April 23, 2018

Cebu 2018 Travel Diary: Cebu Original Lechon Belly

I've visited Cebu three times in the past, but for me it was always only just a jump off point to Bohol or Siargao. I would just usually spend a day or day and a half in the Queen City of the South and I was not really able to experience this vibrant city. Cebu is probably the other city state outside of Luzon that is urbanized and equally progressive as Manila.

Although it is a metropolitan area, what I like about Cebu is that destinations where you can enjoy nature is easily within reach. Mountainous areas like in Busay is just a few minutes away from the city, world-class beach resorts in Mactan Island is just an hour away while Bantayan Island, Moalbal (diving site) and Oslob (whale shark watching) are just a few hours away.
So when I had the opportunity to go on a weekend trip to Cebu, even though it was somewhat unplanned and instantaneous I grabbed it in a heartbeat. Getting to travel early on this year excited me, it’s my first trip of the year, yey! Plus this will be the very first time that I'll get to really experience Cebu. 

I flew with fellow blogger and friend, Bettina via AirAsia. I went straight from work to the airport and good thing the flight was on time. Upon arrival at the Mactan International Airport there was no waiting time as we were immediately greeted by a staff of Bai Hotel who ushered us to our car service. We went straight to Bai Hotel, which will be our residence for our first night and met up with the other bloggers at the lobby. 

We ate our way around Cebu starting from the in-house restaurants of Bai Hotel and ventured outside too. One of the places that we get our tummy filled was at Cebu Original Lechon Belly.

Ahhh, Lechon… one of the things that I believe that all Filipinos can agree on. In most major Filipino gatherings you will surely see a lechon on the dinner table, may it be just part of the pig or the whole pig. Lechon is a pork dish in several regions of the world, most specifically Spain and its former colonial possessions throughout the world. Lechon is a Spanish word referring to a roasted suckling pig. All over the world where people roast their pig, each version has a touch of the food culture in that certain region. It has also evolved throughout the centuries. 

But as Filipino, I consider our version of this roast pig as probably the best in the world. Well, you can ask American chef Anthony Bourdain as he hailed it as the best roast pig that he has ever tasted. Almost everyone I know lits up whenever they get to eat or served with lechon. I share that excitement too! All over the Philippines, there’s a version of lechon but the most famous is Cebu’s version. 

Cebu’s lechon is popular among locals, tourists and foreigners because it utilizes young pigs that are still suckling, hence the term Lechon De Leche. Since the pig is still young, its meat is still creamy and extremely soft and delicious. And then Cebuano businessman Marlon Gochan back in August 2011 conceptualized a version of the lechon that will be popular not only in Cebu but all over the islands. 

Mr. Gochan innovated and created a new technique in preparing the lechon, this time around using only the belly of the pig. The process is done by deboning only the whole belly, spicing it up with his very distinctive special ingredients then slow-roasting it out with open-charcoal fire. It’s still the traditional all-time Filipino favorite but this time around we get to enjoy the best part: the belly no without the bones!

Cebu Original Lechon Belly has lots of branches around Cebu and a few outside of the Queen City. When I was in Cebu back in February, together with my blogger colleagues, I got to visit their Parkmall branch which is just across our home in Cebu: Bai Hotel. We were met by Mr. Marlon and Mrs. Gladys Gochan and made us try the two versions of their boneless Lechon Belly: Original and Spicy.

Lechon Belly Original 

 Lechon Belly Spicy

It’s easy to fall in love with this dish as the pork skin was super crispy and then the meat was soft, juicy and flavorful. I am not a super fan of spicy food, but the Spicy version of the boneless lechon belly had just the right amount of spiciness and gives you that perfect kick. I personally like the spicy version because it has a distinct character.

COLB Beef Stew 

COLB Lechon Dugo-Dugo

We also treated with other offerings from Cebu Original Lechon Belly: Beef Stew and Lechon Dugo-Dugo. COLB’s Beef Stew is like Bulalo, but believe me if I say that it was, by far, THE.BEST.BEEF.STEW.I’VE.EVER.TASTED.MY.ENTIRE.LIFE… yes I’m saying that with so much emotion and with great enunciation. Seriously, the soup was thick and creamy and the beef flavor was so intense. Well, they slow cooked that stew for 6 hours together with the marrow, meat and bones. The beef bone marrow flavor was so pronounced, it sounds unhealthy but it was surely delicious. The Lechon Dugo-Dugo is equally tasty and is also one of the blood stew that I’ve ever tried.

Cebu Original Lechon Belly’s store is your usual fast-food restaurant where people can come, eat and go. If you happen to be in Cebu or have plans of going, make sure to drop by COLB’s many branches across Cebu. To know where Cebu Original Lechon Belly’s branches are check out their Facebook page and website which listed below.

G/F, Parkmall, Mandaue City
Cebu, Philippines
Contact Nos: (32)514-6788 / 0925-502-4336
Email: marlon@cebuslechonbelly.com

For more information, complete menu and restaurant reviews, check out their Zomato profile: 
Cebu's Original Lechon Belly Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Read more of my Cebu 2018 trip: 
Cebu 2018 Travel Diary: Bai Hotel, Mandaue City
Cebu 2018 Travel Diary: Cafe Bai at Bai Hotel
Cebu 2018 Travel Diary: Twilight Roofdeck Lounge + Bar at Bai Hotel
Cebu 2018 Travel Diary: Marble & Grain Steakhouse at Bai Hotel
Cebu 2018 Travel Diary: Oqtagon
Cebu 2018 Travel Diary: Cebu Original Lechon Belly
Cebu 2018 Travel Diary: The Pyramid
Cebu 2018 Travel Diary: Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark, Mactan Island
Cebu 2018 Travel Diary: The Abalone at Jpark Island Resort & Waterpark
Cebu 2018 Travel Diary: The Olive at Jpark Island Resort & Waterpark
Cebu 2018 Travel Diary: Ching Hai at Jpark Island Resort & Waterpark
Cebu 2018 Travel Diary: Coral Sea Side at Jpark Island Resort & Waterpark
Cebu 2018 Travel Diary: Havana By The Sea at Jpark Island Resort & Waterpark
Cebu 2018 Travel Diary: Temple of Leah

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