Cebu, dubbed as the Queen City of the South, spans more than four centuries of rich history and culture.
Cebu, being the center of trade and industry of what is now known as the southern Philippines, had already established a steady influx of Asian traders from Burma, China, Malaysia to name a few.
Here are some quick facts that you should know about Pre Colonial Cebu:
- Being an economically established village, Cebu has been ruled by a Datu, settled disputes, made decisions, protected his village from enemies, led them into battle, and received labor and tributes from his people. The position being both a political office and a social class, his authority was taken from his lineage. Aside from these dwellers, the free men called Timawa and Ulipon [dependents] also exist.
- Settlers were also called Pintados, or tattooed dwellers, showcasing their body tattoos.
- Gold ornaments such as jewelry adorn the men and women lavishly.
- Before Spanish Colonization, there were already permanent townhouse-looking wooden structures where the datus lived. Ordinary people lived in field cottages or balay-balay that were on stilts. Hagdan (house ladder) was a common sight, with floors (salog) made of bamboo or wood and roof (atop) made of palm tree shingles.
When Ferdinand Magellan came in 1521, they were received by Rajah Humabon warmly, however, this was not the case on in Mactan, where the local chieftain, Lapu-Lapu, had slain Magellan. From then, Cebu was still free from Spanish Colonization not until 1566 when Miguel Lopez de Legazpi arrived. With this, a lot of changes occurred like:
- Catholic churches were built.
- Priests, along with civic leaders ruled the community.
- Baluartes [watch towers] were scattered on the island to defend it from Moro Raiders.
- Since Christianity was embraced, fiestas or festivals in honor of patron saints were observed.
- Agriculture was enhanced when new crops and technologies were introduced.
Needless to say, Cebu has been subjected to a lot of changes. Cebu has celebrated its Founding Anniversary every August 6, in commemoration of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi being appointed as Governor of the Province by King Philip II.
Here are other quick facts that you should know about Cebu.
1.One Cebuano became a Philippine President:
Born in Cebu City, Vice President Sergio Osmeña became president on August 1, 1944,
following the death of President Manuel L. Quezon. He served until May 28, 1946.
2. One Philippine President died in the mountains of Cebu:
President Ramon Magsaysay died in March 17, 1957 when the aircraft “Mt. Pinatubo” crashed on Mt. Manunggal.
3. Cebu houses the oldest Christian Relic in the Philippines:
Santo Niño de Cebu(Holy Child of Cebu) was a gift of Ferdinand Magellan to Rajah (King) Humabon and Queen Juana for their baptism into the Roman Catholic Church in April 1521. This is enshrined in the Basilica Minore del Sto Niño until today.
4. The Malacañang of the South (Malacañan sa Sugbo) is located in Cebu.
The building, built in 1910, was formerly known as “Aduana” meaning Customs in Spanish. It housed the Bureau of Customs in the province and in 2004, then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo restored it to be her official residence in Cebu.
5. The Oldest School in Asia and one of the oldest universities in the country is found in Cebu:
The University of San Carlos traces back its roots as Colegio de San Ildefonso, founded by the Jesuits in 1959. It was closed in 1769 and re-opened in 1783 under the name Colegio-Seminario de San Carlos. The college attained university status in 1948.
6. Looking for the smallest and the oldest fort in the country? It is found here in Cebu.
Fort San Pedro in Cebu City was built during the Spanish occupation to fend off local attackers. It later served as a bastion of resistance of Filipino revolutionaries in Cebu, barracks for American forces, a school, a refugee camp during World War II, and an army camp after the war. The fort was restored in the years that followed. It is located beside the Plaza Independencia park.
7. Sinulog Festival highlights the faith of the Cebuanos for the Holy Child.
This is celebrated every 3rd Sunday of January. This is considered as the longest running festival in the island. Devotees of the Holy Child flock to the Basilica to attend masses and novenas and also, to attend the foot procession around the city a day before its feast.
Presently, Cebu is still considered as one of the busiest islands in the nation. It boasts not only on commerce, trade and industry, as well as tourist spots that are world class. Several 5 star resorts have dotted the Mactan coastline, attracting tourists and Balikbayans [returning overseas workers] to chill and partake in what Cebu can offer.
If you are into adrenaline pumping adventures, CEBU also offers the best activities for you. IF you are fond of reconnecting with nature, you will have your fill of the mountains, hills, caves [both underwater and upland], seas and dive spots that will definitely make you yearn for more. As a part of the archipelago sitting on the Coral Triangle, the waters around Cebu has a very rich biodiversity per square foot. This is a favorite among divers who wanted to bask in the underwater treasures even on the shallow depth. Pescador Island in Moalboal and Monad Shoal in Malapascua are two of the most sought after sites here in Cebu. Island hopping is also a favorite activity here in Cebu.
Many small islands in Mactan can be accessed via an outrigger boat and can be reached within 30-45 minutes or perhaps in an hour. Marine sanctuaries abound where you can do snorkeling, swimming and fish feeding.
A fast rising activity in CEBU now is Canyoneering, as it involves traveling down creeks or streams within a canyon by a variety of means including walking, swimming, climbing, abseiling.
Whatever the reason for the travel, CEBU is still one of the places where you can enjoy your vacation. Great food, great vibes, warm and friendly people made CEBU truly fit for being the QUEEN City of the South.