Cebu has always been an old city with its rich Spanish heritage still surviving the test of time. It is however, facing an enigmatic conundrum of facing its future without letting go of its past. Downtown Cebu is slowly decaying as old and historic building are left in a state of disrepair and damage while new shopping malls and hotels are being built throughout the metropolis. Heritage conservation is the next big thing that the city should focus on.

Public buses would render jeepneys obsolete
LRT and MRT systems in the metropolis?
The Future Cebu International Airport
Each and every one of us wants to have livable city that we can be proud of. We may not be able to achieve the success that Singapore or Sydney had but we can always start one thing at a time. Cleaning the streets and restoring old and historic structures is one way to attract more and more tourists. Besides, it would be pleasing to the eyes if we see paved sidewalks, tree-lined boulevards, and refurbished famous landmarks.

Twenty years from now, can you imagine yourself walking from Fort San Pedro to the Carbon Market with a heritage conservation project successfully put in place? By that time, MRT and LRT systems would be transporting passengers to and fro, the airport would have been bigger, new shopping complexes are in all corners of the city, and people would be living much better than their predecessors by then. Unfortunately, we have long way to go to achieve such lofty dreams.

What is in store for us in the future?

Charette 2011 Pedestrianization of areas in downtown Cebu (Customs is notably misspelled in the video)

Some of us Visayans may still recognize the hilarious goofball duo of Teban and Goliat as the original Bisdak counterparts of Laurel and Hardy or the mainstream Eat Bulaga comedians Wally and Jose but many of us seem to have forgotten the legacy they left behind - the hit famous Cebuanovela "Si Goot da Wanderpol" (The Wonderful Goat). Examine how this once-obscure Visayan experiment on television transformed the lives of the people and raised Bisdak ("Bisayang Dako") pride to new heights.

Historical Background

There has always been an issue of being "Bisaya" on national spotlight especially in the cruel world of show business. All the shows we see on television are in Tagalog because our favorite artistas from Angel Locsin to Dingdong Dantes and even to the likes of our homegrown talents Kim Chiu and Vina Morales are forced to speak in the "national" language but because it is the only way to further their careers. The formation of our national language during the 1935 Commonwealth government under Manuel L. Quezon has sidelined the language spoken by most people from Visayas and Mindanao.

In the advent of television, Tagalog remained the dominant medium in the dissemination of information and Visayan remained on the periphery of our national consciousness. Speaking Visayan on air is a rare occurrence and even if there is someone speaking on television, dubbing and subtitles are needed. The rest of the country know less of our deep cultural roots in television dramas and plays. It seems that producing a Cebuano-language television series with all Cebuano actors can be a risky and stupid idea because it has never been done before.

Whenever a Visayan role is present in our favorite staple telenovelas, these roles are always relegated to typical subservient "katulong" (house maid) roles. Oftentimes, non-Visayans portray us in a stereotypical, caricaturish, and funny way possible to the point it is somewhat similar to "blackface" in America's deep racist South. A cultural genocide of some sorts!

Why it became a Hit?

Si Goot became a viral phenomena that fueled the upsurge of Visayan consciousness and pride during a time of uncertainty as a consequence of a stagnating economy and a sequence of devastating national disasters. For the first time, Visayans see themselves on television as what they really are. People would have goose-bump whenever they see Teban and Goliat on the flesh because they look like any ordinary guy on the streets but are larger-than-life characters at the same time. They may not be the typical artista in the mold of half-Cebuano Richard Guttierez but they surely bring the house down.

The dynamic duo, Julian Daan and Alan Nacorda in real life, were the toast of the city because of their stomach aching and jaw straining funny jokes. During the time when Thalia (of Marimar fame) and the rest of sexy Mexican telenovelas were ruling the airwaves, Si Goot was on a class of its own. Some have even said that its TV ratings far outperformed even the most popular television show at that time. Unfortunately, mainstream media dismissed it as a small and local show that would never catch on fire. But it did! In fact, many people even have it copied on VHS tapes with Visayans from all corners of the archipelago watch it and some OFWs smuggle copies of it to keep themselves refresh of what they missed back home.

The story is quite familiar because it was lifted from our favorite fairy tale of the goose that lays golden eggs. The show revolves around the adventures, oftentimes misadventures, of Teban and Goliat with their goat that literally defecates coins instead of that smelly digested and regurgitated grass bullion. A brainchild of brilliant Cebuano producer Marcos Sacol, the show mixed drama, fantasy, and comedy elements so that we could have seen the forerunner of the fantaseryes that we see on national television today.

