OB in Cebu, May 26-28, 2013. Arrived 10AM on a Sunday, dropped my things at the hotel along Osmena Boulevard, had lunch and rested a bit. At about 1PM, I started my Solo Cebu Heritage Walk! With my reliable sandals, sunscreen, map, cellphone, little cash, my camera and a 3-fold umbrella for whatever purpose it may serve, I was ready. I wished it to be sunny and I was provided with more than what I asked for – it was hotly sunny!
I have been in Cebu on several occasions but this is the only time that I am doing a walk on heritage sites. I contacted via FB a walk-tour guide a day before but he never replied. Well, I was going solo again! I know it would be long and I was ready. Very ready!
FIRST STOP: DOT REGIONAL OFFICE [Central Visayas] at the corner of M.J. Cuenco Avenue and Magallanes Street. It was Sunday and thought it might just be open for tourists but it was not. That was fine, I had my map anyway. Across Cuenco is the PLAZA INDEPENDENCIA and FORT SAN PEDRO in one compound. At the back of Fort San Pedro is the MALACANANG SA SUGBU [Malacanang of Cebu] which you can see from Plaza Independencia.
Plaza Independencia had several names depending on who the colinizers were.The obelisk at the center is in honor of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the first Spanish governor-general of the Philippines. When the road tunnel beside it was constructed in 2006, several artifacts were discovered which are now on display at the Museo Sugbo.
Fort San Pedro was built by the Spaniards in 1738 to repel aggressors. It is triangular, two sides facing the sea and one facing inland.
Malacanang sa Sugbu [Malacang of Cebu] was built in 1910 and used to be [the old] Customs Building. It now serves as the official house of the President in the Visayas.
SECOND STOP:From fort San Pedro, I walked to PLAZA SUGBU. I went out of Plaza Independencia and walked to M.C. Briones Street, across Cueno, in between Caltex and Eastern Shipping. Plaza Sugbu is where the CEBU CITY HALL, MAGELLAN’S CROSS, and STO. NINO BASILICA, SHRINE AND MUSEUM are. In front of the Sto. Nino Church is the Shine and at basement is the Sto. Nino Musuem [cameras not allowed]. See more pictures of the Sto. de Cebu Basilica and Shrine in my Flickr, and you may read my previous post in 2010. You may also want to see CARBON MARKET, CHINESE HERITAGE MUSEUM and COMPANIA MARITIMA RUINS at the back of the CITY HALL.
THIRD STOP: From the Sto. Nino Basilica, I walked to Legazpi Street [just a block away] to see the CEBU METROPOLITAN CATHEDRAL. Close to the cathedral are the CATHEDRAL MUSEUM OF CEBU and RAJAH HUMABON PLAZA.
Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Cebu, an immaculate huge Spanish-colonial edifice with floral relief on its facade. See more pictures of the Cathedral in my Flickr.
The Cathedral Museum of Cebu is a repository of various religious artifacts of the province of Cebu. Interesting is the carved portion of the floor in the lobby showing original flooring/s of the structure from pre-Spanish to the present – 5 including the present flooring. The silver-etched altar at the Chapel is intricate and the Mercedez Benz that Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Vidal used when the Pope visited is displayed on the way to the garden at the back. See the Benz here: , , . See more pictures of the Museum in my Flickr.
The Raja Humabon Plaza is dedicated to Rajah Humabon, the first Filipino Chieftain to have been converted to Christianity by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. See more pictures of the Humabon Plaza in my Flickr.
FOURTH STOP: From the Rajah Jumabon Park, I further walked along Sikatuna Street to go to PARIAN DISTRICT. Two blocks away is the COLON OBELISK which marks the start of Colon Street from Sikatuna. Few steps away from the Obelisk is the CEBU HERITAGE MONUMENT. Around the monument are the JESUIT HOUSE 1730 along Zulueta Street, the YAP-SANDIEGO ANCESTRAL HOUSE along Mabini Street and the CASA GORORDO MUSEUM along Lopez Jaena. Parian District, I must say is a 1-stop heritage shop!
Heritage of Cebu Monument is a tableau of Cebu’s history depicting rich culture and diverse heritage which was completed in 2000 after 3-years of construction.
