Spend the better part of your day enjoying delectable dishes from one (or all) of these cafes.
In a city known for its commercial coffee chains, Bintana Coffee House is carving its niche in the heart of every Cebuano. Nestled in a quiet corner of Cebu City, this café evokes a sense of homespun goodness—from the rich aroma of freshly brewed coffee to the various knick-knacks scattered around the area. Their French-pressed Arabica coffee and blueberry ice cream cheesecake is the perfect match on a rainy afternoon.
Address: 181-K Elizabeth Pond Street, Cebu City
Contact number: 416-1335
Balai (Brunch by Café+ Coffee)
Enjoy a laidback meal that feels as though it was served in the comforts of your home at Balai (Brunch by Café+ Coffee). With its open-air ambience and lush foliage, a simple cup of coffee and light repast is the perfect way to spend a lazy day. A plate of their red velvet pancakes along with brewed coffee is sure to satisfy your brunch cravings.
Address: No.1 Floremer Subdivision, A. S. Fortuna Street, Banilad, Mandaue City
Contact number: 520-1108
An apt name for its truly crate-like structure, Crate Café is a welcome respite from the daily grind of city life. Grab a cup of hot cafe latte and a slice of their carrot cake as you relax and breathe in the fresh mountain air.
Address: Cebu Transcentral Highway, Cebu City, Cebu
Contact number: 0995-128-7466
Café Dessart is bringing an innovative twist to the Cebuano coffee scene. Taking coffee art to a whole other level, the café is incorporating digital printing into their freshly brewed masterpieces. Take their virtual reality gears for a spin as soon as you enjoy a bite of their Bola de Sylvanas.
Address: 2nd Level of Northwood Square, F. Cabahug St., Cebu City
Contact number: 888-7182
32 Umber Café and Co.
32 Umber Café and Co. is a specialty café that is bringing artisanal coffee to Cebu. Featuring a diverse array of international coffee beans using various brewing methods, the café has gained a large following among coffee aficionados. Visit 32 Umber and enjoy a cup of their cold brewed coffee and crack pie.
Address: The Forum, Archbishop Reyes Ave., Cebu City
Contact number: 0943-829-3569
Presents and Such Tearoom and Café
A whimsical café that is smack dab along the city’s busy streets, Presents and Such Tearoom and Café is hard to miss with its daintily designed window—a stark contrast to its industrial surroundings. Try one of their delicious pasta dishes, accompanied with a slice of warm apple pie, as you enjoy the various curios on display.
Address: 122 Gorordo Ave, Cebu City, 6000 Cebu
Contact number: 417-1963
What other cafés would you recommend?
Bantayan: A Pilgrim’s Paradise
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bountiful harvests from the sea around Bantayan Island find their way to the local town market; seafood couldn’t be any fresher than here.
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.
Talisay City: Tracing Its Colorful Roots
Another bit of history bound to the Augustinians lies twelve kilometers south of Cebu City. The religious order founded an estate in Talisay in 1648, and after 200 years, the friar-owned property became a municipality. Its name is said to be taken from the magtalisay tree that grew in abundance although the area was a big producer of sugar.
Part of Metropolitan Cebu, Talisay became a chartered city in 2000. It is linked to downtown Cebu and the town of Minglanilla by the South Coastal Road. This six-lane highway with exits to several areas in Talisay has greatly eased traffic for the dwellers of this primarily residential city.
Talisay served as the center of guerrilla intelligence operations of the Philippine resistance movement in Cebu during World War II. Returning American troops landed on its beach on March 26, 1945 and freed the province from the Japanese, aided by Philippine Commonwealth forces and the local guerrillas. That significant day in history is marked by the National Historic Shrine Liberation Monument.
The original bells of the old Sta. Teresa de Avila church built in 1836 no longer ring today but its parishioners remain devoted and congregate at what has now been declared an archdiocesan shrine. The feast day of the city’s patron saint is a red-letter occasion celebrated with much gaiety including a colorful parade and the unique Halad Inasal Festival.
Famous for its inasal, the Cebuano term for lechon (whole roasted pig), the city makes a spectacle of its succulent pork offering by parading the skewered pigs around its streets, some are garbed in creative outfits. Talisay’s flavorful inasal is generously seasoned with a blend of lemongrass, garlic and spices then slow roasted to juicy perfection. Its skin is always the exact golden brown and ever crispy, making it the centerpiece of many tables during special celebrations and fiestas.
Much progress has been seen in terms of infrastructure projects and public service since Talisay gained its cityhood. Having earned numerous national and local accolades, it is working towards becoming an even more progressive and peaceful city that is committed to look after the welfare of its local community.
Check out the other things you can do in Talisay:
HALAD INASAL FESTIVAL. Two men carry a skewered lechon on their shoulders to a nearby barbecue stall, a common sight on Sunday mornings in Talisay. The city holds an annual Halad Inasal Festival in celebration of its famous inasal, the Cebuano term for roasted suckling pig.
BARBECUE STANDS. Fish and Cebu-style chorizo (small rounded pork sausages) are grilled at a barbecue stand; Women prepare puso (hanging rice) by weaving coconut leaves into small diamond-shaped pouches which are filled with rice grains.
MUSEUM. The National Historic Shrine Liberation Monument marks the landing of liberation troops in Talisay in 1945.
CHURCH. Made of coral stone like most old churches in Cebu, the Sta. Teresa de Avila Church stands out for its uniquely designed recessed main entrance and pediment. Tucked away from the commercial side of the city, the church was declared an Archdiocesan Shrine in 2007.
Originally published in Postcards from Cebu.
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