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Cebu History, Philippines

Cebu was known as Sugbo or Zubu before the Spanish regime.  It was a trading post that routed to Borneo, China, Indonesia and Arabia. 

The course of Magellan’s expedition

Ferdinand Magellan was one of the well-known maritime explorers of his time.  He was the first Portuguese explorer who opted to take the route of his expedition to the Philippines when he was on the verge of conquering the Spice Islands.  In his struggle to make efforts to take his destination to the mentioned island, his ships led him to the Mindanao islands, located at the southwest portion of the Philippine Archipelago.  When he arrived there in March 16, 1521, he was instructed by the Limasawan ruler Kolambu to go up north to the islands of Cebu where he could conduct business.

When he arrived in the Visayas region, he tried to make friends with the Cebuano ruler Raja Humabon.  He had the chief of Cebu baptized together with his wife and gave them the Christian names King Carlos and Queen Juana.  Symbolizing peace between the Spaniards and the Cebuanos, they offered the image of the Santo Niño to the Queen.  Thinking that his navigation was starting to become a success, on April 14, 1521, Magellan put up his wooden cross on the shores of Cebu to signify his willingness to introduce the Catholic faith to natives of the land.  On that same day, 800 Cebuanos underwent baptism.

But as time flew, Magellan was not merely satisfied of converting the Cebuanos into Christians.  He continued to build friendship with the Raja and promised him supreme leadership in the region.  Unknowingly, a certain tribal leader named Lapu-Lapu heard of this plot and fought for his own right.  Fighting began as they wanted to have a seat as ruler of the island.

On April 27 of the same year, the Battle of Mactan broke out.  Magellan was killed in the battle and his men had no choice but to leave the island.  His body was never recovered despite rigorous work done by his comrades.  His fleet of ships was taken back to Spain by his second in command Juan Sebastian Elcano.

The Spanish Colonization

There were some survivors of the Magellan expedition who have different tales to share about their experiences on the islands.  When they returned to Spain, they told their compatriots of things what happened in the Orient thus leading to follow-up expeditions.  All of this conquest leaded to failure.

In 1565, 44 years after Magellan’s conquest of the island of Cebu, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and other soldiers and friars arrived to declare success of their colonization.  Legazpi and his men marched through Cebu and destroyed the village.  The ruler of the village was Raja Tupas. 

In 1901, three years after the end of the Spanish occupation, Cebu became a municipality which offered more opportunities for the natives of the province.  In their pursuit to convert the town into a city, they prospered and from February 24, 1937 to the present, Cebu is now known generally as Metropolitan Cebu

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