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Cebu, My Home

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What is it that makes people who visit Cebu fall in love with the island? Surely it cannot just be the sight of white sandy shores with clear blue seas and looming mountains surrounding a thriving metropolis, or the blaring noise that sounds like “we are excited to see you” as you step out of the airport arrival area. It also cannot just be the toothy smiles of the crowd whether they are there to meet you or hope to get something out of you – a phalanx of people who happily get by with their meager resources.

For first time visitors, Cebu reveals itself slowly. Like a sip of something delicious. It is one of the cultural centers in Asia, and yet its historical vestiges are left to be discovered, layer by layer. Unlike the big cities where you go to the town center and voila, the past is revealed. A visit to one of the stone churches in the downtown area discloses the first clue as it clearly has an old colonial vibe, not to mention venerable religious icons or the Catholic devotees that flock around the candle station. Farther towards the coast, the solid walls of a Spanish fort can still be seen. Not that anyone makes a big fuss about it. Children run around more to enjoy the breeze than to be in awe of the centuries-old cannons that used to deter the Moro pirates. Nearby Plaza Independencia is a public park, and not far away is the market where locals can have their pick of fresh flowers cut early in the mornings from the mountains close by. Roses and ginger bulbs vie for colors and smells. Then there is the neo-classical Cebu Capitol Building whose architecture is reminiscent of a Washington DC edifice, and you get the drift. Somewhere in its storied past, the Philippines was an American colony as well.

The neighboring Mactan Island, where the airport is located, is a beach lovers’ haven for snorkeling and boating. Or generally, just lazing around. The resorts run the gamut of 5-star or no star, to suit every budget. Down south, swimming with whale sharks in Oslob is a popular activity. While up north, the island of Bantayan beckons with an even more powdery white sand coastline and bountiful seafood. In between, there are several waterfalls and hiking trails to inspire the adventure travellers.

Then, there are the perennial crowds heading towards the many air-conditioned malls, and just like that, a whole new world of shopping awaits. Everything from guitars to chocolate-covered mangoes. Food is a major obsession here, and in Cebu, the lechon (roasted pig) rules. The best suckling pig in the world, declared Anthony Bourdain many years ago, comes from Cebu. Don’t dispute its dominance among the locals or else you may never be invited again.

But Cebu is enjoyed most when you dine with a Cebuano. For that, just go to one of the popular restaurants or coffee shops and strike a conversation – lami kaayo which means very delicious – and instantly kindle a discussion about our two seasons – hot or hotter.

We hope you will come to love our Cebu as we do. It is home for us, and you can make it yours too!

 

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Culture

Cebuano Musicians

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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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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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