Perpie in Pinas 2014 – Cebu Once More: Mactan Shrine & Sutukil

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This is the second part of CEBU ONCE MORE series. If you missed the first part, read it here – BE in Mactan.

Mactan Shrine Park is a must for first-time visitors in Mactan island. Here, you will see the shrines erected in honor of the two most significant figures in the Philippines history – Ferdinand Magellan, the Portuguese explorer who led the Spanish-commissioned expedition for the Spice Islands that resulted in the first circumnavigation of the world and the commence of discovery of the Philippines; and Lapu-Lapu, the chieftain of Mactan who bravely defended his sovereignty, through which it led to a battle that eventually killed Magellan.

We were planning to visit Mactan shrine after our Sutukil dinner, but the ever-annoying barkers led us to pass by it first instead. We found a slight relief after seeing a local police in the area. The park’s small so it was easy to find the memorial shrines. First, there’s a memorial tower in honor of Ferdinand Magellan, from which its spot is believed to be the area Magellan was killed in the battle on 1521. After a few walks we found a tall bronze statue of Lapu-Lapu.

By the time the pesky barkers disappeared, we went on to check out this Sutukil experience.

Sutukil is an abbreviated term from three Cebuano words that identify how the seafood you ordered will be prepared. You choose between sugba (grilled), tuwa (stewed) or kilaw (uncooked/raw). For Manilenos, it’s similar to dampa, where customers would buy the seafood from the stall and ask the restaurant to cook it the way they want to. But after a series of disappointing dampa experience, I promised myself never to go again. It’s a long story to tell, but the experience I had with sutukil was just as bad, so maybe that will suffice as to why I don’t like dampa anymore.

We were surprised to see a badly lit, dodgy-looking street alley as we jumped off the cab. Suddenly a group of barkers quickly walked towards us and began blasting out, almost as if like vultures, pulling us to go to wherever we had no clue on. We started walking away, but one of them even followed us. “This is our job, ma’am. Do not worry,” he even tried to reassure, but for us it felt harassing. We saw a police post at a nearby park. He left us when we went in. Then we’re surprised to see that it was already the shrine we had been looking for.

After a couple of minutes, we returned to the same street and steadily walked into the dark alley, passing by dreary-looking shops. It must have been a slow day for everyone here that’s why, so I thought. I already saw from afar the more popular Manna Sutukil, but we turned left to check out other restaurants. We must have been already so hungry that we just followed a small crowd who were also like us, looking for a nice sutukil.

We’re left with only a few variety of seafoods to choose from, and yet I found prices for a kilogram of prawns, fish, and even seaweeds, off-the-charts. We didn’t seem to have any choice left. We came for this in the first place, and we’re already very famished we would eat everything we find first.

We stayed at the veranda only to get a dark night view from it and a stench from an almost dry marshland. It’s becoming a strange habit perhaps, yet again, we waited for a long time before our food arrived. And here’s what we got, you be the judge.

I'm unsure if we even ordered fish or a squid here. I want to convince myself we were still waiting for another meal to arrive.
I’m unsure if we even ordered fish or a squid here. I want to convince myself we were still waiting for another meal to arrive.

And guess how much we paid for it? As I estimate, it’s over a whopping 2,000 PhP! I’d rather call this experience, a shoot-to-kill: they’ll “shoot” you with substandard meals and service, and “kill” you with an overcharged bill.

The place is awful, the food’s disappointing, and the price’s a total rip-off. It’s shockingly disheartening. Never again.

My CEBU ONCE MORE series continues on my next post. Check it out here – A Day Stroll in the Metro.

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