our common desire to have a Cebu where quality family life and business shall flourish,” CCCI said.


US embassy warns Americans of terrorist threat in Cebu, Bohol

Terrorist groups may attempt kidnapping in Central Visayas, which includes Cebu and Bohol, according to “unsubstantiated yet credible information,” the US Embassy in the Philippines said in a travel advisory posted on its website.

“US citizens are advised to carefully consider this information as you make your travel plans, and to review personal security plans, avoid large crowds and gatherings, and remain vigilant at all times,” the advisory said.

TRAVEL ADVISORY. The US Embassy has issued a travel advisory on travel to Cebu and Bohol, which are among the country’s top tourism destinations.

“The US Embassy wishes to remind US citizens of the most recent Worldwide Caution, dated March 7, 2017, which indicates there is an ongoing threat of terrorist actions and violence against US citizens and interests abroad, including the Philippines.”

“Extremists have targeted sporting events, theaters, markets, mass transportation systems–including airlines, and other public venues where large crowds gather. Crowded nightclubs, shopping malls, buses and popular restaurants have also been targets.”

“US citizens should be mindful of the importance of taking preventative measures to ensure their safety and security while traveling and residing in the Philippines‎.”
For more information, the advisory asked US citizens to contact the US Embassy at +632 301 2000, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and +632 301 2000 as after-hours emergency number.


Philippines AirAsia opens flights to Boracay, Palawan from Cebu and Davao

AirAsia is flying to 7 brand new destinations across the Philippines this summer, opening Cebu and Davao flights to Boracay through Caticlan and Palawan starting on April 22, 2017.

Starting on the same date, Philippines AirAsia will also reinstate its Cebu-Davao-Cebu flights and start flying from Davao to Clark.

“It’s an exciting time to spend summer vacations in the Philippines with AirAsia’s awesome connectivity travelers now have easy access to the country’s amazing beaches, gorgeous natural wonders, and majestic eco-tourism attractions via Cebu, Clark, and Davao,” said Captain Dexter Comendador, Philippines AirAsia chief executive officer.

AirAsia Cebu, Davao, Boracay, Palawan

Cebu, Boracay, Palawan, Davao

AirAsia will fly from Cebu to Boracay and Palawan daily while flights to Davao are scheduled twice daily. From Davao, AirAsia is also offering daily flights to Boracay, thrice weekly flights to Palawan, and four flights weekly to Clark.

“We feel strongly about supporting the growth and development of cities outside Metro Manila by providing more options and added convenience for travelers to fly to their desired destinations without going to the main airport in Manila,” Comendador added.

Keep up-to-date with AirAsia’s latest promotion and activities via Twitter (@AirAsiaPH), Facebook (, Instagram (@AirAsiaPh), and on Viber public chat (@AirAsiaPh).

Brand Partnership Lifestyle Places

AirAsia offers low fares in seat sale

Travel to amazing destinations with AirAsia’s Red Hot Seat Sale that gives travellers access to over a hundred local and international destinations across 22 countries.

AirAsia, together with its long-haul, low-cost affiliate carrier AirAsia X are offering three million promo seats for travel to popular local destinations like Kalibo, Palawan, Bohol, Cebu, Davao, Tacloban and Manila and international destinations like Korea, Malaysia, China, Macau, and Hong Kong.


The airline’s seat sale starts at P1.00 base fare, excluding applicable taxes and fees. Booking period is from March 7 to 13, 2016 on as well as AirAsia’s mobile site Travel period is from October 1, 2016 to May 22, 2017.

“This time around, we are pleased to offer three million promotional seats. Guests may grab this perfect opportunity to make advance travel plans and enjoy extra value for their money. We have introduced many new and undiscovered routes throughout the region and grabbing a promo seat is the best way to discover new destinations,” said AirAsia Group chief commercial officer Siegtraund Teh.

AirAsia X destinations

“Guests from around the region can take advantage of our Fly-Thru service to connect to many exciting AirAsia X destinations such as Auckland, Sapporo, Tokyo, Gold Coast, Sydney and more. In conjunction with this special promotion, AirAsia X’s Premium Flatbed to all AirAsia X destinations are also on sale,” he added.

AirAsia BIG members and AirAsia BIG Prepaid MasterCard cardholders can earn 1 AirAsia BIG points for every P28 spent while booking the promo seats on Bargain hunters can also save up to 50% and more when they book their hotel with promo seats on

Philippines AirAsia Commercial head Gerard Peñaflor said, ”With AirAsia’s massive network in the whole of ASEAN and extending as far as India, Japan and China, we offer guests the convenience of connecting seamlessly and at the same time ensuring that they enjoy only the best quality service from us. Filipinos traveling from Manila, Cebu and Kalibo to Korea, China, Malaysia, Macau and Hong Kong would be thrilled to know that Red Hot One-Peso seat sale also include these amazing destinations.”

Red Hot P1 Seat Sale

For added convenience, AirAsia strongly encourages guests to pre-book their baggage allowance at the time of flight booking to enjoy the lowest rate.

Alternatively, guests can use the “Manage My Booking” function to pre-book or add more baggage allowance at up to four hours before the scheduled time of departure.

Keep updated with AirAsia’s latest promotions and activities via Twitter (@AirAsiaPH), Facebook (AirAsiaPhilippines) and Instagram (@AirAsiaPH).

The Red Hot P1 Seat Sale is for base fare only and does not include airport taxes, fees and other optional services.


Cebu listed among top alternative cities to Silicon Valley

An article in has listed Cebu as one of the “6 Global Alternative Cities to Silicon Valley to Start Your Company.”

“Cebu is a hub for social enterprises, those organizations dedicated to fighting poverty and improving quality of life in the developing world,” according to the article written by Josh Steimle.

It is a “great place to build products, test them and then scale them to the global market at a low cost to your company.” It is also a “beautiful and economical place to live,” the story said.

Cebu as business destination
CHANGING SKYLINE. With the booming Cebu economy comes a rapidly changing skyline as building after building is completed to meet the demand for more office and living spaces.

The story also quoted EngageSpark founder Ravi Agarwal as saying that Cebu has a “large talent pool” of English-speaking workers and good infrastructure.

Others listed as top alternative locations to Silicon Valley are Santiago, Chile; Shenzhen, China; Hong Kong; Berlin, Germany; and Dubai, UAE.

For the full article, read: 6 Global Alternative Cities to Silicon Valley to Start Your Company

Brand Partnership Tech

Xiaomi products now available in Cebu stores

Xiaomi has made available its Mi products in retail stores across the Philippines, including in Cebu. The company said the offline availability of their products will make it more convenient for Mi fans to easily get their hands on Mi products such as Redmi 2 and Mi Pad. Mi products were previously available only via online purchases with Lazada.

