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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.

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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.

Story

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

Categories
Feature Food

Cordova’s bakasi and other bounties from the sea

Text and Photos by Boboi Costas

The bakasi (saltwater eel) thrives abundantly in the town of Cordova, Mactan Island, a 45-minute drive from the city of Cebu. In taxonomic classification, eels belong to the Muranidae family which includes 200 species in 15 genera.

In Buwagsong, Cordova, a local fishing community; the bakasi is a prized catch. Because Cordova’s tidal flats are mostly muddy and grassy, the bakasi is caught in abundance. It has become a common but famous fixture in its local cuisine.

Cordova Bakasi
Linarang nga bakasi

The most famous restaurant serving bakasi is Entoy’s Bakasihan. Entoy has been serving bakasi for over three decades now. He says it was his friends who liked his cooking and who advised him to open a restaurant. The rest is history.

He serves linarang nga bakasi which is eel sautéed and then stewed in soy sauce, black beans and sambag (tamarind). The dish is the equivalent of the Asian tom yum. It enjoys a huge following, mostly from men who think (and feel) that eels are a potent aphrodisiac. (The time I was there, the diners were mostly men: taxi drivers, salesmen, Korean and Vietnamese tourists. And it was Valentines Day!)

Cordova Bakasi
Piniritong bakasi

There is also the piniritong bakasi (fried eel). The eels are deep fried to make it crunchy and appealing to picky eaters. It is dipped in vinegar and soy sauce with lots of chili. There is a slight bitter aftertaste when you eat a fried eel because the eel remains ungutted. (It is a time-consuming process because a bakasi is only about 8-12 inches long, and the bile is supposed to have medicinal properties.) If you are a first-time eater, try the small ones first then gradually increase the size as you go.

Cordova Bakasi
The bakasihan is open daily from 5 am to 7 pm.

And how are eels caught? Fishermen use a bantak, an eel trap fashioned from woven bamboo that looks like a small vase with a neck. Because eels by nature like to inhabit muddy flats with crevices, the bantak is just the perfect device. The opening allows the eel to crawl inside and since it doesn’t open from the inside, the eel is trapped.

Cordova Bakasi
Kinhason

A trip to Cordova is also a culinary delight for seafood lovers. There are shellfish, adobong nokos, piniritong nokos, guinamos, roe (bihod) from the suwaki, or sea urchin and sunlutan (sea cucumber).

It is alfresco dining at Buwagsong. You can order the bakasi from Entoy’s and bring it to the cottage set up by the barangay council. The view is remarkable, affording you to see Cordova’s local color unfold.

Cordova Bakasi
Piniritong nokos
Cordova Bakasi
Adobong nokos, ginamos and bihod sa suwaki
Cordova Bakasi
The bantak or eel trap
Cordova Bakasi
Barangay Buwagsong
Cordova Bakasi
Women cleaning sunlutan (sea cucumber) which they later sell to tourists and diners.