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Why My "Gabii sa Kabilin" was Just Like The Hunger Games

Two media passes for me. Free pass for the kiddos below 7 years old. The family's basically joining the Gabii sa Kabilin for FREE.

The Gabii sa Kabilin is Cebuano for Night of Heritage, and patterned after the long night of museums in Germany and other European countries. It is spearheaded by Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) and its partners in celebration of both National Heritage Month and International Museums Day. This year, in its sixth run, it was set on May 25, 2012 at 6 p.m. to 12 midnight.. The event features museums, schools, churches, public places, and other sites of historical and cultural significance

In my head, it's going to be an awesome night for our little family. We were to tour around the heritage sites and take dozens of pictures of the places and people all throughout the event. We were to enjoy riding the buses and the designated horse-drawn tartanilyas around the vicinity. All while enjoying a night of walking and eating. 

Little did I know that what was set for us was a different route - a route which gives us a different perspective of the Gabii sa Kabilin. You see, we also joined the QR Code Hunt organized by SMART, RAFI, and 

QR Code Hunt was to be simultaneously held with the Gabii sa Kabilin event where participants are said to hunt for QR (quick response) codes throughout the vicinity of the heritage sites. That was what I know I signed up for so I got ready. I teamed up with the husband and of course, tagged the kiddo along. I know would add a bit of QR Code hunting. I had crackers, flashlights, 3 QR Code scanners on my iPhone, a pocket wifi with credits ready, extra shirts, water bottle. Our family practically ready to hunt!

We learned the full mechanics on the day of the event. We were stripped off everything we carried and we were only given a SMART-powered Samsung Galaxy Y and Php300 for fare. We had a team marshall carrying emergency materials and water for us. 

Right then and there, we were astounded by the rules and knew at that moment, what we imagined to be just a little strolling along the streets of Cebu morphed into a scene of The Hunger Games.  Starring me as Katniss Everdeen and my husband as Peeta Mellark. Lay off haters. ;)

Now, it may not be to your taste but I can't help but compare it to the Hunger Games and here's why:

1. The Food was as lavish. Buffet before and after the games.

Food. Food. Food. We had a feast before setting off for the hunt. A buffet at Hannah's Party Place awaited us. It was basically similar to when Katniss and Peeta were given the most extravagant treatment at the Capitol.

During these sessions, we were able to meet the other "tributes" or teams that were formed. We joined the table with the other Cebu bloggers as we awaited the go signal to start the hunt. It was tense when we learned that there were 15 other groups who were vying for Nokia Lumias. At this point, me and my husband learned what we were up against - younger and more active tributes who did not have the disadvantage of bringing a kid in the race. In our case, we did not have a choice. We always do things as a family. We decided hereon to just enjoy the race.

Speaking of food, the tributes were also given a feast after the event. Who wouldn't get so hungry after cruising the whole of Cebu with just Php300, huh?

2. The Tributes are as vicious. They pursue the quest regardless of the obstacles.

The event officially started and every single team rushed through the 11 pitstops designated. At the pitstops, there's a designated pitstop master who will sign your form, check your uploaded photo, ask you to answer a question, give you a letter to form a word at the end of the race.

It was a great challenge for us since we do not know Cebu. We are from Iligan and just migrated to Mactan 5 years ago. Not an inch familiar with the place at all. We were just glad we had a team marshal who knew where to go.
Riding jeepney with other tributes

Scanning the QR Code to get idea of the next pitstop

At the end of Pitstop 6, we dropped out the hunt because we got discouraged with the Pitstop 5 girl forgetting to give us the letter for us.

3. The QR Code Hunt is as challenging as the Hunger Games!

It was really, really challenging. There were tasks at each pitstop. Some tasks we were able to perform:
  • Catching 8 balls in a cup
  • Offering flowers at Chu-un Temple
  • Guessing the Arabic numerals of the capitol and reciting the text
  • Finding a painting and reciting name of the artist
  • Finding name of the Museo Sugbo creator and the year it was created
  • Weaving a puso

We stopped at that point since the traveling is making us weary and it is NOT easy bringing a kid to hunt. If we only knew right? :) But still, it was uber fun!

We set back to the last pitstop which was Casa Gorordo and on the way, we saw what the other people were into. There were shows and people in costume and goods being sold along the way. It was super fun! Here's the pic of the sweaty kiddo from the race with a group of girls in costume.

4. The Media is as unforgiving. Or that's how I pretend it to be.

I kid. There was no media except for those along the streets, before the event, and after the event. I mean why would they race with us right? 

We were just glad we were able to take a few pics with the DSLR we brought with us. It was the only other gadget we were allowed to bring aside from the SMART give Samsung phone.

The bonus is that I got to meet a long time friend and elementary classmate who I haven't seen for years! She's Iris Mae Echaves volunteering for RAFI.

A pose of the boys at the RAFI logo.

Some suggestions for improvement:
  • Place QR Code at a higher portion. Putting them at the bottom of the tarp does not make sense.
  • Fully illuminated QR codes. We can't scan since there were no lights.
  • Assistants for the Pitstop Masters. One forgot to give us the letter and it was VERY frustrating.
  • Labels on which PUJ to take from one place - 01K, 21A, etc. I am not from around and I had no idea where to go.
  • Water. Water. Water. Please put water at pitstops.

Still, we hope to join the next Gabii sa Kabiliin. And probably not as tributes the next time. 

This is an official entry to the 2012 Gabii sa Kabilin Blogging Contest.