A trip to the Queen City of the South would be incomplete without a souvenir. Local products are more than just gifts to bring home since they help you learn about the culture and lifestyle in the city.
Purchasing these products is also a way for you to support local businesses, as most of them give Cebu its unique identity.
If you want to up the ante and bring home more than just native delicacies, here is a short list of authentic items and services you can purchase in Cebu.
HABLON IN ARGAO
Hablon refers to the weaving industry in the southern municipality of Argao. Sheets of sturdy fabric are handwoven through heavy wooden machinery to create clothes, bags, and pillows.
The weaving industry in Cebu flourished for decades, with many Argaoanons passing on their skills to younger generations.
Over the years, handwoven products such as the ones made from hablon became less popular, but special programs were put in place to support local businesses specializing in the weaving industry.
This has also helped preserve its art form.
One specific project is the Hinablon sa Cebu, organized by the Cebu Technological University – Argao Campus (CTU-Argao).
This project gathers the best weavers in Argao, giving them a better working environment where they can do their weaving. It also provides them with a more stable income and a showroom to present their beautiful creations.
BEST PLACE TO BUY HABLON PRODUCTS
To purchase the best Hablon products, you will have to drive down to Argao, specifically to the CTU-Argao Campus. The town is 71 kilometers away from Cebu City, and it takes around two and a half hours to get there.
You can also visit souvenir shops and trade fairs to see if they have any Hablon products.
Another popular product you can get as a souvenir for yourself or for your loved ones is a pair of well-crafted shoes – particularly coming from the famous Heritage City of the South.
Carcar City has a renowned food culture, but another industry has grown into something more within the city for decades.
Some Cebuanos know about Carcar City for its lucrative shoe-making business, where they sell a variety of footwear products to customers of all ages – including shoes, slippers, and sandals. These locally made products are known for their excellent quality and competitive prices.
The industry has spawned several stores outside Carcar, bringing more awareness to its products. You can also buy shoes made in Carcar on online selling platforms like Facebook Marketplace.
WHERE TO BUY CARCAR SHOES?
The Carcar United Footwear Manufacturers Association Inc. – One Town One Product Center (CUFMAI–OTOP) has a long aisle of shoe sellers.
The shopping center is situated along the highway before you get to the city center, so you can take any public utility vehicle en route to Carcar to get there.
REPAIR BUSINESS AT JUNQUERA STREET
Cebu is more than a place where you can buy a new pair of shoes. You can also take a torn or old pair of sneakers and have shoe cobblers fix them at Junquera Street.
The famous strip of repair shops is located along Barangay Kamagayan in downtown Cebu City.
Several of these shops specialize in repairing shoes, umbrellas, and many more. The great thing about them is that they are much cheaper than most traditional repair shops, even more so if you avail a similar service at malls.
Aside from the repair business, Junquera is also famous for its cheap printing business. Some stores offer printing services for tarpaulins and T-shirts.
HOW DO I GET TO JUNQUERA STREET?
Junquera is the road between the Super Metro Gaisano and the Cebu Business Hotel. If you are on Colon Street, you can walk straight from Super Metro until you reach the business strip across from the v-hire terminal.
You can also ride a jeepney to Junquera at Elizabeth Mall (Emall). Make sure to look at the tagboard to see if it will pass by the area.
If you consider yourself a music enthusiast, you should check out the guitar factory in Lapu-Lapu City. Mactan is famous for several high-quality string instrument manufacturers, including guitars and ukuleles.
One of the most famous establishments is the Alegre Guitars in Pajac. This guitar factory has hosted tons of local and international celebrities. A lot of foreigners have also visited the store during their heritage tours.
The acoustic guitars are made from various kinds of wood, each with its own signature sound. They are durable, and you can even buy a case for them at the shop.
WHERE SHOULD I BUY GUITARS?
Alegre has a shop in Pajac, Lapu-Lapu. You can also buy their guitars at the shops inside the Mactan Shrine. You might even find guitars and ukuleles sold at the different malls around Cebu.
There are more shops aside from Alegre. You can buy from smaller guitar-making establishments like the Island’s Guitars along the highway. You will also find other establishments near Alegre in Barangay Pajac.
WHY SHOULD WE SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES?
Since these products are locally-made, they give the island its unique identity. Both locals and tourists are encouraged to support local businesses to preserve the various art forms that have paved the way for the many lucrative businesses on the island.
The aforementioned industries continue to thrive due to the talents and creativity of Cebuanos, but they can’t do this alone.
Your support for these businesses will help them thrive for generations to come. So if you need a souvenir from your stay in Cebu, consider getting any of their locally made products and services.