Cebu eats | Company Applicant
I finally mustered up the courage to travel again and am writing this from beautiful Cebu, where the 2nd National Missions Congress and the closing Mass of the celebrations for 500 years of Christianity – with Papal Nuncio Archbishop Charles John Brown; Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, President of the Philippine Conference of Catholic Bishops; and Archbishop Jose Palma of the Archdiocese of Cebu – take place.
I’m happy to share that it looks like we can really get back to doing food trips again and now is the time, while fares are down. We flew via Cebu Pacific and a return ticket was only P3000 (not including surcharges)! Your health is your own watch, however, as the crowds are also back, so just make sure you’re wearing the correct mask and that it’s properly sealed around your nose and mouth. Also make sure you are fully vaccinated so that even if the COVID-19 virus hits you, it will be like the flu.
Here are some new gourmet finds during this trip:
‘Sinudlan na Manok’ from Maribago Bluewater
Maribago Bluewater is paradise. The 7 hectare beachfront property with beautiful Balete trees is perfect for a relaxing getaway. It’s only an hour from downtown, so it’s also a great location if you need to meet friends in town. I say paradise because it really is, especially if you have a bungalow – literally a two-bedroom, one-story “house” – right on the beach.
It’s also safer for meals as the setup is outdoors. Even if you won’t be sleeping at home, have a meal at the Allegro restaurant. They have a really delicious chorizo stuffed chicken called Sinudlan na Manok. It does not come as a whole chicken but as a roll, similar to morcon, and beautifully sliced on the plate. The chorizo used is Cebuano chorizo hubad. Another unique dish is their ube sinigang. The fish itself is sumptuous, a seared snapper. But what makes the dish unique is that it is purple, even the broth! Instead of rice, the fish is placed on a piece of sweet potato, taro and halaya. Be sure to squeeze the lemon over the mash as it works wonders to bring the flavors together; otherwise it’s like a weird combination of fish and ube jam. But with the lemon, it’s as if they were married in a holy marriage and it becomes really pleasant!
Of course, the best option is to sleep and enjoy fresh oysters with champagne by the beach! Live life!
‘Bibingka of Mandaue’
Each city has its version of kakanin. Mandaue in Cebu also has its own version of bibingka and Bishop Midyphil “Dodong” Billones, Auxiliary Bishop of Cebu and Rector of the National Shrine of St. Joseph in Mandaue, says Bibingka in Mandaue is the best. Count on a bishop to choose something very austere but full of spirit! This rice cake is simple and almost looks like pita bread but its beauty is on the inside! No salted duck egg, no cheese on top but it’s very tasty!
Another must in Mandaue is the masa real of Didang. It is a bar of finely ground boiled peanuts and coconut syrup. It’s also a great pasalubong!
Part’ebelle Seafood restaurant
It’s a “karinderya” that I’m sure Anthony Bourdain would have loved for a real taste of local flavors. The specialty of this open-air eatery is a seafood soup called Tinolang Isda (or tinowa) which has a clear broth. They use blue marlin and I learned from a local culinary expert to ask for fish roe instead of just regular fish meat for a first class treat in a casual atmosphere.
Another specialty here is sinugba or grilled fish. There is a huge grillhouse just outside the restaurant where they prepare the Liempo and the Blue Marlin. It’s very good and fresh! Served with a huge mound of rice per person, although you just got your utensils from a communal container with hot water (don’t be maarte!) This was one of the best meals I’ve had during this journey !
For an unforgettable experience, Enrico Monsanto of Bluewater in Maribago highly recommends Matias BBQ in Mandaue. It is on AS Fortuna Street in Mandaue. Must-haves are barbecue pork, chorizo, and balbacua.
For chicharon, the place to visit is Carcar. While there, take a trip to the Shrine of Archbishop Teofilo Camomot, former Archbishop of Cebu and now a servant of God. On May 3, the Vatican will determine if he qualifies to be called Venerable, which is the next step towards sainthood. So please pray for Archbishop Camomot and hope we have another Filipino saint!
Also be sure to try Tagaktak. In Cebuano, it means “to fall”. It looks like fried noodles presented in the shape of a triangle and is eaten as a snack. It gets its name from the process by which it is cooked: rice batter is poured into a perforated coconut shell and the batter then falls through the holes while the cook rocks the shell to force the batter to fall out” taktak” in boiling oil. You can find it from vendors just outside the Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino from Cebu.
World travel and tourism
Back in Manila, Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo Puyat has just opened the 21st Global Summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council. She said: “A new era of travel and tourism is upon us, and it’s up to us to lead the change towards a brighter and brighter future.”
It’s so true. I confess that I only agreed to fly to Cebu because Father. Mhar Balili, President of Cebu’s 500 Years of Christianity Celebrations, promised that I would host the 2nd National Missionary Congress right in front of the original image of the Sto. Niño which was given by Ferdinand Magellan to Reyna Juan 500 years ago – a promise he kept. But now that I’ve travelled, I’d like to encourage everyone to embrace this new normal and fly!
Incidentally, Catholics call this day Divine Mercy Sunday and we are truly very grateful for this mercy. Now we can really get out of our caves and live life to the fullest again! Alleluia!
Kaon ta! INQ
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