For History You Can See and Touch, Head to Cebu

Lory Joyce Andagan

It is not news that Cebu City is a progressive place: everything is as busy as its streets, buildings and other infrastructures are fast rising. For a different experience of the Queen City of the South, try to take it easy and indulge yourself with its rich history.  Here are some of the historical sites that you may visit:

Fort San Pedro

Said to be the oldest and the smallest fort in the Philippines, Fort San Pedro in Cebu was built as a military defense structure during the Spanish settlement initiated by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi.  The fortress is a triangular-shaped covering an area of 2,025m2. At the entrance, you will see the Philippine flag and an image of Sr. Sto Niño. Below is the Spanish name of the fortress – El Fuerte de San Pedro and the year it was built. Each corner has a turret which served as a watchtower during the Spanish Colonial period with 14 cannons installed around the area. The fortress is now a museum with some artifacts during Spanish era. with a mini-park featuring various trees and flowers.

Yap – Sandiego Ancestral House

Built during the late 1700s, the Yap – Sandiego Ancestral House is believed to be one of the oldest houses in the Philippines and possibly the oldest Chinese home outside China. Located in Parian, Cebu City, the house is still intact with almost 95% original form. The original owner, Don Juan Yap and Doña Maria Florida had 3 children. Their eldest daughter, Maria, married Don Mariano Sandiego who was then the Cabeza de Barangay of Parian. The two-story ancestral house is now open to the public, filled with many antique collections of the owner.

Museo Sugbu (Cebu Provincial Museum)

Formerly known as Carcel de Cebu, this former provincial jail is now a museum that is home to Cebuano heritage. With no entrance fee, everyone who will visit the place can enter different rooms, each with a story to tell. The first one is filled with artifacts of ancient times. The second room is for the Spanish era. The room upstairs is dedicated to the American and Japanese eras. It is a place that is filled with objects that tell the story of the country and its people. 

Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu

History tells us that this church was founded by Augustinian priests in 1565. As the oldest church in the Philippines, the Basilica is the home of the miraculous Sto. Niño- the artifact Ferdinand Magellan gave to Datu Humabon and Reyna Juana. Every day, people would come and fall in line in order to venerate and offer their personal intensions to the Niño. It is believed that the location of the said church is where the people of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi found the Sto Niño de Cebu. Just a few meters away from the Basilica is the Magellan’s Cross. It is a symbol of Christianity in Cebu when Datu Humabon and Reyna Juana were baptized. Planted by Magellan himself, the original cross was encased in a tindalo wood which stands in its place today.

Come and explore Cebu’s rich history by dropping by these historical spots!

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