Bohol + Cebu (2014): A Glimpse of Sinulog

The low pressure area prevailing over the Visayas and Mindanao region had made the seas more wavy than the usual making our trip from Tagbilaran to Cebu much, much longer.  The rains had not stopped either, but our spirits weren’t dampen.

Window art in my hotel in Cebu which they never fail to do every year

Because of the much longer than expected trip, we were just famished.  Upon arrival in Cebu City, we hurried off to Cebu IT Park where I usually stay, checked in into my favorite residence in Cebu, and walked to this area called The Walk.  Here, one of my favorite restaurants await, Casa Verde, home of the famous Brian’s Ribs.

The interiors of Casa Verde, Cebu IT Park branch
The star of our lunch, Brian’s Ribs

I didn’t know how long it took me to finish mine, but it’s as good as I remembered it!  Always a must try when you visit Cebu City.

IT Park is much like Bonifacio Global City of Cebu

After our sumptuous late lunch, we headed off to Colon, the Philippines’ oldest street, to visit the churches and attend mass.  The first church that we visited was the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.  Even here, the scars of the earthquake that rocked the region remained as the Church now has a huge crack in its façade with the cross on top missing.  The bell tower sustained cracks too, but overall the church is still usable.

Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral as it stood now
The cracked façade
One of the countless figurines of Sto. Niño all around the city
Even the bell tower was not spared
But despite the external damages, the interiors remain beautiful as ever
How the Cathedral looked like before the earthquake

Then we just walked to reach Basilica Minore del Santo Niño.  We reached it from the side so we immediately noticed the missing bell tower that collapsed during last year’s earthquake.  It was such a sad sight to behold, especially now that the Sinulog festival is being held, which is probably the reason they had to partially cover it with a most festive tarpaulin.

Walking towards the Basilica
The Basilica without its bell tower
A mass was being held at the time
Zoomed out view of the Basilica
The Basilica before the earthquake of 2013

As the mass was being held, we got into a queue inside the Basilica to view the Sto. Niño.  Note that the main Basilica sustained significant damage from the earthquake so it’s closed indefinitely.

A devotee praying in front of the image of Sto. Niño
You may also buy religious souvenirs inside the premises of the Basilica as well
The courtyard garden of the Basilica is always a calming sight

Afterwards, we went up the stadium-like structure in front of the Basilica to attend mass.  Luckily, afternoon masses are held in English, but Cebuano phrases are mentioned every now and then.  It was a Monday so I was surprised how much are in attendance for the mass, young and old alike.

Monday late afternoon English mass

I really find this mass quite memorable for me.  There’s this part where they sing a song in Cebuano and everyone waves their hands with the song.  Just seeing all those so many hands waving synchronously, it just made my hair stand on ends, literally!

Just look at how many people turned out for this mass!  Imagine them all waving their hands at the beat of a song dedicated to Sto. Niño.

Before heading back to our hotel, we took some time off to look around the nearby landmarks like Magellan’s Cross and Cebu City Hall.

The arch protecting Magellan’s Cross is now being held in supporting braces because of the still ensuing aftershocks
Even the cross itself is supported
Cebu City Hall

Since we were still in the mood to walk, we decided to check out the activities at Fuente Osmeña Circle, on foot!  As the day wasn’t spared by the rains, the circle was quite muddy, but the happenings continue.

Fuente Osmeña Circle blanketed by smoke from barbecues in the area
A Sinulog tree?

After all that walking, we took some rest in our hotel before heading out again for some late dinner.  Since we pretty much exceeded our daily quotas of walking this day, we just had dinner back at the nearby The Walk.  To my surprise, I didn’t notice that another Cebu favorite, Zubu Chon, already has a branch there!  We had their adobo and lechon paksiw (all made with Zubu Chon’s lechon of course) but unfortunately we didn’t bring our cameras and phones so we have no photographic evidence of its occurrence.  I may forgot my gadgets, but I won’t forget to have their signature kamias shake with my meal!

It was quite an exhausting day, but I’m glad we still have one more before heading back to Manila.

* * *

Bohol + Cebu (2014)

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