Malicious cookies

Give a hand to one of the best-tasting chocolate chip cookies this side of the world…

Marco Polo Hotel’s Malicious cookies!

It’s soft and chewy filled with milk and white chocolate chips and the perfect pair for a cup of brewed coffee or a mug of steamed milk.

A must-try at Marco Polo Hotel Cebu!

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Borussia German Restaurant and Bakery

We traveled over fifty kilometers to Sogod in the northern part of Cebu last Holy Week 2017 to eat good food.  Great food to be exact.  My family and I finally had the chance to try out Borussia German Restaurant Bakery which is owned by Juergen and Chuchi (a Cebuana).

To say that the place is charming and quaint is actually a cliche but the place do captures these words in its fullest.  If you are coming from Cebu City the place is on the right side.  Its entrance is almost three kilometers from the main highway where you enter a path lined with flowers.  A well-kept mini-garden greets the guests.  Juergen said that the grass is called para grass which is the same type used in golf courses.  You can actually walk on it with your bare feet.

The atmosphere in the place is laid-back, relaxing and comfortable.  The owners and their staff are very warm and accommodating.  But what stands out in Borussia is the FOOD.  For dinner, we tried out their Mediterranean sausage, Cheese Krainer, their homemade pizza (so good!), apple cake and almost everything we ordered was really good.  It tasted authentically European and homemade (as opposed to commercialized).

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Dinner at Borussia (photo from my brother, Jim)

It was already late after we finished our dessert and tried asking if they still had any available rooms at their bed and breakfast.  They had one last available room that cost P3,000 for two with breakfast and an extra bed would cost P300.00 per head.  A privilege we had during that time was that the available room was the one that overlooked the beach nearby and was fenced off separately from the rest of the place.  It felt like we had our own private hideaway at such an affordable price.

Here is how it looked like early in the morning.  My dad, my brother and I went out early in the morning to catch the sunrise.

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We woke up to this view! 

Breakfasts at Borussia is slow-paced, filled with warm, hearty smells from the kitchen and good old bread and coffee fare with cold cuts or sausage.  In the picture below, the four of us tried their European breakfast which is a set menu of cold cuts, homemade mango marmalade and butter, with two pieces of home-baked bread:  Broetchen and Knusper Broetchen.  The latter is bread topped with different kinds of nuts like sunflower, sesame to name a few.

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European breakfast — this comes with your accommodation if you’re a guest of their bed and breakfast and priced at P180.00 if you’re a walk-in guest.

The place has a small swimming pool that guests can use and lounge chairs around it where one can read, sleep or chat with fellow guests.  While we were having breakfast, there were several cars that arrived.  One came as far as Lapulapu City just to buy bread while a couple came just to have breakfast in the place.  The owners said that they supply bread to Tinderbox in Cebu City and other restaurants in the metro as well.  I would not be surprised.  Their homemade bread is really a must-try!

This place is one for the books and definitely something one should visit when you have a chance to visit Cebu or the northern part of the province.

Kagutom in Cebu

Kagutom meant different things at different times to Cebuanos. It described a wide range of hunger experiences that ran from scarcity of rice and corn (kanihit) to famine (people going without food leading to death). Cebuanos also used kagutom to denote times when there was a lack of rice and corn although vegetables, fish and meat were abundant. In times of lack, camote {sweet potato} was often used as a substitute or as an extender for rice or corn. We also see throughout Cebuano history, as evidenced in newspaper reports, that kagutom changed according to the historical context. Its meaning was fluid and did not necessarily mean totally “without food.” Though times of kagutom usually meant that there was really nothing to eat, it was also used for times of scarcity (kanihit). Kagutom is also used to describe times when prices of rice and corn increased and the people had to use camote and cassava as extenders.

Hunger in Cebu during the time period of the study (1899-1930) was due to three factors: First, the Philippine-American War which began in Cebu in 1899 interrupted the agricultural activity of the island and caused a decrease in the labor supply. Second, it was caused by ecological factors like droughts, heavy rains and epidemics. Cholera and rinderpest destroyed both the crops and the labor force (people and cattle) in the farms. In 1918, Barili experienced kagutom as the rice crop was destroyed by heavy rains. In the early part of the twentieth century, locust infestations and rinderpest (animal diseases) were also common causes of crop failures. Third, agriculture in Cebu during the later part of the nineteenth century – like most of the areas in the country – was more focused on planting export crops like abaca and sugar. More lands were dedicated to the cultivation of these cash crops instead of rice and corn. Thus, a sudden collapse in crop production severely affected the grains supply in the island province.

While Cebuanos at that time looked at hunger, at one time or another, as caused by supernatural (silot ni Bathala – “wrath of God”) and natural (droughts, heavy rains) factors, the times of hunger in Cebu during the first decades of the twentieth century was exacerbated by the Filipino-American War, the lack of infrastructure like good roads from the center to the suffering barangays and an unequal distribution of resources. Studies today show that the natural phenomenon popularly known as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) may have been an important factor for causing the extreme weather events like the drought in 1902 and the heavy rains in 1918. The ENSO was known for its decadal frequency. It occurred every 10 years and may have been a reason for the periodic droughts and typhoons that caused heavy losses in the farm harvests that led to a dearth in the supply of rice and corn.

Sources:

1. Reports of the Philippine Commission

2. Newspaper articles from the Bag-ong Kusog and The Freeman newspapers found at the Cebuano Studies Center in the USC Talamban campus library

3.  Resil Mojares.  The War Against the Americans:  Resistance and Collaboration in Cebu

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*Photo mine taken in Obong, Dalaguete, Cebu