Tag Archives: Cebu Philippines

#236 Sinulog Festival

The Sinulog procession (Wikipedia photo)

The Sinulog is an annual festival held on the third Sunday of January in Cebu City, Philippines. The festival honors the vision of the child Jesus, known as the Santo Niño (Holy Child),who used to be the patron Saint of the City of Cebu (since in the Catholic faith Jesus is not a saint, but God). It is a dance ritual that commemorates the Cebuano people’s Islamic and pagan origin, and their acceptance of Roman Catholicism.

The festival features a street parade with participants in bright colored costumes dancing to the rhythm of drums, trumpets and native gongs. Smaller versions of the festival are held in various parts of Cebu, also to celebrate and honor the Santo Niño. There is also a “Sinulog sa Kabataan” performed by the youths of Cebu a week before the parade. Recently, the festival has been promoted as a tourist attraction, with a contest featuring contingents from various parts of the country. (From: Wikipedia)

Mabuhay ang Sinulog Festival!

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#198 Malapascua Island

Malapascua Island is located  in the Visayan Sea, across a shallow strait from the northernmost tip of Cebu Island (from Wikipedia). 

The town’s name is derived from two Spanish words “mal” (bad) and “pascua“ (Easter or Christmas). According to local lore, the Spaniards, during the colonial period, named the island Malapascua since the colonists arrived there on a stormy Christmas day.

The island is only about 2.5 kilometres long and 1 km wide and has eight hamlets. As a diving destination, Malapascua has been promoted only recently (since the early 90s) but has quickly earned the reputation as the ‘new Boracay,’ the popular resort island in eastern Visayas  known for its white, fine powdery sand beach.

Malapascua is loved by divers for its beautiful coral gardens and excellent local dive spots such as those located near Gato Island, Monad Shoal and Kemod Shoal. Monad Shoal is an underwater plateau where thresher sharks and manta rays can be sighted on a regular basis. Most of the islanders live on tourism, although there are still families living on subsistence fishing and farming.

Long live Malapascua Island!

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#154 Fort San Pedro

Main entrance gate to Fort San Pedro

Fuerza de San Pedro or Fort San Pedro in Cebu City (Visayas, Central Philippines) is a military defence structure built by Spanish and indigenous Cebuano labourers under the command of Spanish conquistador, Miguel López de Legazpi (from Wikipedia). Date of the fort’s construction remains unclear but some historical accounts refer to the original structures around 1565.

The fort is located near Plaza Indepedencia in the pier or port district of Cebu City, considered as the oldest city in the Philippines. Within the fort complex is the smallest, oldest triangular bastion fort in the Philippines built in 1738 to repel Muslim raiders. At the end of the Spanish era in 1898, the fort served as a stronghold for Filipino revolutionaries. During the US colonial period the fort was turned into a US military barracks and later as a school during World War II. By the end of the war, the  defeated Japanese forces later used the fort as a hospital for the wounded.

After World War II the fort served various uses and housed both government and civic offices. In the 1950s then Cebu City Mayor Mayor Sergio Osmeña Jr. angered the public when he announced plans to demolished the fort. A public campaign forced the mayor to abandon the plans but a religious sect was given approval to manage a small zoo within the fort. Original structures were demolished leaving only the facade and some ruined fort towers.

Today, after years of expensive and labor extensive reconstruction work, Fort San Pedro is now a historical park managed by the city government. It houses a museum, which displays the city’s colonial legacy in paintings, documents and sculptures from the Spanish era.

Mabuhay ang Fort San Pedro!

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#118 Cebu Guitars

Guitars sold in Cebu City

Cebu province (Visayas islands, central Philippines) is known for making the Philippines’ locally made guitars. Fashioned after the so-called Spanish guitar, well-made guitars from Cebu are known for their handcrafted quality and full sound.

Guitar-making in the island is basically a cottage-type of industry often family-owned with the techniques of production passed from one generation to the next. Unfortunately, this artisan type of production receives little incentives from the local or national government, which affects  the trade and quality.

Guitar aficionados can have custom-made guitars in Cebu for modest prices compared to expensive imports (usually from Japan). The guitars can be individually decorated depending on the client’s wishes or embellished by popular  motifs and patterns created by local artisans. The wood is locally sourced, although in recent years some parts are imported.

In Cebu City, visitors can find guitar shops selling a wide range of variety, quality and prices. Aside from the island’s famous, juicy mangoes (fresh and dried), guitars are among Cebu’s most popular handcrafted export items.

Long live Cebu’s guitar-making industry!

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