In a Horatio Alger tale like fashion, who would have thought ordinary bums Daan and Nacorda would be transformed into instant celebrities Teban and Goliat and created a mass hysteria of the Si Goot legend. Even without heavily-marketed "mestizo-looking" actors, the Cebuano telenovela captured public attention that many people would rush to find television on carenderias at lunch just to watch the latest episode and even school children running home to make it!

Where were you when Si Goot was the most popular show?

After Si Goot

During the height of its popularity, fellow actor Kriss Relatado and the whole cast were said to be mobbed in Ozamiz. According to Sacol, Si Goot posted a 61% audience share - the highest rating ever for a local or national program aired in Cebu.

The show lasted for two years and for reasons not everyone knew, it ended without a bang and eventually faded into oblivion. It was believed that there was trouble as who would take over the creative process after the death of the producer. Daan's popularity propelled him to provincial politics as board member and Nacorda still continues his funny acts until this day. After Si Goot, there was a huge interest in Manila to transform local Visayan radio plays and teleserye into mainstream TV shows and movies like "Milyonaryong Mini," "Gintong Kristal," "Ang Manok ni San Pedro," and "Flor De Luna." Unfortunately, there are no Visayan-language shows on television and movies today!

Its Long Lasting Legacy

Being the cultural heartland, Cebu has always been looked up by Visayans that practically occupied most of the islands sans Luzon. Although some people would not admit it, there are more Visayans than Tagalogs and obviously, it should have been our country's lingua franca. Si Goot da Wanderpol has captivated the Visayan people all over because for the first time, it was proud to be a Bisdak. There is an obvious resurgent of the love of the Visayan language in the younger generation as the fascination of old Teban and Goliat jokes reappeared on the Internet. The world-wide-web also intensified creative talents mixed with the desire to learn the language that we could see countless viral videos that involved foreigners speaking Cebuano or popular movies dubbed in the language like the funny Apocalypto movie transformed into "Paksiw: Ang Bangiitang Irong Boang" and the hilarious 300 version with the title "300, The Lost Kanding" (an obvious reference to the goat in Si Goot).

During the 1990's, Cebu was on the state of rebuilding and economic resurgence after the disastrous typhoon Ruping that devastated much of the Visayas region. Although much of Luzon was still reeling from the disastrous earthquake and the Mount Pinatubo eruption that followed the next year, Cebu was left on its own to survive on itself. It was that hit local television show that bind Visayan-speaking people together -- from Masbate to General Santos, from Leyte to Zamboanga, and from Negros to Davao. Self-reliance and non-dependence on national government has transformed Cebu into one of the fastest growing province in the country. CeBOOM! was born and to this very day, new buildings and shopping malls have been rising up to fill the needs of its ever-growing cities. Tourism is on the rise brought about the growing influx of Koreans and other foreign visitors.

Nowadays, television networks now started airing local news programs in our own language and even the national news started adopting some of our words but on a different way. Ever heard Mike Enriquez or Noli de Castro say "kawatan" on air? Some have started to understand some of our words as more and more Visayans now populate Metro Manila and more Tagalogs uproot to major cities in Visayas and Mindanao.

Looking forward, Cebuano artists or a Cebuano-made production can become successful even without national exposure.


Finding Marcos Sacol (
Si Goot da Wanderpol Forum (
Hilas ang local viewer o walay kwenta ang ilang gi-view? (

The battle for the big shopping malls in Cebu intensifies as the tourism boom and rising consumerism fuels competition between SM, Ayala, and Robinsons. With the news of SM Seaside City posing to become the island's largest supermall and Ayala Center Cebu building up its expansion, Robinsons is not only contented with its Cybergate mall in Fuente but also interested in going toe-to-toe against its competitors.

Robinsons Fuente remained their only foothold in Cebu for quite a while but John Gokongwei's mainstay mall has become too obsolete to compete with the newest malls like SM Consolacion and SM City Cebu. And if that's not enough, there are said to be plans for a Robinsons mall in the northern city of Bogo too!

The seven story commercial building will rise on a 4.6 hectare lot along General Maxilom Avenue, Cebu City and will have a gross floor area of about 156,000 square meters.

