Tag Archive: Carcar



Can you blame us? Who goes to Cebu and not try its lechon and chicharon? If the best Cebu lechon comes from Talisay (I know, I know, I’d get lotsa flak writing this), then don’t argue with me when I say the best Chicharon hails from Carcar. Chicharon pa lang, ulam na!

 

 

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It’s more fun in the Philippines, indeed! But make sure you do Visita Iglesia in Saint Catherine of Alexandria Church to spare you from hypertension resulting from cholesterol overload. At the time we visited, the parish was closed. Thus, we appreciated its beauty — styled like most Greek Orthodox churches with onion-domed bell towers — from the outside where we also found many statues of saints adorning the fence around the church.

 

 

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Right beside the church is the Carcar Museum. Yes, a Museum! Well actually, an American-styled dispensary years before and now converted into a lovely Museum complete with various illustrations tracing its history in this heritage capital of the province of Cebu. The Carcar Rotunda is also as American as the Carcar Museum. This white gazebo stands right before the church and the museum, which together comprise a most charming plaza.

 

 

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There was a museum guide who showed us around. The American-era dispensary was actually built in 1929 during the term of Don Mariano Mercado as Mayor. Among other landmarks are the municipal pool behind the Dispensary building, the Carcar Rotunda and the Rizal Monument. If I had my way though, I would replace the statue of Don Mariano with something more “cheerful” or “leader-like”. Call me irreverent but I thought the statue displayed Don Mariano’s shy, even tentative side. 🙂

 

 

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Where to buy Chicharon? No worries. They’re everywhere! Inside the malls, outside the malls, along the streets, inside your bus or cars! The prices are no different though from the crunchies you can buy back in the city just an hour’s ride away. It is not known though that Carcar was once what Liliw is to Laguna, or Marikina to Rizal (now Metro Manila). Somehow, this 17th century shoemaking industry faded from the scene as competition set in and other industries flourished.

 

 

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Just off the Plaza, and visible from the porch of the Carcar Museum is the town’s oldest house. Owned by Don Florencio Noel, the house is still lived in and is fondly called by Carcaranos as “Dakong Balay” which literally means “big house”. Now declared by the National Historical Institute as a heritage house, the house remains unaltered but lovingly restored and preserved by fourth generation descendants of the Noel family.

 

 

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Our group planned this 3 day, 2 night adventure in Cebu highlighted by a visit to Oslob. This small, heretofore vaguely known town in Southern Cebu hugged the limelight when it was reported that whale sharks — Butanding in Donsol, “tuki” in Cebu — were discovered. The “feeding” of these friendly gentle giants invited so much attention and excitement that we promptly packed our bags and flew to Cebu. This, even after the disastrous earthquake that rocked Negros and Cebu a few days before our flight.

 

 

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We arranged for a van to pick us up at the new Harold’s Hotel in Cebu City at the ungodly hour of 4am. Having feasted on lechon the day before — the day of our arrival — I hardly slept because of a disturbing headache (which I later learned was actually triggered by a spike in my blood pressure) which deprived me of the needed winks.

 

 

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We tried to catch some sleep in the van as we cruised towards Oslob on that 3 hour drive. Armed with my own life vest, life buoy and snorkeling equipment (all hand carried from Manila), we were ready eager when we arrived 7am in this remote village. The makeshift registration kiosk wasn’t that busy as it was a Thursday and it was just our group, a family, 2 Caucasian couples and a lone Frenchman arranging for a date with the gentle, krill-fed whale sharks. 

 

 

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But it was not to be. We waited another 3 hours, content with stories from this local who regaled us with her own adventures feeding the whale sharks. By 10am, we prepared to leave as the “spotters” who rounded up the area several times came back empty-handed.  Disappointed. Frustrated. Deprived of an adventure dreamed of weeks before. Thank God I was in the company of good (and cheerful) friends with whom a day is never dull nor devoid of “adventure”.

 

 

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Now, WHAT TO DO? The 3 hour return trip was marked by stopovers in Boljoon, Dalaguete, Carcar and Simala. Separate blogs to follow, as each has a story to tell. Tuki or no tuki, we certainly didn’t waste our day!  When you guys go, better pray you meet them. Pray for good weather. It rained nearly the whole night and early morning of our visit. The whale sharks may have been sooo disturbed by the strong current and choppy waters.