THE Suroy-Suroy Sugbo Northern Escapade 2024 kicked off on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, with more than 600 participants.
It is now considered the most attended leg of the Cebu Provincial Government’s tourism initiative since it was launched in 2004 during the first term of Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.
Provincial Board Member Andrei “Red” Duterte, chairman of the committee on tourism, said the number of participants surpassed what was then considered to be the largest delegation comprising 450 participants in 2023.
A total of 12 buses had to be deployed to transport them to the different destinations.
“Last year, we had the biggest. But now, from 450 (last year) we are up to around 600. This goes to show how interested tourists are in visiting, supporting, and even investing in our towns,” said Duterte.
For this year’s northern escapade, participants will visit 14 towns and one city from Jan. 23 to Jan. 25.
These are Consolacion, Compostela, Carmen, Sogod, Medellin and Daanbantayan on the first day; San Remigio, Santa Fe, Madridejos and Bantayan on the second day on Jan. 24; and Bogo City, Tabogon, Borbon, Catmon and Liloan on the last day, which will be on Jan. 25.
On Tuesday, participants witnessed the making of sarok, or native hats made of bamboo, in Consolacion before indulging in a feast that showcased the town’s delicacy of Binangus, which is made of bangus or milkfish, at the Camp Jessie Robredo Regional Training Center 7.
They then headed to the Cascades Nature Park in the town of Compostela where booths displaying various local products and delicacies were on offer, including queseo, which is made from carabao’s milk; salvaro; siakoy; and silhig lanot (broomstick).
In Carmen, dancers moving to the beat of the Sinulog greeted participants at the plaza.
Carmen has its own version of the Sinulog in honor of the Señor Sto. Niño, which will be held on Sunday, Jan. 28.
Based on Duterte’s initial assessment, the towns’ preparations for the event impressed him.
“We are grateful to our towns for going up and beyond our expectations,” he said.
The tourism caravan allows local government units to showcase their respective delicacies, homegrown talents and products.
Meanwhile, Duterte announced that the Provincial Tourism Office will launch in October the urban adventure, a new package of the Suroy Suroy that will cover the highly urbanized cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and the town of Cordova.
He said the Provincial Tourism Office has been coordinating with the tri-cities and Cordova for the new leg of the Suroy-Suroy.
He said the urban adventure was supposed to be launched in 2023 yet but was postponed to this year because of conflict of schedules.
“It’s something different because these are cities,” he said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
Duterte said the next leg of the Suroy-Suroy will be in May for the Enchanting Camotes tour, followed by the Suroy-Suroy Midwest Tour in June.
A representative from the Provincial Tourism Office said tickets for the Suroy-Suroy Northern Escapade ranged from P11,500 to P16,000, depending on the accommodation they chose.
The tourism office has encouraged those who are interested to join to message or contact its Facebook pages, or the Cebu Provincial Government and Suroy Suroy Sugbo page, for inquiries.