Robinsons Galleria Cebu’s anchor tenants will include Robinsons Department Store, Robinsons Supermarket, True Value, Robinsons Appliances, Saizen, and Toys R’ Us. It will also have six cinemas, including two 3D theaters, with a total seating capacity of 1,800. The mall will have about 300 tenants offering a mix of international brands and popular local brands. Tenants will also include homegrown Cebuano retail shops, restaurants, amusement centers and new entertainment attractions.

Robinsons Galleria Cebu is seen to attract shoppers and tourists from nearby   government   offices,   consulates, churches, hotels, shipping terminals, schools including the University of San Carlos and University of Visayas, and popular tourist destinations such as Magellan’ Cross and three museums.

The mall is slated for completion and opening in 2014.

How will it fare against SM Seaside City, a much-larger Ayala Center Cebu, a theme-park paradise of Il Corso, and Megaworld's pet project Mactan Newtown remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, there will be a lot of fun in Cebu City soon!

We Filipinos are a proud people, even more when Manny Pacquiao wins a fight or someone (with Filipino blood) is gaining popularity in the United States. I know we have the talent and skills to be in the pantheon of the world's best but do we have to be so vain about getting the Guiness Book of World Records for having the world's largest longganisa? It's our unhealthy obsession that we don't realize.

The problem is that we take pride on almost everything imaginable just to prop up our false sense of nationalism. We have this cultural cringe and inferiority complex because we are not as economically successful as Singapore or we are not culturally rich as China. It doesn't mean that we have to embellish our Filipino identity with everything mundane and ordinary, we must be proud for who we are and not we want to be.

We tend to attach "world-class" to someone who achieved tremendous accomplishments beyond their wildest imaginations. Unfortunately, we tend to abuse it to the hilt to the point that all 90-million Filipinos are associated with such success. Remember, the term means something that can be recognized over the globe.

Just because someone entered a reality singing competition and got the 15 minutes of fame he/she wanted doesn't have to mean that he/she has "world-class" talent. They have to prove their talents to the world first then they have the right to be called as such. Self-proclaimed accolade is different than those recognized by people around the world.

Another issue we have about this type of "nationalism" is when some local, semi-retired, down-the-hill, and oftentimes "laos" celebrities going abroad (preferably the United States, more specifically Los Angeles in California) to shoot their movie. All of a sudden, celebrity talk show hosts and news anchors branded them as "Holywood" or "International" stars. Why? They haven't even cracked big roles in Hollywood films in the first place let alone showcased their "world-class" talents. Perhaps, they were just shooting a film with B-movie actors and other wannabe Holywood dreamers like them too! Go figure.

Lastly, we all love the platitudes of having the "best" of everything trivial. We don't have the world's tallest skyscraper Burj Khalifa that Dubai has but we are proud to have Lolong, the world's biggest crocodile in captivity. How can we be so gullible and being proud for such an animal when we don't anything to do with its stature. Although, it sure to have eaten a lot of people before. Yes, we have other important things that we can be proud of but we should never go down and be a contented with all these world record BS.

I had the privilege of visiting Singapore to and fro a couple of times already and I have noticed that they have been relatively made a delicate balancing act of controlling the influx of foreigners and expats in to their country. Perhaps, there has been a growing discontent of these people stealing jobs from the local population. We can't blame them.

If you are one their shoes, would you feel the same way too? Let's just say, your neighbor goes into your house unannounced then picks up a couple of things on the fridge and have the nerve to watch television while you're left there with your jaw dropped on the floor. Is that the same analogy to the similar situation in Singapore? Perhaps, you may want to check out the article. Here's an excerpt of the article:

Although the island-nation prides itself for having a successful societal control despite cultural diversity, adding expats into the mix makes the ball game a lot more different. There are X factors that may play a huge role in managing the cultural divide. Expats have their own microcosms and social bubbles that separate them from the rest of the population and with that distinctiveness bring about contentious issues. Sure, nobody is perfect but without cultural sensitivity, anything foreign and different can always rub the locals the wrong way! 
Some expatriates who arrive in Singapore bring bad manners and attitudes from their home country thereby bringing in negative stereotypes like the “fat American,” “drunk Aussie,” or “arrogant Briton” imageries. Do you have these despicable traits that brands you a persona non grata? No one wants a biased comparison but if you don't know then you might as well check out the list...

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{picture#} JP Canonigo is a historian, professional blogger and copywriter, online content specialist, copywriter, video game junkie, sports fanatic and jack-of-all trades. {facebook#} {twitter#} {google#}
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