Visayas

Fort San Pedro

Posted on October 21, 2008

I remember, during my elementary school years, a popular field trip destination was Fort San Pedro, the oldest, smallest and one of the best preserved Spanish fortresses in the Philippines. Located in Plaza Independencia within Cebu City’s pier area, this triangular military outpost was originally built in 1565– the beginning of Spanish colonization in the archipelago–with logs and muddy earth to protect conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and his men from violent attacks by native Cebuanos and Muslim pirates. The fort was named after Legaspi’sRead More

Fuente Osmeña

Posted on September 29, 2008

Built in honor of Cebu’s “Grand Old Man”, Sergio Osmeña–the fourth president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines– and to commemorate the city’s first waterworks system, Fuente Osmeña is a fountain rotunda where major thoroughfares converge: Gen. Maxilom Avenue (aka Mango Avenue), Osmeña Boulevard (aka Jones Avenue, towards downtown) and B. Rodriguez Street. The oval was built in 1912. Since the 1980s, this was where anti-Marcos and other political demonstrations were held. Before malls became popular in the mid-1990s, manyRead More

Pari-an of Cebu

Posted on April 15, 2008

When I was younger, I remember accompanying my mother to downtown Cebu to shop for cloth and other supplies for our small tailoring family business. At the heart of this locality is the pari-an, a term used to denote the old Chinese district in established Philippine cities. Pari-an and Colon Street–the oldest in the Philippines–used to be the center of cultural, business and social activity in the country’s first Spanish settlement. Named after Cristobal Colon or Christopher Columbus, Colon StreetRead More

Sinulog Festival

Posted on March 27, 2008

Ever since I was a kid, an occasion I look forward to every year, even more than I do Christmas or New Year, is the Sinulog Festival in Cebu City. The nine-day celebration, in honor of the Holy Child Jesus, culminates every third Sunday of January with a Grand Parade that meanders through the festooned city streets, with elaborately dressed dancers, magnificent floats and colorful ‘higantes’ (papiér-mache giants), all moving to the infectious rhythms of tribal dance and heralding “VivaRead More

Argao Capilla: Forsaken and Found

Posted on March 6, 2008

Argao, my mother’s hometown, is one of the most charming towns in southern Cebu. Known for its baroque-rococo Church of St. Michael the Archangel that boasts of detailed ceiling frescoes and a grand retablo, all within the well-preserved colonial town plaza, we’ve frequented this place for years for quick vacations and to visit relatives, both living and dead. The town, established in 1608, is one of the oldest in Cebu. Along the eastern coast of the island, it is approximatelyRead More