Re/Discovering Cebu, one story at a time

Cebu heritage walk showcases island’s history

What tourists should include in their Cebu to do list is go on a heritage walk. Cebu City’s downtown area is a heritage belt of old churches, houses, and other…

Cebu to do list is a tour of heritage structures such as Fort San Pedro, oldest and smallest triangular bastion fort in the Philippines.

Fort San Pedro in Cebu is the oldest and smallest triangular bastion fort in the Philippines.

What tourists should include in their Cebu to do list is go on a heritage walk. Cebu City’s downtown area is a heritage belt of old churches, houses, and other structures that date back to its colonial Spanish past spanning no less than 300 years.

These places are of walking distance from each other and have given rise to guided visits that include stopovers in some or all of these sites. Whether you hire a licensed guide or do the tour on your own, this is one walk you can’t afford to miss.

Cebu to do activities

Longer tour

1. Start at Fort San Pedro, oldest in the country. It was constructed on May 8, 1565 or 11 days after Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi arrived in Cebu. According to a report from Restoration USA (Source: http://www.restorationusa.com/fort-lauderdale/), its restoration in 1972 called for the replacement of 20,000 pieces of coral stones in the main building. /A. Pigafetta St./ 256-2284, 416-7080/Monday to Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Entry fees: regular, P30; senior citizens, P24; students/children, P20
Parking fees: car, P15; coaster/bus, P30

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Hale Manna: House of Good Energy

Nature never travels in a straight line and at Hale Manna, which is Hawaiian for House of Good Energy, great pains are taken to ensure that this natural order of…

Hale Manna shore

Nature never travels in a straight line and at Hale Manna, which is Hawaiian for House of Good Energy, great pains are taken to ensure that this natural order of things is followed.

The ground is uneven and rocky and trees are planted to match this terrain, steps are carved from rocks to serve as pathways around the 2.8-hectare property and to the seashore, and wild flowers are allowed to grow in abundance.

Walkways at the Hale Manna Beach Resort and Coastal Gardens in Moalboal, Cebu follow a winding course, and its owner Rebecca Pestano-Smith, a permaculture enthusiast, said this is in keeping with nature’s ways.
“A seawall is the sea’s natural enemy. A wave has a lot of energy and when it makes contact with the seawall, the surrounding environment will suffer from the force it brings,” she said, to explain the scouring of the sand in some areas where structures have been built so near the sea.

She explained that permaculture is a discipline that encourages ecological sustainability in human actions, and she brings it to her resort by building into the existing environment as well as through her rainwater catchment, herb and vegetable gardens, and composting methods.

Smith, whose work in coastal resource management with USAID brought her to live in Hawaii for several years, said she was impressed by how this US state took care of its lifeblood that is the sea and wanted to do something similar in her home province Cebu.

Hale Manna gardens and grounds

She bought the coastal property in Moalboal sometime in 1995 but only opened her resort in February this year.

Gift from heaven

The Hale Manna house is huge, sprawling, and open. Sunlight streams in and the breeze flows through. The seven rooms of various sizes are large and airy, and cool even without the air-conditioning turned on.

All the rooms have access to a common or private veranda with a view of the nearby gardens and, farther away, the sea’s blue vastness.

The wide receiving area at the ground floor is designed so that a guest can choose to read in solitude or be with others talking or playing board games.

Open cottages, hammocks, and seats are placed strategically near the sea, and the sound it makes as it breaks against the shore is all you hear.

Two cottages nearest the sea have beds and Smith said some guests choose to sleep there where there is no better lullaby than the sea’s strange song.

So that the resort will have access to the sea, Smith has carved steps from the rocks leading down to it in at least three parts of the property.

The main steps are wide and lead to the main beach while the two other stairways go down to private coves sheltered by trees. Smith’s favourite spot is a place near the farthest cove, where she sees only the sea and hears only the surf, and it is there where she is truly one with the world.

Smith said the two letters “n” in the word manna means gift and manna is from heaven and this place in faraway Moalboal is a gift from heaven, and it is easy to see why.

Floating raft

Because of its well-kept corals and wide variety of marine life, the Moalboal sea has gained a reputation as a scuba diver’s paradise but diving does have its stringent requirements.

The next best thing would be to snorkel there and Hale Manna makes this easy by providing its services and equipment for free when you check in at the resort.

Some 500 meters away from the shoreline is Hale Manna’s floating raft, which is anchored at the boundary where the sea’s eight feet-deep bottom gives way to the blue nothingness that divers call the wall because the descent is sudden and steep.

The raft is tied by rope to a huge concrete slab in the bottom of the shallows.

Hale Manna brings guests to this raft using its kayak and while they snorkel in the area, two experienced swimmers serve as lifeguards. The resort provides life vests and snorkelling equipment.

What guests can see underwater are corals in various forms as well as schools of fish in every conceivable color.

Out of the sea, Hale Manna also has a billiards table for those who wish a crack at the game.

Rooms, food rates

The months from December to June are peak season and rooms at Hale Manna range from P3,800 for the four superior rooms that can fit in up to four people and P4,800 for the largest family room that can accommodate up to seven guests.

The superior room is only P3,040 while the biggest family room is just P3,840 during non-peak months.

Buffet breakfast is priced at P180 to P250 per person while lunch and dinner cost from P250 to P385 per guest depending on the menu.

Smith said guests can book the entire resort for exclusive events. They will need to pay for all the rooms and there is a small charge for the garden.

Hale Manna is full on most weekends and can host wedding receptions or, in the case of divers Mitch Dumlao and Sarah Laigo, a venue for a proposal.

The resort has a regular staff of 10 people, who are all from Moalboal, and eight others who are on call, added Smith, who also owns Handuraw along Gorordo in Cebu City.

She said she plans to hold cultural activities in the resort and bring in local bands to play in events like full moon parties.

Publicity-wise, Smith said she is only relying on the resort website www.halemanna.com and online social networks like Facebook as well as through word of mouth.

This is probably why Hale Manna is not as well known as other resorts in the town, but in terms of facilities and amenities it certainly is among the best.

Hale Manna location map

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Cebuanos go on Visita Iglesia or beach trips during Holy Week

For Christian Catholics in Cebu, the Holy Week celebration entails a long break from work. In keeping with the solemnity of the week, many Catholics go on a “Visita Iglesia,”…

For Christian Catholics in Cebu, the Holy Week celebration entails a long break from work.

Spanish period church in Argao. Click to enlarge.

In keeping with the solemnity of the week, many Catholics go on a “Visita Iglesia,” a religious practice that involves visiting seven churches on Maundy Thursday.

In Cebu City, there are a lot of churches that can be included in a Visita Iglesia. Among these religious structures are centuries-old churches built during the 18th century.

Cebu City’s heritage of churches include the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño, the oldest founded in the Philippines, and the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. Here’s a listing of Cebu City churches that can be made part of a Visita Iglesia.

Many cities and towns outside of Cebu City also have their own Spanish period churches and a Visita Iglesia can double as a religious practice and a revisiting of Cebuano’s Spanish heritage.

Southern churches of Cebu bear various architectural influences such as Graeco-Roman, Gothic, and Baroque, among others. A Visita Iglesia of churches can be done with a guide or without. Churches in the towns and cities of the province are located at the town or city center, which is easily accessible by buses that ply the southern route on a regular basis.

The younger crowd hits the beach during the long Holy Week break from work. They have a variety of Cebu white sand beaches to choose from. Cebu’s smaller islands like Bantayan and Camotes are popular destinations of young people.

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Cebu’s selection of white sand beaches

Cebu beaches are known for their fine white sand and clear waters. Being in the center of a long and narrow island that is 200 kilometers long and nowhere exceeding…

Cebu beaches are known for their fine white sand and clear waters. Being in the center of a long and narrow island that is 200 kilometers long and nowhere exceeding 40 kilometers in width, Cebu City is half an hour to a few hours away from white sand beaches, long coastlines, beautiful resorts, and paradise islands.

This is one of the reasons why the city is in every tourist’s list of top destinations. Another Cebu to do activity is take a heritage tour of centuries-old churches and Spanish period churches.

The island of Cebu is blessed with rich marine resources and fine beaches, and tourists, both local and foreign, make time to visit Cebu and explore its natural wonders.

A trip without a visit to world-class Cebu beaches with their beautiful sunsets and panoramic views is incomplete.

