Fuerza de San Pedro.
My friend picked me up around 9AM from the hotel. Since I planned for a trip to Bohol
over the weekend, my priority was to buy our ticket for the fastcraft. We went first to the pier area and checked the best time of departure in Cebu
and the best time to depart in Bohol on Sunday. After few minutes of comparing the schedules of the three different companies, we settled for SuperCat. There, the ticket for Bohol was ready. I also finalized our booking with our driver in Bohol. And confirmed our hotel in Panglao
where we will be staying for a night.
Without anything to worry for the Bohol trip, we started our tour of Cebu City.
The Magellan's Cross
We started with Fort San Pedro
(or Fuerza de San Pedro), the oldest and the smallest triangular Spanish port, designed to repel the Muslim raiders. One can walk the three corners of this fort in less than 10 minutes. The center of the fort has been converted into some sort of a garden, and on one corner there are fews souvenir store. On the second level is a museum which actually just an extension of National Museum whose the mother base is in Manila. There are some artifacts from a Spanish galleon which sunk when they were attacked by Dutch troop in Philippine
Then our next stop was Magellan's Cross
. This cross which was planted by Magellan upon his arrival in Cebu is now housed in a some sort of a chapel.
Sto Nino Church
A sign below the cross claims that the original cross is encased inside the wooden cross that is found in the center of this chapel. Stories told that this is to protect the original cross from people who chipped away parts of the cross for souvenir purposes or in the belief that the cross possesses miraculous powers. Some people, however, believe that the original cross had been destroyed or had disappeared after Magellan's death, and the cross is a replica that was planted there by the Spaniards after they successfully colonized the Philippines. Anyway, this cross has been an iconic symbol of Cebu City. Every tourist should see this cross, even if it lacks any aesthetic value. For what it's worth, this cross truly has historical significance.
Not far from the cross is the St. Nino Church
(or Basilica Minore del Santo Nino).
Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral
Formerly known as the San Agustin Church, the Santo Niño Basilica houses the Philippines' oldest religious relic: the Santo Niño. The Santo Niño is a gem-festooned statue of the holy infant Jesus, given by the Magellan to the chieftain's wife and the queen on the occasion of her conversion to christianity. Forty-four years later, when a large fire swept Cebu city, the statue miraculously survived and was rediscovered undamaged. A church was built on the spot where the relic was found. This church and two later ones built in the same location were destroyed by fire, the present basilica was built in 1740. I went there on a Friday, and devotees would flock this church every Friday of the week. With a mass held every after a mass, it would be impossible for me to get a close up picture of the Sto. Nino. What fascinated me on this church is not just the old church, the baroque architecture but the devotees themselves.
It was not a serene adoration to the holy infant, but with a chaotic (organized chaos I would say) fiesta like festivities. Outside the church, one would see old ladies in yellow and red shirt and skirt, with balloons and lots and lots of people.
Then, we went to the less celebrated Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral
, just a few blocks away from the Sto. Nino church. This cathedral took several decades or even centuries to complete, only to be severely damaged during the world war II (just like it's sister cathedral in Manila). Because of damage caused by World War II and the recent renovation, nothing of the historical interior remains, however, the exterior remains 18th century.
Then lastly, my friend drop me off in Casa Gorordo
, an old Spanish house that has been converted in a museum.
University Of San Carlos Main Campus Facade
I was totally alone when I visited the old house. I always feel weird when inside an old house (just like Villa Angela in Vigan). The house is mostly made up of dark wood (I think it is mahogany). This house is located in Parian (the old chinese settlement). What I was really excited about this place is that, this is where I first saw and touch the original book of Rizal's Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. The two novels that changed the course of Philippine history by inspiring the Filipinos to revolt against the Spain.
Alone, I had lunch in Ayala Mall. I waited for my friend to come back in Starbucks. After a couple of hours, we went to the Main Campus of University Of San Carlos
(USC). Just to take some pictures of the facade of the building. USC is regarded as the oldest school in the Philippines.
Chapel in USC Technological Campus
It is older than University of Santo Tomas
in Manila, and even older than Harvard. Though the scholastic legacy is not as solid as the former schools due to its history of interruptions, change of administrations and war. Originally, it was a Jesuit school, and when the Jesuits were expelled from the Philippines, it was taken over by the Bishop of Cebu to be taken cared by Dominicans, then the Vicentians and currently entrusted to the SVD fathers. I would say, I really have no attachment to the Main Campus since I have not attended any classes in the main campus. All my classes where all in the Technological Center. USC has four campuses spread in different areas of Cebu.
Then we went to TC, I got surprised that there were new buildings in the campus.
Twelve years ago, when I first set foot in this campus, I was in total limbo. Cebu is very far from Mindoro
and I didn't know how to speak the Visayan language (the native tongue of Cebu), much more understand it. When I was still a student there, there were only two major buildings - Engineering and the Science building which is uphill next to the chapel. Now, there are I think 5 new modern buildings and for the students to get into these newly built buildings, the campus has its multicab service to transport students up to the buildings on top of the hilly terrain of the campus.
This day was nothing but nostalgic to me. I was glad to be back in Cebu.