June 2009

One  fine day this month, I found myself being flown to Cebu City with chef J.  Gamboa upon the invitation of the Cebu Chamber and Commerce Industry to be their guest panelist/speaker for the Cebu Business Month Tourism Congress.

As I had arrived a day earlier, I immediately set about to explore this southern city which I had last visited more than 15 years ago. First on on the agenda, a walk around  the historic core. My hosts (thank you for your hospitality!) must have sensed this before and they instinctively bought out a brochure and gave it to me.

Ah, right on the spot and just what I would have wanted.

Pasiyo ni Kabilan.

This is Pasiyo Sa Kabilin, Cebu City’s own version of a DIY walking tour.  A project of the Cebu City Tourism Commission, this handy little leaflet maps and strings together the city’s chief historic sites, really a small collection but just as interesting nonetheless.

Similar to Manila, Cebu city’s historic districts is a bit tattered around the edges with ocassional broken pavement and tricycle smoke belchers to give your walk some local color. However surprises abound and old Cebu is showing signs of regentrification. There is newly opened Cathedral Museum, the newly restored Cathedral (small but elegant) the very pleasant Plaza Subu just right beside the Santo Nino Basilica.

For sure, there’s lots to be improved upon but at least this is the first step.

Grab a copy and take a stroll. There’s a story every step of the way.



A decade zips through as the Heritage Conservation Society celebrates its tenth anniversary.

How time flies indeed.  Ten years ago,  I was the same schmuck (only with less grey hair and trying to finish my university degree) who really believed in the advocacy of preserving one’s cultural and architectural heritage. Just a year after the HCS was established,  I was out of on the streets battling it out the Mayor Lito Atienza’s minions on the demolishing of the Jai Alai buiding along Taft Avenue.   Im glad that my school was on the same street and I could make my presence felt over this major cultural indignity.

Street battles aside, I tried to do my every little bit in support of this group’s cause:  writing for papers,  attending their seminars, paying my organization dues and spreading its message succinctly through Old Manila Walks .

This month, as the HCS celebrates her first 10 years, I will again show my support and I’d like to invite everyone who sincerely cares for country’s built heritage join us for  a birthday party and reunion on 20 June 2009. HCS wants to wants to celebrate this in a grand way.  Young as it is, the HCS can boast of a decade of enthusiastically promoting “pride of place” in the entire country.

The Board of Trustees and Gurus will host a benefit dinner at the Miramar Hotel (an Art Deco jewel!) on Roxas Boulevard at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, 20 June.

Artwork by leading Filipino artists will be raffled off, together with other precious collectibles.  To be auctioned off also is a selected artwork of National Artist nominee, Federico Aguilar Alcuaz.

Please contact the Secretariat (5212239, 5222497, 0917 8668853 or 0922 8712061) for reservation and tickets worth P2,000 each.  Proceeds will help ensure the continued operation of the Society, and the promotion of its conservation goals.

Let’s have a ball!

*Photo courtesy of  Ivan About Town