CEBU CITY, Philippines – The first leg of the Suroy Suroy Sugbo 2023 left guests feeling satisfied and excited for the rest of the 3-day tourism excursion around the south of Cebu.
Under the scorching heat of the sun, guests made use of hats and umbrellas to protect themselves as the first day of the Suroy Suroy Sugbo Southern Heritage Trail officially kicked off on Thursday, November 30, 2023.
A total of 400 guests from different parts of the country gathered at the Capitol Site in Cebu City on early Thursday morning brimming with excitement for the activities ahead.
Among the local tourists are a group of high school friends and retired professionals who all collectively decided to join the tour as a vacation treat.
During her 4-month vacation in Cebu, 72-year-old Marylou Yap met up with her friends from high school to join the tourism tour.
Yap lives in the United States of America with her family and used to work as a nurse.
Yap told CDN Digital that her first time to attend the tour has been very enjoyable as she and her former classmates went around visiting local spots.
She also said that joining the Suroy Suroy Sugbo has been in her bucket list for a long time after hearing from acquaintances that it was a worthwhile trip.
Delighted that she has now found the opportunity to make it a reality, Yap said that they were having so much fun that they did not feel any tiredness.
This sentiment was also shared by a married couple of 39 years from Tacloban.
Manuel Polenio, 68, said that his favorite part about the day was the cultural presentation in Minglanilla, where locals presented the dance of the Sugat Kabanhawan Festival.
“The food is superb. I can’t say nothing negative about the food. They are all good. Sobra kabusog. If I have money, I will definitely visit again,” he added.
Meanwhile, his wife Cynthia Polenio’s favorite part of the day’s activities was the hospitality and the warm welcome that the Cebuanos have shown them in each town.
The participants for this Suroy Suroy Sugbo 2023 was led by Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia as they were welcomed into each municipality.
The 3-day excursion program will be covering at least 22 towns located in the south of Cebu.
On the first day, guests visited Minglanilla, San Fernando, Sibonga, Argao, Dalaguete, Alcoy, and Boljoon.
Packages for this year’s Suroy Suroy Sugbo ranged between P11,000 to P16,000, which covered all costs like transportation. accommodation, and food.
According to Maria Lester Ybañez, Provincial Tourism Officer, this activity is aimed to serve as a call for locals and tourists alike that Cebu has a rich heritage that they can be proud of.
They showcased churches, cultural dances, and even traditional food so that participants would have an avenue to learn each culture and heritage.
But this year’s activity is different from previous tours because it allows guests to experience more of the culture instead of just hearing about it.
“For this year, ato na gi-incorporate ug atong gi highlight ang atong gitawag nga experiential tourism,” stated Ybañez.
One notable difference about this Suroy Suroy Sugbo is the attendance of 11 delegates from the Gangwon province in South Korea.
Ybañez said that the presence of the Korean delegates shows that the program is evolving and that they are trying to tap horizons and possible partnerships.
“We are trying to tread that avenue that we might have charted flights soon from Korean, Japan, China. So I’m crossing my fingers and triple atong trabaho para ma-prepare na nato,” she stated.
Vice Governor Jeong Kwang Yeol of the Gangwon Province, along with 10 other Korean tourism officials, joined the locals as they experienced what Cebu has to offer.
In his speech during the dinner, the vice governor expressed his appreciation for the Cebuano’s efforts to preserve and promote the heritage through this activity.
“Through this journey, I could find the deeper value of Suroy Suroy Sugbo,” he stated.
“Visitors can appreciate the culture and nature, at the same time bring economic benefits to their locals so this is a win-win for both residents and travelers like us,” added the vice governor.
The Suroy Suroy Sugbo Southern Heritage Trail will run from November 30 to December 2, 2023.
With the first day successfully capped off in Boljoon, guests can expect more activities like whale-shark watching and snorkeling during the two remaining days.