From Cebu City, the nearest white sand beaches are those in the smaller island of Mactan to the east. The airport is located in Mactan, under the territorial jurisdiction of Lapu-Lapu City.

Mactan Cebu beaches

Going to Mactan Island is easy as two bridges connect it to mainland Cebu — the Mandaue-Mactan Bridge and Marcelo B. Fernan Bridge. Mactan Island consists of Lapu-Lapu City and Cordova town.

From the city, Mactan is about 45 minutes to an hour drive. Most Mactan, Cebu beaches are just 15 to 30 minutes ride away from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

To get here, one option is to take a taxi. The flag down rate is P40.00 (temporarily set at P30, but you have to ask the driver to subtract P10 from your actual fare) and taxis are widely available anywhere in the city as well as in the island. Resorts usually offer shuttle transfers to their guests. You may arrange for airport pick-ups or drop-offs. There are also shuttle services going to and from the malls in Cebu City for a fee.

Be Resorts Mactan

Be Resorts in Mactan Island.

Be Resorts

True to its tagline “Beyond the Expected,” guests here will surely get the relaxation they deserve. An Infinity Pool that is four feet deep immediately creates a calm mood. The Jacuzzi Pool is also hard to resist, especially for those who need to break free from their daily routine in office or at home. Situated on Punta Engaño Road, the resort has unique names for their accommodations — Be Cool, Be Chic, and Be Classy. If you do visit Be Resorts, make sure you try its boodle dining package: to know more about it, read our story: Be Resorts Mactan introduces Boodle on the Boat.
Contact: +63-32-2368888 (tap on number to call on your phone) or email: [email protected] (tap on email address to send a message)
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/beresorts.mactan
Website: www.beresorts.com

Shangri-La’s Mactan Island Resort and Spa

This resort located in Punta Engaño, Lapu-Lapu City offers its guests a vacation in luxury. The garden view appeals to nature lovers and is an ideal place for travelers. Considered as a premier resort in Mactan island, Shangri-La’s Mactan Island Resort and Spa boasts of a large spa and various restaurants.
Contact: +63-32-2310288
Website: www.shangri-la.com

Plantation Bay Resort and Spa

Saltwater lagoons and freshwater pools distinguish Plantation Bay Resort and Spa from the others. With its colonial plantation architecture, guests will surely enjoy the amenities of the resort. Here, athletic tourists could not resist their wall climbing facility while health conscious guests would love their fitness center plus the spa at their Mogambo Springs. The resort lies in an 11.4-hectare lot in Marigondon, Lapu-Lapu City.
Contact: +6332 505 9800 or email: [email protected]
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/plantationbayresortandspa
Website: www.plantationbay.com

Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort

Other than being known for its bungalow type of accommodation, Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort has become a favorite venue for weddings. Couples who are fond of the beach often choose to hold the reception in its 1.1 hectare man-made island dubbed Alegrado Island. Kids also are attracted to visit the place and have an encounter with the mascot Dolpo, a dolphin. This 158-room resort is located in Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City.
Contact: +6332-2345411 or +6332-4920100
Website: www.bluewater.com.ph

Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark

If you talk about water fun, this resort is definitely the best place to go. Located on ML Quezon National Highway, Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City, it offers a one of a kind Waterpark and Slides. Imperial Palace Waterpark Resort and Spa features themed pools namely Amazon River Pool (with inflatable tubes), Wave Rider, Beach Pool, Captain Hook’s Pool, and the Toddler Pool.
Contact: +6332-2361367
Website: www.jparkislandresort.com

Mactan Blue Reef Resort

Value for money is what best describes this resort in Tongo, Marigondon, Lapu-Lapu City. For only an entrance fee of P50.00, one can get a nice dip in the beach. The resort is a perfect option for those who are looking for an affordable get together. You are allowed to bring in food and the cottages are for rent at reasonable costs.
Contact: +6332 4942644 or +6332 4942911 or email [email protected]

Other resorts and accommodations in Mactan Island:

Cebu Beach Club

Location: Pag-utlan, Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City
Contact: +6332-4921888

Costabella Tropical Beach Hotel

Location: Buyong, Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City
Contact: +6332-2314244
Website: www.costabellaresort.com

Cebu White Sands

Location: Looc, Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City
Contact: +6332-268 9000 or +6332-4952222
Website: www.whitesands.com.ph

Cordova Reef Village Resort

Location: Poblacion, Cordova
Contact: +6332 238 1878 or +6332 496 8050
Website: www.cordovareef.com

Crimson Resort and Spa

Location: Mactan Island, Lapu-Lapu City
Contact: +6332 239 3900 or email [email protected]
Website: www.crimsonhotel.com/mactan/

Alta Cebu Resort and Convention Center

Location: Tugbungan, Pilipog, Cordova
Contact: +6332-496-7812 or +6332-496-7399 or email [email protected]
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/AltaCebuResort

Pacific Cebu Resort

Location: Suba Basbas, Marigondon, Lapu-Lapu City
Contact: +6332-3405982

Farther away from Cebu City are unspoiled beaches with fine sand and cool waters, but they take travel time of two to three hours or more.

Southern Cebu beaches

Down south, you will discover hidden paradise in the towns of Boljoon, Santander, Alegria, and Moalboal.

Exploring southern Cebu is easy even for those who do not have cars. You may take buses at the Cebu South Bus Terminal along N. Bacalso Avenue in Cebu City to destinations in the south. There are also van-for-hires available at the Citilink, also on N. Bacalso Ave., and Ayala Terminal.

Lambug Beach Badian

Lambug beach in Badian is among the best in Cebu.

Lambug Beach

For years, this secluded public beach with its long stretch of fine white sand in Badian was deemed a secret among regulars loathed to share it with others lest the rush of crowd ruin its pristine state. Lambug offers one of the best and cleanest beaches in Cebu. It is a three-hour drive from Cebu City.

If you take public transport, you can ride a bus to the town of Badian and hire a tricycle or a motorcycle to get to the place. There are several resorts in Lambug where you can stay. You can also choose to rent or bring or your own tent and pitch on the beachfront. To know more about Lambug, read our article: Lambug Beach in Badian offers perfect, peaceful getaway

Cebu Club Fort Med

This resort in Boljoon is very accessible to tourists as it is located on the highway. From Cebu City, this town is about three hours away.

Coming here is not too expensive as you can either stay for a night or just spend the whole day there enjoying the beach. They have open cottages for rent both for day use and overnight stays. They also have a pool for those who wish not to take a splash in the beach.

Snorkeling and diving are two of the best things to do while here in the resort. Since Boljoon is known for its heritage sites, they also offer Church visits for guests.
Contact: +63 932 8567880 or (+6332) 482 9050 or email [email protected]
Website: www.cebuclubfortmed.com

Club FortMed Boljoon

Club FortMed in Boljoon.

Eden’s Resort

With only 10 rooms, guests in this resort located in Liloan, Santander are assured of private leisure. The place is perfect for honeymooners and in fact is best described as couples’ retreat.

Guests here will surely love the sea view from the room. The resort has spacious and big rooms.

What is nice as well is they offer hassle-free package and room-only rates. If you wish to take a vacation without worrying too much about other details, their all-inclusive rate best suits you as it comes with meals and leisure activities already. Among the things to do here are ocean kayaking, mountain biking, motor cycling, snorkeling and many others.

From Cebu City, Santander is approximately a three-hour drive. Buses stationed at the South Bus Terminal will take you to this town.

As additional tip, you may board a fast craft or motorized banca from Santander going to Sibulan, Negros Oriental. Sibulan is about 15 to 20 minutes away from Dumaguete City.
Contact number: +6332-4809321
Website: www.eden.ph

Costa de Leticia Resort and Spa

Once a quiet town in the south, Alegria is now becoming an option for tourists and honeymooners as this resort features an inviting 10 x 20 meters infinity pool.

Other than swimming, guests could take a waterfalls tour, go hiking and feel relaxed staying at their spacious accommodations. Also, busy professionals would not worry about their responsibilities even while in vacation as the resort has wifi connection.

The town of Alegria, via the Barili route, is about three hours travel time from Cebu City.
Contact: +6332-4767040 or call manager Clyde +63949 4013528 or email [email protected]

Website: www.costadeleticia.com

Hale Manna

True to its name that means House of Good Energy, the owner of this resort believes and put into practice permaculture — a way of producing food and energy without depleting the earth’s gift of nature.

