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Get Your Fill of Lechon at the Cebu Lechon Festival

Now on its third run, Cebu’s best lechon-makers gather at the Cebu Lechon Festival.

In any Filipino festival or celebration, nothing quite whets the appetite and brings excitement to the palate than seeing the gloriousness of a roasted ‘lechon’ laid beautifully on the buffet table.

While the Philippines is oozing with all sorts of varieties of this now world-famous dish, all delicious in their own way, ask any food-loving Filipino where the best lechon comes from and the response will almost likely be unanimous – Cebu. 

There is no denying that the Cebu Lechon is hands-down the best and the most delicious there is, and that no trip to the Queen City of the South will be complete without taking a bite of its famous crunchy golden skin, and juicy, tender and flavorsome meat. 

But there is more to lechon than meets the eyes and the palate. This beloved dish is a culinary masterpiece itself that requires long hours in the roasting pit and skills to achieve that perfect balance of meat and fat, and overall flavor.

The world-famous Cebu lechon, along with the rich history, artistry and skills that go into preparing this beloved dish, is the highlight of this year’s Cebu Lechon Festival, spearheaded by The Mactan Newtown, in partnership with the City Government of Lapu-Lapu and the Department of Tourism Region 7 Office. 

Now on its third year, the annual gastronomic and cultural celebration promises an authentic Cebuano fiesta experience with its mouthwatering array of lechon varieties from lechon-makers coming from different parts of Cebu province and a vibrant host of cultural spectacles and performances starting today until August 12.

“We want to capitalize on the popularity of the Cebu lechon to bring awareness to small-scale and less commercialized lechon businesses. Apart from providing these businesses with the needed platform to showcase their products and help them grow, our goal is to drive tourism in this part of Cebu and eventually create more employment and livelihood opportunities for the locals,” says Graham Coates, Head of Megaworld Lifestyle Malls.

The finest Cebu lechons in one location

The Cebu Lechon Festival gathers some of the best lechon-makers in Cebu Island at the 500-seater Mactan Alfresco inside The Mactan Newtown township, giving guests the rare chance to sample and savor mouthwatering varieties of the Cebu lechon along with a delicious array of lechon-themed dishes and lechon pairings all in one place. 

Some of the locally homegrown lechon brands participating in this year’s festival include House of Lechon, Ayers Lechon, Pelyns Lechon, Augustus Lechon, Golden Cowrie Lechon Belly, Yobob Lechon, and Jojo and Mikays Lechon.

During the festival, the lechon will be sold between P400 to P600 per kilo from participating lechon-makers.

Festival-goers can also immerse themselves through the entire lechon preparation process at Mactan Alfresco’s very own Lechon Pit. Here, they can witness lechon-makers perfect their craft and see firsthand how a lechon is made right before their very eyes—from seasoning to roasting at the coal pit, to portioning and serving on their own plates. 

For an even more unique and immersive dining experience, guests can devour their lechon and chosen lechon dishes and pairings inside the comforts of colorful and iconic Philippine jeepneys stationed within the Mactan Alfresco complex. 

“This will be a very festive Filipino celebration of the renowned Cebu Lechon. We will have ‘fiesta sa nayon’ games, barrio fiesta dancers and drumbeaters, fire dancers and even belly dancers to entertain visitors and guests of the festival,” adds Coates.

 

An authentic Cebuano fiesta

 

Festival-goers can enjoy an immersive cultural experience with a variety of Cebuano and lechon-flavored activities highlighted by the Lechon Exhibit on August 9, which will feature delicious varieties of Cebu lechon from the province’s best lechon-makers. 

Highlighting the celebrations is a colorful grand street performance to be participated in by various cultural dance groups, street dancers, marching bands, and the Sinulog Festival Queen. 

A traditional boodle fight featuring participants from the annual Ironman 70.3 Philippines and lechon sellers will also be held on August 9, following the street performance, while live musical performances and a grand fireworks display that will illuminate the skies of The Mactan Newtown will cap off the festivities. 

The highlights of the celebration will happen on August 9 to 11. The weekend will be highlighted by the Lechon Fest Grand Party, where guests can feast on different varieties of Cebu Lechon, grilled meat, and seafood while being treated to cultural dance numbers and live performances from buskers, local bands and stand-up comedians. 

Guests, meanwhile, can also learn more about the Cebu Lechon and have their photos taken at the different installations on display at the venue including a lechon-themed Philippine jeepney during the entire festival’s run, or bring home souvenir items from Mactan Alfresco’s Souvenir Shop.

Culture

The Uncommon Traditions that Mexicans and Filipinos share when celebrating the Day of the Dead.

Dia de los Muertos

By Allain Dumon Fonte

The 2nd of November is All Soul’s Day, a holiday that is very important to many Filipinos to remember our loved ones who passed on. This is also widely celebrated in Mexico as “Dia De los Muertos” or in English, “The Day of the Dead”. And Mexicans celebrate the 2nd of November grander than they celebrate Christmas. Well, you can witness it from the Disney movie, “Coco”.

As All Soul’s Day or Dia de los Muertos is about to end, here are some interesting traditions and superstitions that Filipinos and Mexicans share:

1. IT IS NOT ON THE 31st OF OCTOBER

Dia de los Muertos or All Soul’s Day is not practiced on October 31st or on the Hallow’s Eve as many other western cultures practice; but we celebrate it on the 2nd of November. We celebrate November 1st as All Saint’s Day or the Day of the Holy, while in Mexico they call it Dia de los Innocentes or Dia de los Angelitos to commemorate the children who died too early in life.

2. THE RITUAL

Both in Mexico and in the Philippines, we visit the grave of our loved ones and we clean it well. This is a ritual to honour their resting places and to let them know that they are never forgotten.

