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The Best of Cebu phenomenon

noel-villaflorYOU see it everywhere: on shop windows, store counters, posters, standees, flyers or brochures even. That blue Best of Cebu logo, in just four years after its inception, has become an ubiquitous seal of approval among establishments and products that take pride in being regarded as among the best that Cebu has to offer.

And it’s that time of year when SunStar Cebu, through its magazine SunStar Weekend, comes up with a new set for this year. After roughly six months of selections and deliberations, SunStar releases the Best of Cebu 2016. In this issue are more than a hundred winners, some names are familiar, while others are new on the list. And what would this most-anticipated yearly magazine be without a few surprises, say the Restaurant of the Year?

Also, the response to the People’s Choice category, wherein readers cast their votes online, continues to overwhelm. Guess which set of nominees created the biggest stir with the most number of voters?

The Best of Cebu 2016 introduces two more sections: the “Cebuanos’ Favorites” and the “Grand Slam” winners. The Best of Cebu is mostly a celebration of homegrown products and brands, but at the same time there’s no denying that as much as Cebuanos love their own, they are just as open to those that are from all over, whether from the capital or abroad, big brands or small. Among these products, Cebuanos have their clear-cut favorites, and this is what this new category intends to recognize and celebrate. With tastes and preferences becoming more diverse in a world that’s getting smaller, this category is most welcome.

The Grand Slam category is self-explanatory, but allow me to elaborate: the list is for those that won in the maiden issue of 2013, in 2014, and in 2015 under the same or similar categories. Racking up three straight wins, or as they say a grand slam, is no mean feat, and having done so deserves an enduring spot in the Best of Cebu firmament.

The other less obvious reason that this issue is now the thickest among all four editions (68 pages in all, that’s right) is that Cebu is overflowing with all the good stuff, the result, perhaps, of healthy competition across various sectors. To translate: the more choices for Cebuano consumers, the better.

Besides, isn’t this what the Best of Cebu intended all along, to encourage all of us to level up and become the best version of ourselves?