Offering only seven rooms, this resort in Barangay Saavedra in Moalboal is perfect for family reunions, team buildings, and other intimate gatherings.

The town of Moalboal is known for its white sand beach and considered as one of the top diving spots in the island. From Cebu City, it is between two to three hours drive. Know more about Hale Manna by reading our article here: Hale Manna: House of Good Energy
Contact: (+63) 922 842-4939 or (+6332) 316 2603 or email [email protected]
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/halemanna
Website: http://www.halemanna.com

Basdako or White Beach

This one’s a favorite among beach campers and the Holy Week crowd. Basdako or the White Beach is located in Barangay Saavedra, Moalboal. It is a public beach with cheap lodgings and, further away, exclusive resorts. You can also rent tents for camping out on the beach. To read more about Basdako, go to our article: Camping out on Basdako beach in Moalboal.

Basdako or White Beach in Moalboal.

Basdako or White Beach in Moalboal.

Other resorts and accommodations in Southern Cebu:

Kalumpang Beach Resort

Location: Highway, Looc, Poblacion, Argao, Cebu
Contact: +6332-3677505

Ocean Bay Resort

Location: Guiwanon, Poblacion, Dalaguete
Contact: +63-32-4848003 or email [email protected]
Website: www.oceanbaybeachresort.com

Bodo’s Bamboo Bar Resort

Location: Pasol, Alcoy
Contact: +6332-483 9119 or +6332-483 5522
Website: www.bbb-alcoy.com

Lusapan Resort

Location: South Road, Lusapan, Boljoon
Contact: +6332 482 9077

Lubi Resort

Location: Poblacion, Santander
Contact: +6332 480 9038 or +6332 480 9025

Club Serena Beach Resort

Location: White Beach, Saavedra, Moalboal
Contact: +63 928 507 2026 or +63 920 927 2939 or email [email protected]
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/clubserenaresort
Website: www.clubserenaresort.com

Dolphin House

Location: Saavedra, Moalboal
Contact: +63 916 321 6533 or +63 921 635 2198
Website: www.moalboal.de/moalboal/

HK Beach Resort

Location: Basdaku, Moalboal
Contact: +63919 4766385

Sampaguita Beach Resort

Location: Tonggo Basdiot, Moalboal
Contact: +6332 4740066 or email [email protected]
Website: www.sampaguitaresort.com

Savedra Beach Resort

Location: Panagsama Beach, Moalboal
Contact number: +6332 4740014

North Cebu beaches

North of Cebu, there are resorts to visit as well, such as those in Danao, Sogod, and San Remigio.

Buses going to the towns in the northern part of the province are stationed at the North Bus Terminal in Subangdaku, Mandaue City.

Those who want to enjoy the famous Bantayan and Malapascua islands need to ply the northern route and take a boat ride from the Hagnaya Port and Maya Wharf, respectively.

El Salvador Beach Resort

Located just along the national highway, this resort in Danao is easy to find.

It offers 39 accommodation units and has facilities such as the Elsa Spa, a lagoon swimming pool with waterfalls and outdoor jacuzzi, Coco restaurant, and Buddy’s KTV.

For athletic travelers, it has a fitness gym and volleyball court. Internet access is available to guests, thus busy professionals need not worry coming here.

Contact: +63923 145 5613 or +6332 514 4672 or +6332 516 2252
Website: www.elsalvadorresort.com

Coco Palms Resort Danao

Also in Danao, this resort is the best place to go for a great water fun. With an entrance fee of P150.00 per adult, P75.00 for kids age 7 to 11 years old, you would surely experience an adventurous day under the sun.

Not only they have the beach and the pool, they also have a waterpark that provides four inflatables for guests to enjoy. It is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the rate is an affordable P100.00 per person. The pool, on the other hand, is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

And if you feel that one day is not enough, it has accommodation units for overnight stays.
Contact: +63932 855 4625 or +6332 514 5767 or email [email protected]
Website: www.danaococopalms.com

San Remigio Beach Club Sports and Leisure Resort

This resort located in San Remigio is an answer to those who are looking for a good venue to hold reunions, birthdays, and weddings. Its Sea Pool Party Area is very spacious and perfect for luau parties.

One nice thing here is that it offers various packages for groups. Among these are Group Tour Package, Day Tour Package, Side Trip Package and many more.

For transportation, it has coaster and van service that is very convenient for groups. Other option is to take a bus that costs only P120.00 per person. From the city, the town of San Remigio is three hours travel time.

Contact: (Cebu City office) +6332 231 0382 or +6332 422 4070 or (resort) +6332 516 0630
Website: www.sanremigiobeachclub.com.ph

Other Resorts and Accommodations in Northern Cebu:

Casa Del Mar Resort Hotel

Location: Barangay Bancasan, San Remigio
Contact: +6332 236 3403
Website: www.casadelmar-golfresort.com

Villa Meling

Location: Agoju, Daanbantayan
Contact: +6332 437 8691

Las Flores

Location: Flores, Catmon
Contact: +63919 638 8248 or +6332 430 9390 or email [email protected]
Website: www.lasflorescebu.com

Intosan Resort

Location: Taboc, Danao City
Contact: +63917 6294972 or +6332 516 7393 or +6332 253 3757
Website: www.intosanresort.com

Nailon Beach Resort

Location: Lovers Lane Road, Nailon, Bogo
Contact: +6332 253 9941 or +6332 251 2328

Midwest Cebu beaches

Midwest Cebu beaches are comparable to other destinations in the Cebu island and the resorts here are equally worth your travel.

Six towns and one city make up the midwest part of the province — Balamban, Tuburan, Tabuelan, Asturias, Pinamungajan, Aloguinsan, and Toledo City.

To get here, there are vans-for-hire from the CitiLink Terminal or take buses at the South Bus Terminal in N. Bacalso Avenue in Cebu City.

Durhan White Beach Resort

With a minimal entrance rate of P20.00 per person, you will enjoy this little paradise in Tabunok, Tabuelan that boasts of fine white sand beach. The place is fit for barkadas and family gatherings.

It has rooms that could accommodate two to eight persons. Also, it offers big tents for 20 persons and small tent for 15 persons. It both has air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned rooms.

Very native, the resort’s cottage has nipa roof. And you will be able to cook your own food there as there are gas stoves and a refrigerator. The town of Tabuelan, from the city, is about three hours travel time.
Contact: +63932 6070935 or +6332 461 9318 or +6332 514 6180 or email [email protected]
Website: www.durhanwhitebeach.com

Tauhai Garden Beach Resort and Spa

A retirement home open to tourists, this resort in the boundary of Toledo City and Pinamungajan town is true to its name that means serene, relaxing, and peaceful which are the translations for the Cebuano term “tawhay”.

A cottage-on-a-pond could accommodate more than 40 guests. It also offers air-conditioned rooms fit for families and barkadas. This would be a perfect venue as well for special occasions.

For guests coming from the airport, the resort provides shuttle service but for a minimum number of five passengers. From the city, the area is less than two hours drive.

There are boat trips in Toledo City going to San Carlos in Negros Occidental, thus while enjoying the resort you might want to consider a side trip to the neighboring province.
Contact: +63999 8816049 or +63917 8589179 or email [email protected]
Facebook page: facebook.com/pages/Tauhai-Garden-Beach-Resort-Spa/182677281770989
Website: www.wix.com/jncavada/tauhaigardenbeachresort

Other Resorts and Accommodations in Midwest Cebu:

Park Place Beach Resort

Location: Tajao, Pinamungajan
Contact number: +6332 468 8155

Maravilla Beach Club

Location: Can-ambay, Maravilla, Tabuelan
Contact: +63947 8907974 or +63920 6722749 or email [email protected]
Website: www.maravillabeachclub.com

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Centuries-old churches in southern Cebu

Centuries-old churches of various architectural influences that were built during the Spanish occupation of Cebu can be found along the entire stretch of the mainland and even in satellite islands….

Santa Catalina de Alejandria Parish Church in Carcar. Construction of this structure started in 1860 and was finished in 1875.

Centuries-old churches of various architectural influences that were built during the Spanish occupation of Cebu can be found along the entire stretch of the mainland and even in satellite islands. A trip down Cebu’s southern part is a glimpse into the religious aspect of Spain’s influence on Cebuano heritage.

