The yearly festival draws in crowds to Cebu, and these entrepreneurs are looking for local and international tourists to drink up—literally.
The Sinulog Festival is almost synonymous to Cebu. It celebrates the Queen City of the South’s devotion to the Santo Niño (the Child Jesus), but history states that the Sinulog dance and the term “Sinulog” itself exist long before the Santo Niño image was given by explorer Ferdinand Magellan to Queen Hara Amihan, the wife of Rajah Humabon, then ruler of Cebu. “Sulog” means “current” in Cebuano, and locals say the dance movements mimic the currents of the Pahina River.
Whether or not you are a believer of any of these tales, one thing is for certain—the Sinulog Festival, which dates back to the 1980’s, is one of the most memorable Philippine celebrations. Local and foreign tourists alike flock to Cebu to experience the street activities, fluvial processions, and everything else that the city has to offer.
Such festivities are a perfect backdrop for entrepreneurs to advertise their brand to visitors, and these two business owners have it figured out.
John Pages, Vice President of Thirsty Juices and Shakes, comes from a household that encourages each member to put up their own business. His family has stakes in education and the F&B industry, so naturally, John did the same. He opted to venture into fresh fruit shakes, ice cream bars, smoothies, and salads in kiosks all over the Philippines—Cebu included, of course. He shares, “Thirsty has over two hundred outlets, and our goal is to provide healthy and delicious drinks and salads to everyone.”
Beyond being his own boss, John revels in the joy of being able to make a positive impact in the community.
“Being an entrepreneur gives us the opportunity to employ more people,” he relates. “We also have sports programs, like the 12th Thirsty Football Cup, one of the largest football tournaments in the country.”
Running Thirsty means that it’s necessary to be on top of your game, and John says that they’re more than ready to cater to the Cebu market, and that Sinulog-goers are in for a delicious treat.
“As entrepreneurs, we can use our creativity to concoct new concepts and products that will excite the public. The Cebu Blends, our favorite product line, is unique to the Cebu outlets. We offer drinks such as the Mango Otap, Buko Rosquillos, and Pineapple Tamarind.” These locally inspired flavors will surely appeal to visitors after hours of frolicking in the streets.
And if Sinulog goers need more boost for all the exciting activities, they can get their caffeine fix from a shop that’s proudly born and bred in Cebu—Bo’s Coffee.
Founded by Steve Benitez in the late ’90s, Bo’s Coffee has grown to several branches nationwide. According to Mark Piñero, system and network administrator of Bo’s Coffee’s mother company WS and Landin Inc., they are partly a social enterprise because their business helps communities grow, especially the local farmers that they work with.
Through the years, Bo’s Coffee has maintained its “proudly Pinoy” philosophy— from the coffee they serve to the ambiance of their shops, wherever it may be in the Philippines. Those who are celebrating Sinulog would do well to visit Bo’s Coffee to get an authentic taste of a local coffee business. Mark shares, “We look forward to the tourists as well as the Cebuanos that will come in and witness the Sinulog.”
So when you fly to Cebu this weekend, drop by any Thirsty kiosk or a branch of Bo’s Coffee to sample what a successful business in Cebu is like.
For more success stories and business tips, sign up to Globe myBusiness Academy today.
Get access to all our exclusive member-only content