Here’s the assignment: fly in, fly out on the same day for an Institute event in the Visayas. You won’t have time to tour ’round as this is all work (and you will be shlepping equipment – laptop, DSLR camera, recorder, tarps in a carrying sling – for much of the day; you will be interviewing senior members of the Cebu business community; and you are the [sort-of] official photographer so you’ll be on your feet much of the time). You shan’t have that much time to sample local delicacies, but – at the very least – you will be fed well.
Thus was the scenario from last week when the Institute of Corporate Directors for whom I work as a marketing/communications specialist flew over to Cebu for an event honoring two new fellows for the Institute. Fly out of Manila at the crack of dawn; fly back to Manila in the early evening (air traffic permitting). And don’t worry about going hungry as the City Sports Club in Cebu caters quite well.
The City Sports Club is a gem of a facility: excellent sporting facilities, a refreshing-looking pool that made us want to jump in, ample conference and banqueting facilities for the locals and for those from outside Cebu. The downstairs resto-bar, Bistro 88, does good eats with more than substantial portions.
A good brunch option if you’re feeling peckish from the drive from the airport is the amply-portioned Club Sub Sandwich. Here, a crisp-crusted mini-baguette is grilled and filled to the gills with ham, bacon, salami, and crisp mesclun leaves. The sarnie is simply dressed with mayonnaise and ballpark-style mustard and a dish of fat, chunky potato edges is served on the side.
While the flavors are typical of many sandwiches, the heft is what sets this wee beastie apart. One sarnie easily feeds two ravenous people (seriously) and keeps them stoked for a morning’s worth of setting up, running around with cameras or clipboards, and interviewing local brass.
The City Sports Club’s function food is also pretty good. In this case, the meal began with a mild spin on traditional pork sinigang – not bland, so you could mistake it for nilaga; but just tart enough to let you know that tamarind leaves and not pulp were used as the souring agent. It’s the sort of thing that helped whet the appetite for a neat spin on chicken cacciatore.
This Italian classic featured chicken breast and thigh fillets rather than bone-in pieces, but these were tender and coated with a savory tomato sauce. The chicken was a good match for the parsley flecked rice that came with it. The vegetables, I must say, were standard-issue banquet food.
While sodas and iced tea were offered to slake intense summer thirsts, one would do well to grab a watermelon shake (or, for that matter, any other smoothie made with fresh in-season fruit) to cool down on a hot day.
City Sports Club: Cardinal Rosales Ave., Cebu City 6000, Cebu