Cebu Flowerpecker float during the Sinulog Grand Parade (Image: Government)
Cebu is not called the Queen City of the South for nothing. It is home to the oldest street in the country. The first Spanish fort was built here. It also hosts the biggest and grandest festival in the archipelago, the Sinulog which is celebrated on the third Sunday of January. The Festival pays homage to Señor Santo Niño or the child Jesus, who was once the patron saint of Cebu.
Tourists from around the world converge to the city to watch and participate in the Sinulog Festival. They can join different activities and events lined up for the Sinulog weekend. In addition, visitors to the city can also try to find souvenirs as mementos of their trip to the Queen City of the South. These items are available in major malls in the city, but they may be quite pricey, especially during the Sinulog season. However, similar items are sold at reasonable prices if one knows where to find them.
SHOPPING DURING THE SINULOG FESTIVAL
1. Stalls Fronting the Abellana National School
One of the places where one can find locally made products at reasonable prices is at the stalls in front of Abellana National School. While these stalls pop up during the Christmas season, they stay on until the Sinulog Festival every January. Business-minded individuals flock to the area to sell their wares to both locals and visitors alike. One can find a treasure trove of locally made products displayed on different stalls in the area.
You can buy reasonably-priced souvenirs, clothing and other items at the stalls in front of the Abellana National School. (Image: Writer)
Shoes, bags, shirts, and souvenir items are typically among the products sold at reasonable prices. Shirts can be bought at PhP100 to PhP150 while bags are available at PhP300. Before buying anything, it would be best to check out the other stalls and see if they are offering the same item at a lower price or you can haggle with the vendor for a better price.
While some stalls in front of Abellana National School open at around 8:00 AM, most of them typically start their day at around 9:00 AM. Abellaña National School is located along Osmeña Boulevard.
2. Stalls inside Elizabeth Mall
Located within walking distance to the Cebu South Bus Terminal, Elizabeth Mall is one of the places where Cebuanos get the best bang for their buck. E-Mall, as it is popularly known among locals, houses a number of stores selling anything from shoes, apparel and gadgets. One of the stores, Shoe Lot Center, sells shoes at prices way below what you normally find in other malls. For instance, you can buy a pair of branded rubber shoes priced at PhP4,000 in the other malls at around PhP1,500.
Cheap shoes, clothes, and gadgets are available at the stalls located at Elizabeth Mall (E-Mall). (Image: writer)
You can even haggle with the stall owner for the price of the item. The PhP1,500 price tag can even go down to around PhP1,300 or PhP1,200 depending on how good of a negotiator you are. You can also find gadgets sold at a reasonable price at Elizabeth Mall. The stalls selling these gadgets can be found at the third level of the mall close to the food court. In addition to selling gadgets, some stalls also repair gadgets for a fee.
3. Tabo sa Banay
The Tabo sa Banay (gathering of the community) is Cebu’s mini version of Divisoria in Manila. It is comprised of different stalls selling shirts, dresses, jeans, footwear, and bags, among others. Located along Balintawak Street, the Tabo sa Banay is a fashionista’s paradise. You can cop shirts at PhP60 to PhP150 and dresses at PhP100 to PhP200. A PhP500 budget can go a long way at the Tabo sa Banay. Jeans can go as low as PhP250 while the price of footwear starts at PhP300.
The Tabo sa Banay is Cebu’s version of Divisoria in Manila. (Image: Writer)
When visiting the Tabo sa Banay, be mindful of your belongings to prevent pickpockets and snatchers from running away with them. Better yet, you can leave them in the hotel or at home if you are planning to visit the place. It is also advisable to visit at around 10:00 AM since the place is not quite crowded at this time.
The Tabo sa Banay is located at the back of the building where Best Buy Mart is.
1. Liv Super Club
Liv Super Club
is one of the most happening places in the Queen City of the South. Situated at City Time Square on the Mandaue City side of the North Reclamation Area , Liv Super Club is one of the places where locals party the night away. It is the first luxury super club in Cebu where the young and young at heart can go. The place features a LED screen, intelligent lighting system and state-of-the-art sound system.
Party the night away during the Sinulog weekend at Live Super Club. (Image: Liv Super Club Facebook page)
Liv Super Club also has an area that is big enough to accommodate up 1,200 party-goers. The place is open from Wednesday to Saturday between 8:30 PM up to 5:00 AM. While the place is not typically open on Sundays, parties are already scheduled for the Sinulog weekend.
2. Fuente Osmeña Circle
During Sinulog season, Fuente Osmeña Circle becomes the venue for cultural presentations and concerts every night. Students from different universities showcase their talents in singing and dancing in front of local and foreign tourists. The circle also becomes a hangout place for food lovers since stalls offering local and international food sprout in the area like mushrooms. The place essentially becomes a mini party haven right in the middle of the city. The cultural shows normally start at around 8:00 PM.
Nightly cultural shows are held at the Fuente Osmeña Circle throughout the Sinulog season. (Image: Andrew Kram Chavez)
Just a reminder: since the Fuente Osmeña Circle is situated in the middle of a major thoroughfare, it is important to be cautious when crossing the street and make sure to use the pedestrian lane. In the same way, it is advisable to avoid drinking too much unless you end up on the wrong side of a hit-and-run incident as you make your way back home.
3. Alejandro’s Filipino Restaurant
For trivia lovers out there, one of the places where you can have fun while enjoying good food is at Alejandro’s Filipino Restaurant. The crispy pata (deep-fried pig trotters) at the place is to die for, figuratively and literally if one does not watch his blood pressure. In addition to enjoying good food, diners can also take part in Cebu Trivia Night, which is held at the place every Wednesday at around 9:00 PM.
Alejandro’s Filipino Restaurant offers good food and plays host to the Cebu Trivia Night. (Image: Cebu Trivia Night Facebook Page)
Cebu Trivia Night was first organized by Leica Cruz, Jewel Jalandoni, and Alexis Yap on February 10, 2010. Its main aim is to simply provide an alternative entertainment activity for local residents. The topics covered are varied, from music and literature to science and current events. It is also one place where geeks and nerds along with trivia lovers can show their in-depth knowledge on just about anything under the sun. Aside from Alejandro’s, the same event is also held at Politics Café every Thursday at around 9:00 PM.
Aside from being the Queen City of the South, Cebu City can be considered as the shopping and entertainment hub south of the capital. While there are a number of well-known places where one can shop and be entertained, it is worthwhile to know the place s where locals get the best deals and go home with their treasured items at a reasonable price. In the same way, it is sensible to be aware of the places where Cebuanos flock for entertainment. These places typically offer the best deals to allow locals to stretch their budget to meet these needs.