It was in 1983 that I first experienced Cebu. I studied in San Carlos University, the premier university in Cebu, queen city of the south. Cebu was a great grand revelation. It was a city with a soul, a DNA that CNN’s Richard Quest talked about.
What I studied about our history came so alive in that queen city. Colon, the oldest street of the country was typically different from the rest of the streets. That street is the heart of Cebu. Everything begins there for those who go to the north and the south. It was so busy but so laden with history.
San Carlos University stood glorious in P. Del Rosario Pelaez Street with a gothic architecture defining it. The SVD Germans were there to build it. Huge and massive, San Carlos built a name for itself as the best school in the Visayas, if not of Asia. I have studied in universities in Davao but San Carlos was different. I treasured and valued the short time I was there.
While studying in Cebu, I went all over town to discover places that defined it. Magellan’s Cross. In the history book, it’s there printed colorless and pale as most books of DepEd were. I was so mesmerized by the narration of historical truths about Cebu.
When I saw for the first time the Magellan’s cross, I was not impressed, but stunned that it looked ordinary.
It may have looked ordinary, but the Magellan’s cross is an intimate part of Cebu’s history. Magellan came here, colonized these islands and history has it that Lapulapu stopped Magellan. He killed Magellan after all.
And Fort San Pedro. The fort that protected the Insulares from the so called pirates. Ah well, history has to be revisited and rewritten. The fort brought back memories of the conquistadores. It evoked feelings of nostalgia and conjured images of kindred spirits moving around restless for so many incomprehensible reasons. Whatever, Cebu is so rich with history all pruned to different interpretation.
Sto Nino Church, standing next to the Magellan’s cross is a throwing distance from Cebu Cathedral. The old Catholic Churches of Cebu are a testament to the colonial past of how this city was colonized by Spaniards. If you go to the south specifically to Boljoon town, you will see Cebu’s or the country’ s oldest catholic church.
I was accidentally in Boljoon years back when the historical society started repairing the Church. People had masses in the gym nearby. So many of these Churches abound in Cebu and guests and tourists would like to study and enjoy them. When you go to Cebu you will have this feeling you can’t understand. No words can best describe it. But you feel it.
Talk of DNA of a city, Cebu has very clear one. Anyone seeing Cebu knows what its DNA is. What is our DNA in Davao. What really makes us a cut above the rest? What really defines us? Sui Generis.