Mi products will now be sold at over 200 locations nationwide, including MemoXpress, Silicon Valley and PC Express stores. More stores will be added gradually, Xiaomi said in a press statement.

Among the company’s products is the Redmi 2, which sells for P5,999. The Redmi 2 features a 4.7-inch HD display and runs on a quad-core 64-bit Snapdragon 410 processor for faster and more powerful performance. With dual SIM, dual standby, users won’t have to manually switch SIM cards around with data support on both slots. The 8-megapixel rear camera on Redmi 2 features a 28-mm wide angle lens that is great for capturing photos, while the 2-megapixel front camera supports 720p video recording.


All Mi products will continue to be available online on Lazada Philippines. The suggested retail prices of Mi products at the retail stores will be the same as the online prices. This allows Mi fans to pick the most convenient way of purchasing their desired products, the company said.

In Cebu, the products are now available at:

  • Aerophone SM City Consolacion
  • Aerophone SM City Cebu
  • Aerophone Parkmall
  • Aerophone Ayala Center Cebu
  • Cellcom World in Cyberzone SM City Cebu
  • JR.MX in Savemore in Elizabeth Mall
  • MemoXpress in Cyberzone SM City Cebu
  • Rulls in Gaisano GrandMall in Carcar
  • Rulls in Metro Gaisano Colon
  • Rulls in Gaisano Mactan
  • Rulls in Gaisano Mandaue
  • Rulls in Cyberzone in SM City Cebu
  • Rulls in Cyberzone in SM Consolacion
  • Rulls in Ayala Center Cebu
  • Save n Earn in Cyberzone SM City Cebu

Steve Vickers, General Manager Southeast Asia, Xiaomi, said, “Mi fans in the Philippines have asked for more ways to purchase Mi products, and we’ve listened. In addition to our main online sales channel, we’re excited to offer offline sales as an option. Mi fans will also benefit from being able to try out our latest products at experience zones located in certain stores, before making a decision and buying them on the spot.”

The initial list of products available offline and their corresponding suggested retail prices are as follows.

  • Redmi 2 – P5,999
  • Mi Pad – P10,999
  • 16000mAh Mi Power Bank – P1,299
  • Mi In-Ear Headphones – P849

Offline buyers will also enjoy the same great after-sales support from Xiaomi, which includes chat support and a hotline service. They can also visit any of Xiaomi’s eight service centers, one of which is an Exclusive Service Center. Products can also be sent to Xiaomi for inspection through offline dealers, giving users even more choices for service support.

Xiaomi aims to bring innovation into the hands of everyone. Making Mi products available both online and offline in the Philippines will allow more users to experience for themselves Xiaomi’s high-quality products offered at incredible price points.

Xiaomi was founded in 2010 by serial entrepreneur Lei Jun. With more than 61 million handsets sold in 2014, and products launched in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, India and Indonesia, Xiaomi is expanding its footprint across the world to become a global brand.


Cebu News Digest: April 25, 2015: Ongoing Kadaugan Street Party in Lapu ends tomorrow night, re-enactment on Monday; Public warned: Cebu temperature may continue to rise in May

There’s another reason to be merry with the ongoing Kadaugan Street Party in Lapu-Lapu City. With the suspension of the ordinance against drunk behavior in public areas, revelers can drink beer this weekend without fear of getting arrested.

The current scorching heat caused by summer and the El Niño is already taking a toll on some of Cebu’s livestock and water supply. Yet the state weather bureau is warning the Cebuanos of a possible rise in temperature to 37 degrees Celsius in May.

Are you planning to buy a house unit or thinking of investing in one?

Check out Astele, which is among the newest property developments of top developer Primary Homes in Lapu-Lapu City. Astele is a vibrant community nestled in the coastal area of the island, close to top beach vacation getaways. It makes use of natural lines and Asian contemporary elements that give it a tasteful and minimalist feel. (Read more about the project here.)

Here are the top stories for today, April 25, 2015:

Victory of Datu Lapu-Lapu

The suspension of the ordinance against drunk behaviour in public places was done to let locals and tourist celebrate the victory of Datu Lapu-Lapu over conquistador Ferdinand Magellan. However, drunks who cause trouble will still be apprehended.

The search for Reyna Bulakna 2015 is one of the events leading up to the reenactment of the battle between Datu Lapu-Lapu and Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan called Kadaugan sa Mactan. Photo shows Reyna Bulakna 2015 bets with Mayor Paz C. Radaza. (Photo taken from Mactan Post)
The search for Reyna Bulakna 2015 is one of the events leading up to the reenactment of the battle between Datu Lapu-Lapu and Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan called Kadaugan sa Mactan. Photo shows Reyna Bulakna 2015 bets with Mayor Paz C. Radaza. (Photo taken from Mactan Post)

“We will tolerate those who will fall asleep on the sidewalk or vomit, but we will enforce the ordinance against those who cause scandal or become security threat.” –Lapu-Lapu City Police Office Chief Armando Radoc

These are some things you need to remember when you go celebrate in the Kadaugan Street Party:

* It started Thursday and ends tomorrow night.
* Some major roads in Lapu-Lapu are closed to vehicles this weekend.
* Drivers are advised to follow traffic directions.
* Organizers have set up stalls and banners along the three-kilometer venue for the street party that starts at the foot of the Marcelo Fernan Bridge to the Hoops Dome.
* Other activities you can find in the Party include an indoor sports clinic, basketball contests, wake boarding, a Kadaugan Color Beer Run, Fitness Dance Marathon, Zumba, sound and lights competition, a Cosplay competition, a parade of electric floats and higantes, and a car and motorcycle show.

The annual re-enactment of the April 27, 1521 battle will be staged on Monday morning.

Effects of the sweltering heat seen

The following are believed to be caused by the high temperature Cebu is experiencing:

There is low water supply in some areas as streams, rivers, groundwater reservoirs and other tributaries dry up.

In Medellin, the death of two goats that had no prior signs of sickness is suspected to be caused by the heat.

“May has been considered as the hottest month and the rest of the months are below normal ang rainfall, mao na nga dako gyud ang problema sa tubig.” – PAGASA Visayas Director Oscar Tabada

This year’s temperature is not as worse as that which was recorded on May 31, 2010 when 37 degrees Celsius was recorded, the all-time hottest temperature ever in Cebu.

The city disaster council recommended for the declaration of a state of calamity to utilize the city’s disaster funds to help areas cope with the temperature that will possibly rise.

