Cebu, Check Out the Most Exciting Events at Gabii sa Kabilin 2021

You can take part wherever you are in the world.

(SPOT.ph) With the quarantine keeping most of us in our homes, we're all daydreaming about bucket-list events we planned to attend at least once. If the annual Gabii sa Kabilin in Cebu is on your must-attend list, here's the closest thing you'll get to it for now, without having to leave your house: Gabii sa Kabilin is going digital with 2021 One Night Only. It's happening on April 16 from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m., with tickets priced at P80. This means you can enjoy the event wherever you are, as you can access it via streaming on Eventbrite.

“We feel that your sense of identity, pride of place, and understanding of heritage will help you survive in these times,” says Event Director Haidee Palapar, who is also the head of content for culture and heritage at the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. “The Visayan is strong, flexible, and resilient. We want people to be strengthened with the knowledge of who they are.” 

Gabii sa Kabilin

A Night of Heritage

"Kabilin" is Visayan for “inheritance” or “legacy.” Launched in 2007 by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI), Gabii sa Kabilin has been promoting Cebu’s cultural heritage yearly without fail—the one and only event in Cebu offering such experiences.

Gabii sa Kabilin
Gabii Sa Kabilin, pre-pandemic times.
PHOTO Courtesy of Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc
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Historically, the event has always been held on a Friday night in May. A single ticket would grant access to Cebu’s best museums and sites, plus free shuttle buses to take people from one spot to the next. It was a fun way to savor the city’s cool summer night air with a tartanilla ride.

Gabii sa Kabilin
Tartanilla is the Cebuano word for kalesa.  
PHOTO Courtesy of Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc
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For many, Gabii Sa Kabilin has become a yearly tradition. Armed with a map and ready for an adventure, people from all walks of life made the journey; special exhibits, street food, timeless Visayan delicacies, contests, and cultural dances and shows awaited the participants. 

Going Digital

The pandemic had many thinking that the Kabilin adventure could not be continued. However, true to the Cebuano spirit, the organizers refused to give up.

“We knew that going digital or online is the key. Last year, people were left hanging because we couldn’t push through with the physical event,” says Palapar. “We didn’t want to let go of that interest and excitement. Whether it was online or physical, we can still continue to meet our goals of promoting Cebuano culture and heritage.”

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2021 marks the 500th anniversary of Ferdinand Magellan’s arrival in Cebu, the birth of Christianity in the country, and the victory at Mactan. To coincide with this anniversary, the year's theme is "The Arrival." 

Gabii sa Kabilin
PHOTO courtesy of Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.

The program showcases exciting cultural presentations from 16 participating museums and sites. You can choose among diverse topics—from architecture and art to history and local flora.

Craving Cebu's famous food? Museo de Talisay’s “A Gastronomic History of the Talisay Lechon” is for you. There’s also the University of San Carlos Museum’s “Food at Rajah Humabon’s Feast,” headed by Museum Director Dr. Jose Eleazar “Jobers” Bersales

Gabii sa Kabilin
PHOTO Courtesy of Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc
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Gabii sa Kabilin
PHOTO Courtesy of Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc

Meanwhile, the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño Museum takes center stage with “The Santo Niño de Cebu at the Heart of 500 Years of History,” presented by Museum Archivist and Curator Rev. Fr. Ric Anthony Reyes, OSA.

Gabii sa Kabilin
PHOTO Courtesy of Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc
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Another highlight is the Casa Gorordo Museum’s “Life in a Caravel (Nao Victoria video tour),” made possible by Museum Curator Florencio Moreño, head of experience for culture and heritage at RAFI. This virtual tour lets you see inside the famous 16th-century ship that circumnavigated the world!

“We’d like to show that we—the heritage community of Cebu—are still here. We are united. This is our own way of working against an enemy that can’t be seen,” says Palapar.

“There are so many things to be proud of as a Cebuano. Definitely, there are dark sides to our history, even this pandemic is a part of that. There is cause still to celebrate the Cebuano spirit and our faith which has continued for 500 years. We hope to make the participants think and reflect, that there are these things that we should be grateful for.”

Gabii sa Kabilin also reminds us that the story of Cebu is one of overcoming hardships and fighting against enemieseven if they're invisible.

Gabii sa Kabilin 2021 One Night Only happens on April 16. Tickets can be purchased for P80 at Eventbrite. For more information, check out the Gabii sa Kabilin Facebook page.

Main image from Shutterstock; for illustrative purposes only.

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