Aside from being able to showcase Cebu’s arts, culture, heritage and tourist destinations, Suroy-Suroy Sugbo has also brought unity among the participating towns and cities and developed friendships among the guests.
The province has just concluded the first revival of Suroy-Suroy Sugbo starting with the Southern Heritage Trail package last Nov. 15, 16 and 17.
At the end of the three-day tour which finished with a grand finale in Talisay City on Sunday, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said she was impressed with how things went in the past three days, from the preparations of the local government units (LGUs) involved, the guests’ stamina and energy, and the events’ overall impact on the Cebuanos.
She believes that the key to unity is to rally all the towns and cities together regardless of political affiliations, and give equal attention in leading them to a certain goal.
“And I know that you saw the warmth, the happiness, and joy in all our brothers and sisters in the towns that we visited. Their pride and hope were awakened because they were given attention, equal attention, not missing anyone,” she said.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the original Suroy-Suroy Sugbo, as we know it, is back,” Garcia also said, adding that during her first stint as governor, all of the LGUs have always joined the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo as compared to the last administration’s version wherein towns and cities who are not politically affiliated will be skipped.
“Dunganon ang tanan, walay pillion, ang tanan tagaan gayud og kahigayunan nga mousbaw, nga magkakuyog as one, so Cebu will once again be number one,” the governor said during her speech at the finale program.
She also said that she knows of local chief executives calling each other to compare preparations and to get a heads up that the caravan is already on its way to their town of city.
“Everyone is in it. They somehow felt a sense of unity sa matag lungsod nga atong gibisita,” she said.
“This has been an incredible three days spent with incredible people. For many of us, we started out as strangers. But within the past three days, friendships were forged. All good things must come to an end, but this is not goodbye. We only say, see you again,” the governor said, referring to some guests already making plans to join the next Suroy-Suroy leg in northern Cebu.
Dubbed as Northern Escapade, it will happen in January next year starting the Suroy-Suroy leg for 2020. More packages are already planned such as the Enchanting Camotes, Explore the Midwest and Urban Adventure.
The governor was also impressed with the guests’ energy, especially the seniors, despite the few times they would embark and disembark from the tour buses.
The only complaint the guests had was overeating because of the abundance of food and delicacies in every stop.
“You have been such fantastic participants, real troopers. Bilib jud kaayo ko ninyo, sayo kaayo ta magsugod, inig saka sa bus, biyahe, naug na sad, usa ka oras, saka nasad sa bus, travel, inig abot didto, kapoy na kaayo, inig naug, kaon nasad," Garcia said which drew laughter from the participants.
Couples Boy and Elsa Mantua of Baybay, Leyte, both in their 70s, can't help from gushing at the flavors, flair, and festive mood of each town since the first day of the caravan.
"Sakit na among tuhod pero kayahon gyud kay nindot kaayo atong ma-experience kada lugar. First time jud mi ani," Elsa said.
When asked if they will be around for more legs of the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo next year, the couple pointed to their daughter, Myla who works for CFI Cooperative.
"Iya man gyud ning project para namo. Siya amo agdon for her next project," Boy shared with the spirit of anticipation.
Shake Tuazon who comes from a family of business empire and is raised in the United States, said he will definitely come back for more Suroy-Suroy experience and learn more about Cebu.
"I will definitely recommend this," adding that in this experience, what he loved most was the lechon in every stop.
"It's been really great. Lechon was awesome in every stop. The energy in every town where we stop was great," he said.
American couple Sammy and Fe Wilson who hardly missed Suroy-Suroy since it started in 2007 said they are happy with the revived Suroy-Suroy that Garcia started.
"Her Suroy-Suroy is more organized. We were able to join one by the past administration but we like this one more," Fe said.
"That is the unique experience of Suroy-Suroy, it’s like no other. You cannot just concoct the warmth, the joy, the hope that our people felt that we have given them attention,” the governor said.
Garcia also applauded the timely preparation of the province's tourism office because everything went by clockwork and there had been no complaints from the paying participants. (with reports from Vanessa Almeda and Eleonor Valeros)