In any Filipino festival or celebration, nothing quite whets the appetite and brings excitement to the palate than seeing the gloriousness of a roasted ‘lechon’ laid beautifully on the buffet table.
While the Philippines is oozing with all sorts of varieties of this now world-famous dish, all delicious in their own way, ask any food-loving Filipino where the best lechon comes from and the response will almost likely be unanimous – Cebu.
There is no denying that the Cebu Lechon is hands-down the best and the most delicious there is, and that no trip to the Queen City of the South will be complete without taking a bite of its famous crunchy golden skin, and juicy, tender and flavorsome meat.
But there is more to lechon than meets the eyes and the palate. This beloved dish is a culinary masterpiece itself that requires long hours in the roasting pit and skills to achieve that perfect balance of meat and fat, and overall flavor.
The world-famous Cebu lechon, along with the rich history, artistry and skills that go into preparing this beloved dish, is the highlight of this year’s Cebu Lechon Festival, spearheaded by The Mactan Newtown, in partnership with the City Government of Lapu-Lapu and the Department of Tourism Region 7 Office.
Now on its third year, the annual gastronomic and cultural celebration promises an authentic Cebuano fiesta experience with its mouthwatering array of lechon varieties from lechon-makers coming from different parts of Cebu province and a vibrant host of cultural spectacles and performances starting today until August 12.
“We want to capitalize on the popularity of the Cebu lechon to bring awareness to small-scale and less commercialized lechon businesses. Apart from providing these businesses with the needed platform to showcase their products and help them grow, our goal is to drive tourism in this part of Cebu and eventually create more employment and livelihood opportunities for the locals,” says Graham Coates, Head of Megaworld Lifestyle Malls.
The finest Cebu lechons in one location
The Cebu Lechon Festival gathers some of the best lechon-makers in Cebu Island at the 500-seater Mactan Alfresco inside The Mactan Newtown township, giving guests the rare chance to sample and savor mouthwatering varieties of the Cebu lechon along with a delicious array of lechon-themed dishes and lechon pairings all in one place.
Some of the locally homegrown lechon brands participating in this year’s festival include House of Lechon, Ayers Lechon, Pelyns Lechon, Augustus Lechon, Golden Cowrie Lechon Belly, Yobob Lechon, and Jojo and Mikays Lechon.
During the festival, the lechon will be sold between P400 to P600 per kilo from participating lechon-makers.
Festival-goers can also immerse themselves through the entire lechon preparation process at Mactan Alfresco’s very own Lechon Pit. Here, they can witness lechon-makers perfect their craft and see firsthand how a lechon is made right before their very eyes—from seasoning to roasting at the coal pit, to portioning and serving on their own plates.
For an even more unique and immersive dining experience, guests can devour their lechon and chosen lechon dishes and pairings inside the comforts of colorful and iconic Philippine jeepneys stationed within the Mactan Alfresco complex.
“This will be a very festive Filipino celebration of the renowned Cebu Lechon. We will have ‘fiesta sa nayon’ games, barrio fiesta dancers and drumbeaters, fire dancers and even belly dancers to entertain visitors and guests of the festival,” adds Coates.
An authentic Cebuano fiesta
Festival-goers can enjoy an immersive cultural experience with a variety of Cebuano and lechon-flavored activities highlighted by the Lechon Exhibit on August 9, which will feature delicious varieties of Cebu lechon from the province’s best lechon-makers.
Highlighting the celebrations is a colorful grand street performance to be participated in by various cultural dance groups, street dancers, marching bands, and the Sinulog Festival Queen.
A traditional boodle fight featuring participants from the annual Ironman 70.3 Philippines and lechon sellers will also be held on August 9, following the street performance, while live musical performances and a grand fireworks display that will illuminate the skies of The Mactan Newtown will cap off the festivities.
The highlights of the celebration will happen on August 9 to 11. The weekend will be highlighted by the Lechon Fest Grand Party, where guests can feast on different varieties of Cebu Lechon, grilled meat, and seafood while being treated to cultural dance numbers and live performances from buskers, local bands and stand-up comedians.
Guests, meanwhile, can also learn more about the Cebu Lechon and have their photos taken at the different installations on display at the venue including a lechon-themed Philippine jeepney during the entire festival’s run, or bring home souvenir items from Mactan Alfresco’s Souvenir Shop.
The 30-hectare The Mactan Newtown of Megaworld is the country’s first “Live-Work-Play-Learn” lifestyle township with its own beachfront located in Lapu-Lapu City, Mactan Island, Cebu. For more information, visit www.megaworld-lifestylemalls.com or like The Mactan Newtown on Facebook (facebook.com/MactanNewtown) or follow @mactannewtown_ on Instagram and Twitter.