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Cebuano Musicians

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5 Cebuano Musical Acts

The Queen City of The South, Cebu, is truly a wonderful island, with wonderful people, rich culture, and of course, scrumptuos food. Cebu also happens to be the land of many talented artists and musicians. Check them out with this list!

  1. Sepia Times

Sepia Time is composed of lovers — Elisha Ang, popularly known as Icy, and Luigi Balazo. These artists have produced and written songs ever since 2016. Their music is widely influenced by international artists like Paramore and Oh Wonder. Listeners would definitley feel the chill vibe Sepia Times gives off through their songs. Despite being described as sad, their songs are the type of songs that you listen to on a chilly Saturday or when you just want to hang around the park and contemplate. Their songs “Kofi”, “The Art of”, “Let Me Let Go”, “1238” are some of the songs they released.

5 Cebuano Musical Acts

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2. Wonggoys

The pop folk group, Wonggoys, is composed of a band of brothers — Gabe, Bill, and Kyle Wong. The Wonggoys drew enthusiastic applause with their pop rock with a little bit of jazz and blues compositions. They first began with singing cover songs in harmony and eventually progressed to a trip to the recording studio, and after months of writing and recording, their efforts eventually paid off and produced an album. Several live performances and one more album later, they garnered a considerable following. Their song “Wa’y Blema”, is light-hearted and focuses on enjoying the good things.

5 Cebuano Musical Acts

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3. Mandaue Nights

Mandaue Nights is an 80’s synth-pop group based in Cebu composed of — filmmaker and singer-songwriter Karl Lucente, and music producer and arranger Gino Rosales. What makes them different from the other Cebuano acts is their 80’s vibe , this group will totally leave you feeling nostalgic. Their first single, You and I, was selected as the original soundtrack for a locally produced film, Magbuwag Ta Kay, which was shown in cinemas nationwide.

5 Cebuano Musical Acts

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4. Three Legged Men PH

Three Legged Men PH started off when Micmic Kindica, the band’s vocalist, got invited to play for UP Cookout. Amazed by the opportunity to perform again, he formed a temporary band, composed of high school and college friends, to go on stage with him in the said event, and since then every member just kind of stuck to each other to play more music. Their music is mainly pop with hints of jazz, blues, R&B, and funk.  “Spur of the Moment”, “Keep”, and “Tibok” are some of the songs everyone needs to listen to!

5 Cebuano Musical Acts

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5. Thinking Chair

Thinking Chair first started off in church, eventually took a break from that scene, and started a band. The band’s lineup is actually new — they wanted to revive the old Thinking Chair, but some of them already moved to Canada. Their music is described as indie, soul, revolutionary, and “raw”, and is widely influenced by a lot, most especially by The 1975, Coldplay, and Private Island. “Mirage”, a song they’ve written, is said to be the most memorable song they’ve written since they have so many renditions of it and is fun to play.

5 Cebuano Musical Acts

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Culture

A Leap into the Literary Experience in Cebu

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BBW_A Leap into the Literary Experience in Cebu

Cebu is being constantly brought in the limelight when it comes to its beaches, delicacies, tourist spots, and its culture in general. A lot of tourists and locals spend their vacation in the province doing most common activities you can easily find in the Internet (i.e. island hopping, sightseeing, and food trip). But, if you are looking for other ways to experience Cebu, then setting foot in its literary space might be one of the unique directions to take.

Paying a visit to Cebu’s libraries

LRC_A Leap into a Literary Experience in Cebu

Image Source: University of San Carlos Library System Facebook

From learning one’s history to reading just any book that sparks your interest, there are a variety of libraries Cebu has to offer.

Just like any other place, the province has a dwelling for archives, books, journals and other publications that trace back from the early ages to the modern times. The Cebuano Studies Center, for example, is a special library that houses source materials, research, and other literary works covering Cebu and its culture. The center is located inside Josef Baumgartner Learning Resource Center of the University of San Carlos, Talamban Campus, which is the largest library in the Philippines by size. As soon as you walk right inside the Cebuano Studies Center, the hinting scent of antiquity will almost lure you to read every record of history stored in the shelves.

Another notable library in the province you might also want to check out is the Cebu City Public Library or also known as Rizal Memorial Library and Museum, which is widely recognized as the first public library in the country that opens 24/7 (read more about it here). The building has a neoclassical structure which makes it feel nostalgic especially for older generations. The ride of history and culture will not only come from the shelf route, but will also drift you to a room of ancient artifacts, sculptures, painting, and other archaeological finds in the museum that dates back to the old-fashioned lifestyle Cebuanos used to have before and during the colonization period in the Philippines.