Other top Cebu News stories:

Sun.Star Cebu: Fire hits landfill
The Freeman: Actual site of Niño’s finding under debate
Cebu Daily News: Talisay, Cebu City tackle water woes

Cebu Business headlines:

Sun.Star Cebu: SM Hypermart opens up retail space
The Freeman: Homegrown retail chain allots P1B for expansion
Cebu Daily News: 3 mixed-use Ayala projects to rise in Cebu, Mandaue, Mactan

Feature News Places Travel

Swim in blue seas, zip or dive from a cliff in Funtastic Island Medellin

Three hours of land trip plus another 15 minutes of boat ride take a traveler from Cebu City to Funtastic Island in the town of Medellin in northern Cebu.

Funtastic Island is part of Gibitngil, an island-barangay gifted with sparkling waters, vast coral reefs, long stretch of sand beaches, a picturesque sand bar and rock formations reminiscent of those in Coron, Palawan.

Aside from the natural sceneries, Funtastic Island also boasts of several activities for the thrill-seekers such as a cliff-to-rock zipline, kayaking and snorkeling.

But the most challenging that the island offers is the 40-foot cliff diving platform, hailed Adventure of the Year for 2014 by ABS-CBN’s local magazine show MagTV.

The attraction, whose development is part of the town’s efforts to step up its tourism initiatives, has been attracting hundreds of local and foreign tourists, making Medellin one of the Department of Tourism’s top 10 most visited municipalities in Central Visayas for two years now.

Funtastic Island Medellin
GREAT VIEW. Funtastic Island is part of Gibitngil, an island-barangay gifted with sparkling waters, vast coral reefs, long stretch of sand beaches, a picturesque sand bar and rock formations. (Photo provided by Medellin local government)

Getting there

If you’re coming from Cebu City, take a bus for Kawit, Medellin at the North Bus Terminal in the North Reclamation Area. To avoid the metro traffic, it’s highly advised that you travel early in the morning. The ride, which costs P135, should take you to Kawit in more or less three and a half hours.

Travel time is much shorter for those who travel by private vehicle.

Kawit is a barangay that sits on the east coast. As soon as you arrive in Kawit’s public market, you only have to walk a few meters to the coast where pump boats wait to ferry passengers to Funtastic Island.

Rates may vary, depending on the size of the boat and the number of passengers being ferried, but town officials earlier announced that a boat operator should not charge more than P1,500 for a back-and-forth ride, good for at most 10 people. It should take around 15 minutes to cross to Funtastic Island from the mainland.

Funtastic Island Medellin
ZIPLINE FROM A CLIFF. A cliff-to-rock zipline is one of the activities offered to thrill-seekers by the Funtastic Island in Medellin. (Photo provided by the Medellin local government)

What to do in Funtastic Island, Medellin

Welcome to the island! As soon as you step down the boat, you have to pay the P10 entrance fee. Cottage rental ranges from P100 to P250. There is no corkage for food and drinks. A grill area is also provided, free of charge. Now, here are the things that you can do to make your stay worthwhile:

1. Swim, swim, swim

A lot of travelers relish at the sight of the island’s unadulterated seawaters fit for a swim. Funtastic Island’s beachfront is not that wide, but there is much room for kids and those afraid of depths to still enjoy the water. Make sure to bring your goggles to see the fish underneath.

2. Go a little extreme

You may zip your way from the top of the cliff down to a rock just near the cottages. Cost: P50. Unlike many ziplines, this one is unique because all you see when you look down is water. There’s no point getting scared of falling…even if you don’t know how to swim, you are fully equipped with a life jacket.

Kayaking services are also available at P150 per hour rental charge on equipment.

Funtastic Island Medellin
Ride a kayak in Funtastic Island Medellin. (Photo provided by Medellin local government)

Cliff diving

But if you want to up the ante, you should do the famous cliff diving. Climb your way 40 feet to the topmost part of the rock, stand on the suspended platform and get ready for the big splash. This could be a little discomforting to those who have fears and heart problems but the experience is all worth it. For beginners, make sure you have a soft landing, okay?

3. Take an island trek

If there’s more time to hang around, there’s a road that cuts through the island and takes you to the heart of it. It’s an inhabited island so the trek should not be that spooky.

You are expected to find sibuyas plantation within the island, as well as little villages. If you’re lucky enough, you may chance upon fishermen who just came from their trade and buy the fresh catch from them at cheaper prices.

Funtastic Island Medellin
Medellin is one of the Department of Tourism’s top 10 most visited municipalities in Central Visayas for two years now.

Standing on the elevated part of the island also allows you to witness the beautiful sunset.

For bookings and inquiries, you may contact the local government of Medellin at 09176236248 (tap on number to call on your phone), 09328667661, 4362031 and 4362959.


Cebu News Digest: April 8, 2015: PB approves recla project in Cordova; Cebu City needs P1B for new classrooms for K to 12

The Provincial Board (PB) approved a resolution that authorizes Cordova town to carry out a P138-billion reclamation project under a public-private partnership agreement.

The Cebu City Government’s Local School Board (LSB) seeks the National Government’s help—and funds worth almost P1 billion—for the full implementation of the K to 12 program starting next year.

Are you planning to buy a house unit or thinking of investing in one?

Check out Astele, which is among the newest property developments of top developer Primary Homes in Lapu-Lapu City. Astele is a vibrant community nestled in the coastal area of the island, close to top beach vacation getaways. It makes use of natural lines and Asian contemporary elements that give it a tasteful and minimalist feel. (Read more about the project here.)

Here are the top stories for today, April 8, 2015:

‘Biggest’ recla project in the country

The Cordova reclamation project is moving forward with PB’s approval.

Cordova reclamation
Mayor Adelino Sitoy, shown here during a recent event in Cordova, says SM Prime Holdings will finance the P138 billion reclamation project in the town. (Photo taken from DILG Cebu FB page)

SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPHI), which reportedly came up with an unsolicited proposal, will be the private proponent that will finance the project.

SM will get 49 percent (735 hectares) of the total reclaimed area of 1,500 hectares while the rest will be shared by the Provincial Government, the Philippine Reclamation Authority and Cordova.

According to former Cordova mayor Arleigh Sitoy, it will be the “biggest” reclamation project in the country, or five times bigger than the South Road Properties in Cebu City, since it will connect Shell Island in the western part of the town to lighthouse all the way to Lava Island in the southern part of the town.

The P138 billion will be released in phases in the next eight years.


Local School Board seeks more funds for implementation of K to 12

Cebu City needs almost 700 additional classrooms that will cost almost P1 billion to build. LSB’s P385-million Special Education Fund this year is not enough.

