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August 22, 2012

Dried Fish, Dried Mangoes and More: Rediscovering Cebu City

I would always visit Cebu City almost every year for the last 5 years. As always, whenever I visit this historic city, I never fail to visit the Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino. This huge and historic church right in the heart of the city is the home of the famous religious relic: the image of the Child Jesus which was given by the Spaniard colonizers to the early inhabitants of Cebu. Since the day the Cebuanos received the image, they have revered it and defended it. In fact, Cebuanos are really very religious. They are not ashamed to express their devotion to the Child Jesus even in public spaces.

It was perhaps serendipitous that when I visited Cebu City last week, it was during my 5th anniversary as a medical doctor. So, I went to light a candle in the Church offering a special thank you to God for having given me a fruitful 5 years as a medical doctor.

The Basilica is also the home to the famous Magellan's cross. When Ferdinand Magellan landed in Cebu City in 1521, he consecrated the island to God and claimed it for Spain and the Catholic Church. The original cross is currently encased in Tindalo wood and is displayed a few meters away from the Church. Devotees and tourists would visit the Cross and would either take pictures or leave unlit candles and prayers.

What was interesting during my last visit in Cebu City was when we decided to drop by a place called Taboan. Taboan is a market place in Cebu City where you could buy not just souvenirs but all kinds of Cebuano delicacies. Upon arriving in the Taboan market, one would not fail to notice the heaps and heaps of dried fish. All kinds of dried fish were being displayed in Taboan.

Prices can vary and one must have very good negotiation skills if you would like to get a good bargain. A visit to Taboan was a good surprise for me. If only I had more time to hop from one market stall to the other, I would have packed my bags with lots and lots of dried mangoes and even a few dried fish.

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