Books and Brews_A Leap into the Literary Exprience in Cebu

Image Source: Books and Brews Cafè Facebook

If you’re the type that wants a more intimate or comfortable area to enjoy your nooks and books instead, you can check out Books and Brews Cafè located at G/F Mango Square Mall, Juana Osmeña Street, Cebu City. The place is a cafè with an extensive library perfect for bibliophiles who enjoy a scent of coffee while being taken deep into their reading experiences. This might just be your modern mini-library of choice that you’re hoping to have around the corner. [Visit Facebook]

Attending literary events and exhibitions

BBW_A Leap into the Literary Experience in Cebu

Image Source: Big Bad Wolf Books Facebook

Cebuanos love marking their calendars for special occasions like annual literary festivals or events in Cebu, which usually happens between the 1st to the 3rd quarter of the year. The Big Bad Wolf, known as the world’s largest book sale, recently came to town and had their sale at the IEC Convention Center Cebu from August 16 to 26. What makes this event stand out among the rest every year is that majority of the bookworms in Cebu never dare to miss this as it’s the perfect opportunity for them to hoard a vast number of books that have the biggest discounts you could not imagine! Quite unfair if we leave some people out of this once in a lifetime opportunity right? So, whether you are a tourist or a local, make sure to include this in your plans soon. [See updates here]

Aside from smart shopping, stopping by at literary and art exhibitions is also a different kind of “sightseeing” experience. Cebu Zine Fest, for example, runs in a showcase room at 856 G Gallery that includes displays of art, illustrations, comics, books, poetry, photography, and self-produced merchandises set up by diverse artists from different parts of the country. The artists themselves also have their own booths and tables placed in the same area of their displays, so it’s the perfect setting for a curious mind to explore another’s. What makes this exhibition different from what people usually expect in a local exhibition is that the works showcased here are unique, uncensored, peculiar, and interesting—a manifestation of young yet sophisticated minds.

[See also future literary events and activities here]

ZineFest_A Leap into the Literary Experience in Cebu

Image Source: 856 G Gallery Facebook

Literature and art entice the heart of many Cebuanos. These two disciplines altogether is about expressing an idea, concept, or message in an artistic, intellectual, and creative way. The beauty and impact of its nature is the reason why many are driven to involve and contribute to its growth and recognition.

Because the people in the province are constantly putting life into their literary activities and celebrations, it has become part of Cebu’s beautiful culture that is worth to experience and appreciate.

Be it a huge event or spoken word juncture, the creative scene becomes a whole different experience if it’s in Cebu. Trying something new is also one adventure to take that is worth telling.

So, what’s not to like?

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Cities and Municipalities

Boljoon: A Treasure Trove of History

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Your Boljoon experiences starts once you catch sight of Ili Rock, the distinctive landmark mountain that overlooks this beguiling coastal town 103 kilometers south of Cebu City. Jutting out and facing Bohol Strait, the limestone rock formation shelters the town from the north, like the natural fortress it was against invaders before and during the Spanish era. Now it serves as a towering backdrop to some of Boljoon’s heritage sites. 

Coming around the bend brings the postcard-pretty town into full view. Nestled in a cove looking over the placid azure waters is the serene Nuestra Señora Patrocinio de Maria church. Listed as a National Historical Landmark, it is the only church in Cebu declared as a National Cultural Treasure – the highest honor given to a heritage structure by the National Museum of the Philippines. 

Established as a visita in 1599, the Boljoon church is the oldest remaining original stone church in the country. Built of coral bricks with clay tile roofing in 1783, its walls are two-meters thick, as massive as the 26 pillars that support them. Behind the austere facade with bas-reliefs of biblical characters, the interior features gilded relief sculptures and colorful scenes painted on its vaulted ceiling. Constructed as a place of worship, the simple structure also had defense in mind to give the townspeople a safe refuge from the constant and merciless Moro raids. 

El Gran Baluarte

Father Julian Bermejo, the Augustinian priest finally completed the church in 1841. Hailed as “el padre capitan,” he fortified the church perimeter with stone walls and started a watchtower defense strategy to alert the town of impending pirate attacks. Signaling with flags and gas lamps at night, the warning system was effectively carried out across the network of baluartes or watchtowers he initiated to be built along the coastal towns from Carcar to the southernmost Santander, a stretch of 96 kilometers. El Gran Baluarte, the largest of Boljoon’s four watchtowers, is a solid two-level structure which was both a weapons and ammunition storeroom and a prison. Standing today as the church belfry, the old mounted cannons have been silenced and replaced by cast iron church bells.

