IT'S a Cebuano Food Festival, Sugbusog is, in case you’re wondering what the word means. It is a made-up word combining Sugbu (for Cebu) and busog (which roughly translates into full stomach satisfaction).

For Marco Polo Plaza’s series of Culinary Journeys for 2010, this festival is a fitting tribute to Cebu, and the right time to hold it with the ongoing Sinulog festivities when a lot of balikbayans come home to Cebu, longing for Cebuano food, and when foreigners also come, perhaps curious to taste what Cebu food is like.

Click here for stories and updates on the Sinulog 2010 Festival.

The most well-known Cebuano food of all, of course, is Cebu lechon, now known as the best lechon in the world. And to open the festival, there were a couple of huge breads, shaped like a lechon, promptly dubbed by the onlookers as pan de lechon (from afar, it really looked like the real thing), which were cut, in lieu of a ribbon, by Marco Polo general manager Hans Hauri, Fr. Rolando Manayon, Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 Director Rica Bueno, Val Sandiego and Jessica Avila, to signal the start of the food festival at the hotel’s Café Marco

Jessica Avila, known for her expertise in Cebuano cuisine, is the food consultant and guest chef for Sugbusog. There were humba, dinuguan, bam-i, local bakalaw, pochero, ginamos with tomatoes, corn “rice” cooked with squid “ink,” kinilawng puso sa saging, stuffed squid, bokayo, among other native delicacies that Jessica made sure would be cooked the original Cebuano way.

Other Cebuano treats are pork kasahos, chicharon, lato, guso and lukot salads, atchara, crispy bonless danggit, ensaladang singkamas, bihod, lumpiang ubod, cassava cake, masi, banana turon, puto and mango with tsokolate, palitaw, budbud pilit, binangkal—all comfort food from the good old pre-fast food days.

Also ongoing at Marco Polo is an exhibit of antique Santo Niño statues coming from the collection of Val Sandiego with some pieces from Ben Chua. To open this, Val’s dancers performed a reenactment of the history of the Santo Niño de Cebu and gave the hotel onlookers a sampling of sinulog dancing. The exhibit was then opened and the statues duly blessed by Fr. Rolando Manayon before the formal opening of Sugbusog, which is ongoing until tomorrow. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to sample true Cebuano cooking.