Spanish period churches in souther towns and cities:

1.
Sta. Teresa de Avila Parish Church in Talisay City

• Church construction started in 1836 and was completed in 1848, roof was replaced in 1877 after it was destroyed by a typhoon
• Located at the city center, near the old City Hall

The structure bears influences of Greek and Roman architectural styles in the use of Doric columns to support a second floor balcony that serves as an awning shielding the entrance and in the arches used on the massive domed-roof belfries flanking a recessed facade.

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Cebu City’s heritage of churches

Cebu is an architectural feast of Spanish period churches in the styles of late Baroque, neoclassical, Greco-Roman, and Gothic or a combination of their elements. The Augustinians came with Spanish…

A typical afternoon at the Basilica del Sto. Nino church.

Cebu is an architectural feast of Spanish period churches in the styles of late Baroque, neoclassical, Greco-Roman, and Gothic or a combination of their elements.

The Augustinians came with Spanish conqueror Miguel Lopez de Legazpi to the Philippines through Cebu in 1565 and zealously went about converting people to Christianity.

Proof of their fervour is the churches of coral slabs and ornate retablos or altars, which were as much fortresses as they were places of worship, that can be found all throughout Cebu.

Common in many are massive belfries, minaret-like domes, arched portals, triangular pediments, facades with bas reliefs and intricate carvings, and painted ceilings.

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Marian devotees flock to Mary’s shrine in Simala, Cebu

A popular pilgrimage destination of Marian devotees in Cebu is Mary’s shrine in the village of Simala in Sibonga. The shrine is located inside an imposing and huge 3-level concrete…

Sanctuary Castle of Mary in the village of Simala in Sibonga. The Virgin Mary's shrine is a pilgrimage center of Marian devotees. Click on photo to enlarge. (PHOTO BY MARLEN LIMPAG)

A popular pilgrimage destination of Marian devotees in Cebu is Mary’s shrine in the village of Simala in Sibonga.

The shrine is located inside an imposing and huge 3-level concrete structure that Fra. Ma. Martin call as Sanctuary Castle of Mama Mary, which also houses the Monastery of the Holy Eucharist Church.

Fra. Ma. Martin, one of the Marian monk caretakers of the shrine, said they started their mission in Simala in 1996, but pilgrims started flocking in large numbers to Mary’s shrine beginning in 2005. This was mainly due to what has been reported as miraculous incidents involving the Virgin’s image that was said to have cried tears.

Mary’s shrine occupy a big portion of the castle. Pilgrims line up and wait for their turn to address their prayers and petitions to what they consider miraculous images of Mary in the shrine.

Inside Mary’s shrine are glass-covered cabinets that hold letters and keepsakes attesting to the miracles that the Virgin Mary has worked in the lives of the devotees. The letters thank the Virgin for healing grave illnesses and helping in work or school matters, among other things.

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Moalboal in Cebu hosts over 10 dive sites

When people talk of diving in Cebu, they usually mention the small town of Moalboal in the province’s southwestern coast that is famous for the thousands of sardines that have…

When people talk of diving in Cebu, they usually mention the small town of Moalboal in the province’s southwestern coast that is famous for the thousands of sardines that have come to populate its seas.

Italian Sergio Forti, who manages a dive resort named Sampaguita in Moalboal’s Panagsama Beach or what they call Bas Diot (Cebuano words that literally translate to “few sand”), said the sardines arrive in and leave Moalboal as part of their normal migration process but they’ve come to stay for good around three years ago.

“Sardines are always migrating but they’ve been in the town for some time. Biologists couldn’t explain why. They say that let’s enjoy them while they’re still around,” he added.

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Singapore popular destination with Filipinos: tourism board

Summer, the season for travel, is here. Where do you plan to hie off to? If Singapore is on top of your list, check out the new and popular as…

Summer, the season for travel, is here. Where do you plan to hie off to? If Singapore is on top of your list, check out the new and popular as well as thematic places and events that it has to offer to tourists.

Sherina Chan, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) Area Director for the Philippines and Brunei, said in a briefing in Cebu City that they have all kinds of accommodations — from luxury to budget — for visitors.

Right in the heart of Singapore’s city center is Marina Bay Sands, a world-class casino and hotel offering luxury dining, shopping, and entertainment.

Marina Mandarin Singapore (above) is among the best places to stay in Singapore. With its inventory of 53,895 rooms, Singapore has accommodations for every visitor with rates ranging from P1,925 to P5,500 for budget hotel and P6,050 to P13,200 for luxury suites. Click on photo to enlarge. (Photo from Marina Mandarin Singapore website)

Marina Mandarin Singapore (above) is among the best places to stay in Singapore. With its inventory of 53,895 rooms, Singapore has accommodations for every visitor with rates ranging from P1,925 to P5,500 for budget hotel and P6,050 to P13,200 for luxury suites. Click on photo to enlarge. (Photo from Marina Mandarin Singapore website)

Marina Bay is capped by the Sands Skypark, which offers a view of Singapore from 57 storeys above ground, and has a 150-meter long infinity pool, a stretch of restaurants and clubs, plus the first Louis Vuitton Island Maison in Southeast Asia on its waterfront, said Chan.

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Smart, MyCebu.ph to deliver info on tourism, heritage sites through phone scanning

Philippine wireless leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and Cebu-based website MyCebu.ph have partnered to deliver information on tourism and heritage sites to mobile phones and tablets through quick response or…

Philippine wireless leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and Cebu-based website MyCebu.ph have partnered to deliver information on tourism and heritage sites to mobile phones and tablets through quick response or QR code scanning.

The project is being undertaken in partnership with the Department of Tourism.

Smart and MyCebu.ph will place special markers on tourism and heritage sites all over Cebu. The markers will contain a snippet of information about the site and a QR code that, when scanned, will open an article about the landmark. To be able to load the information, users must be connected to the Internet and they must have a QR code reader in their devices. Most phone platforms offer free QR code scanners in their respective application markets.

QR Code demo on Colon Street

MYCebu.ph editor Marlen Limpag explains to bloggers and journalists gathered on Colon Street, the country’s oldest street, the QR Code data tagging of Cebu tourism and heritage structures, a joint project between MyCebu.ph and Smart Communications Inc, done in partnership with the Department of Tourism. During the demo on Colon St., journalists and bloggers were able to load a photo of old Colon by scanning the QR Code contained in a special marker.

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Smart, MyCebu.ph offer Sinulog guidebook for free download

(Update: The Sinulog guidebook can now be downloaded in this page. We now have a Sinulog Guide Android app version as well as a Sinulog Guide mobile website for other…

(Update: The Sinulog guidebook can now be downloaded in this page. We now have a Sinulog Guide Android app version as well as a Sinulog Guide mobile website for other devices. )

The country’s wireless leader Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) and Cebu-based website MyCebu.ph have produced an electronic guidebook on the Sinulog for the iPad, iPhone, Kindle, Android phones and tablets and other tablets, e-readers and smartphones.

A Guide to Sinulog 2012 will be made available for free download at the Mactan Cebu International Airport through quick response or QR code scanning, USB download or e-mail distribution. Tourists and balikbayans can get a copy of the guidebook as soon as they arrive in Cebu for Christmas vacation or the Sinulog festivities.

A Guide To Sinulog 2012

A Guide to Sinulog 2012 will be made available for free download at the airport, Ayala Center Cebu, malls, hotels, restaurants, resorts and the offices of the Sinulog Foundation and Department of Tourism. The guidebook can be read on the iPad, iPhone, Android tablet and phones, Kindle and various other tablets, smartphones and e-readers. Shown above are the guidebook’s editions for the (from left) iPad, Kindle and Samsung Galaxy Tab.

The Sinulog guide will also be made available for free download through partners Ayala Center Cebu, Department of Tourism Central Visayas, and the Sinulog Foundation. The ebook will also be available in hotels, resorts and other tourism establishments in Cebu.

A Guide to Sinulog 2012 is part of a groundbreaking project on Cebu tourism that will be launched in historic Barangay Pari-an on December 20.

The group will also produce an ebook compilation of winning entries of the Sinulog photo contest that will be released next year.

Unlike websites, ebooks can be read in various devices even without an Internet connection.

“This is part of our efforts to support the DOT and the Cebu local government in the promotion of tourism in Cebu. Through digital and social media, we can showcase our heritage to more people around the world through locally generated content.” said Atty. Maria Jane Paredes, senior manager for Public Affairs Group, Smart.