Nuestra Señora Patrocinio de Maria Church was built as a fortress church with two meter-thick walls, giving the townsfolk a place of refuge against Moro raids. The only remaining original stone church in the country, it has been declared a National Cultural Treasure.

The nearby Escuela Catolica was a school erected in 1940 for religious teachings. At times serving as a dormitory, girls and boys who were required to stay overnight before taking their first Holy Communion entered the school separately through a pair of concrete staircases. The old wooden building still remains in use today as a meeting center for the parish’s religious groups. 

Recent excavations around the church grounds unearthed skeletons, gold jewelry and artifacts including antique Japanese plates, confirming that Boljoon was a thriving trade settlement in pre-Spanish times. The archeological finds are on display at the Boljoon Museum at the church complex. In spite of pillaging and repeated looting in the past – a communion rail with ornate silver works was even stolen from the church – the parish museum is a treasure trove of old church records, religious icons and historic ornaments. 

Guided tours around the church complex and museum are handled by the community-based Asosasyon sa mga Boljoanon nga Magpakabana sa Turismo (ASBOMATU). Its Bygone Boljoon Tours package includes lunch at the historic bell tower. A chunk of the scenic Ili Rock was lost to a slope benching project following Cebu’s 2013 earthquake. The necessary, albeit painful, measure was an engineering remedy to prevent further landslides and to ensure public safety. All is not lost, however, as the quaint town of Boljoon still delivers as being a priceless heritage gem.

 

Originally published in Postcards from Cebu

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Bites

Bantayan: A Pilgrim’s Paradise

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Vacationers are drawn to Bantayan like pilgrims to a holy land – a blessed island actually, with blinding white beaches and sparkling aquamarine waters that beckon. Indeed, pilgrims do come for its time-honored observance of semana santa or Holy Week. The Maundy Thursday and Good Friday processions draw thousands of pious devotees as grandiose family-owned carrozas (carriages) bearing life-size religious statues, some handed down the generations, make their annual appearance around town. 

Bantayan’s Holy Week is like no other in the country, an almost festive atmosphere pervades across the island. While faithful Catholics abstain from eating meat, expect lechon as part of the feasting among families and friends who made it to the island bearing the 3-hour long drive from Cebu City to San Remigio town up north, then an hour’s ferry ride to the Santa Fe port in Bantayan. 

It is told that when their fishermen refused to launch out to sea and toil during the most religious time of the year, their families had nothing to eat. An indulto was then issued to Bantayan’s parish priest in 1840 allowing the townspeople to eat meat on Good Friday, and they have been doing so ever since. Whether this applied to Bantayan visitors is unclear but the special dispensation has most likely long expired. If you’re interested in seeing one of the oldest churches in the Philippines, the 15th century Saints Peter and Paul Church was built with walls of coral stone.

Saints Peter and Paul Church

Jutting out to the sea, Kota Park’s footbridge allows an expansive view of the surrounding waters and offers an ideal spot to watch Bantayan’s magnificent sunsets. The ruins of the old fort (kota in Spanish) built in 1790 to protect the townspeople from pirates are now part of Kota Park. 

Kota Park Footbridge

During this peak season, inter-island ferries are busy shuttling the overwhelming number of visitors who show up at San Remigio’s Hagnaya Wharf, all of them in a mad rush to make the crossing and start their long Easter weekend on the tropical isle. Accommodations in Bantayan are unpretentious and pitching a tent on the beach is an option when rooms are hard to come by. 

Hidden Paradise Beach

The laid-back lifestyle resumes once the Holy Week frenzy dies down as islanders around the 3 main towns return to their fishing nets and poultry farms. Bantayan, also the name of the biggest town, is where 80% of the eggs in the province come from, while Madridejos is Cebu’s main supplier of dried fish. The friendly resort town of Santa Fe is the perfect island getaway that tourists dream about. Its endless white-sand beaches remain nothing short of spectacular, and the best spot to bask in the sun, or watch it retreat gloriously beyond the horizon.

Scooping out scallop meat

Bountiful harvests from the sea around Bantayan Island find their way to the local town market; seafood couldn’t be any fresher than here.

Ruins

Originally published in Postcards from CebuMotorbikes can be rented to check out some of the island’s interesting sites like the Ogtong Cave. There’s also the little known Virgin Island for those who just can’t get enough of the beach. After super-storm Yolanda (internationally named Haiyan) brutally lashed across the island – and other parts of northern Cebu – in 2013 and rendered people homeless, Bantayan has pretty much well recovered. With generous humanitarian and financial aid from around the world, and the commendable hard work, resourcefulness and community spirit of the local population, the islanders are back on their feet again with rebuilt homes, revived livelihoods and renewed energy.

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