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Guihigugma ko ang Sugbu (I love Cebu)

Being a true-blue Cebuano, born, raised, educated in the “Queen City of the South,” it always thrills me to be able to speak our dialect. Naturally, meeting other Cebuanos here in Manila excites me. 

Even if my lifelong career in the tourism industry has made me enjoy the pleasures of foreign destinations and culture, I still hanker for Cebu and anything that reminds me of my roots. As they say, “You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy.” 

Magellan’s Cross, right in the heart of the city, started it all for Christianity in the Philippines 500 years ago.
You can imagine how excited I was when my dear friend Margie Munsayac, vice president of sales and marketing at Bluewater Resorts, invited me to the launch of the “I Love Cebu” online sale on March 16, a very significant date, as it was when Magellan landed in Cebu 500 years earlier.  

Participated in by 18 tour operators and 42 hotels and resorts in the province, this very attractive online promotion organized by the Hotel, Resort, and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC), with super-low rates, is available from March 21 to April 30 this year.  

The Basilica del Sr. Santo Nino houses the original image of the child Jesus which was presented by Magellan as a gift to Cebu’s Rajah Humabon. 
This laudable marketing endeavor is designed to bring Cebu’s tourism industry back on its feet again, after having been severely affected by the various levels of quarantine implemented by the government.  The HRRAC members are optimistic that this renewed focus on my dear home province will spark the revival of its tourism industry towards reclaiming its position as the second most visited tourist destination in the country, next only to Boracay.  

At the launch, another good friend, Alfred Reyes, HRRAC president and general manager of Bai Hotel, gave out an impassioned plea for every sector of government and the industry to continuously work together to put Cebu back on the map again for domestic travelers. The good news for visitors is that only Cebu City requires proof of a negative RT-PCR test, the rest of the province does not.

Malapascua Island, known for its pristine beach, is located at the northernmost tip of the province.
Other industry friends spoke at the launch: Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, who happily showed her excitement over the opening of Cebu’s tourist attractions (some of which are shown here); DOT Region 7 director Shalimar Hofer Tamano, who echoed the same jubilation; and Tourism Promotions Board chief operating officer Ma. Anthonette Velasco-Allones, who announced her agency’s new online platform where information on tourist destinations may easily be accessed by interested visitors. 

Cebu’s new and ultramodern international airport is in historic Mactan Island.
Lapu-Lapu City First Lady and Tourism Council chairman Cindi King-Chan further stressed the city’s historical importance, being the place where the first Filipino hero defeated a foreign “conquistador,” Magellan. Another speaker was Hazel Tamondong, tourism officer of Mandaue City, where massive industrial development continues, giving a big boost to the province’s economy.  

Of course, included among the speakers was Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella who is in the process of consulting with medical experts as he is considering waiving the city’s RT-PCR test requirement for visitors coming from other MGCQ (modified general community quarantine) areas. We hope he will have good news very soon regarding this matter, so that the city’s economy can easily leap to full recovery. 

The street dancing and parade of the very colorful Sinulog Festival had to be cancelled two years in a row because of the pandemic.
One piece of very good news was announced during the event by the promo’s sponsor, Philippine Airlines. To commemorate their 80th anniversary, the airline offered one-way Economy domestic fares as low as P80 from Manila and round-trip Economy international fares as low as US$80 from Manila.  These fares were offered during the limited period of March 15-21, and may be used for travel from March 15 onwards. More information on the “I Love Cebu” Promo is available through its Facebook page or through https://traveloco.ph/ilovecebu. 

 The beautiful Simala temple in the southern part of the province is a favorite pilgrimage destination.
With these promotional offers now in place, and with the country’s population itching to embark on new adventures and new destinations, I’m sure it will just be a matter of time when we’ll hear once again a large chunk of our domestic travelers holler “Magkita ‘ta sa Sugbu!” (See you in Cebu!)

YOUR WEEKEND CHUCKLE

LETTER FROM THE TEACHER TO A MOTHER: Dear Mrs. Smith, Edward doesn’t smell nice in class. Please try to bathe him.

MOTHER’S REPLY: Dear Teacher Jones. Edward is not a rose. Don’t smell him. Teach him!

For feedback, I’m at [email protected]

Topics: Queen City of the South , Cebu , Margie Munsayac , Bluewater Resorts
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