A Guide To Sinulog 2012 demo on the iPad

MyCebu.ph editor Marlen Limpag and Lourdes Gocotano of Smart Public Affairs Vis Min demo the iPad edition of A Guide To Sinulog 2012, an ebook that can be viewed on tablets, smartphones and ereaders. The guidebook will be offered for free download at the airport, Ayala Center Cebu, malls, hotels, resorts, restaurants and other tourism establishments in Cebu. Looking on is Sinulog Foundation executive director Ricky Ballesteros (left).

“Most travelers nowadays bring along tablets, e-readers or smartphones. An electronic guidebook would be very useful to them because they no longer need to carry around heavy books, including those that devote merely a chapter on Cebu or the Sinulog. You just download it once and you can read it anywhere and at anytime, even without an Internet connection.Our guidebook is an extensive resource that you take with you wherever you go,” said Marlen Limpag, MyCebu.ph editor.

“It’s a one-of-a-kind project. It’s a unique resource that would help our guests make the most of the biggest festival in the Philippines,” said Sinulog Foundation Executive Director Ricky Ballesteros.

The Sinulog guide contains helpful articles and tips on Cebu’s grandest festival. It contains the complete list of cultural and religious activities.

It also lists establishments near the procession and grand parade route where tourists can stay. It also contains offline maps of the procession and grand parade routes that readers can view even without an Internet connection. The ebook, however, also provides a link to a frequently updated and interactive online map that people can view if they are connected to the Internet.

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San Juan Bautista Parish Church, once Cebu’s most opulent church

DIONISIO Alo stood seething with anger as authorities tore down the magnificent San Juan Bautista Parish Church in Parian in the late 1870s. “His heart bled with every stone that…

DIONISIO Alo stood seething with anger as authorities tore down the magnificent San Juan Bautista Parish Church in Parian in the late 1870s.

“His heart bled with every stone that was removed and all he could do was bite his lips causing them to also bleed,” said Ang Sugbo sa Karaang Panahon: An Annotated Translation of the 1935 History of Cebu by Fe Susan Go.

Alo, who was capitan of the Parian gremio, was so angry at the destruction that he unknowingly crushed the golden handle of his baston.

The destruction of what had been described in various historical sources as the most magnificent church in Cebu was the end of centuries of struggle between the local mestizo community and the Spanish friars who wanted control over the structure.

San Juan Bautista Parish in Parian

The San Juan Bautista Parish Church in the Parian district is described as having been the most magnificent church in Cebu. (PHOTO USED WITH PERMISSION FROM THE CEBUANO STUDIES CENTER OF USC)

The Parian church, according to Go’s translation submitted to the University of San Carlos as her masteral thesis in history, “has never been surpassed by any other church that has been built in Cebu, such as the Cathedral, the Seminary and San Nicolas.” It was built in 1602.

What remains on the site today, the San Juan Bautista chapel, is but a faint reminder of an opulent past.

“The church was made of stone blocks, plastered together in a mixture of lime and the sap of the lawat tree. The roofs were made of tiles, and the lumber used was molave, balayong and naga. The paraphernalia used in the mass was made purely of gold, the pews were carved by a sculptor of the Parian, the altars were covered with stone slabs with money and gold inlaid, and the church bells were big and loud. The tolling of these bells was so loud that it could be heard as far as Hilotungan ang the town of Talisay,” Go said in her thesis.

“The Augustinian friars upon seeing the magnificence of the church of the Parian, got envious, and employed every shrewd means they could think of to take over the Parian church,” the thesis said.

Fr. Rafael Vasquez, a Parianon, however, fought back and kept the friars at bay.

San Juan Bautista Church in Pari-an

The San Juan Bautista Parish Church in a diorama of the old Pari-an district located inside one of the galleries of the Museo Pari-an sa Sugbo 1730 Jesuit House, which is just a few meters away from where the Pari-an church was located. (Photo by Max Limpag)

Go said in one of her footnotes that Augustinian Fr. Santos Gomez Marañon filed a petition “to have the Parian parish supressed and incorporated into the Cathedral.”

Rivalry

Go said, “Many reasons for this request were given, but it definitely had the earmarks of a direct challenge against the dominance of the Chinese mestizo community of Parian and their elaborate church, which far outshone the cathedral.”

Through the years, however, the rivalry with Spanish friars continued with succeeding priests and capitans of the Parian gremio.

During the time of Don Pedro Rubi as Parian captain, the bishop ordered that masses be held at the church only on Sundays.

During the time of Don Maximo Borromeo as captain, the bishop “removed the right of the Visayas priests to officiate mass in the Parian Church.”

“In retaliation the residents of the Parian decided to make use of the school across from the church and converted it into a chapel where the parish priest of Parian could officiate the mass.”

In 1875, Dionisio Alo, known as Capitan Isyo, became capitan of the Parian gremio. With the San Juan Bautista fiesta in June approaching, Capitan Isyo called for a meeting to discuss preparations. The fiesta was a big affair in the area with most Parian residents spending “as much as three thousand pesos” for the celebration.

Capitan Isyo also wanted to discuss who would replace their parish priest, the Ilonggo Fr. Anselmo “Pari Imoy” Albanceña, who died in December 1874. The replacement would be celebrating the fiesta mass.

Fr. Tomas de la Concepcion, the parish priest of the cathedral, told the group “to request the bishop to appoint a white priest.” De la Concepcion said there was no Filipino priest capable of being named to the post.

Capitan Isyo, however, strongly disagreed and shouted at a cabeza de barangay who agreed with the suggestion.

“At that instance, a quarrel broke out between the two. While Capitan Isyo used his prerogatives as head of the mestizo gremio, Padre Tomas also made use of his power as representative of the Bishop in order to force Capitan Isyo to yield and accept (a) white priest as their parish and spiritual guide.”

The heated and bitter exchange ended with the two deciding not to hold a mass for the fiesta or even holding any celebrations.

Grudge

Followers of Capitan Isyo feared he would be excommunicated and tried to change his mind but the nationalist community leader just told them, “I would prefer that the church be destroyed rather than have a friar in it.”

Parian Church, according to "Ang Sugbo sa Karaang Panahon", “has never been surpassed by any other church that has been built in Cebu, such as the Cathedral, the Seminary and San Nicolas.” (PHOTO USED WITH PERMISSION FROM THE CEBUANO STUDIES CENTER)

Parian Church, according to “Ang Sugbo sa Karaang Panahon”, “has never been surpassed by any other church that has been built in Cebu, such as the Cathedral, the Seminary and San Nicolas.” (PHOTO USED WITH PERMISSION FROM THE CEBUANO STUDIES CENTER)

Fr. Tomas kept a grudge against Parian and “boasted to his priestly friends, especially the friars, that he was obsessed with the complete destruction of the Parian church.”

When Fr. Tomas reported the incident to the bishop, including Capitan Isyo’s declaration that he would rather have the church destroyed than have a white priest in it, the bishop felt insulted.

On June 24, 1875, the bishop forbade the parish priest from saying mass in the Parian church. The community’s fiesta celebration was also overseen by the Cathedral parish priest. Capitan Isyo could not do anything and his enemies made sure he would keep his post so that they could exact their revenge. They told residents that the capitan was to blame for what happened in Parian.

The bishop then ordered a Spanish engineer to check the durability of the Parian church. The engineer later informed the governor that the materials used to build the church were weak and the structure, including the stone wall that surrounded it, should be torn down.

Date of destruction

The governor of Cebu then ordered the destruction of the church. He also ordered the bishop to take possession of everything inside the church, including its statues and bells.

While Ang Sugbo Sa Karaang Panahon listed the destruction of the church as having occurred in 1875-1876, Go said “the actual destruction of the church seems to have taken place in late 1878 or 1879.

According to information printed on a photograph found at the Cebuano Studies Center in the University of San Carlos, “the convent of the church was spared and was used later during the American regime as a public library and a fire station.”

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Casa Gorordo, home of Cebu’s first Filipino bishop

An authentic Spanish mansion with period furniture, the Casa Gorordo along Lopez Jaena St. in Cebu City showcases a lifestyle from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century. The stone and…

An authentic Spanish mansion with period furniture, the Casa Gorordo along Lopez Jaena St. in Cebu City showcases a lifestyle from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century.

The stone and tile structure, restored and maintained as a museum by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI), is one of few remaining houses called “balay nga tisa,” which was the building of choice of Cebu’s local rich families in the 1800’s.

