500 Years Walk

I USUALLY think of Sunday as my “active rest” day, in that I actively make sure I do next to nothing and rest from my self-imposed sugar ban over the week (lame jokes, I know).

So I had to ask myself two Sundays ago what in the world I was doing standing outside Fort San Pedro in the sweltering afternoon sun. Of course, a few friends and I had volunteered to be the test group (one of many planned) for the 500 Year Walk proposed by the Cebu Association of Tour Guides, Inc. (CAT-G) in 2021 to coincide with the 500th anniversary of Magellan’s first contact with us in 1521.

We were taken on a walking tour with our guide PG around heritage sites that we Cebuanos often take for granted since we pass by them so often in our daily lives. Fort San Pedro and the Basilica del Sto. Niño, for example, are literally jumping distance from where I work, and yet the last time I actively took the time to soak in their history was when I was in grade school—over 10 years ago.

The tour ended at Casa Gorordo—again, a place I hadn’t visited since grade school—where we were treated to snacks and a cultural presentation to wrap up our afternoon.

I, for one, didn’t realize how much ground we had covered until dinnertime, when my legs were protesting for me to take a seat and stay still for the next 30 minutes or they would cramp up on me.

As a history buff, I’m elated over Cebu having this sort of foresight to preserve and showcase what is inherently ours. Having been to the Binondo Food Tour and Intramuros Tour in Manila more than once, I had always believed that Cebu has more than its fair share of “hidden treasures” to rival—maybe even surpass—that of the Manila Tour. And it’s great to see that we have an association dedicated to piecing together such a tour to prove me right (proud Cebuano over here).

Of course there are areas in the tour I feel would benefit from tweaking, but that’s the blessing (and curse) of being in a test group. We were exposed to the “rough draft” of what CAT-G hopes to be an international-level tour, and whereas I don’t think they’re there yet, CAT-G was gracious enough to ask us for our brutally honest feedback to help refine and polish their product so that it will be ready by 2021.

Overall, it was a great experience to walk through our “backyard” in Cebu and find a fresh perspective about certain areas. The foodie in me, though, is giddy for a Food Tour also.

If I would get blacklisted from these heritage restos for having eaten too much, it would have been worth it.