Freeman Cebu Business

Cebu's top 10 delicacies, Delicacy trading boosts Cebu tourism

Carlo S. Lorenciana - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Being one of the preferred tourist destination in the Philippines, Cebu has a relatively buoyant demand for its finest native delicacies, which aside from giving boost to the province's tourism sector, has also sustained the livelihood of many delicacy traders.

These various delicacies are sold in grocery stores, "pasalubong" shops, public markets and even on the streets. The Taboan Market is where most of  the delicacies of  the province are sold. It is the buying center of various dried fishes that come from the island of  Bantayan as well as other pasalubong snacks only found in Cebu.

Mely Desamparado, a 53-year-old trader, who owns a store in Taboan, shared to The Freeman how her family sustained their business for the past 30 years.

Desamparado's family owns Niño & Khristy Dried Fish and Pasalubong Shop, one of  the largest delicacy sellers in the market.

She said she owes the success of her family business to her loyal customers or "suki" stressing that it is important for entrepreneurs like her to maintain trust and good relationship with patrons.

"Ang ako man gud ginabuhat, mangunay gyud ko sa akong negosyo," she said. "Ako ang cashier ug nag-guide sab ko sa operations dinhi kay importante na aron makahibawo ko unsay angay i-develop sa business." (I am very hands-on when it comes to the business. I am the cashier at the same time I supervise the operations so I can see first-hand what needs to be developed in the business.)

Meanwhile, other sellers in Taboan said that "Tagalog" people and other local tourists make up most of their buyers of dried fishes especially the famous "Danggit." What foreigners usually buy, they said, are the delicious "pasalubong" snacks, one of  the in-demand is dried mango.


Product Development


Dr. Elias Tecson, business development chief of Cebu's Department of Trade and Industry, said they are teaching local manufacturers on food safety and product packaging as these are not only traded locally but are also exported to the international market.

"The DTI and local government units are helping each other in teaching Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) to further improve their products," Tecson said.

DTI's other program includes good manufacturing practices and labeling, however, Taboan vendors said they don't apply labeling because it adds to their production cost. 

Meanwhile, the government's One Town One Product (OTOP) program aims to help cities and municipalities to establish their own native products. For instance, he said Carcar City has been known for its OTOP products chicharon and footwear.


Here are the top 10 famous Cebu delicacies:


1.         Lechon. Considered as the "Lechon Capital of the                            World," Cebu offers the best kind of lechon. One of                        the public's favorites, Zubuchon has been known for                        its unique style of making lechon with no MSG and                   no artificial painting of  the skin. "Our lechon probably                     costs more than any other lechon for sale in the City                         of Cebu because of all the ingredients and the care                             we put into the lechon we call Zubuchon," said Mary                       Joan Danao, the company's general manager. A kilo                of its lechon is sold at P530; the whole lechon is at                           P4,900 and the medium at P5,900. Nevertheless, she                        believed that more than making money, their business               was created to generate employment in Cebu.


2.         Danggit. It is the most popular dried fish in the                                 province among tourists and locals. Other dried                            seafood products include Pusit, Dilis, Tapa,                          Buwad Pinikas — are all available in Taboan. These                     come from the Bantayan Island, the leading dried fish                     producer in the region, and the province of Leyte. A              kilo of  Danggit would normally costs P550.


3.         Dried Mango. Deemed as one of  the Philippines' most                     famous export product, dried mangoes come in two                varieties: the ripe and green. Guadalupe of Cebu City                       is known for producing sweet mangoes. The price of               this product ranges from P40 to P350, depending on                        the quantity and brand.


4.         Chicharon. Carcar City is the major buying center for                       the best chicharon, a deep fried pork's back fat or                               pork rind.It is best eaten with spiced vinegar.                                    Chicharon can be bought for P600 a kilo or a quarter                 of  a kilo is pegged at P150.


5.         Otap. Otap is an oval-shaped crunchy baked biscuit              sprinkled with sugar. It is one of Cebu's                                            trademarks and in-demand pasalubong snacks.                                  Otap's price ranges from P50 to P300, it varies on the               quantity and brand.


6.         Chorizo de Cebu. It is a special kind of  the native                            Filipino sausage or "longganisa," Cebu-made chorizo               is known for its sweet, spicy taste. A dozen of large                                     Chorizo costs P50 and the small one sells at P25.


7.         Mazareal. Mandaue City is where the best Mazareal                         products come from. These are rectangular bars of                              mixed ground peanuts and sugar, packed in white                            papers. A small pack can be bought at P20 and P40                              for big ones.


8.         Torta. The one made in Argao in southern Cebu is                            still the best although torta are available in many                                   bakeshops in Cebu. Argao's previous Pitlagong                                 Festival was replaced in 2011 by La Torta Festival, a                     feast mainly dedicated to its famous delicacy. The                            cheapest Argao-made torta is sold at P15 to P20; the                        large sells at P35 but one can buy 3 for P100.


9.         Rosquillos. Originally made in Liloan  Cebu, Rosquillos,                  a circular shape cookie with a hole at the center, is now              one of the favorite snacks among locals and visiting                         tourists. A pack of  Rosquillos would cost P115.


10.       Bibingka. This type of rice cake is available in many                         parts of the country, but Mandaue City is known for its               special bibingka as it is baked in a special oven locally                      known as "Urnohan." Each is sold at P10.  (FREEMAN)

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