Faces of Cebu Life!

FACES OF CEBU: The 2023 Yearender

CEBU CITY, Philippines— When you hear ‘Cebu,’ what comes to mind first?

The sumptuous array of food selections is led by the almighty roasted pork and lechon. Others might also attribute this place to the picturesque places just a few hours away from the city.

But Cebu is sprawling with good people, people who live their daily lives not knowing how inspiring their achievements are to others.

This is what CDN Digital’s Faces of Cebu (FOC) is all about.

FOC focuses on giving people around Cebu an avenue to share their inspiring stories for others to read about. FOC is CDN Digital’s effort to somehow spread the good news and light vibes every Sunday to its followers and readers.

For years now, FOC has been one of the best segments CDN Digital has ever produced.

These are the Top 10 most talked about FOC features in 2023.

Willow, 35, man behind Molave Community Marketplace

Molave Market Community, Willow Woods

| Photo from Willow Hoods

Willow Woods is just one of the local visionaries in Cebu City who aspires to build a strong community through, art, food, music, and a community that is a safe space for everyone to highlight their individuality and create long-lasting impressions in the city. Starting with just 30 to 40 pop-up shops two years ago, now, Willow, caters to over 200 pop-up shops.

Kent Ivo Salarda, Cesafi Men’s Basketball MVP

UV MVP Kent Ivo Salarda

Kent Ivo O. Salarda, the Most Valuable Player of Cesafi Season 23 Men’s Basketball. | Contributed Photo

This 21-year-old basketball player from Bukidnon dominated the Cebu basketball scene this year. Salarda, who has only been playing for the University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers for two years, showed maturity in his basketball skills and helped his team win another championship.

Naomi Rosales, 29, tank mermaid

tank mermaid

Mermaid Mariae during her first international dive as a mermaid in Bali, Indonesia!

This freediver is living every young girl’s dream of becoming a mermaid. Mermaid Mariaes shared her amazing adventures as a tank mermaid in Cebu and how one can try becoming a tank mermaid too by joining some of her freediving lessons.

Father Samuel Mary Liedel, 29, Cebuano Cebuano-speaking American priest

Fr. Sam

Father Samuel Mary Liedel of the Congregation of St. John, a foreign priest who speaks fluent Cebuano. | CDN Digital photo

Father Sam, as what he is commonly called in their parish, became popular when he started sharing videos of him speaking Cebuano on his Tiktok account. Father Sam expressed that it was a surprise for him when he found out about the number of people who have been viewing his videos online. Through this, he hopes he can generate funds so he can reach the less fortunate communities belonging to his parish in San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish. 

Baron Geisler, the ‘adopted son of Cebu’

Baron Geisler ABS CBN

Baron Geisler

Known for this bad boy persona on and off cam, Geisler shared in this article how Cebu had a magnetic pull over him. Geisler said that this is where he found the love of the Father. Cebu changed him for the better allowing him to live a peaceful life with his family.

Marvin Lastimoso, 38, ‘Human Statue of Colon’

Marvin Lastimoso as the “Blue Man” along Colon Street in Cebu City. | Mandaue PIO photo

Marvin Lastimoso as the “Blue Man” along Colon Street in Cebu City. | Mandaue PIO photo

Through social media, Lastimosa, a resident of Mandaue City, got the idea that he could make a living by becoming a human statue in one of the busiest streets in Cebu, which is Colon Street. Lastimosa quickly became viral. With this simple act of trying to earn a living, Lastimosa was offered work in the Mandaue City Hall and was given educational assistance for his children.

Paulo Batulan, lone Cebuano topnotcher in 2023 Bar Exam

top 8 bar exam

The 27-year-old Paulo Batulan ranked 8th among the 3,812 Bar passers with 88.25-percent score. Batulan, who currently resides in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City, is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) by profession. | Photo from Kolorhaus via Paulo Batulan

This Cebuano lawyer just inspired more aspiring lawyers by placing 8th among the 3,812 bar passers on the recent Bar examinations. This feat is dubbed by Batulan as “delayed success.” Now, he plans to be a faculty member in his alma mater to further inspire aspiring lawyers.

Clare Inso, 24, Miss Universe Philippines 2023 candidate

Inso Miss Universe

Clare Inso, representing Lapu-Lapu in the Miss Universe Philippines 2023 pageant. | contributed photo

Representing the Historic City of Lapu-Lapu this influencer turned beauty queen braved the national stage even with her physical condition, severe idiopathic scoliosis. Even though she failed to place during the said competition, she still made her fellow Sugboanons proud.

Vhal Roncesballes, 28, New York Bar Exam passer

New York bar passer

Vhal Roncesballes

Passing the Bar examinations is a success story one can never forget, but passing the New York Bar examinations is a different story. Vhal Roncesballes, had to overcome several humps along the way before reaching the top as a New York Bar passer. He was working in a fast food chain in NYC to make ends meet. But today, he stands proud and serves as a great inspiration to young professionals like him not just here in Cebu but all over the world.

Josryle Montecillo Molde, 28, self-made entrepreneur

Molde is working to expand his business and help more people. | Contributed photo

Molde is a firm believer in the saying “when life throws you lemons, make lemonade.” Molde, who was one of the millions of people who lost their jobs abroad during the pandemic, relied on his cooking skills in making shawarma in their town in Catmon. From starting small in 2020, now, Molde and his tasty shawarma are a crowd favorite in Liloan, Danao Catmon, and even in Cebu City. 

Getting to know these people and their stories is something we take pride in. Stories of hope, inspiration, and perseverance can radiate great positivity among us.

In the next year, CDN Digital hopes to make more inspiring stories known through Faces of Cebu.

Happy New Year, Siloys!



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