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Sweet beginning for Pintos Festival of Bogo, Cebu |

Travel and Tourism

Sweet beginning for Pintos Festival of Bogo, Cebu


MANILA, Philippines - A popular delicacy made from ground corn and wrapped in corn husk and known as pintos, is the star of a new festival in Bogo town in Cebu. The Pintos Festival, which coincides with the town fiesta during the latter part of May, replaces the Kuyayang Festival, with its roots in a traditional courtship dance.

The shift in focus from the kuyayang dance to the pintos, reflects a positioning more aligned with the city’s strengths: Most of Bogo’s flat lands are devoted to agriculture, with corn among the chief products.

Pintos is made from corn, milk, and butter or margarine.

While the sweet delicacy is now the center of efforts to promote the city, through the Pintos Festival, Bogo has other attractions.

Bogo is located 101 kilometers north of Cebu City, where one can take a two-hour bus ride. It is also accessible by sea from Masbate, Daanbantayan, and Bantayan Island.

Its location, thriving agriculture and fishery industry and the presence of three wharves — Polambato (for ships and shipping vessels), Poblacion (pumpboats and fishing vessels) and Nailon (motorized pumpboats and bancas) — strengthen its bid to become the center for trade and commerce in the area north of Cebu.

Thus, while the city exudes a laid-back charm, locals and tourists enjoy the convenience of department stores, fast food restaurants, banks with ATMs and reliable communications and data services from Smart Communications Inc.

Made from ground corn, milk, and either butter or margarine and wrapped in corn husk, Bogo’s pintos is popular among local and foreign tourists. JOSE FELIX RODRIGUEZ

Attractions range from the religious to recreational. A popular spot is the Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in La Paz, Bogo City. Many devotees of the Blessed Virgin Mary light a candle and say a prayer at the foot of the giant image, after climbing 100 steps up the hill.

The presence of nearby white sand beaches, dive sites and golf courses also offer alternatives to first-time visitors of Bogo.

Fast becoming a favorite is Capitancillo Island, an isolated six-hectare coralline islet some 30 minutes away from the city via banca. On the surface is a solar-powered lighthouse, sitting among the remains of an old structure. Rebuilt in the 1950s, the lighthouse is one of the oldest lighthouses in the province.

But the true beauty of the island lies in the seas beneath. Capitancillo has a shallow edge which drops down from 25 to 40 meters, making it ideal for snorkeling. The main attraction, though, is diving. Just off the island are three dive sites: the Capitancillo Island’s own southwest wall and the Ormoc and Nunez shoals.

All have shallow reef-tops at 33 feet leading to drop-offs with colorful soft corals, gorgonian sea fans, caves and black corals. The main interest of the dives are the walls, with their many caves and overhangs, small shoals of pelagic fish, all varieties of reef fish, whitetip and gray reef sharks, and the ever present possibility of encounters with larger pelagic species.

Those looking to just lounge around and swim can choose from nearby beach resorts in Barangay Nailon or the more popular resorts in the neighboring towns of Medellin and San Remegio.

Golf enthusiasts, meanwhile, will be more than pleased with the presence of two world-class golf courses near Bogo City. In Medellin can be found the exclusive Mercedes Plantation Golf Club in Barangay Dayhagon. Those with families can also opt to stay at the Casa del Mar Golf and Dive Site, which features a white sand beach as well as the Verdemar Golf Club in San Remigio, a town some nine kilometers west of Bogo.

With high-profile tourism activities like the Pintos Festival and the inclusion of Bogo City in the Cebu province’s drive to promote local tourist spots via “Suroy-suroy Sugbo,” the city can look forward to an increase in tourist arrivals, local and otherwise.

Already, Bogo is off to a good start with the support of festival sponsors like Smart which added to the excitement of the street dancing and float contests by hosting a game show dubbed “Talentadong Pinoy,” patterned after a TV 5 talent show of the same name. The country’s leading wireless services provider also hired local bands and flew in Willing Willie’s dancing trio or Tres Marias: Luningning, Mariposa, and Milagring.

Smart supports the Department of Tourism’s “Pilipinas, Tara Na” program, actively promoting domestic travel and providing an Infoboard service that facilitates information exchange and communication between the tourism department and the public.

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