Jesuit House of 1730 is the latest addition to Cebu’s heritage houses. This was discovered by accident in 2004 by the patriarch of Sy family, present owner, while reading Jesuit history books in a reunion at the Ateneo. He was surprised to discover that the stone house utilized as “warehouse” even before he bought the property is the house of the Jesuit Superior of Cebu until they were expelled by the Spaniards. Located inside a warehouse compound and hardware [Ho Tong Hardware] , the structure is now well-preserved with all-original walls, floor, posts and roof. Fixtures and accessories inside are the owner’s personal collection. I was informed that the whole compound shall soon be converted into a heritage destination, a replica of Colon Street being built around it as of writing. Personally, what makes this house distinct and appealing is its location – a warehouse/hardware. I don’t know if its nobility will be the same if the whole compound will be converted and refined, sans the warehouse. Read my separate post of Jesuit House 1730 here.
The Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House was built in the late 17th century by Chinese merchants in Cebu and believed to be the oldest Chinese house outside China. The house is a feast for the eyes, I must say. Lots of antique collections, accessories, drapes, utensils, etc., etc., etc. There are lots of pieces to look at from the floor, to the walls and up to the ceiling. The master’s bedroom has “banig” all over the floor and you have to take off your footwear when you get in. It was represented by the guide that the owners still go home and sleep in the house on weekends. I personally felt this is a “girlie” ancestral house which your sister and mother will love!
Casa Gorodo Museum was built in the 19th century and bought by a Spanish merchant in 1863 named Juan Isidro de Gorordo. Four generations of Gorordo family lived in this house including Juan Gorordo, the first native bishop of Cebu. It has undergone extensive renovation before it opened to the public in 1983, a contrast to Yap-Sandiego which has not undergone any major improvement that definitely adds to its charm and authenticity.
FIFTH STOP: Further down Lopez Jaena, I turned left to J.M. Cuenco Avenue for a 4-block walk to MUSEO SUGBO. This is the provincial Museum of Cebu and used to be a prison for 135-years before it formally opened as a museum in 2010. It houses artifacts excavated in 2006 at Plaza Independencia when the tunnel connecting to SRP was being constructed.
SIXTH STOP: From Museo Sugbo, I took a jeep going to COLON STREET for P7. Colon is the oldest street in the Philippines established in 1565 by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. It is Manila’s Divisoria, Davao’s San Pedro and Iloilo’s JM Basa [Calle Real]. What is always nice traversing a downtown commercial street is the diversity of goods being sold but what is interesting is the VISION THEATER with a historical mark which reads that the structure “should be” declared as a heritage building because of its classical design and strong foundation. Unfortunately, there appears to be no effort to maintain and push further the claim as it now houses several stalls selling cellphone accessories.
One significant observation, there’s no Chinatown in Cebu. I said this because I have not seen any visible Chinese Arch that usually marks it unlike in Manila, Davao or Iloilo.
SEVENTH STOP: Upon reaching Metro Mall in Colon, I turned right going to JONES-OSMENA BLVD. Few blocks away is the BRADFORT CHURCH [Matilda L. Bradfort Memorial Chruch], the oldest Evangelical church in Cebu, built in 1912. This is one small and very simple church, nonetheless very charming!
I continued my walk to FUENTE-OSMENA CIRCLE, and went further down Osmena Boulevard to the CEBU PROVINCIAL CAPITOL. That ended by SOLO CEBU HERITAGE WALK! Quite long but glad I did it! With that walk, all systems go for work the next day.
Total walking time – 5-hours. You may want to divide your walk in the morning and afternoon especially when you want to stay longer in one stop. If you have limited time, you may wish to cut down on the places you want to visit or do just 1 or 2-stops. Entrance fees to Museums, 30-50P.
Here’s a SUMMARY of my stops:
First Stop: Plaza Independencia – Fort San Pedro – Malacanang sa Sugbu.
Second Stop: Cebu City Hall – Magellan’s Cross – Sto. Nino Basilica – Sto. Nino Shrine – Sto. Nino Museum.
Third Stop: Cebu Metropolitan Church – Metropolitan Cathedral Museum – Rajah Humabon Plaza.
Fourth Stop: Parian District: Obelisk of Colon – Cebu Heritage Monument – Jesuit House 1730 – Yap-Sandiego Heritage House – Gorordo Museum.
Fifth Stop: Museo Sugbo
Sixth Stop: Colon Street
Seventh Stop: Bradfort Church – Fuente-Osmena Circle – Cebu Provincial Capitol.
READ MORE ON CEBU – THIS BLOG:
OTHER WALK TOURS – THIS BLOG:
Here’s a MAP of my 7-stops [click to enlarge; click to make it larger]: