Department of Tourism (DOT) Eastern Visayas Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes. (Photo courtesy of DOT) 

TACLOBAN CITY – Eastern Visayas will replicate Cebu’s “Suroy Suroy sa Sugbo” next year for guests to visit the region’s cultural and heritage sites and taste local cuisines.

Department of Tourism (DOT) Eastern Visayas Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes said there will be an immersion for tourism officers and tour operators in Cebu to familiarize what exactly is being done and offered during the tour.

“We are rich in history and culture and arts, but not highlighted. When we say heritage, it is manifested in structures, our traditions, our culture, our food, performances, arts, and in so many various ways,” Tiopes said in an interview on Friday.

“Suroy Suroy sa Sugbo” is a flagship tourism program of the Cebu provincial government wherein guests travel to certain areas for several days to visit cultural and heritage sites and taste the local cuisine.

Suroy is a local term for going around places while Sugbo is the ancient name of Cebu City.

After the immersion, the DOT will meet with local tourism officers to discuss how this will be implemented. It will be piloted in at least two towns or cities.

The program will highlight the historical events that happened in the region including the landing of Ferdinand Magellan on Homonhon Island in Eastern Samar province; the first Easter Mass in Limasawa Island, Southern Leyte in 1521; the return of Gen. Douglas McArthur with Allied Forces commemorated every Oct. 20 in Palo town, Leyte; the Balangiga Encounter in Balangiga town, Eastern Samar; the arrival of a White Russian refugee in Guiuan town, Eastern Samar in 1949, and World War 2 engagement in Leyte province.

Local cuisine will be featured as well in the tourism program. Popular local foods in Leyte include the moron and binagol.

Moron is a mix of sticky rice and cocoa wrapped in banana leaves.

Binagol is derived from the term bagol or coconut shell. Inside the bagol is a molded sweet root crop native to the province.

In Samar, the province has a program called Secret Kitchen featuring heirloom dishes and local delicacies in selected towns and cities.

“It is just a matter of identifying what one municipality has and complimenting it with others. We do not want to offer something that local government unit (LGU) A will be offering the same tourist experience with LGU B. When we do the cluster, we will make sure that there will be no duplication,” Tiopes added.

Once implemented, Tiopes said that instead of Suroy Suroy, the program in the region will be called “Sudoy Sudoy” (the local term for going around), to consider the bilingual nature of Eastern Visayas residents. (PNA)