Religious practices, places & Cebu’s lechon
Top archdiocesan officials expected 300,000 to attend the opening mass of the week-long 51st International Eucharistic Congress at the spacious Plaza Independencia in Cebu, the cradle of the Philippine Church and seat of Far East Christianity. They include 12,000 delegates from 71 countries.
Click this to view Sun.Star Cebu’s photo of the whole assembly.
Some 1,500 priests, 200 bishops and 10 cardinals will con-celebrate the mass led by Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, the 66 year-old archbishop of Yangon in Myanmar and the Papal Legatee representing Pope Francis.
IEC 2016 is the second to be held in the Philippines. The first transpired 79 years ago in Manila. Today, the Catholic world chose to meet in historic Cebu. Of course, while you’re in Cebu, here’s our “don’t miss” list:
1. Kiss of Devotion
The original image of Señor Sto. Niño was a baptismal gift Ferdinand Magellan gave to Zubu queen Juana in 1521. It is now placed inside a glass case housed in a marble chapel beside the altar of the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño. It is a tradition for devotees to pay homage to the Child Jesus by kissing the glass case.
What is the Hawok?
2. Sinulog – the Prayer Dance
Outside the Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino, several candle-waving women exclaim “Pit Senyor” as they dance the basic Sinulog steps pleading for Divine intercession. No, they don’t follow elaborate choreography nor wear colorful costumes like the dancing contingents during the Sinulog festival every 3rd Sunday of January. Yet, they are present daily at the basilica dancing and praying in behalf of devotees.
Want to know more about the festival? Here’s 10 scenes of Sinulog 2016
What is Pit Senyor?
3. Magellan’s Cross
Ferdinand Magellan was said to have put up a cross during the baptism of Zubu King Humabon and Queen Juana in March 1521. The cross was later encased in wood and housed in a kiosk. This is located beside the Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino.
4. Fort San Pedro
One can find old Spanish cannons at Fort San Pedro — a military defense structure built by Spanish forces under Miguel López de Legazpi, first governor-general of the Philippines. The fort is located at the back of Plaza Independencia.
5. Museo de Parian — 1730 Jesuit House
‘Año 1730’ — this is what the old sign above the door. This signifies what used to be a Jesuit House as the oldest in Cebu City. Now, the house is called Museo de Parian. The photo shows members of Global Voices during an Old Cebu walking tour in January 2015. The museum is located at Zulueta Street in Parian, Cebu City.
Read about the Global Voices 10th anniversary in Cebu
6. Museo Sugbo
Museo Sugbo used to be the Carcel de Cebu or the Provincial Jail of Cebu. This is located at M. J. Cuenco Avenue some four blocks from Plaza Independencia. When the inmates were transferred to the new Cebu Provincial and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC), the structure was converted into a museum. The museum was inaugurated on August 8, 2008.
7. Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral Museum
The Cathedral Museum of Cebu is the ecclesiastical museum of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cebu. Re-opened in November 2006, it is located beside the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral and two blocks away from the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño. The focus of the museum is regional Church architecture and artifacts. Many of the items on display are from the Spanish colonial times.
8. Casa Gorordo
The Casa Gorordo Museum used to be a 19th century house located in Cebu’s then wealthy Pari-an district. Built in the 1850’s and originally owned by the Alejandro Reynes y Rosales, it was bought by Juan Isidro Gorordo, a Spanish merchant, in 1863. Four generations of the Gorordo family lived in this house including Bishop Juan Gorordo, the first Filipino bishop. The museum is the centerpiece project of the Cultural Heritage Program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc.
9. Cebu Provincial Capitol
The Cebu Provincial Capitol building
After the religious practices and places that show Cebu’s heritage, let’s allow ourselves some indulgence. We are including one dish Cebu is famous for and historically rooted in our Spanish colonial past. The word lechón in Spanish refers to a roasted suckling pig.
Lechón is a popular food in Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, North Sulawesi province of Indonesia, other Spanish-speaking nations in Latin American and Spain.
But ask lechon fans in Manila, they would agree with celebrity TV chef Anthony Bourdain of New York, “well-known for his voracious taste for all things pork, who declared the Cebu lechon as ‘the best pig ever’ on his hit travel-food show ‘No Reservations.’
While in Cebu, you will however discover that different lechon outlets boasts theirs as the best. There is Rico’s Lechon in Panagdait (near Sykes) with its spicy lechon. The Lechon House near the Cebu Business Park offers Carcar lechon.
Inside malls, one finds Ayer’s Lechon and CNT that also offers lechon in pasalubong boxes. One can order a whole roasted pig from Alejo’s Lechon in Salvador St. Labangon for delivery in Metro Cebu or even in Metro Manila.
There are also lechon stalls along C. Padilla street in Mambaling, across a new Gaisano mall (which used to be the old jai-alai fronton).
However, several locals find themselves looking for the tastiest lechon in neighboring Talisay City on Sunday mornings until noon.
Look for the stalls of Celia or Carmen (they’re sisters) near the old Yarrow resort in Poblacion, Talisay. Take note that they don’t sell per kilo. And choose the tastiest part of a just delivered whole lechon — the belly.