This Week in Cebu (December 18 to 24, 2017)

The festive spirit is high in Cebu on the final stretch before Christmas.

By: Arrah Camillia Quistadio-Manticajon | December 18, 2017
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With just a week to go before Dec. 25, it’s definitely looking a lot like Christmas in Cebu. Attractions like the Tree of Hope in Fuente Osmeña and the light display at the Cebu Provincial Capitol draw in the crowd. Churchgoers can look forward to enjoying puto, mangga og sikwate after dawn masses.

New traffic monitoring system in Mandaue

Christmas in Cebu

The TEAM Mandaue mobile unit gets an upgrade.

The Mandaue City Government is trying out an Intelligent Transport System (ITS) to monitor traffic flow and traffic violations. The new technology will be used for a three-month trial period before installation in 12 major intersections and three mobile units.

An ITS unit was installed last Dec. 5 near the Maguikay flyover, and another one at the Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue (TEAM) mobile unit. The ITS can detect over speeding, illegal parking, and other traffic violations in real time.

More flights, upgrades at Mactan Airport

Christmas in Cebu

A rainbow is spotted at the PAL inaugural flight to new local destinations. (Image: Philippine Airlines)

Local and foreign tourists now have more flight options when traveling from Mactan-Cebu International Airport. Philippine Airlines (PAL) has introduced flights from Cebu to Camiguin, Siargao, Legazpi, and Ozamis. The airline company has also recently added Beijing-Cebu flights.

Aside from adding more destinations, a second runway will be constructed to accommodate more planes. UK company SSP Group is also expected to build a world-class food and beverage hub in Terminals 1 and 2.

A local treat for Misa de Gallo

Christmas in Cebu

Puto, mangga og sikwate is a delectable early morning treat. (Image: Cebu Philippines)

One local cuisine that Cebuanos enjoy during the holidays is puto, mangga og sikwate (rice cake with mangoes and hot chocolate). It is made of sticky rice, coconut milk, sugar, salt, and ginger, and served with sliced mangoes. This is paired with sikwate, a hot chocolate drink made of cacao tablets.

Street vendors typically sell puto, mangga og sikwate after Misa de Gallo (Dawn Mass). The delicacy can also be found at Tablea Chocolate Café, or as part of Filipino merienda (snacks) offerings at hotels like Golden Prince Hotel and Suites, Palm Grass Heritage Hotel, and Cebu Parklane International Hotel.

Tree of Hope at Fuente Osmeña

Christmas in Cebu

Spectators gather at Funete Osmeña during the lighting of the Tree of Hope.

Locals and tourists can marvel at the M. Lhuillier Tree of Hope at Fuente Osmeña Circle. Constructing the giant tree has been a yearly tradition for the company since 2000. This year, the tree stands at 125 feet tall and is adorned with stars, lanterns, and the image of Señor Sto. Niño. The structure, which costs PhP1 million, is made out of steel bars, wires, lights, and handmade décor. The Tree of Hope was lit last Dec. 1 and will be on display until Sinulog.

Holiday mall hours

Christmas in Cebu

Some malls will open longer than usual for the Christmas rush.

This week, shoppers can still go Christmas gift shopping in Cebu at major malls with extended hours. Below are their holiday schedules.

Ayala Center Cebu : 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM, December 18 to 23; 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM, December 24

Robinsons Galleria Cebu : 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM, December 18 to 23; 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM, December 24

SM City Cebu : 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM, December 18 to 21; 10:00 AM to 12:00 AM, December 22 to 23; 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM, December 24

Christmas events in Cebu

Christmas in Cebu

Passersby at the Cebu Provincial Capitol will be treated to a light show.

A lineup of Christmas events can be enjoyed this holiday season. The Cebu City Government will have Pasko sa Sugbo. Local talents from different schools and universities in Cebu City will stage nightly shows at Plaza Independencia from Dec. 2 to 30.

The Cebu Provincial Government will also have Paskohanong Kahayag: A symphony of Lights. Starting December 20, Christmas lights playing to the tune of Christmas carols can be seen at the Cebu Provincial Capitol grounds from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Pasko sa Mandaue will also feature a Festival of Lights with a white Christmas theme.

Tighter security for Christmas

Christmas in Cebu

The façade of the Sto. Nino Church lights up for Christmas. (Image: Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu)

Security in Cebu City will be beefed up this week in observance of Misa de Gallo (Dawn Mass). The Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CCDRRMC) has already set up security and emergency plans for the holidays.

From Dec. 16 to 24, there will be command posts at all churches where dawn masses are held. The public can also expect check points to be set up, as well as increased visibility of uniformed personnel from the Cebu City Police Office and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Firecracker ban in Mandaue

Christmas in Cebu

Most firecrackers except sparklers will be banned this Christmas.

The Mandaue City government has imposed a ban on the selling and lighting of firecrackers in 27 barangays in the city. This makes Mandaue the first local government unit in Cebu to implement a firecracker ban with higher sanctions than Executive Order No. 28. The said order is the national law which regulates the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices, which President Duterte signed last June.

Firecrackers that are prohibited include super lolo, bawang, kwitis, and the like. However, sparklers and other similar devices are allowed. Community fireworks displays that are part of a celebration are likewise allowed.
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About Arrah Camillia Quistadio-Manticajon
Arrah Camillia Quistadio-Manticajon is the current content supervisor for the Visayas region of ShoppersGuide Marketing, Inc. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication degree from UP Cebu. She has previously worked for a business process outsourcing company, a community newspaper, and a global technology company. When not writing, she putters about in the kitchen, baking or testing new recipes.
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