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Cebu City History, Philippines

History-wise Cebu has a significant history that amuses every curious visitor. He, who asks about how the city has become the first Spanish colony and remained so for 333 years, will get his answer by journeying down memory lane. Cebu has an interesting metamorphosis from being a quiet fishing community to becoming a busy trading port in 1521.

It’s interesting how it was called by merchants various names like Sugbu, Zebu, Zubu and Sebu. After Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan discovered the city and later planted a wooden cross, the townsmen started embracing the religion of Christianity. Magellan was commanded by Spain to explore towards the Pacific and he was privileged to have come across the so-dubbed Queen City of the South where he befriended Rajah Humabon and Reina Juana, but later killed Mactan chief Lapu-lapu. His Cebu discovery was globally renowned to be a momentous expedition as it kicked off Spanish settlement in the Philippines.

Don Legaspi and Fray Urdaneta arrived in town and ordered to built San Augustine Church which is now the most celebrated church: Basilica Minore del Santo Nino in honor of the miraculous child Jesus Senior Santo Nino. Every third Sunday of January Cebu celebrates the Sinulog Mardi gras which is flocked by tourists from all over the world.

Cebu is bursting with first happenings. Aside from being the first Spanish hamlet and first crib of Christianity, it is also the oldest city in the country that has the oldest school University of San Carlos and the oldest lane, Colon Street. After more than three centuries of being under Spanish rule, a revolt against the Spaniards was initiated by General Leon Kilat of Bacong on April 3, 1898 along V. Rama and Tres de Abril streets. To protect themselves the Spanish fighters thought of putting up a shelter but Miguel Lopez de Legazpi insisted on building Fort San Pedro instead. As the invasion got intense and uprisings heated up, Spain finally relinquished the city in December 1898 when the Americans led by Commodore George Dewey defeated the Spanish fleet at the Manila Bay Battle.

When American supremacy ruled in 1901, Cebu and the rest of the country took the plunge for freedom. One cherished event in Cebuano’s past was when it was bestowed with its charter on February 24 1937 as per Commonwealth Act 58 authored by late Senator Vicente Rama. It was in then that the Interior Secretary, Elpidio Quirino picked the mayor and the board members of Cebu. Because of its rising populace and smart location on the map, it was picked by the Japanese forces to be its headquarters upon their arrival on April 10 1942. Years later Cebu finally beamed for being freed by the Americans in March 1945. Independence was in full circle in March 1946, which led to the restoration of law by establishing the Philippine Civil Affairs Unit.

The rich tradition and significant history that Cebu has kept makes the world curious.  Beyond that is a hospitable clique of residents who do not fail to greet global visitors. Cebu never sleeps and continues to shine as the Queen City of the South and Island Jewel of the Pacific. International visitors from America Europe Asia and Australia flock to this town any season of the year.

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Read our members' reviews about Cebu City

  • ultimatetravelThe best place in Cebu City
    review by ultimatetravel posted more then 30 days ago
    Place Mountain top (which is the name that my husband gave to this place) is a quite place perfect for those who want peace and quite without the noise of the busy streets of the city, fresh air and a vast view of green trees, mountains, a long river, the blue sea and even lightning as well. The...
  • ultimatetravelA 'must see' in Cebu
    review by ultimatetravel posted more then 30 days ago
    This is a review of Yap-San Diego Ancestral Home. Place: It was situated in a very odd area, a street with full of concrete buildings and houses. The house is near to a busy street where jeepneys, cars, and taxis always pass through. House: The gate was not renovated. The gate can only fit one...
  • ultimatetravelMy tour in Yap-Sandiego, Cebu
    review by ultimatetravel posted more then 30 days ago
    My students and I waited for a few minutes for the tour guide whose name is Mr. Val San Diego, the owner of the house himself. While waiting for him, the guy who was sort of a caretaker (a relative perhaps) there told us to sign up the guest book. He even told us that one of the best singers in...
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