Architect Melva R. Java, writing about island architecture in “Cebu: More Than an Island,” said the Spanish-period houses of coral stones and clay tile roofs depict a synthesis of “two world views–Asian transiency and Western permanence.”

SINUG SA RAFI. Every Monday after the Sinulog grand parade, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. holds a traditional "Sinug sa Rafi" at the Casa Gorordo. Click on photo to enlarge. (Photo by Max Limpag)

SINUG SA RAFI. Every Monday after the Sinulog grand parade, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. holds a traditional "Sinug sa Rafi" at the Casa Gorordo. Click on photo to enlarge. (Photo by Max Limpag)

Casa Gorordo’s lower floor served as storage spaces and probably also housed the horses and carriage like the other “balay nga tisa” of the landed gentry in colonial Cebu. Today, it accommodates museum offices and an area for art exhibitions.

The house’s lower floor walls are made of coral stones, and it bears all features typical of a balay nga bato: spacious interiors with ventanillas or vents below the window sills, sliding Capiz windows, and tugas posts and 12-inch wide floorboards.

An arch with intricate carvings of plants and birds separate the dining room or comedor from the landing and living room. At the end of the dining room is a kitchen typical of that period when the house was built.

Sliding doors open up into a wide balcony or azotea that runs by a long section of the house. Beside the house was built a new service building inspired by 19th century architecture and the garden, which has been landscaped, has been the venue of several events.

Aside from being one of the few remaining Spanish-period houses in the country, Casa Gorordo also gained prominence because it was the residence of Cebu’s first Filipino bishop.

The house was owned by the Reynes-Garces family before it was bought by Juan Isidro Gorordo, father of Juan Gorordo–who served as bishop of Cebu from 1910-1932, in 1863.

Casa Gorordo, which was declared a national landmark by the National Historical Institute in 1991, was opened by RAFI as a museum in 1983. Displayed inside the house are antique furniture and altar pieces as well as relics of a lifestyle at the turn of the century.

The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Entrance fees are: P10 (elementary and high school students), P15 (college students), P40 (local), and P70 (foreign).

How to get there

Casa Gorordo is part of surviving heritage structures found in Parian, which got its name from the word “pari-pari (to barter or trade)” because it used to be the Chinese trading district of old. The area was the home of Cebu’s affluent citizens in the 19th century.

Parian is 20 to 30 minutes by cab from other areas in Cebu City.

Video tour

Click play on the YouTube video below to load a video tour of Casa Gorordo by its curator, Florencio Moreno II. Caution: the audio is loud because it is meant to be listened to on a phone without using earphones.

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Yap-Sandiego ancestral home: Soul of old Cebu

The house exudes the essence of a bygone era, a time already lived and long forgotten. You can feel it in the creaking of the wooden stairs and floorboards that…

The house exudes the essence of a bygone era, a time already lived and long forgotten.

You can feel it in the creaking of the wooden stairs and floorboards that sigh the burden of the years.

You can see it in the second floor banggera–an extended windowsill that continues to hold a clay jar for storing drinking water and chinaware, and Capiz windows as well as in the intricately carved old furniture and images of saints with their ivory heads and hands.

The Yap-Sandiego Ancestral Home holds the distinction of being one of the oldest houses in the Philippines and possibly the oldest Chinese home outside of China. (PHOTO BY MAX LIMPAG)

The Yap-Sandiego Ancestral Home holds the distinction of being one of the oldest houses in the Philippines and possibly the oldest Chinese home outside of China. (PHOTO BY MAX LIMPAG)

Its cut coral stone walls, hardwood posts and beams, and roof of red clay tiles tell of a Cebu much, much younger and vastly different from what it is today.

Indeed, the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral Home holds the distinction of being one of the oldest houses in the Philippines and possibly the oldest Chinese home outside of China.

Current house owner Val Sandiego, famous choreographer and antique collector, estimates its construction to be between 1675 to 1700.

“In 1614, the church of Parian was built. Then after around 60 years later, the house was put up,” said Sandiego, who is a descendant of original owners Don Juan Yap and his wife Doña Maria Florido. The couple’s eldest daughter married Don Mariano Sandiego of Obando, Bulacan–who was then the cabeza de barangay (barangay chief during the Spanish colonial period) of Parian where the structure is located.

The house’s roof and walls are 95 percent original, according to Sandiego, making this edifice that he and his family continue to live in during weekends a little over 300 years old.

The things inside are not nearly as ancient as the structure but some, like the huge mirror in the living room, are over a hundred years old. The mirror that now adorns the second floor wall of the Sandiego ancestral home was used on several occasions by Negros native Pantaleon Villegas, better known as Leon Kilat, who led the revolution against the Spaniards in Cebu in 1898.

Some of the images of saints have missing hands, stolen or sold because these were made of ivory which was how they used to do them back then.

Sandiego, who acquired ownership of the house in early 2000, did an expensive restoration work on the structure in 2003 and has since opened it and his antique collection to the public.

The house is open for visits from Monday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., for P50 per person.

How to get there

Parian, which was where the wealthy and influential Chinese mestizos lived during the Spanish period, is in downtown Cebu City and cab drivers know where it is. The Yap-Sandiego Ancestral Home is across the towering Heritage of Cebu monument on the side of Mabini Street at the junction of Lopez Jaena.

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Sinulog 2012 depicts Cebu as ‘City of Culture’

A retracing of Cebu’s journey through the years, the people and countries it interacted with, and their influences on the island’s values and beliefs will be the central idea behind…

A retracing of Cebu’s journey through the years, the people and countries it interacted with, and their influences on the island’s values and beliefs will be the central idea behind the 2012 Sinulog Festival.

The theme “One Beat. One Dance. One Vision.” remains the same but the concept changes year by year and it will be “Cebu, City of Culture” in 2012, said Sinulog Foundation executive director Ricky Ballesteros.

Ballesteros explained the concept was influenced by Cebu City’s award in July 2011 as first ever ASEAN City of Culture, which was bestowed by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Ministers of Culture and the Arts.

Photo by Daniel Ybanez, Sinulog 2011 Contingent Category 6th place winner. Used with permission from Sinulog Foundation, Inc.

Photo by Daniel Ybanez, Sinulog 2011 Contingent Category 6th place winner. Used with permission from Sinulog Foundation, Inc.


At the launching parade on January 6, 2012, students from 15 participating schools in Cebu will be dancing to the beat of the Sinulog garbed in the costumes of ASEAN member nations as well as Philippine regional dresses.

During the Grand Parade finale on January 15, 2012, the stage will transform into different time settings that will end with tall skyscrapers depicting a modern and cosmopolitan Cebu.

People can also expect the ongoing nightly cultural activities at the Fuente Osmena circle to be wholesome apart from having entertainment value since these are being screened by the foundation, said Ballesteros.

“We want the children to learn more about our culture through the nightly events at Fuente. The children today are focused on computer games and other things, they know little about our heritage,” he pointed out.

Visitors

There will be visitors from different countries, including a National Geographic staff and a crew from Hawaii mainstream tv that will be covering the religious and cultural sides of the Sinulog Festival. The tv station will be creating a video documentary on the Sinulog, said Ballesteros.

The Philippine tourism secretary and organizers of popular festivals like Dinagyang and Ati-Atihan will also attend as well as other national government officials, said Ballesteros.

“Organizers of other Philippine festivals are excited to attend the Sinulog. They want to know how we do it here,” he added.

There will be a lot of balikbayan and VIP guests and there might be representatives from ASEAN member nations showing up for the Sinulog.

For the convenience of Pinoys abroad and international guests who have come to Cebu for the Sinulog, there are help desks in big malls manned by Cebu City Tourism Commission personnel.

The City Government is also hosting a party for balikbayan guests at The Terraces in Ayala Center Cebu on January 12, 2012.

Contingents

A few out-of-town contingents have signified their intention to join, among them free interpretation category grand champion Placer of Masbate. This 2012, though, Placer will send another group to compete in the Sinulog-based category. It first joined as a contingent in the Sinulog-based category and won but came back competing in the free interpretation, where it has been defending champion for the last two years.

“I’m excited to see this group perform in the Sinulog-based category,” said Ballesteros, adding it would go up against perennial Sinulog-based winner Tangub City. He added that Tangub has been finishing first in its category for the last 10 years, breaking Southwestern University’s nine-year win record.

Also to watch out for, of course, are other out-of-town as well as Cebu contingents, said Ballesteros.

