Tag Archive: Visayas



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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If you have been to Lourdes in France, you would be reminded of such Marian pilgrimage site when you visit Simala or Monastery of the Holy Eucharist in Southern Cebu. Run by Mongha ni Maria (Monks of Mary) who tend the gardens and built a mini-falls within the compound, the church has also since been a pilgrimage site.

 

 

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This church in Sibonga, Cebu drew crowds when the miraculous statue of Mama Mary shed tears of blood. Though not validated by the Church, this phenomenon drew many faithfuls to the site.

 

 

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I tweeted about this trip to Cebu and some tweeps advised me to go visit Simala on our way back to the city. It’s just slightly off the way and in between our Dalaguete and Carcar stopovers, but since we hired a van for the day, it worked out well. We felt good making this stopover. And there was even a Mass when we visited.

 

 

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Hard to believe a church of this size was built in this corner of the province. The story goes that funds were provided by faithfuls who were miraculously healed here. If you are a first-time visitor like we were, you’d be awed by the grandeur of this church. Not just in the exterior appearance with the curving staircase and footbridge wrapped around the church, but in the interiors as well. We waited till Mass was over before snapping these photos.

 

 

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So, next time you are in these parts of Southern Cebu, make time to do this pilgrimage. All you need to bring with you is your faith and perhaps, countless petitions for divine aid.


Cebu is NOT all about lechon. There’s the coveted, sought-after Chicharon from Carcar too! 😍 Kidding aside, Cebu has much to offer. In between the lechons and the chicharons, its natural wonders and rich history make it a must-destination.

 

 

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Oh, how we indulged ourselves! More so after a NO-TUKI-SIGHTING day in Oslob. Imagine having to wake up at 3am to leave at 4am, cruising the next 3 hours down to Southern Cebu to meet the gentle whale sharks. F.R.U.S.T.R.A.T.I.O.N. Those giants stood us up!

 

 

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Not like us to let this frustration ruin our day, we made good use of our time (and money spent on the hired van) to make a few interesting stopovers on our drive back to Cebu City.

 

 

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Boljoon. Our first stop heading back to the city from Oslob driving along the coast. One of the oldest towns in the Philippines. Strategically located, facing Bohol Strait some 100 kilometers south of Cebu City. The church of Nuestra Señora Patrocinio de Maria, built in 1599 making it the oldest remaining stone church in Cebu, is very well preserved. The Museum adjoining the Church is a pleasant surprise.

 

 

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If I have not read earlier blogs on Boljoon, I would have easily dismissed it as another sleepy town. As we passed this seaside municipality, a huge limestone and granite rock caught our attention — allegedly a cavity formed by the collapse of a mountain range. These natural wonders never fail to amaze me — truly an unplanned composition of water and wind. It is likely that Boljoon may have derived its name from “nabulho”, meaning “collapsed”.

 

 

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I took the stairs and was floored by the vista of the Boljoon Church courtyard framed by mountains. Wow. You don’t get this view every day. Somehow the vista transported me to those times of the frailes. A truly colonial feel. I can almost visualize the frailes doing their paseos in the courtyard or venturing out of the church premises for a grand view of the sea. More than that, the Parish Museum has much to offer – from church vestments, well-preserved parish records and manuscripts dating as far back as the 17th century, to various religious artifacts and archaeological finds. Among these archaeological finds are Japanese porcelain and other artifacts. Since the church compound also has its own burial grounds, skeletons were also unearthed. What all these excavation finds reveal can fill many pages of a book, telling of a rich heritage of an otherwise “sleepy, seaside town”. We never bothered before, but these discoveries now beg our attention. It’s all up to us to make, and cherish, that connection to our past.

 

 

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