With the K to 12 program, the City’s north district will need 165 additional classrooms for senior high school (a new level) and 68 additional classrooms for kindergarten and Grades 1 to 6 pupils.

The City’s south district will need 181 additional classrooms for senior high school and 252
classrooms for kindergarten and elementary pupils.

One classroom alone will cost P1.2 million while a four-storey, 20 classroom building will cost P24 million.

LSB is seeking funds from the National Government through the Department of Education that has a school building program.

6 towns, 5 cities in Cebu among top 10 CV destinations

According to the Department of Tourism-7, among the top destinations (municipality category and city category) in Cebu in 2014 based on the volume of tourists are:

Municipality category

  • San Remigio, Cebu (2nd place)
  • Sta. Fe, Cebu (3rd)
  • Minglanilla, Cebu (4th)
  • Moalboal, Cebu (6th)
  • Cordova, Cebu (8th)
  • Medellin, Cebu (10th)

City Category

  • Cebu City (1st)
  • Lapu-Lapu City (2nd)
  • Mandaue City (5th)
  • Bogo City (6th)
  • Danao City (7th)

Other top Cebu News stories:

Sun.Star Cebu: 8 boys saved from 2 ‘pimps’
The Freeman: 33T Cebu City voters urged to validate their biometrics
The Freeman: Priest among finalists in 6th Triennial Awards

Cebu Business headlines:

Sun.Star Cebu: PLDT wireless units ‘set pace for postpaid revenue growth’
The Freeman: Mobile data is the new battleground for telcos

Heritage Places

7 heritage churches in Metro Cebu for your Visita Iglesia

Make your Visita Iglesia this week a journey not just of faith but also of heritage by choosing to visit the centuries-old Spanish period churches that are common across the island of Cebu.

For your list of seven churches to visit this Holy Week, check out these places of worship in Metro Cebu that have played crucial roles in the island’s conversion to Christianity.

1. Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño

This towering structure, known as the church of the miraculous Señor Santo Niño de Cebu, blends Baroque, Muslim, and Romanesque architectural influences.

Cebu’s oldest church, given the honorific title “Basilica Minore” in 1965, retains some of the original stone texture and natural color it had in its 1730 construction.

Located right in the heart of downtown Cebu City, the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño started out as a church of light materials established back in the mid-1500s, probably by Fr. Diego de Herrera, said Balaanong Bahandi, a book on the Sacred Treasures of the Archdiocese of Cebu.

When this early structure was destroyed by fire in 1566, another one was built to replace it in 1571. Ten years after that, the foundation of the first stone building, which took 27 years to finish only to be reduced to ashes on May 8, 1628, was laid.

The basilica in the 1960s, when it was still known as the Augustinian Church.
The basilica in the 1960s, when it was still known as the Augustinian Church. (Photo from the Cebu Trade Directory, part of the collection of Ben Chua)

Stone church

Balaanong Bahandi credits the present coral stone church to the efforts of Fray Jose Bosqued in 1730, although its construction had to be stopped for lack of materials and was completed only in 1739 during the term of Fray Juan de Albarran.

On January 16, 1740, the Sto. Niño image was enthroned in the newly completed Augustinian church which is built on the same spot where it was found by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and his men in 1565.

It is widely believed that the Santo Niño image is the same one given by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan to Queen Juana of Cebu in 1521, that same year when she, her husband Datu Humabon, and several of their followers were baptized into the Roman Catholic faith.

2. Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral

The Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral stands strong and regal, with its thick white walls and trefoil-shaped pediment decorated with carvings of phoenixes, leaves and flowers, clamshell medallion, and images of two saints

It is a fitting ecclesiastical seat of the Archdiocese of Cebu. It didn’t always look this way, though.

For years, it was in various states of disrepair, historian Resil B. Mojares wrote in his book “Casa Gorordo in Cebu, Urban Residence in a Philippine Province.”

The church was established as the seat of the Bishop when Cebu became one of the suffragan dioceses of or dioceses overseen by the Archdiocese of Manila on August 14, 1595 and, like others built during the period, started out as a structure of wood and nipa, according to the “Balaanong Bahandi, a book on the Sacred Treasures of the Archdiocese of Cebu.”

The cathedral in 1962.
The cathedral in 1962. (Photo from the Cebu Trade Directory, part of the collection of Ben Chua)

Church in ruins

In 1665, when Fray Juan Lopez took over, and up to 1741, there was still no decent church, only a tabique barn covered with palm leaves, said Mojares, adding that one was substantially finished in 1786 but by 1829 it was in ruins.

According to the Balaanong Bahandi, a stone church was successfully completed during the latter part of first Cebuano Bishop Juan Bautista Gorordo’s term from 1862 to 1934.

This structure was renovated by Gorordo’s successor, Archbishop Gabriel Reyes, and consecrated in 1940 but it was destroyed by American bombings during World War II and all that remained of it was the facade.

When Cebu Archbishop emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal was appointed parish priest of the Cathedral in 1981, it was already the current structure minus the two side extensions. He had both added in the 1990s as Cebu was preparing to celebrate its 400th anniversary as a diocese in 1995.

3. San Jose de la Montaña Parish

Location: Mabolo, Cebu City

Built sometime in the 1920s during the time of Fr. Valeriano Cabantan, the Mabolo church’s original design was neo-Gothic.

Even today, after some remodeling and expansion works on the structure, one can still see neo-Gothic influences in the pointed arches of the bell tower, the only untouched part of this 20th century architectural jewel, according to the Cebu Archdiocese book Balaanong Bahandi.

Citing works by Fr. Pedro Galende and Felipe Redondo, Balaanong Bahandi said that Mabolo was first founded as Talamban in 1600, by workers of an Augustinian friar estate called Banilad who built there a chapel dedicated to St. Joseph.

Though not yet a parish, it kept burial and baptismal records and by 1792 had its own priest to minister to the needs of the townsfolk.

The Mabolo church in 1962.
The Mabolo church in 1962. (Photo from the Cebu Trade Directory, part of the collection of Ben Chua)

New town site

This town of Talamban, as Mabolo used to be called, became a parish on April 3, 1850, through Royal Approval of December 9, 1847, wrote Redondo in his book Breve Reseña.

According to Galende, it was also between 1847 and 1850 that the town center of old Talamban was relocated to its current site and a new church of stone and wood built on an area that we now know as Mabolo.

Fr. Manuel Ybeas had a parish house of cut coral stones at the first level and wood at the second level built just a few meters from the church. While the first church had been destroyed by natural calamities, the rectory still stands today.

4. Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish

Location: Pardo, Cebu City

Designed by a Spanish engineer-architect, the church of Pardo is probably the only one of its kind in Cebu that is of Byzantine influence.

Domingo de Escondrillas was commissioned to design the church by Fray Manuel Ybeas, who was parish priest from 1873 to 1893.

He chose a Byzantine style for the structure because he wanted it distinct from other churches, explained Fr. Pedro Galende in his book Philippine Church Facades, as cited in Balaanong Bahandi.

The church is located on the national highway in Pardo.

Old photo of the Pardo church as posted in Skyscraper City.
Old photo of the Pardo church posted in Skyscraper City.

Fortress church

Whereas other Cebu churches built during the Spanish period are wider than they are tall, the Santo Tomas de Villanueva Parish Church rises from the ground up, an imposing fortress.

The structure’s belfry is located in the middle of its facade, unlike many other churches in Cebu, and is flanked by two cylindrical towers that are not as high.

Pardo or El Pardo started out as a visita of San Nicolas that was separated into an independent parish on April 10, 1866, Felipe Redondo wrote in a book published in 1886.

Galende, another church writer, said Pardo was once a town formed by the merger of Bulacao, Inayawan, and Basak through a decree of the Governor General on March 10, 1863. It is now a barangay of Cebu City officially known as Poblacion Pardo.

5. National Shrine of St. Joseph

Location: Mandaue City

The National Shrine of San Jose is a fairly new structure but the religious formation of the area that is now Mandaue City can be traced to as far back as the late 1500s.

Augustinian missionaries, according to the book Balaanong Bahandi, were the first to minister to the people of Mandaue but handed this task over to the Jesuits in 1599.

A report in 1789 described the Mandaue City church, a construction attributed to the Jesuits, as sufficiently deteriorated, and the Augustinian writers Manuel Buzeta and Felipe Bravo wrote that the structure was of mediana fabrica or mixed fabric and served by a regular priest.

A strong earthquake damaged the church in 1922 and repairs were only completed in 1936.

The Mandaue church in 1962.
The Mandaue church in 1962. (Photo from the Cebu Trade Directory, part of the collection of Ben Chua)

Church renovation

Another round of destruction, according to the Cebu Archdiocese’s book, happened during World War II and the life-sized statues that memorialized the Ultima Cena (Our Lord’s Supper) were also destroyed.

Post war-repairs of the structure were undertaken through the efforts of Fr. Manuel Yap, who also blessed the new tableau of the Ultima Cena that Fr. Cesar Alcoseba commissioned to replace the ancient statues. The statues are among the church’s attractions.

Mandaue City’s current church underwent a major renovation in 1998, which involved removing the huge pillars at the crossing that used to support the roof to provide more space.

6. Nuestra Señora Virgen de la Regla Parish Church

Location: Lapu-Lapu City

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 la Regla from Africa.

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. She was named Virgen de la 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.

OLD CHURCH. This photo taken in 1910 shows the old Opon Church, which 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)
OLD CHURCH. This photo taken in 1910 shows the old Opon Church, which 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)


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.

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.

Originally built from coral blocks, 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. Opon started out as a visita of San Nicolas and was elevated to parish status in the 1730’s.

7. San Fernando Rey Church

Location: Liloan

Two differences set the San Ferando Rey Church in Liloan from other houses of worship built in Cebu during the Spanish period. It faces the mountains instead of the sea and was built bigger than similar structures of its kind.

The Liloan Church was named after St. Ferdinand, who was king of Spain from 1217 to 1252.

The Liloan church in 1962.
The Liloan church in 1962. (Photo from the Cebu Trade Directory, part of the collection of Ben Chua)

From being a barrio of Mandaue, Liloan was turned into a new parish on June 27, 1845, according to the Archdiocese of Cebu book Balaanong Bahandi, citing church historian Felipe Redondo.

Liloan, already a town by then, was prepared for the development as residents had already built a temporary church and rectory. The town already had close to a thousand houses and was ruled by a gobernadorcillo around this time, the book added.

The first parish priest was Augustinian Recollect Fray Vicente Dolores.


Popular Cebuano native restaurants open in SM Hypermarket Cebu

Popular Cebuano restaurants Conching’s Native Chicken, A-One Tinola ug Sinugba, and Cebu Lechon Belly now have outlets at SM Hypermarket Cebu along Logarta Avenue in Subangdaku, Mandaue City.

Angelo G. Carandang, store manager, said they wanted to add to the assortment of services they are currently offering SM Hypermarket customers.

Conching's specialty, which is the roasted native chicken, sells for P280.
Conching’s specialty, which is the roasted native chicken, sells for P280.

“We already offer grocery and fresh produce as well as appliances. Our aim is to further provide convenience to shoppers by allowing them to shop and eat in their favorite restaurants without having to worry about parking,” he added.

SM Hypermarket Cebu has put up al fresco dining spaces, 36 square meters for each restaurant, along the store’s anterior area. The restaurants can accommodate 32 people and a common dining area can seat about the same number.

Conching’s Native Chicken

Conching’s Native Chicken, which started as a small ihaw-ihaw stall in Taboan way back in 1968, is a popular food destination of locals, tourists, and even celebrities.

Popular restaurants Conching's, Cebu Lechon Belly, and A-One Tinola ug Sinugba now have branches at SM Hypermarket Cebu.
Popular restaurants Conching’s, Cebu Lechon Belly, and A-One Tinola ug Sinugba now have branches at SM Hypermarket Cebu.

The restaurant’s signature dish is the native chicken, which can be roasted or prepared as tinola or stew.

Concepcion Pia Layam, Conching’s Native Chicken owner, said they now sell an average of 200 roasted chicken daily. “We always use native chicken, that’s half the secret. The rest is our family’s trade secret,” Layam added.

Conching's at SM Hypermarket features al fresco dining. It can seat a maximum of 32 people.
Conching’s at SM Hypermarket features al fresco dining. It can seat a maximum of 32 people.

Conching’s main restaurant is near the Honda Cars Cebu Showroom along A. Soriano Avenue in Cebu City.

A-One Tinola ug Sinugba

Well known for its seafood menu, the A-One Tinola ug Sinugba started out as a roadside eatery selling grilled items at Pier Tres in 1984. Early customers referred to it as A-One because it was located in front of a lumber store carrying this name. The name has since stuck.

A-One is known for its seafood menu, including fish soup or tinola and grilled fish.
A-One is known for its seafood menu, including fish soup or tinola and grilled fish.

When it comes to flavorful fish tinola and grilled seafood, locals think of A-One. It sells fresh catch from the sea and grills it to perfection. People come to A-One for its bestsellers, which include freshly grilled tuna, squid, blue marlin as well as hot fish soup locally known as tinola.

