Heritage Night in Cebu features Visayan tattooing, alphabet, Navy

02:35 PM May 25, 2019

An ancient Visayas tattooing method, the Visayan alphabet, and the Philippine Navy.

These were among the additional highlights to this year’s “Gabii Sa Kabilin” or Heritage Night in Cebu on Friday, May 24.


The 13th annual Gabii sa Kabilin features night visit to at least 20 cultural destinations including museums, heritage sites, and tourist spots around the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, and Talisay.

The activity organized by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation allows these destinations to be open from 6 p.m. until midnight for everyone to visit.


The participants take color-coded buses to these destinations. Other areas are walking distance to each other especially in the old Cebu City Pari-an district where most of the museums and cultural destinations are located.

This year’s theme is “Setting Sail” in commemoration of the 500 years since the start of the five-ship sail of explorer Ferdinand Magellan from Spain until it ended up in Cebu, the first Spanish settlement in the country.

With such theme, the Philippine Navy joins the activity by allowing some of their assets to become display ships docked at the Malacanang sa Sugbo. Participants get an educational tour around the ship and the Navy servicemen’s way of life inside these boats.

At the Museo Sugbo, a former Spanish-era prison, the visitors get a free basic workshop on the Visayan Alphabet, Badlit, a different alphabet from the Tagalog Baybayin.

The Museo Sugbo also showcased Atawo or the ancient Visayan tattooing method. An artist displayed his skills in the ancient method complete with rituals before the actual tattooing process using indigenous ink and boar tusks as needles.

The Visayan tribe is believed to be Pintados or tattooed people when the Spanish came almost 500 years ago. The most famous tattooed hero is Lapu-Lapu.

Other popular destinations in downtown Cebu City are part of the activities including the centuries-old houses of Casa Gorordo and the San Diego ancestral house. The Basilica Minore del Santo Nino, Magellan’s Cross, and the Cebu Cathedral and Museum were also opened until midnight.


Other crowd favorites were the Rizal Museum at the USP campus featuring the Barong Tagalog of Jose Rizal, and the Sugbo Chinese Museum located at the old Maritima building. It displays the early Chinese settlement in Cebu City. (Editor: Leti Z. Boniol)

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TAGS: alphabet, Cebu, Local news, Philippine Navy, Visayan tattooing
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