Other groups who have signified their intention to join include four from Leyte and a few others from Mindanao like Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, and Cotabato.

Groups participating in either Sinulog-based or free interpretation, two categories for the grand parade, will be judged for their performances on the street and in the grandstand. There will be around eight judges’ stations along the parade route.

Security

According to Ballesteros, the City is prepared for the influx of people that will be converging in Cebu for the Sinulog Festival.

Security is a priority in meetings being held to discuss festival preparations, he pointed out. A committee tasked to handle security measures is led by the military’s Central Command in coordination with police offices in Cebu City and Central Visayas.

Reinforcements in the form of additional soldies and policement will be sent in from neighboring provinces, he said, adding that like the last Sinulog celebration, the Marines will also be utilized for security purposes.

Along the parade route, there will be eight police outposts manned by Cebu City station heads.

Finale

Some more security personnel will be assigned at the Cebu City Sports Center where the Grand Parade finale will happen.

When the dancers perform at the stage in front of the grandstand, Ballesteros said the background will be clouds and designed in a way that it won’t be competing with the performing group’s props. Then later in the finale, this will change to tall buildings to showcase a modern and vibrant Cebu.

The stage will be adorned with red and yellow Sinulog flowers and a mini-chapel of the Sto. Nino will be placed at the side. This is so guests can see that th Sto. Nino is involved even in the festive side of the celebration.

Seats at the grandstand will be divided into four colors with different categories and prices for tickets: red is for sponsors and VIPs, blue is for balikbayans and other guests and costs P700, yellow costs P600, while green costs P500.

(This article is part of a project on Cebu tourism supported by Smart Communications, Inc., the wireless leader in the Philippines.)

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Schedule of cultural, religious activities during Sinulog 2012

Sinulog is the grandest fiesta celebration in the Philippines. It has several religious and cultural events scheduled to start as early as December. The highlight of the celebration, however, is…

Sinulog is the grandest fiesta celebration in the Philippines. It has several religious and cultural events scheduled to start as early as December. The highlight of the celebration, however, is the Sinulog weekend when the religious procession and grand parade are held.

The following are the official schedules of activities as announced by the Sinulog Foundation.

Sinulog 2012 cultural events

Dec 01, 2011 – Jan 31, 2012
Sinulog Street Fair, Osmeña Blvd.

December 11, 2011
2nd Sinulog Cup Baseball Tournament c/o Cebu City Sports Commission

December 12, 2011
Sinulog on the Spot Painting Contest @ Fort San Pedro

December 16, 2011
Launching and Sinulog Photo Exhibits @SM City

December 17, 2011
Sinulog Poster Making Contest @ Emall

December 18, 2011
Sinulog Best Dance Crew Elimination / Sinulog Musicfest Elimination

January 05, 2012 (Thursday)
Opening Salvo: Walk with Jesus
4:00 AM Assembly Time (Area) Fuente Osmeña
4:30 AM Start of Walk-Fuente Osmeña Blvd. – Basilica del Sto. Niño
5:30 AM Installation of Hermano & Hermana Mayores 2012

January 06, 2012 (Friday)
Sinulog 2012 Kick Off
2:00PM Solemn Mass (Basilica del Sto. Niño) sponsored by the Sinulog Foundation Inc . and Cebu City government
3:00 PM Launching Parade (Basilica del Sto. Niño to Cebu City Sports Center)
7:00 PM Opening and Launching Program, Fuente Osmeña
7:30 PM Ms. Cebu 2012 Presentation
9 :00 PM Sinulog Idol (Fuente Osmeña Circle)
10:00 PM Street Party Bands

January 07, 2012 (Saturday)
Sinulog sa Kabataan – Lalawigan
8:00 AM 2nd SINULOG FOOTBALL CUP c/o Cebu City Sports Commission
1:00 PM Parade of Participants, Capitol Site to Cebu City Sports Center
2:00 PM Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan, Cebu City Sports Center
4:30 PM Awarding of Winners
6:30 PM Cultural Show (Fuente Osmeña) Department of Education, Cebu Province Division
8:00 PM Sinulog Idol (Fuente Osmeña Circle)
9:00 PM Concert @ the Fuente Osmeña , Street Party Bands

January 08, 2012 (Sunday)
Sinulog sa Kabataan- Dakbayan
4:00 AM Cebu City 2012 Marathon – www.cebumarathon.com
8:00 AM 2nd SINULOG FOOTBALL CUP c/o Cebu City Sports Commission
1:00 PM Parade of Participants, Plaza Independencia to Cebu City Sports Center
2:00 PM Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Dakbayan, Cebu City Sports Center
4:30 PM Awarding of Winners
6:30 PM Cultural Show (Fuente Osmeña) University of San Carlos
8:00 PM Sinulog Idol (Fuente Osmeña Circle)
9:00 PM Concert @ the Fuente O, Street Party Bands

January 09, 2012 (Monday)
6:30 PM Cultural Show (Fuente Osmeña) University of Southern Philippines Foundation, Cebu Institute of Technology University, St. Paul’s College Foundation
8:00 PM Sinulog Idol (Fuente Osmeña Circle)
9:00 PM Concert @ the Fuente O , Street Party Bands

January 10, 2012 (Tuesday)
6:30 PM Cultural show (Fuente Osmeña) University of Cebu
8:00 PM Sinulog Idol (Fuente Osmeña Circle)
9:00 PM Concert @ the Fuente O , Street Party Bands

January 11, 2012 (Wednesday)
9:00 AM Airport Welcome (Balikbayan Flights)
6:30 PM Cultural Shows (Fuente Osmeña) Department of Education, Cebu City Division
7:00 PM Ms. Cebu 2012 Coronation Night, Cebu City Waterfront Lahug Hotel
8:00 PM Sinulog Idol (Fuente Osmeña Circle)
9:00 PM Concert @ the Fuente O , Street Party Bands

January 11-22, 2012
Sinulog Fiesta “OTOP Fair 2012” Atrium A & B SM City Cebu Organized by Department of Trade & Industry -Cebu

January 12, 2012 (Thursday)
9:00 AM Airport Welcome (Balikbayan Flights)
6:30 PM Cultural Shows (Fuente Osmeña) Salazar Colleges of Science Institute of Technology, Cebu Normal University, Asian College of Technology
6:00 PM Balik Cebu, Welcome Party @ Ayala Center Cebu
6:00 PM Sinulog Festival Queen 2012 Photo Shoot and Runway Competiton @SM City
8:00 PM Sinulog Idol (Fuente Osmeña Circle)
8:00 PM Handumanan @ Ayala Terraces
9:00 PM Concert @ the Fuente Osmeña , Street Party Bands

January 13, 2012 (Friday)
Visual Merchandising Contest(Dept. Stores and Malls)
4:00 AM Walk with Mary (Area) Fuente Osmeña-Sto. Niño
9:00 AM Solidarity Meeting (All Competing Contingent /Floats / Higante / Puppteeters Cebu City Sports Center Gym
5:00 PM Sinulog Best Dance Crew Grand Finals
6:00 PM Sinulog Musicfest Band Competition Grand Finals
6:30 PM Cultural Shows (Fuente Osmeña) University of San Jose Recoletos, Southwestern University, Cebu Technological University
7:30 P.M Cebu Popular Music Festival, Cebu Coliseum
7:30 P.M Sinulog Festival Queen 2012, Cebu City Sports Center
8:00 PM Sinulog Idol (Fuente Osmeña Circle)
9:00 PM Concert @ the Fuente O , Street Party Bands

January 13-15, 2012
9:00 AM Devotees’ City organized by Cebu City Government

January 14, 2012 (Saturday)
6:00 AM Fluvial Procession of the Miraculous Image of Sto. Niño
9:00 AM Re-enactment of the Baptism of Queen Juana and Rajah Humabon Basilica del Sto. Niño
2:00 PM Solemn Procession of the Miraculous Image of Sto. Niño
7:00 PM Sinulog Fireworks Competition @ SM City Cebu
7:00 PM Street party @ Fuente Osmeña and Plaza Independencia
8:00 PM Kasadya Nite Mardi Gras @ Ayala Center Cebu

January 15, 2012 (Sunday) SINULOG GRAND PARADE
4:00 AM Mañanita Mass @Basilica del Sto. Niño
6:00 AM Pontifical mass with His Eminence Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal
9:00 AM Sinulog Grand Parade Carousel Kick Off
7:00 PM Grand Finale and Fireworks, Cebu City Sports Center
7:30 PM Street Party Bands, Fuente Osmeña