Esmeralda Paca, one of the daughters of the couple who started the small streetside barbecue stall, said her father was a fisherman and her mother a fish vendor. The inspiration for the eatery came from their livelihood means, she added.
Paca said she and her other siblings worked to grow A-One into what it is now. Early this January, they plan to open an A-One branch in Tubigon, Bohol. Aside from Zamboanga, Bohol is also A-One’s supplier of fresh seafood.

Cebu Lechon Belly

Cebu Lechon Belly started with an idea that revolutionalized the roasted pig industry. The company calls its innovation “super lechon” because it gives people what they want in a roasted pig: the belly part which is tender and boneless at the same time.

Cebu Lechon Belly came up in 2012 with roasted pork that is boneless and using only the best part of the pig which is the belly.
Cebu Lechon Belly came up in 2012 with roasted pork that is boneless and using only the best part of the pig.

Marlon Gochan, owner, said all the flavor goes to the belly because it is where roasters put all the spices including lemongrass. Every inch of Cebu Lechon Belly is guaranteed to be as good as all the other bites.

“I admit we had a hard time at first because we’re in Cebu, the place famous for lechon. It’s hard to compete with the favorites but what we have introduced is something that people also want,” he pointed out. Cebu Lechon Belly now has 30 branches nationwide and they’re the first Cebu-based lechon business to ever reach Manila.

The Cebu Lechon Belly branch in SM Hypermarket Cebu is one of 30 operating nationwide.
The Cebu Lechon Belly branch in SM Hypermarket Cebu is one of 30 operating nationwide.

These three restaurants in Cebu now operate at SM Hypermarket Cebu, making it easier for their customers to satisfy their craving for their popular dishes. Carandang said SM Hypermarket is not just groceries, clothes, and home essentials anymore, it is also now a place where people can taste Cebu native food specialties.


2 top choirs perform Handel’s Messiah in Cebu concert

Two of the best choirs in the Philippines unite to present the popular English-language oratorio Handel’s Messiah in a Christmas concert in Cebu City on December 6, 2014.

The New Life Sounds and Coro Cantabile will perform portions of the music of German-born classical composer George Frideric Handel for the benefit of sexually abused and trafficked children in Cebu, said Pastor Nene Pagaduan of the Club in Unity for Restoration thru Empowerment (CURE) Foundation, Inc.

The Christmas concert, which will be held at SM City Cebu’s Cinema One, will have matinee and gala shows, with both choirs singing five choruses and three solos of Handel’s Messiah as well as Christmas carols, said Sharon Abesamis of the Coro Cantabile.

Ticket prices for the matinee are P100, P150, and P200. Gala tickets on the other hand range from P300 to P2,500.

Rancho ni Cristo

Proceeds of the December 6 Christmas concert will go to the building of the Rancho ni Cristo, a haven for sexually exploited kids below 12 years old, in the foundation’s 3-hectare property in Asturias, she added.

Bishop Joseph B. Disarno, CURE Foundation president, says proceeds of the Christmas concert will be for the benefit of sexually trafficked and exploited children.
Bishop Joseph B. Disarno, CURE Foundation president, says proceeds of the Christmas concert will be for the benefit of sexually trafficked and exploited children.

Bishop Joseph B. Disarno, CURE president, said they’ve started constructing two buildings and will need a third more before they can start initial operations by the first quarter of 2015.

“The three buildings are only the beginning. We intend to start small, with six children, and expand as we gain more expertise,” he explained. The first building will be for maintenance, the second for admin staff, and the third will serve as the orphanage.

According to Disarno, the foundation’s goal is to build 10 houses that can each accommodate 10 children. Since a building costs around P1.8 million, completing the Rancho ni Cristo will probably take about five to six years, he explained.


The Christmas concert Handel’s Messiah, which aims to sell over a thousand tickets, is one of the foundation’s fund-raising activities, said Urduja Santos of the New Life Sounds choir. The matinee starts at 3 p.m. while the gala begins at 7 p.m.

Pagaduan added that tickets will be available during the first week of November at the Maranatha World Outreach Center along V. Gullas corner P. Burgos streets. Those interested in watching the concert can reach them at +63-32-520-5164 or +63-32-253-2491.

According to her, they will arrange to have more outlets available soon to make it easier for people to buy tickets for the Christmas concert.

Ticket proceeds will go towards completing the Rancho, which will enable the CURE Foundation to work closely with Cebu local officials and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in helping with the healing of children below 12 years old who are sex trafficking and cybersex victims, she added.

Concert choirs

The New Life Sounds and Coro Cantabile choirs will be bringing their excellent music together to perform Handel’s music.

New Life Sounds, headed by Santos and made up of Christian men and women, has served heart-touching beautiful music to people in Cebu and several times in the Senate.

On the other hand, the Coro Cantabile headed by former Madrigal singer Sharon Abesamis is a Filipino Christian A capella singing group composed of people from different walks of life. With its wide repertoire of classical, gospel, pop, OPM, international, and local folk songs, the Coro Cantabile has sang at different events both locally and in other countries.

The Coro Cantabile went on a European tour in 2005 when it was awarded a gold medal by UNESCO in Athens, Greece.

Business Food

Pancake House brings high-end resto Maple to Cebu

With the number of Cebuanos who dine out growing fast, the Max’s Group, Inc. believes the Cebu market is ready for its upscale American restaurant Maple.

Maple serves American comfort food and its dishes are inspired by South American flavors which carry a lot of spices, said Bernadette Lee, chief operating officer of the Pancake House Group.

The Salmon Catch dish at Maple. It can be grilled, pan-seared, or blackened and comes with orzo pasta and Texas summer veggies.
The Salmon Catch dish at Maple. It can be grilled, pan-seared, or blackened and comes with orzo pasta and Texas summer veggies.

She added that Maple Cebu dishes are the same as those served in the Manila branches as they haven’t changed anything in the menu.

Since the restaurant caters to an affluent and upper middle class clientele, Pancake House Group marketing director Ruby R. Bautista said Ayala Center Cebu was the appropriate choice of location for the first Maple branch outside of Manila.

Maple, which opened in Cebu last month, serves breakfast beginning at 7 a.m. It is operated by Pancake House, which manages restaurants like Pancake House, Le Coeur de France, Yellow Cab, Dencio’s, and Kabisera and was recently acquired by Max’s Group, Inc. It is located at the ground floor of Ayala Cebu’s The Terraces.

Maple Cebu

Lee said the restaurant’s name was inspired by the maple syrup, which is the springboard of a high end pancake house.

