While traditionally it has been seven Catholic Churches that has to be visited during the Visita Iglesia on Holy Week, I’ll be featuring only two…yet these are the closest to both my heart and soul. The first one would be the Philippines’ first Catholic Church, a pilgrimage site, a historic site, and a bastion of devotion for millions—Basilica Minore de Santo Niño de Cebu.
It is said that in Cebu, bird-watching is one of the reasons why photographers “flock” the island of Olango. However, its neighboring historical island of Mactan has a different kind of photographers or enthusiasts that takes photos of a different kind of birds, one that is man’s greatest achievements—the aircraft. And just yesterday, the “plane-spotters” visited the country’s second busiest airport to get a glimpse of the birds’ beauty in this resort city.
First time I’ve read about ngohiong was some issue in Tug-ani (UP Cebu’s Official Student Publication). Ngohiong was one of the “student foods for lunch” in Cebu, much as like instant pancit canton to dormers. I got curious since it looks like lumpia but crispier, and its ingredients are mostly made out of veggies. What is ngohiong? Then when I transferred to Cebu in 2006, I got a first taste of it and fell in love—and craving for it!
If you ask any elementary school student in the Philippines, the red tiled and almost circular house in the middle of the city, with a cross inside it, they’ll answer—Cebu! Then ask what it is, they’ll answer, Magellan’s Cross po! If Manila has its Rizal Monument in Luneta as its most important landmark, then Cebu City has its Magellan’s Cross. As what they say, “You haven’t been to Cebu if you haven’t seen it.” You can even see it in the City’s Official Seal. (Dong, wa pa gud ka kaanha sa Sugbo kon wa ka pa makahapit sa Magellan’s Cross!)
Toledo City in western Cebu Province is known for being a “mining city,” since one of the country’s largest copper-gold mines are located here. Most people have a picture of Toledo as an industrial city in the west, fueled by heavy industries and mining. Beyond these images, Toledo’s tranquility hasn’t hit the mainstream tourism industry that defines the entire Cebu Province—Malubog Lake.
Different schools all throughout Cebu City and Province in Central Philippines competed at Sinulog sa Kabataan last weekend. This weekend, Cebu will celebrate one (and perhaps the) of the largest grand parades in the Philippines, honoring the Holy Child that was given by Portuguese Explorer Ferdinand Magellan to the Queen Juana of Cebu in 1521. The festival pays homage to the cultural-religious fiesta that depicts traditions and history of the Cebuano culture, especially the rituals of Sinulog or dancing two steps forward and one step backward, imitating the waves.
14 January 2012 – Photo of the Week
While December and Holy Week is considered as peak season for Philippine air travel, January is the month of the big festivities: The Black Nazarene of Manila, Ati-Atihan of Kalibo and the rest of Aklan Province, Sinulog Festival of Cebu and Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo. As expected, thousands of festival lovers, tourists, devotees and the curious take their pilgrimage in the annual revelries all throughout the archipelago. If you like to dance with the crowd and be merry this January without the pain in your wallet for the airfare, here are some alternatives that you may seek in hunting the cheapest fares for your next fiesta. I’ll be particular with the three big Visayan festivities since going here really requires some effort.
The Sinulog festival was initiated by the government to pay homage to a pagan ritual being done by Cebuanos, then and now, as a way of worshiping and praying for the intercession of Santo Niño de Cebú. Yet where did the dance that sparked the largest festival in the country today started? Two steps forward and one step backward, imitating the sulog or waves while waving a candle or an image of the Santo Niño. An ancient pagan ritual merged with Catholic beliefs—a form of syncretic Filipino folk Catholicism.
All throughout the week before Sinulog in Cebu, I was already checking the weather forecast. It has been raining in Cebu for the past few days and I was worried that it’ll rain come Sunday Sinulog. 16th of January came, I lost my wallet in the cab at Makati while I’m on my way to the airport (good thing I have friends who helped me at this desperate time) and I am sleepless too. Nevertheless, it has been several years since I last went to Cebu to celebrate this annual celebration for the Visayas’ most well-loved Catholic icon, the Santo Niño de Cebú and the grandest festival in all of República Filipinas, the Sinulog Festival of Cebú.
Sleepless and haggard, I took the first flight of Philippine Airlines bound for Cebu. Upon approach, I was aghast with the sky…gray, hints of lightning…urgh! Rainy!!! Then shifted to a more positive tone, it’s a great blessing from the Creator. Reverse psychology did worked!