January 16, 2012 (Monday)
1:00 PM Awarding Ceremonies, Cebu City Sports Center

January 20, 2012 (Friday) “HUBO”
4:00 AM “HUBO Mass” Ritual @ Basilica del Sto. Niño

January 21-22, 2012
CEBU CHESS FESTIVAL – “WORLD’S LARGEST CHESS TOURNAMENT” @ the Cebu City Sports Center

January 28, 2012 (Saturday)
1:00 P.M Screening of Finalists Short Film/Video Documentary Contest
6:00 P.M Awarding Ceremonies Photo Contest and Video Documentary Contest @SM City Cebu
January 30 – Feb. 10, 2012 Photo Exhibits “Winning Photos Sinulog ’12 @SM City Cebu

Schedule of religious activities and novena masses

January 05-13
Novena Masses- Pilgrim Sponsors
5:30 am City Parishes / Barangays
7:00 am Business Sectors
8:30 am Basic Education – Private Schools
10:00 am Parishes: District & Vicariate
11:30 am Business Sectors
1:00 pm Government Offices: City & Provincial
2:30 pm Basic Education – Public by Districts
4:00 pm Colleges
5:30 pm Universities
7:00 pm Archdiocesan Organizations, Movement & Communities

FIRST DAY NOVENA
January 05, 2012 (THURSDAY)
Dawn Procession – WALK WITH JESUS
4:00 am – Assembly Time – (Area) Fuente Osmeña
4:30 am – FOOT PENITENTIAL PROCESSION
(Fuente Osmeña – Basilica)
Please bring with you rosaries, candles & statues of Sto. Niño
5:30 am – FIRST MASS
– INSTALLATION OF HERMANO & HERMANA MAYORES 2012 SECOND DAY NOVENA

January 06, 2012 (FRIDAY)
2:30 pm – OPENING SALVO SINULOG FOUNDATION

THIRD DAY NOVENA
January 07, 2012 (SATURDAY)

FOURTH DAY NOVENA
January 08, 2012 (SUNDAY)
8:30 am – CHILDREN’S MASS WITH COLEGIO DEL SANTO NIÑO

FIFTH DAY NOVENA
January 09, 2012 (MONDAY)

SIXTH DAY NOVENA
January 10, 2012 (TUESDAY)
7:00 pm – ENVIRONMENTAL MASS

SEVENTH DAY NOVENA
January 11, 2012 (WEDNESDAY)
8:30 pm – SENIOR CITIZEN’S NIGHT

EIGHTH DAY NOVENA
January 12, 2012 (THURSDAY)
8:30 pm – BARANGAY NIGHT

NINTH DAY NOVENA
January 13, 2012 (FRIDAY)
Dawn Procession – WALK WITH MARY
4:00 am – Assembly Time – (Area) Fuente Osmeña
4:30 am – FOOT PENITENTIAL PROCESSION
(Fuente Osmeña – Basilica)
Please bring with you rosaries, candle & statues of Santo Niño.
5:30 am – MISA DE TRANSLACION
(Motorcade proceeds to National Shrine of St. Joseph, Mandaue City)
1-2 pm – DISTRICT TEACHERS TRADITIONAL HALAD
7:00 pm – RE-ENACTMENT OF THE FIRST WEDDING
8:30 pm – DEP Ed NIGHT

VESPERAS
January 14, 2012 (SATURDAY)
5:30 am – Visayan Mass
7:00 am – Mass for the OFW Families
7:00 am – FLUVIAL PROCESSION Ouano Wharf Mactan Bridge , Lapu-Lapu, Pasil
Pier 1
9:30 am – RE-ENACTMENT OF THE ARRIVAL OF THE IMAGE
10:00 am -RE-ENACTMENT OF THE FIRST MASS AND BAPTISM
1:00 pm – SOLEMN PROCESSION OF THE MIRACULOUS IMAGE
7:30 pm – PONTIFICAL MASS
7: 30 pm – Traditional Sinulog Offering
– Fireworks display

SOLEMNITY : FIESTA SEÑOR DAY
January 15, 2012 (SUNDAY)
4:00 pm – MAÑANITA MASS
6:00 pm – PONTIFICAL MASS
MOST REV. JOSE B. PALMA, D.D.
8:30 am – Augustinian Recollect Communities
10:00 am – Cebuano Mass
11:30 am – English Mass
1:00 pm – Cebuano Mass
2:20 pm – Cebuano Mass
4:00 pm – Cebuano Mass
5:30 pm – English Mass
7:00 pm – English Mass

THANKSGIVING MASS
January 16, 2012 (MONDAY)
5:00 am – Cebuano Mass
6:00 am – Cebuano Mass
7:00 am – English Mass
8:00 am – MASS FOR THE OFW’S
10:00 am – Cebuano Mass
11:30 am – English Mass
1:00 pm – Cebuano Mass
2:20 pm – Cebuano Mass
4:00 pm – Cebuano Mass
5:30 pm – English Mass
7:00 pm – English Mass

HUBO
January 20, 2012 (FRIDAY)
4:00 am – “HUBO MASS”
6: 00 am – Cebuano Mass
7:00 am – English Mass
8:00 am – English Mass
9:00 am – Cebuano Mass
10:00 am – Cebuano Mass
11:00 am – Cebuano Mass
12:00 am – English Mass
1:00 pm – Cebuano Mass
2:00 pm – English Mass
3:00 pm – Cebuano Mass
4:00 pm – Cebuano Mass
5:00 pm – English Mass
6:00 pm – English Mass
7:00 pm -English Mass

(This article is part of a project on Cebu tourism supported by Smart Communications, Inc., the wireless leader in the Philippines.)

1 Comment on Schedule of cultural, religious activities during Sinulog 2012

Sto. Nino pilgrims find a place to stay in Cebu

Cebu’s Fiesta Senyor or feast of the Sto. Nino draws devotees from all over, and thousands converge every January in Cebu City to fulfill a “panaad” (devotion). There are pilgrims,…

Cebu’s Fiesta Senyor or feast of the Sto. Nino draws devotees from all over, and thousands converge every January in Cebu City to fulfill a “panaad” (devotion).

There are pilgrims, however, who do not have relatives here and cannot afford to pay for rooms so the City Government puts up a “Devotee City” every Sinulog Festival to accommodate them.

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Sinulog 2012 Grand Parade Route

The Sinulog Carousel route for the grand parade has been unchanged for years. It starts on Natalio Bacalso Ave. near E-mall and then to the New Imus Road then turning…

The Sinulog Carousel route for the grand parade has been unchanged for years. It starts on Natalio Bacalso Ave. near E-mall and then to the New Imus Road then turning left to Gen. Maxilom Ave. then to Fuente Osmeña then left to Osmeña Blvd.

While Sinulog dancers usually perform on the streets, they are sure to do their routines in designated judging areas. We will confirm with organizers which areas these will be and once we get confirmation, we will indicate these on the map below. Please make sure to revisit this page when Sinulog nears to get a confirmation.

(This article is part of a project on Cebu tourism supported by Smart Communications, Inc., the wireless leader in the Philippines.)

2 Comments on Sinulog 2012 Grand Parade Route

Affordable rooms along Cebu’s Sinulog routes

One of Cebu’s most anticipated events, the Sinulog Festival, is drawing close and there is a certain buzz in the island in anticipation of two festival main events – the…

One of Cebu’s most anticipated events, the Sinulog Festival, is drawing close and there is a certain buzz in the island in anticipation of two festival main events – the Solemn Procession and Grand Parade.

Since major Cebu City streets will be closed during these two activities and travel by vehicle difficult, a good option for visitors would be to stay in hotels or inns near the procession and street dancing routes.

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Magellan’s cross symbolizes conversion

This small octagonal structure in downtown Cebu City may appear unimpressive, but it houses a valuable relic and marks an important spot for Cebuanos. Enclosed in tindalo wood inside the…

This small octagonal structure in downtown Cebu City may appear unimpressive, but it houses a valuable relic and marks an important spot for Cebuanos.

Enclosed in tindalo wood inside the octagonal kiosk is what is left of the original cross that Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan planted in Sugbu (now Cebu) some 490 years ago.

The cross, or what remains of it, had to be preserved inside another wooden encasement after Catholics, believing it had miraculous powers, chipped away parts as souvenirs.

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