The Maple Burger is juicy grilled beef patty that comes with American cheese, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, onion rings, and maple-glazed bacon.
The Maple Burger is juicy grilled beef patty that comes with American cheese, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, onion rings, and maple-glazed bacon.

Their group, which already operates the Pancake House chain, decided to create a more upscale restaurant and named it Maple, explained Bautista.

The Pancake House and Maple menus, however, only have one thing in common and that is pancakes, Lee cited, adding 95 percent of the dishes are different. Bautista said a lot of Maple’s dishes are flavored with the maple syrup.

Since Maple is a new concept in Cebu, people are flocking to the restaurant in droves.

“We realize this will normalize after a few months. Our patrons love our food. This city is growing closer to our heart and we really want to make this work for Cebu,” added Lee.

If the market can sustain a second location, Lee said they may open another branch in the nearby island of Mactan.

Select clientele

There are, however, no plans yet for a Maple outlet in another part of the country.

“We like to keep Maple as exclusive as possible. It caters to a very select market and we’re keeping it quite small,” she pointed out, adding they’re concentrating on growing the other restaurants in the chain such as Max’s, YellowCab, and Pancake House in international locations.

Maple bestsellers include the dinner roast, prime rib tapa, spaetzle Jambalaya, eggs Benedict, Maple salad, and pancakes.

In Manila, there are only three Maple outlets, said Lee. The first one was opened at the San Antonio Plaza Arcade inside the exclusive community Forbes Park in Makati City back in 2012. The two others are in the Shangri-la Plaza Mall and CommerCenter in Alabang.

According to Lee, the number of dining establishments operated by Max’s Group Inc. after acquiring the Pancake House Group is now close to 500, making it the biggest casual dining company in the country.

Pancake House Group executives (R) Bernadette Lee, chief operating officer, and Ruby R. Bautista, marketing director.
Pancake House Group executives (R) Bernadette Lee, chief operating officer, and Ruby R. Bautista, marketing director.

Maple menu

Maple’s breakfast food that is served all day includes pancakes, Belgian waffles, and French toast. In its pasta list are: Spaetzle, farfelle, linguine, and agli olio. It also serves soups, salads, burgers as well as club and ciabatta sandwiches.

For the main course, there’s salmon served with pasta and vegetables, pan-seared crab cakes, fish tacos, fried or grilled chicken, baby back ribs, rib tapa, and chicken steak.

Diners can choose to order their wines by the glass or bottle.

Desserts can either be apple pie, skillet-baked chocolate cookie, sundae, or bread pudding.

Feature Heritage Places

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, 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.


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

Events Heritage

Cebu celebrates 445th founding anniversary on August 6

Many Cebuanos are well aware of the upcoming 445th Founding Anniversary of Cebu on August 6, 2014 as it has been declared a special holiday in the province.

Beyond the fact that there is no work or classes on that day, what do we really know about this singular date in Cebu’s history and what it has come to represent?

It turns out it was on August 6, 1569 that King Phillip of Spain issued a “real cedula” granting the Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi the title of governor and captain general of Cebu.

Founding anniversary

Cebu Founding Anniversary
The Cebu Capitol spruces up for its 445th Founding Anniversary celebration on August 6, 2014.

Citing historical sources, the book “Cebu: Yesterday and Today” said the province identified Legazpi as the first governor and picked the date as its symbolic founding. It was only on March 10, 1917, however, that the Province of Cebu was officially created under Act 2711.

The title granted to Legazpi, the book added, gave him the responsibility of administering justice, maintaining order and harmony, and fostering friendly ties with the local inhabitants for a more orderly rule.

Monsignor Martin Calcocer was the last Spanish leader of Cebu and he was succeeded by Luis Flores, first governor of a Filipino Provincial Government established on April 3, 1898.

Capitol seal

While many Cebuanos also recognize the provincial seal, only a few understand the meaning behind the symbols for understandable reasons. Chief among them is the failure to mainsteam such historical information.

Cebu Provincial Government seal
Cebu Provincial Government seal

Shaped like a shield divided into quarters and enclosed in a circle, the Provincial Government seal features six oysters, a spear crossed by a bolo twice, and 48 small squares.

The spear and the bolo represents resistance against oppression as symbolized by Lapu-Lapu’s successful struggle against the mightly Spanish force led by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

The six oysters were the six generals who revolted against Spanish and American authorities, namely Generals Maxilom, Echavez, Cabreros, Leon Kilat, Jaca, and Genes. On the other hand, the squares represent the total number of local governments in the Province of Cebu.

Digital tourism

In line with the 445th Founding Anniversay of the Province of Cebu, several activities have been lined up through the month of August.

Among the highlights of the celebration are the founding mass and program on August 6, Gabii sa Sugbo on August 8, and a pact signing on August 4 with our start-up InnoPub Media for a province-wide implementation of Digital Tourism.

Digital Tourism comes in two components: mobile apps (downloadable from Google Play Store) that serve as handy guides to Cebu tourist attractions and special markers that use quick response (QR) codes to provide context to local culture, heritage, and history.

With the QR markers, information about Cebu’s built heritage that includes but is not limited to more than 30 centuries-old stone churches will be easily accessible to local and foreign tourists.

Schedule of activities

August 1, Friday
Flag Ceremony & Raising of Municipal Flags / Opening of Agro-Fair
Opening of Business Incubation Exhibit

August 2, Saturday
Family Day: Fun Walk / Zumba / Caleza Riding / Awarding

August 3, Sunday
Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines

August 4, Monday
Wellness Day / MOA Signing with Inno Pub Media on Digital Tourism

August 5, Tuesday
Bangga sa Kanta, Balak ug Pakatawa

August 6, Wednesday
445th Founding Anniversary Holy Mass / Anniversary Program / Awarding

August 8, Friday
Gabii sa Sugbo / Launching of Bidlisiw Awards

August 14, Thursday
Shark Summit

August 15, Friday
Halad sa Kabataan

August 18, Monday
Recognition Day / Punong Barangay Day

August 20, Wednesday
Media Night

August 24, Sunday
Local Job Fair

August 29, Friday
Launching of UBAS (Ugnayang Barangay at Simbahan)


Cebu, Bohol among foreign cruise destinations in 2014, 2015

Cebu and Bohol will be among the ports of call of international cruise ships in 2014 and 2015, a statement from the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Central Visayas said.

Despite the natural disasters and calamities faced by the Philippines in 2013, the most recent being the earthquake originating from Sagbayan, Bohol and super typhoon Yolanda, more foreign tourists are still expected to visit next year and in 2015, many through international cruise ships, the DOT added.

