FIRST-TIME winners of Sun.Star’s Best of Cebu Award are hoping for better business this year following the sought-after recognition and market exposure they experienced over the weekend.

“We are happy with the recognition. We hope all these efforts will translate into sales, create awareness of our brand and encourage more customers to try our products,” said Frankie Gamboa of Butterbean Desserts and Cafe, which won the 2015 Best Chocolate Chip Cookies recognition.

Gamboa added the event helps create good perceptions of businesses. It also helps determine market sentiment especially for a business that is either planning to expand its product lines or build more branches.

Butterbean, which had a kiosk in Ayala Center Cebu, built in 2014 a stand-alone outlet at the corner of Escario and Tojong Sts. to accommodate more guests.

Almost half of the 97 winners of Sun.Star’s Best of Cebu 2015 converged under one roof for a one-day-only bazaar in Oakridge Pavilion last Saturday. Now on its third year, the exhibition, which ran for 10 hours, provided guests with glimpses of Cebu’s best food, service and lifestyle brands.

“The Best of Cebu award is a badge of excellence and serves as Sun.Star’s seal of approval. Establishments proudly display their Best of Cebu seal and use it in their marketing activities and collaterals,” said Sun.Star Cebu President and General Manager Julius “JJ” Neri Jr.

The annual list of winners comes out every December in Sun.Star Weekend magazine and is again featured in the Sinulog edition.

For this edition, the search organizers introduced two new major awards, as well as expanded the People’s Choice category. The two new major awards were Restaurant of the Year, which went to Anzani New Mediterranean Restaurant, and the Mall of the Year Award, which went to SM City Cebu.

New customers

“What is nice with the Best of Cebu recognition is that it helps us market our brand. It has become a plus factor for us in terms of attracting new customers and retaining our long-time clients knowing that we constantly innovate and extend our best service,” said Angeli Lim, owner of Kalidades, a third-time winner of the Best Flower Shop award.

Lim said they are using the exhibition as a tool to market their mall outlets. Kalidades is present in SM City Seaside and Rustan’s Ayala (Supermarket).

Another first-time winner, Degree 9, a coffee shop located on the ground floor of Gagfa Building in Barangay Kasambangan, also expects improved customer traffic after the exhibition.

Degree 9 won the 2015 Best House Blend Coffee award.

Angel dela Fuente, the coffee shop’s lead barista, said coffee beans from Ethiopia, Colombia, Brazil and Indonesia are meticulously prepared fresh using their in-house roaster. She said this made them attract coffee enthusiasts to try their various coffee products.

“A lot of customers got curious about our coffee. With this recognition and exposure, we expect the business to grow and more customers to visit our shop,” said Dela Fuente. She disclosed the company is opening a second branch of Degree 9 in Norkis Cyberpark next month.

From being a sponsor during the 2014 edition of Sun.Star Best of Cebu, The Cebruery emerged as the 2015 Best Craft Beer.

“This recognition of Sun.Star helps push local products to excel and to be more known in the market,” said Toni Marie Despojo, the founder of The Cebruery.

The brand now offers 21 varieties of craft beers and is present in over 30 establishments.

While winners showcased their products, guests at the bazaar also had fun.

Manna Alcaraz, assistant communication manager at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, said Sun.Star’s Best of Cebu is one of the events she looks forward to every year.

“There are so many interesting things going on simultaneously and you get to sample products from different establishments deemed as the best of Cebu. It’s also a good opportunity for networking and catching up with friends from the industry. As a hotelier, we love hosting. But being an attendee, especially at Best of Cebu, is always fun,” she said.

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu won the 2015 Best Roofdeck Hangout recognition.

“Besides the air conditioning problem which was out of your control, I think this year’s Best of Cebu bazaar is definitely bigger, and the zoning is better,” said blogger Sinjin Pineda of

“The winners are not very surprising, they are quite the same as on my list. There are new discoveries that I am very much interested to try and explore. Sun.Star Best of Cebu should be in every Cebu traveler’s bucket list,” said lawyer and blogger Ethelbert Ouano.

“It is wonderful that Sun.Star’s Best of Cebu Lifestyle bazaar is opened to the public, a rare opportunity to see the honor roll of Cebu gathered under one roof. This year’s edition is very well managed. We were able to freely roam around the well-zoned and beautifully decorated exhibit area,” he added.