HELD under the watchful eye of former Department of Tourism-7 director and Cebu Provincial Government consultant Dawnie Roa who was among the guests, the Suroy-Suroy Sugbu Southern Adventure last January 25-27, 2019 concluded with guests praising the event, which pushed through despite the intermittent rain all throughout the three-day activity.

While some room for improvement was noted, the guests, who were mostly balikbayans, said the event made them discover Cebu more and better appreciate it.

Governor Hilario P. Davide III (4th from right) and Vice Governor Agnes A. Magpale (center) were there for the send off at the start of the Suroy-Suroy Sugbu Southern Adventure 2019. Here, they had their photos taken with blogger guests at the assembly area at the Capitol grounds.

“Overall, this is really a very good experience, especially the food here in Cebu and the people. (The) people are really so nice and the staff takes care of us and I am not used to it,” said Lino Mercurio, a first-time participant of the annual activity. From Buhi, Camarines Sur, Mercurio currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

“We are really treated like VVIPs—Very, Very Important People— here in Cebu. You know, we have a convoy of security people, ambulance at the back…this is the first time I experienced this,” he said.

He was with his brother Omar, a former vice mayor of Buhi who, like him, joined the Suroy-Suroy for the first time. Omar, on the other hand, appreciated how the provincial government personnel assisted them all throughout the three days.

Good (local) food always awaits guests who joined the Suroy-Suroy Sugbu Southern Adventure 2019

For this year, the southern leg of Suroy-Suroy Sugbu started with Sibonga as first stop, where guests visited the Holy Eucharist Shrine in Lindogon before going to Argao, where they were treated to demonstrations on how to weave hablon (textile), make tableya (raw cacao discs), and bake torta cakes.

From Argao, the guests proceeded to Boljoon, where they did a walking tour of the church complex and museum of the Patrocinio de Sta. Maria parish, Cebu’s only site officially declared a “national treasure” and a “national heritage site.” They then visited the church, cuartel, and heritage park of Oslob town, where a few guests went whale shark watching in the morning the next day. The first day ended with a dinner with entertainment at Sanayon, Santander town.

A Suroy-Suroy Sugbu Southern Adventure 2019 guest tries her hand (or feet) at dancing the tinikling during a stop in Samboan, Cebu.

During the second day, the guests went to Samboan town and visited its church and heritage park. Trekking of the town’s Aguinid Falls was also in the schedule. From Boljoon, the guests went to Alegria and dropped by its organic demo farm, church and heritage park. (The town also offers canyoneering as an adventure activity.) From Alegria, the guests proceeded to Moalboal for dinner and a night of entertainment before going island hopping to see the sardine run, dolphins, and turtles, in the next day.

From Moalboal during the third day, the guests went to Ronda town for a church visit and a demonstration of its famed humba. They also dropped by a privately-owned dragon fruit farm before proceeding to Carcar City for a rolling tour of Santa Catalina Street, which is lined with colonial era houses, and a feast of local food at the City Hall. The guests also had time to shop for locally made shoes and other leather products before going to the City of Naga boardwalk for a photo opportunity and back to the Capitol for dinner and the culminating program.

Colorful performances always await guests at every stop of the Suroy-Suroy Sugbu Southern Adventure 2019.

Busog mo sa kalipay (You are filled with happiness), I hope. We’ll continue to refine the program as the years come along,” assured Vice Governor Agnes A. Magpale, who spoke on behalf of Governor Hilario P. Davide III during the dinner program at the Capitol Social Hall.

Charito Barba, who retired from work in 2013, also shared how Suroy-Suroy Sugbu made her appreciate more the beauty of Cebu. “Diri ko naka-realize nga kanindot ba sa atong lugar, unya gibaliwala lang nato. Nakita sab nako ang atong kinaiya nga welcoming kaayo ta…. Nakita nako nga daghan diay kaayo ta’g gasa sa Ginoo (It is here that I realized how truly beautiful our place is, and we just take it for granted. I also saw our trait of being very welcoming to guests. I saw that we are actually blessed so much by God),” she said.

Faith being the cornerstone of every Filipino family, the Suroy-Suroy Sugbu Southern Adventure 2019 was not complete without guests having the opportunity to visit local churches (and have their photos in each).

Daghan kaayo kong nakat-onan nga sa akong katiguwang (I learned many things that at my age now), 78 years old na ko, wala ko nakahibawo (I did not know yet),” she added.

On behalf of all 45 guests, she also thanked the local government units of Sibonga, Argao, Boljoon, Oslob, Santander, Samboan, Alegria, Moalboal, Ronda, Carcar City, and City of Naga for the warm hospitality that made them especially proud of their being Filipino. #

Charito Borja gushes at how, at her age, she stitll learned new things about Cebu by joining the Suroy-Suroy Sugbu Southern Adventure 2019.