Thursday, May 14, 2015

Enjoy Carcar City, Cebu

Jose Rizal Monument built in 1929
For seven days, I stayed in Carcar City, Cebu. It is one of the several cities in Cebu and one of the newest cities in the Philippines. How I enjoyed the place was not only basically defined by foods to eat in Carcar but by the things that made it historical. I usually love to visit historical sites because I like history. In Carcar, I enjoyed history and development.

There are few hotels to stay in Carcar, however, the price is reasonable enough for budget travelers like me. I stayed in RL Apartments whose owner, Richard, is friendly and accommodating. At 700 pesos per  day, the room is already spacious and can accommodate even an additional or extra bed for a third occupant. RL Apartments is located along Gen. Luna St., Poblacion 2, with mobile number 0908-505-7030. The hotel is family owned and not so many workers are there to attend to your needs but basically family members. Travelers always look for wifi, don't worry RL has wifi connection.

Leon Kilat Monument built in 1959
St. Catherine de Alexandria Church built in 1859
Several landmarks are seen within the City Hall compound of Carcar. First, the Jose Rizal monument that dates back to 1929. There is also the monument of Leon Kilat, a famous Filipino fighter and revolutionary leader of Cebu during the Spanish regime. He died in Carcar in 1898, hence, a statue is in honor of him right at the entrance of the city hall.

The Hispanic church of St. Catherine de Alexandria is just facing the city hall. It was built in 1859. Other religious sites are the Theotokos Shrine, house of Our Lady of Family. We visited this shrine located on top of a hill with the sight of remaining parts of Carcar. I was not able to visit the Bishop Camomot Shrine. The said bishop's (Camomot) beatification is now on process in Vatican.

Giant Statue of Our Lady of the Family 
Theotokos Shrine in Barangay Perrelos
Don't forget to visit Carcar City Museum. It was built under the American period and started by Don Mariano Mercado in 1929 as dispensary building. I sat with the table that was used by Leon Kilat during the Spanish revolt for purposes of meeting, it is still in tact and inside the museum.

At the back of the museum is a facility that tells many stories. Its back has the remains of a former huge swimming pool because Carcar was once the summer capital of Cebu. The doors around the swimming pool remains are former bath houses but became torture rooms during the war. 

A former Dispensary in 1929, now Carcar City Museum
The Green Mansion, a heritage house, is open for business.
The Green Mansion
Carcar is famous home to heritage houses. These houses date back to 1800s. The Balay na Tisa, just walking distance from my hotel, was built in 1859. I was not able to enter because generally, these houses are privately owned. I also saw Mancao Ancestral House and I likewise observed some cracks in Ang Dakong Balay, which according to my interviews, was attributed to the great Bohol quake that reached up to Cebu. The Green Mansion, on the other hand, is still being used for trade and commerce up to now since it was built in 1910. There are shops on the ground floor area of the mansion.

The Carcar Rotunda is a place where one will observe concentration of traffic congestion during rush hours. Chicharon and delicacies stores are located in the Rotunda and tourists usually drop by every now and then to buy pasalubong. It needs repair like landscaping to improve it aesthetic view. I cannot even cross the Rotonda and reach the statue in the middle because of so many cars passing around. The Carcar Rotunda was constructed in 1937.

Balay na Tisa (Sarmiento-Osmena House)
Ang Dakong Balay (Don Florencio Noel House)
Not so many people can enter the NIA Hard filled dam located in Barangay Can-asujan. I was lucky enough that a city hall official brought my group to visit the dam. The dam was funded by Asian Development Bank. During our visit, water in the dam is already in critical level. The dam irrigates farms for agriculture of neighboring barangays within the city of Carcar.

I visited the Mainit-Mabugnay Hot Spring. The upper portion of the water system is the source of potable water for Carcar Water District. It is frequented by people who swim during summer. The challenge here is on how to maintain the place neat and clean and free from plastics and other refuse. I did not see, by the way, hot springs.

The Can-asujan Small Reservoir Irrigation Project, services 369 hectares of rice land
and 403 hectares of vegetable lands.
Bamboo bridge in Poblacion 2
While Marikina is the shoe capital of Metro Manila, Carcar is the shoe capital of Cebu. Its shoes are being supplied to various parts of Visayas and Mindanao. I have talked with the President of the shoe makers in Carcar, Gerry Sanoy, when we visited his factory and store in Tangasan. One of the things that pull the shoe industry in Carcar, according to him, are the cheap shoes from  China and Korea. I do not know what the government, local or national, is doing to help this industry of shoes in Carcar to survive. I have seen a shoe store, which accordingly, is owned by the mayor of Carcar. They too are members of the shoe makers association, who are suffering from the influx of cheaper imported shoes.

Marikina of the south, one can buy Carcar-made shoes.
 Stores are concentrated in Acacia Grill compound, Brgy Valladolid
Quality-wise, I bought several shoes in Carcar. At reasonable and factory price, I bought two pairs of shoes at 270 each, which can be sold at more than 500 pesos in Metro Manila. I also bought a third pair, which becomes my favorite footwear when going out during summer.

How to get to Carcar:
Ride a bus at South Terminal Station in Cebu City. Fare is 40 pesos for ordinary bus while 60 pesos for aircon bus. Travel time is more than an hour. Or you may hire a taxi or van in Cebu City.

To know more about Carcar, I texted the mobile number given in the city museum, 0998-5581-081 (landline number is (032) 266-5050). When I asked about the horseback riding and zipline in one of the barangays in Carcar, I received a reply to go to the city hall tourism office to ask. It seems that the one who holds the mobile number of the tourism office is not updated of what is happening on the tourism sites that the city is promoting. It is not even proper to let me go to the city museum office when I am on my way far from the area instead of giving me answers right away. It was from a friend whom I learned about that horseback riding and zipline adventure has already been closed by the owner, not from the tourism office anymore.

With information from "Ways to enjoy Carcay" provided by the City Tourism Office

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