3. FLOWERS INVITE SPIRITS

In Mexico, they believe that the scent of flowers attract spirits. So the flower offerings are invitation to their dead loved ones to visit the living families. While in the Philippines, we believe that flowers offered to the dead exalt the souls and somehow fill in the sadness that we feel when missing our dead loved ones.

Most of the time, Filipinos choose all-white flowers to offer because white is the absence of colour, which means the absence of Joy and happiness. White also symbolises purity of soul which we hope our dead loved ones will attain as they journey to heaven. While in Mexico, they have the yellow Mexican marigolds as the official flowers of the dead that will guide them in their journey to the afterlife.

4. THE LEGEND OF THE MONARCH BUTTERFLIES

Both cultures believe that monarch butterflies are dead loved ones who visit us and show their appreciation that we have not forgotten them. A presence of monarch butterflies also means that our dead loved ones are always there guiding us and looking after us.

5. A PICNIC IN THE GRAVEYARD

Spending a night at the graveyard and picnicking with the rest of the family may sound very creepy to many; but to both Filipino and Mexican cultures, picnicking and spending a night at the cemetery is a must to show our love to our dearly departed. It is the only time in the year that families gather and tell stories of the dead loved ones and how colourful or how great their lives were.

6. FOOD FOR THE DEAD

In Mexico, they have what they call “ofrendas” or an altar where the pictures of their dead loved ones are displayed and offered with flowers, candles, and their favourite food. Very similar to the Filipino culture of cooking the favourite food of our dead loved ones and everyone in the family enjoys the food for dinner.

My family tradition involves me driving all the way to Colon street and buy that famous Snow Sheen’s “pancit canton”. This is my granddad’s favourite snack. Sadly, the old Visayan Restaurant is no longer there. My late uncle and my late grandpa love their sweet ad and sour fish. We also set up an “ofrenda” on their graveyard and eat their favourite food while picnicking in the cemetery. We do not spend a night in the cemetery; but while we are picnicking there, we usually play the songs of Pilita Corrales and Susan Fuentes that my late grandpa used to listen every afternoon while enjoying his coffee, pan de sal, and pancit canton.

What about your family traditions? Share your thoughts by commenting to this article.

MODEL: Michael Joseph Mortola Enriquez & Alexis Wingfield
PHOTOGRAPHER: Gianne Paolo Anciano
HMUA/DESIGNER: Hazel Ocaba
STYLING: GPA Lifestyle + Clothing

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Culture

Catch Ted Lasso the Emmy Award Winning Comedy Series on Apple TV+

Catch Ted Lasso the Emmy Award Winning Comedy Series on Apple TV+

 

Rating: *****/ *****

The multi award–winning comedy series airing on Apple TV+ is one of my favorite shows.  Ted Lasso starring Jason Sudeikis is about a fun good-natured American football coached hired by a British soccer club (AFC Richmond in London) to become their new coach.  In spite of the fact that Ted has no experience or knowledge about British football/soccer, his positive demeanor and charm helps him overcome the animosity of the team’s players, staff and fans.  Eventually Ted wins over the team and the locals as they fight for position in the English Premier League.

The show won the 2021 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series and 7 Emmy Awards in its 2 seasons and Season 3 is just around the corner.  You can catch Seasons 1 & 2 of Ted Lasso on Apple TV+

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Culture

PANDEMIC DIARIES: Twelve Months Later

Photos taken by Pablo Quiza around Cebu City during the months of March, April and May 202

AS WE APPROACH ONE YEAR under pandemic times, we look back at March 2020 with fascination. And awe. We had 12 months of lockdown and survived the so called new normal. We lived with masks and alcohol even today. Carless roads and dark malls. Those were the early days of March, April and May.
It stretched to October and past Christmas. No Sinulog. Virtual parties on Zoom and virtual mass on You Tube and FB Live. We debated on the best meds to take if we get sick and whether to wear masks (please do!). We scampered for face shields and anti-viral sprays. Vitamins C and D and zinc. Later, we survived being swabbed and we learned the difference between a PCR and an anti-gene test. The latter cost less.

We dreaded the declarations of IATF mandated from Manila. And we got mad at the police chief who had a birthday party while his people were busy locking up everyone violating the lockdown. Most horrifying of all, we needed to produce IDs! Are you a resident of Barangay Lahug or Banilad? Are you employed and why are you still working? Everyone suffered thru endless checkpoints. Most sad of all are those using motorbikes, they seem to get the raw end of the deal since those with cars are not as scrutinized. We managed to trick the system by putting a big handwritten note in front of the car: COMPANY CAR, and zipped tru the police desks in the middle of the road. Don’t even think of travelling, by plane, boat or bus. The collection of the required documents is enough for one to get exposed to Covid.

We learned to shop online, order groceries and necessities thru delivery. We slowly moved towards cashless payments. Gcash and banks like Union Bank and China Bank with friendly apps are heroes for making life easy for most of us to spend what little cash we have to spend on Lazada or pay the VECO bill. Oh and we binged on K dramas on Netflix and You Tube, kamsaminada.
As 2021 enters, there are some good news. For those obsessed with news, you already know that 7,000 vaccines arrived last March 2 in Cebu, with more expected in the next few weeks. The death rate is not as high among those who caught this pesky virus, which tells us that doctors in the hospitals have some proven expertise in dealing with Covid. More cures should be in the horizon.

Meanwhile, lets continue dreaming of the day when we can cross borders again, even if its just Bohol or Boracay, Bangkok or Hong Kong. Ready those luggages and bags bought during the 3/3 sale in Shopee in preparation for the day when we can take the ferry or the plane for new adventures.

 

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