Fun, awesome, fantastic, and amazing! This is how the people described the word ‘suroy-suroy.’ According to Lucena Rose Manggubat Magdadaro, guest traveler, ‘suroy-suroy’ is a Visayan word which means the act of travelling from one place to another. More relaxing, not in a hurry, this is what the former Department of Tourism Director Patria Aurora Roa experienced in this year’s Suroy-Suroy Sugbo.
Cebu acting Governor Agnes Magpale, Provincial Board Member Arleigh Jay Sitoy and the Provincial Tourism office staff led the participants in visiting the localities in the southern part of Cebu. The participants were really surprised as they made their first stop at the PlazaRizal in San Fernando where they were welcomed by such an exotic dance performance of the local drum and bugle corps. The San Isidro Parish Youth Choir also showcased their talents to the guests by singing different songs including “One Cebu”.
In San Fernando, the guests took their breakfast where they enjoyed eating some of the town’s farm products such as banana, sweet potato and many others. According to Marlon and Deding Paloma, a couple based from Las Vegas California who first time joined the Suroy-Suroy, found the food served as nostalgic, especially when served by people who were warm and hospitable.
From San Fernando, acting Governor Magpale and party headed to the town of Argao where Mayor Edsel Galeos welcomed the participants at the best preserved Spanish-period town center in Cebu which is the Cabecera. The guests took time to go around with the local guide in the museum park of the Poblacion. They were amazed to see 14 stations of the cross, capilla murtuario, and a cuartel (barracks ) now the Hall of Justice, walled in by the muralla (fortress walls) within the Puerta Marina as the main gate.
Guests got to taste the town’s eminent delicacy, the torta, and savored their sikwati, a delightful cocoa drink prepared with the best tabliya from barangay Canbanua, Argao. While eating snacks, the guests enjoyed watching the performance of the La Torta Festival dancers.
It was lunch time when the guests arrived at the Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort in the town of Oslob. After sumptuous lunch buffet prepared by the resort, the guests enjoyed taking pictures on the island while others did kayaking and trekking.
The first day of Suroy-Suroy ended with dinner at the Sanayon View in the town of Santander. There, the Tostado Festival dancers took the center stage when the group arrived at their destination.
One thing that was new to the eyes of the guests was the new air-conditioned CR (comfort room). And according to one of the residents in the town, their CR was air-conditioned last 2011.
Mayor Marilyn Wenceslao of Santander, in her message, said that “with Governor Agnes Magpale’s ‘magic touch,’ we are hopeful that this event will become memorable as ever.”
The enchanting evening ended with a grand fireworks display.
On the second day of the Suroy-Suroy Southern Getaway, the party visited the towns of Samboan, Ginatilan, Malabuyoc and Badian.
On the first stop, Mayor Raymond Calderon of Samboan warmly welcomed the party in front of the Museo de Samboan where lunch was served.
A rondalla composed of 16 students, five girls and eleven boys of the Pedro V. Uy Calderon Memorial National High School who played folk songs, entertained the guests as they enjoyed the feast. The town’s senior heritage dancers also took pride in showcasing their own. But what overwhelmed the guests was a heart-wrenching song performance of famous bisaya songs, like Matud Nila and Ikaw Ang Bathala, by a nine-year-old boy, Tommy Jones Herana, Grade 4 pupil of Samboan Central School. The young boy also sang Lady and Ben twice as requested and was given a small cash gift by his very appreciative balikbayan audience.
In spite of the spell of rain, the participants still enjoyed watching some of the town’s heritage sites such as the famed Jacob’s Ladder, Museo de Samboan, St. Miguel de Archangel Parish Church, Stations of the Cross and many others.
“I had been to all the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo, but this is the first time where I really enjoyed watching and took a look at the famous Jacob’s Ladder and so far my first time to visit the St. Miguel Archangel Parish Church and spent a time to pray,” said Patria Aurora Roa.
Selected students from Samboan National High School amused the guests of the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo Southern Getaway with melody produced by a bamboo and a water drum.
Being part of the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo was like going on a trip to foreign countries, according to Chit Ventura, one of the guests based from Manila. She said she is looking forward to be part of the next Suroy-Suroy Sugbo.
After the two-hour stay, the participants of around 150 persons in six tourist’s buses left the town and had a short stop at St. Gregory Church in Ginatilan, the hometown of the newly canonized San Pedro Calungsod, where Vice Mayor Michael Singco welcomed the guests.
Before the group headed to Kawasan Falls in Badian, they dropped by the old San Nicholas de Tolentino Parish Church of Malabuyoc to buy snacks. But what caught the attention of the guests was the specialty of the town which was the minantikaang saging or “banana cue.”
At 2:30 pm, the guests arrived at their destination; some went swimming while others just took pictures.
At the end of the three-day activity (January 25), the participants made last stops in the towns of Ronda, Barili and Talisay.
Entering Ronda, banners welcoming the guests were placed in the front of their Municipal Hall. Guests got to taste Ronda’s famous home-cooked humba. During lunch, Panginabuhi Festival dancers entertained the group.
“Very very amazing, I am so amazed by the dance and the different talents, the organizing committee and the different groups that welcomed us. I mean you can really feel the warm welcome that was given to us by everyone from the mayor to the residents there and even to the children,” said Grace Decena a resident from Manila who joined the Suroy-Suroy for the first time.
Acting Governor Agnes joined the participants in Barili. As the guests arrived, she and Mayor Teresito Mariñas welcomed the group at the Villa Elliton in Barili.
Villa Elliton is a historical place bought by a couple named Elizabeth and Antonio Yu. Inside the Villa Elliton House, there you can see some antique (karaan) materials like beds, cabinets, tables, chairs that are made of Tugas tree and rattan, old vases, TVs, electric fan, old guitars and many more.
While others spent their time looking around the interior of the Villa Elliton house, others also took a look at the town’s native products made of romblon, such as tissue boxes, hats, fans, bags and many others.
Mayor Mariñas in his message said that he was very happy that the Suroy Suroy Sugbo visited the town. Barili is the center of cottage industry. The town’s delicacies are salvarro, piñato, utap, etc. They also serve one of the best tasting cassava cakes this writer has ever tasted and washed down with refreshing fresh coconut juice.
Before proceeding to Talisay City for dinner, the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo delegates dropped by the United Footwear Manufacturers Association Incorporated in Carcar City. Even if the city did not participate in the said activity, Mayor Nicepura Apura sent the Kabkaban Festival dancers to entertain the group. The guests, for their part, had a chance to dance together with the festival dancers to the song Mabuhi Ka Sugbuanon.
After shopping in the stalls of footwear products, Magpale and the tour participants bought some of the original Carcar-made shoes. As the group arrived at Talisay City, Mayor Socrates Fernandez welcomed the participants and offered a magnificent dinner with cultural presentations as entertainment.
Before the group left the town, Acting Governor Magpale, Board Member Sitoy, Mayor Socrates Fernandez together with the guest had their pictures taken. (Ernielyn Cardeño [UV MassCom Intern])