Saving Manang Lisa: UP Cebu’s Beloved Banana Cue Vendor

Banana cue is one of the Philippines’ most beloved Filipino deserts in the country. Every corner of the country sells this delicious dessert, which is basically caramelized bananas on a stick. These are usually sold by street vendors, “carindirias” or a sidewalk eatery, and even a “Jolly Jeep”, which are a crowd favorite “mirienda” or afternoon snack for Filipinos alike.

Banana cue is easy to make and easy to sell, and many places in the country even in universities pose a great place to sell these treats. The University of the Philippines Cebu is one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the Visayas, and apart from a great program and syllabus, a superb selection of professors, and a great campus for learning, there’s also a lovely community built around its culture.

People in UP Cebu are easily remembered and unforgettable to many people, especially students who see them on the daily. Some of these people may be the building security guards, teachers, and vendors to name a few, regardless, it’s hard not to show some form of affection and camaraderie with these people, who make it a point to get to work every day and help students.

The Tale of Manang Lisa

One of the most beloved local vendors and even a member of the UP Cebu community is Lisa Mendez, otherwise known as “Manang Lisa.” She has been an institution herself in the UP community as she’s been around the campus for more than 30 years now, according to Rappler. The beloved banana cue vendor owns a stall inside UP Cebu High School which anybody from UP Cebu will not fail to notice or know about.

Manang Lisa has been a maternal figure to many students who come by to buy her banana cue every day, as she is known to show a cheery, caring, and accommodating attitude to anyone who approaches her and her stall. However, a few weeks of being missing from her stall, many students started wondering where the banana cue seller went and eventually found out through a viral social media post of alumna’s sermon that she was diagnosed with an aneurysm.

The Spirit of Bayanihan and Community Unfolds

This created a huge emotional shift in the students, which proved how much Manang Lisa meant to the UP Cebu students and faculty. Eventually, the UP Cebu community found creative ways to raise funds to help pay her PHP 200,000 operation. Students opened a GoFundMe page for Manang Lisa where people can donate cash to the cause, which was organized by a local student organization, along with the UP Cebu student council, Tug-ani, according to CDN.

Since February 3rd, Manang Lisa was reported to be a stable condition since her surgery and is in a state of recovery. Indeed, the power of community and kindness often manifests in the most unexpected ways. The students and faculty, along with the local UP Cebu campus are shining examples of what coming through for kind people like Manang Lisa is like; something to emanate and take inspiration from in the dog-eat-dog world we live in today.

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