Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sights and Flavors of Cebu City, Philippines 2010

I've been to many cities and each has its own unique charm. I was in Cebu, Philippines for the Sinulog Festival.  The festivities of the festival was definitely a fun experience. But what made me enjoy and appreciate Cebu's charm were its simple yet historically significant landmarks, the colorful scenery, the buzzing street life as people went about their business, the aroma of various foods that lined the streets that brought forgotten memories of my childhood, the smiling faces of the locals - excited to see tourists paying homage to their city, the milieu of little stalls where one can get glitter tattoos from an endless selection of artworks, the henna art booth (where I got carried away and got three designs drawn on my body), the local shops selling souvenirs and other arts and crafts, the flower market where gorgeous varieties of flora and fauna bloom with its fresh scents, the beautiful and unique building techniques and the architecture of the Sto. Nino Church, and last but not least, the amazing open food market where you could find the freshest seafood and an endless array of colorful fruits and vegetables. Mix all that with some local pride makes a wonderful experience.

Viva Pit Senyor! - "Long Live the Baby Jesus!"

Getting my hand painted with Henna - Artist's version of Pinoy Pride!

Fire Dragon


Street Punk - literally!

Sinulog Mask

Having fun at the Parade but all covered up due to the intense heat.

Street Dancing

Steaming Hot Peanuts

Fried Fish Balls & Kikiam 

Freshly harvested, steaming-hot corn.

SORBETES - Homemade Ice Cream by Independent Street Vendors. Locally known as "Dirty Ice Cream."

Locally made Colorful Straw Hats

Local Arts & Crafts - sun-baked & dyed starfish and straw hats in beautiful colors.

Wooden Spoons and Forks built from Bamboo and Coconut Husks.

Locally Weaved Baskets.

 Wind Chimes made from Capiz Shells.

Various Crafts often used in weddings as gift give-aways.

Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese Explorer who worked for King Philip of Spain. He discovered the Philippines by accident during the Conquistador era in the early 1500's and named the place Philippines-after his master and immediately began the process of converting locals to Christianity. Thus to this day, the Philippines remain the only Christian Nation in Asia.

Magellan's Cross and Painted Ceiling. One of Cebu's Premier Tourist Spots.


The Building that houses the Cross of Magellan.

Cebu City Hall

Sto. Nino Cathedral - This church was built with the local stone and sticky rice! Now that's what you call Green Architecture.

Candle Burning - A prayer ritual commonly used as an offering to God along with ones prayers.

Street Life

Colorful Balloons outside the Church brings childhood memories to me.

Homeless man with all his belongings.

Photos of Cebu's Old Fort

Cebu Cathedral

Cebu Cathedral's Facade

Cebu Cathedral's Doors - Exact Replica of the ones from the Vatican Palace (made of pure gold).

Gargoyle guarding the gates of Cebu Cathedral.

Holy Sculpture

Want to learn one of the deadliest art forms of fighting? Here it is! Visit the Yaw-Yan Temple. Yaw-Yan is the Philippine version of martial arts and considered to be one of the deadliest.


The Cebu Public Market boasts of so many fresh products. From poultry to various meat products, fresh fruits and vegetables, seafood and exotic cuisine.  I couldn't believe just how fresh the seafood was. They had an endless selection of fish, seashells, crabs, prawns, seaweeds, lobsters and so much more to choose from.  What made the Cebu Public Market different from many I've visited around the Philippines is the option of having your newly purchased produce to be cooked according to your preference. And that's what we did! We shopped for the foods we liked and had them cooked to our chosen flavors. We had a feast fit for a king.

 Various varieties of crabs, Lobsters, Spotted Groupers and Spotted Blue Crabs

Fresh Fish, Seashells, Giant Prawns (measuring from elbow to wrist) and Various Seaweeds.

A feast fit for a King!

(L to R) Bbq Pork Liempo, Sinigang na Hipon, Kinilaw, Scallops w/ black bean sauce.

The flower market was such a refreshing sight. After walking the streets of Cebu for several hours under the blazing sun, touring all the city highlights, we came upon this place by accident. The location is known to most locals. But it wasn't being marketed as a tourist attraction. You could find every tropical specie of flora and fauna here. There were vendors who sold local flowers indigenous to the Visayan Region where Cebu is located, while others specialized on imported flowers from as far away as Finland. There were many shoppers that day. I wanted to purchase some of these beautiful blooms. But I was on a hectic schedule and I was transferring hotels that evening. I tried to get to the precious blue tulips (my favorite flower) to take a photograph of it, but I couldn't get through the throng of people crowding the stall that sold it. It was the only airconditoned store in the entire vicinity. So I opted to take photos of flowers from the stall with the least foot traffic over the more crowded ones. 



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