Bohol will be among the Philippine destinations of 23 cruise lines in 2014, the statement cites Assistant Secretary Benito C. Bengzon, head of the DOT market development group, as saying. The ships will be bringing in over 23,000 tourists to different areas of the Philippines.

Their number is more than the 17 cruise ships that stopped by various points in the country in 2013, including Malapascua Island, Cebu City, and Bohol.

cruise ships philippines
More cruise ships are expected to stop by the Philippines in 2014 and 2015. Creative Commons photo by Robert Wallace.

Visiting Bohol in January and March, 2014, will be the Hapag-Lloyd operated cruise liner MS Europa II. The ship is slated to make port in Tagbilaran City.

DOT Central Visayas Regional Rowena Lu Y. Montecillo said there couldn’t be more welcome news.

“It is heartening to know that in spite of the calamities we have faced this year, tourists are still coming in to visit our islands, most especially Bohol. After the October 15 earthquake, Bohol tourism struggled to to find its pace as fears of aftershocks still reverberates,” she cited.

According to her, MS Europa’s visit to Bohol would restore tourist confidence in the province.

The DOT said it has identified cruise tourism as one of the country’s strategic products under the National Tourism Development Plan. It will extend welcome reception and farewell activities for all cruise ships arriving in the country to make their visit unique, fun, and memorable.


Many Philippine destinations open to tourists after Yolanda

Trips to the Cebu destinations of Bantayan and Malapascua are now available albeit with some limitations, an advisory from the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Central Visayas said.

DOT 7 Regional Director Rowena Lu Y. Montecillo said ferry operations in Bantayan have returned to normal a few days after super typhoon Yolanda (international codename: Haiyan) wrecked havoc in the Philippines.

Tourists may avail of special trips to Malapascua, Montecillo added in the advisory.

Business Events Places

Filinvest starts work on Il Corso in Cebu

Imagine a strip of land dotted with retail shops, boutiques, bars, cafes and restaurants. Shaded walkways and landscaped gardens allow people to walk along the 11 connected buildings that can be found all throughout its length.

The whole stretch has a view of the sea on one side. At the far end is built a marina for boating and aqua-sports activities. Some distance out to sea but connected to the mainland is a functional lighthouse that will serve to aid sea vessels going by the area.

This is how Filinvest Land, Inc. (FLI) envisions its commercial and lifestyle strip at South Road Properties (SRP) called Il Corso when it opens by the last quarter of 2015.

According to FLI senior vice president for commercial center and retail management Joy Polloso, Il Corso will be the ultimate shopping and lifestyle destination in Cebu.

il corso cebu
An artist’s rendition of Filinvest Land’s commercial and lifestyle strip Il Corso that it plans to open by late 2015.

Il Corso – which is Italian for “the way” – will be a convergence area for family, friends, shoppers, business people, and fitness enthusiasts, she added.

The eight-hectare development, which is part of Filinvest Land’s 50-hectare master-planned community in SRP called Citta de Mare, will set aside spaces for jogging and biking. Across the road from Il Corso will rise FLI’s resort-themed residential town anchored by the Piazza, an Italian-inspired common amenity area.

Filinvest held its first concrete pouring last week to mark the start of construction work on Il Corso. A ceremonial unveiling of the Il Corso lighthouse logo also happened on the same day.

il corso cebu unveiling
Filinvest Group president and CEO Josephine Yap (2nd from R) leads the Il Corso ceremonial unveiling at SRP in Cebu City. (Photo courtesy of Humility Igaña)

A short presentation on Filinvest’s first foray into retail development showed that located in the middle of its Il Corso strip will be a central plaza with a fountain and a vantage view of the sea that can be used for big productions or intimate events.

A major feature, it added, will be a 1,000-seater amphitheater.

“Filinvest is committed to enhancing the development of the Cebu community and enhancing the lifestyle of the Cebuanos” through Il Corso, said Polloso.

Il Corso, according to her, totals 70,000 square meters in floor area but only 36,000 square meters will serve as gross leasable area. The complex will be able to accommodate around 300 establishments that will provide a dynamic array of brands in retail, dining, as well as health and wellness.

Polloso said Filinvest is spending P3 billion for the whole Il Corso development.


Just Wine Cebu serves affordable, quality wines

It goes by Just Wine but don’t let the seeming simplicity of the name deceive you.

Cebu’s newest wine and tapas bar is cozy and comfortable and provides the perfect place for Cebuanos to hang out and bond with friends over a glass (or glasses) of red or white.

Just Wine sells a bottle of wine starting from a very affordable price of around P300, said one of the owners, Joseph Gandionco of Julie’s Bakeshop. He added that Just Wine also carries pricier labels at P2,000 per bottle.

just wine
Just Wine is the perfect place to chill out with friends over a bottle of red or white wine.

“Generally, wine is not the choice of alcohol for Cebuanos. We’ve noticed though that wine is getting popular among the young people. A lot of younger Cebuanos are coming here to drink wine,” he shared.

Just Wine offerings

Celebrations demand the bubbly kind and Just Wine has exactly the right bottles for such times. It offers Champagne for around P7,000 per bottle or its alternatives, such as Spanish sparkling wines bottled under Cava for only P800.

jose meneses
Titania Wine Cellar, Inc. owner Jose Meneses says the finer the bubbles, the better the sparkling wine.

According to Gandionco, the wine bar charges a 10 percent service fee for bottles consumed there.

Just Wine sells wines imported from France, Italy, Spain, Australia, the US, and Chile through Philippine importer Titania Wine Cellar, Inc.

just wine cebu entrance
Just Wine in Cebu is cozy, comfortable and serves affordable and quality wines.

The wine and tapas bar along Paseo Saturnino, Maria Luisa Road, Cebu City is a partnership between Gandionco and Jose Meneses of Titania.

Wine and tapas

Gandionco said he used to be a distributor of Titania in Cebu and knew that it was looking for a place to retail its wines here.

“This place was vacant and I thought it was perfect for what we had in mind,” he citing, adding that Just Wine opened in April this year.

Cold appetizers like mixed olives and cheese known as tapas in Spanish cuisine serve as the perfect wine pair.

As perfect foil for its red and white wines, it serves a wide variety of hot and cold appetizers or snacks called tapas in Spanish cuisine.

Its offerings include anchovy caviar, calamares, chorizo, chicken bites, callos, cheese, nuts and bread.

Just Wine recently started selling Spanish wines produced under the Palacio de la Vega, Musso, and Casa Rojo labels. Available are red and white wines manufactured in Palacio de la Vega, the oldest winery in the Spanish region of Navarra or Navarre.