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Talisay: There’s nothing like home

Students at the McArthur Landing commemorative marker

The best lechon (roast pig) in the Philippines is found in Cebu. And the best one in Cebu is traditionally from Talisay City. Twelve kilometers south of Cebu City and facing the rising sun, it is where my roots are from. My hometown. It is named after the mantalisay tree used to be abundant in the area.

Easter Sunday at the beach. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Talisay City in Cebu is my home. Where its soil and once abundant waters (until lately, sourced from the aquifer of MCWD, the water district) has nurtured me. It is where I have always yearned to come back whenever I have problems or just want to rest from the weariness of my body and soul.

Graeco-Roman architecture of the 1881 coral stone church. CLICK TO ENLARGE

The recorded history of my town goes back to the beginnings of Spanish colonial rule. As early as 1589, the first recorded rebellion in Cebu happened here when land was acquired by a Spanish colonist and angered a few Cebuanos who then rebelled but were swiftly quelled, executed and their possessions sold at auction.

WWII marker. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Eventually, it became the hacienda, estate, of the Augustinians, founders of many towns and cities across Luzon and Visayas. Its inhabitants were mostly farm hands. In the 19th century, it was one of the top sugar producers in the province during the sugar boom and because of the sizable population at that time, it became a separate parish and built its present church.

World War II has been so cruel. The Americans bombarded the poblacion that it was razed to the ground. When the dust settled, many of its heritage were gone except for the facade and remnants of the nave of the church with its unique Graeco-Roman architecture that has a few parallels around the country.

The present sprawling City Hall

But what Talisaynons can be proud of is that it was where the American Liberation Forces under General Douglas McArthur made his landfall for the liberation of Cebu, of course, aided by the guerillas of the Cebu Area Command. There are actually three markers that commemorate these heroes: the McArthur landing with its ugly sculpture of soldiers at the beach (1st photo), the marble monument near the former municipal hall (top), many attest to this, and one near the church dedicated to the Cebuano freedom fighters.

Busy Sunday at the former Yaro where it's now a popular lechon stand

Puso maker. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Talisay is still popular for the best lechon in the country, whatever others say. Its the crisp red skin, the succulent meat and the subtle aroma of lemon grass at its belly. The saltiness is just right and liver sauce is alien to us. A celebration is not complete without it.

One has to eat lechon with bare hands alternated with puso, hanging rice, which is basically rice wrapped in woven coconut leaves and cooked in batches that is still being done in some tribes in Mindanao and Asian countries like Indonesia and Malaysia.

Talisay is my hometown. Where my heart and soul is. Even if I’ve left her many decades ago, I have always heard her silent call and can’t resist to come back to her warm embrace.

This is my entry for the Pinoy Travel Blogger’s Blog Carnival hosted by Mhe-anne Ojeda on the theme My Hometown.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

5 Comments

  1. BPS
    May 12, 2011 @ 22:04

    Taga Talisay ka pala Sir, kami naman Bolhoon, southern part pa. Will go back to Cebu early June, magwiwisik lang ng tubig from Kawasan Falls in Badian saka mamamasyal sa Mt. Manunggal sa Balamban.

  2. estan
    May 12, 2011 @ 22:40

    uy, small world! taga cebu pud diay ka? i’m here for 2 week vacation 🙂

  3. Leo
    May 16, 2011 @ 12:49

    nice article…. can you recommend a good place in talisay where i can buy lechon. will be going to cebu in a couple of weeks and i want to eat the best lechon possible. thanks…. 🙂

  4. Marben Bascon
    October 10, 2012 @ 18:04

    hahhaa..asa ka sa Talisay bai…

  5. estancabigas
    October 11, 2012 @ 11:21

    sa Dumlog 🙂

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