A last minute trip to the heritage city of Carcar-A A +A
Sunday, June 3, 2012
WITH summer officially over and the month of June ushering in the long awaited rains and cooler weather, I still managed to make a last-minute trip to Carcar. This city is known as the “Heritage City of Cebu” and is also famous for its world-class shoe industry and heart-stopping chicharon (pork skin crackers).
The two-hour trip from Cebu City snaked along seaside towns of Cebu that provided a wonderful view of old buildings, churches and the sea. Carcar however, is far from the seashore, but gives one a fantastic experience of walking into Spanish and American Era buildings, that a visit seems to be a journey back in time when the local gentility ran this historic city.
Carcar is a merging of Spanish and American architecture. Saint Catherine of Alexandria Parish Church and its bell towers that are similar to the bell towers of churches of the Greek Orthodox religion is a favorite destination of tourists. Much of the interior of the church still exude its former glory with its painted ceiling and charming altar.
I managed to attend the Sunday mass here before touring the rest of the historical attractions. Outside of the church, one would be greeted with a complex of structures surrounding the church patio. Much of the structures have been built during the American period from 1922 to 1938, during the term of then Mayor Mariano Mercado who saw to the building of several public structures here like the Carcar dispensary, the Rizal Monument, and the Carcar Rotunda.
The Carcar Rotunda, a gazebo-like structure with intricate designs, is the focal point of the yearly Kabkaban Festival, which is the town’s most famous yearly event. Kabkaban Festival is a ritual dance that the folks believe would drive away bad spirits. The term originated from the name of a variety of grass that is so abundant in Carcar. The event is also one of the highlights of Carcar's fiesta celebration in honor of patroness St. Catherine of Alexandria.
One can tour Carcar City on foot. Buy some ampao, bucarillo, and chicharon while visiting some of the old mansions along the city proper.
On your way home, make sure to visit some of the wonderful shoe shops for affordable shoes and sandals.
The heritage city is a long commute from Cebu City’s South Bus Terminal were one can take the public buses that do the regular trips to Carcar. Ceres Bus is the most preferred bus liner but one opting to cut on the travel time may take the One Citilink Terminal for special van trips; a bit expensive choice though.
This city also boasts of a thriving bolo-making, basket weaving and furniture cottage industries. One can spend a full day around Carcar. In the afternoon take the long walk to nearby beach resorts and watch the sun as sets behind the rugged mountains of Carcar, it will surely be a worthwhile way of saying goodbye to summer.
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Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on June 04, 2012.