Ode To A Queen

I’ve seen the best and worst of Cebu. And I have learned to open my arms wide for them. Because if you love something, you’ll take it – pretty or not. And beauty is not just about a nicely-maintained fountain or a mouth-watering inasal or a graceful maiden taking two steps forward and one step back. Beauty is about the men who sweat it out in Pier Uno to take your luggage to that waiting cab. Beauty is about the prisoners who dance their hearts out and show the world that they CAN.

Cebu isn’t a queen on a golden throne with silk robe and sparkling tiara. No. She is far from perfect. In fact, she reeks of dried dung from the horses of Duljo and she’s muddy like the meat section of Carbon. Her busiest downtown joints are not posh and sleek. They are stuffed with cheap merchandise and herbal medicine. Young kids play in her streets and they splash flood water at each other when it rains.

She isn’t perfect.

But I love her.

I love how her manong taho greets me every morning with a genuine smile on his face. I love how everyone waves at her Nino with total honesty and surrender. I love how her tambays scurry to help the old lady carry her baskets of kinumpra from Taboan.

No doubt Cebu will soon change. She’ll have the tallest skyscrapers outside the capital and she’ll be Asia’s next biggest IT hub. She’ll have trains, yatch clubs, subways, and mega domes.

She IS, after all, the queen.

But to me, she’ll remain the same. Unassuming. Quiet. Simple. She’ll forever be the timid provinciana tilling her father’s fields with utmost dedication. Her hands would be dirty and her skin burnt.

She isn’t perfect.

But I LOVE her.

25 thoughts on “Ode To A Queen

  1. what “negative things”? 😀 and i didn’t skim and scan. nice ode, ley. i love cebu too, even if i am technically a leytena. 😀
    i thought this was a response to Vox.com’s Question of the Day (yesterday), which was “what do you love about where you live?”

  2. nakupo na-mention mo na naman ako dito ley! if i only knew na i-po-post mo dito yung opinion ko eh di na lang sana ako umimik! Hmph! 😛

    anyways no doubt that this “ode” is already incredible and well-written. but trust me peepz, LEY is one of the best writers i know… he is capable of something MUCH, MUCH better than this. considering the magnitude of the project he is talking about, I expect nothing less but the best from him.

    good luck on this project bai. im very proud of you. but because you quoted what i said earlier kanina in private, i swear revenge! expect another photo of mr. chico in a more uncompromising pose soon 😛

  3. …very well said Ley. Makahilak ta. Salamat nga wala nimo gi-basura.

    The imperfections and flaws are part of its beauty and uniqueness…the only one in the universe….the reason why bisdaks are unique!! Don’t you all agree?

    Cebu daisuki! Ley kun (Dong Ley) banzai!!!

  4. I agree that Ley is such a good writer, he’s a natural. There’s a beauty in every place we go, though not perfect, just like human beings. No matter what, we will always love the place where we came from. I love you Cebu, forevah! 🙂

  5. salamat diay sa imong gibate nga gisuwat diri, makahilak man sad tag mais ani…hehehe

    pareha mi nimo, ug tagay sad for being proud BISDAK!!!

  6. Is this ‘ode’ to be continued, Ley? The setting is very urban, but very real and the language is simple yet profound. Good job!! I want to read more the sights and sounds of the country side-the lives of the unsung heroes; the farmers, the fishermen, and the herders.

  7. Thanks for sharing this.
    It should not be wasted in the Trash Bin, or emptied and deleted forever.

    One day, you will come across this composition again and you will wonder… did I write this?

  8. Ah Cebu! The great Cebu! Cebu isn’t perfect. But its imperfections fascinates me. Its unique beauty captures my heart. Its smell, its smile, its tales are laughter and tears.

    Cebu, like Cebu Photo Blog moves even the the most timid heart!

  9. Mabuhi ang Sugbo!!!Born In Maasin, southern Leyte, raised in Cebu, been to 40 countries and now I call Tokyo my second home for more than 20 years and will retire in Cebu in a couple of years. Domo srigato gozaimasu…Guitar Mike…

  10. Oh man! this bring tears to my eyes. A delight to my senses. You painted Cebu so beautifully Ley. You’re are an awesome writer.

  11. You speak of such eloquence and passion…..your perspective is genuine…a beautiful ode to the cebuano purist…
    After many years of living abroad, I still find myself in reverie of the island queen…how beautiful she was..is and will be..
    Thank you Leylander for your vision. Persist in your journey..you are going in the right direction..safe travels.

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