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1521 Feature Heritage History

Cebu Archdiocese, CBCP to focus on first baptism, spread of faith in 2021 celebration

The baptism of Cebuanos led by Rajah Humabon will be the focus of the Archdiocese of Cebu and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in their celebration of the 500th year of the Christianization of the Philippines

On December 1, 2019, the church will start a 500-day countdown to April 14, 2021, the 500th anniversary of the first baptism in the Philippines. On that day in 1521, 800 Cebuanos under Humabon were baptized by members of the Spanish armada led by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

On April 14, 2021, 500 children with special needs will be baptized as part of the reenactment of that first baptism.

Jubilee Cross sendoff

Also on December 1, church officials will send off the Jubilee Cross, a replica of Magellan’s cross made of tindalo wood that will have in it a relic of the True Cross. The Jubilee Cross will visit the different parishes in Cebu and the rest of the Philippines.

The activities were announced earlier today by church officials led by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma and CBCP President and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles during a press conference in the Executive Lounge of Oakridge Business Park in Mandaue City.

2021 EVENTS. Officials announce the official activities for the 500th anniversary of the Christianization in the Philippines. Present during the press conference in Oakridge Business Park are (from left) Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili; Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, who is also the CBCP president; Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, designer Kenneth Cobonpue, who heads the Visayas Quincentennial Committee; and Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones.
2021 EVENTS. Officials announce the official activities for the 500th anniversary of the Christianization in the Philippines. Present during the press conference in Oakridge Business Park are (from left) Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili; Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, who is also the CBCP president; Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, designer Kenneth Cobonpue, who heads the Visayas Quincentennial Committee; and Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones.

Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili said the 2021 celebration has three pillars around which events are organized – celebration, formation, and legacy. He said the 2021 celebration has many highlights – including the arrival of the Sto. Nino, for which the Augustinian community started a countdown today. He said the archdiocese chose to focus on the baptism because “it is when our faith was planted in our hearts.”

Open Holy Door

Fr. Balili said they requested Pope Francis for permission to open the Holy Door for plenary indulgence and extend this to the 9 oldest churches in Cebu. Archbishop Palma will also celebrate the Misa de Gallo in 2020 in these 9 oldest churches, which include Bantayan, Argao, Barili, Boljoon, Carcar, San Nicolas, among others.

Key events leading to 2021 including the holding of monthly jubilees involving church organizations, ministries, and sectors of society. The jubilees are pegged on feast days of saints.

Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones highlighted the importance of the events saying 2021 is unrepeatable, irreplaceable and irrevocable. He said it is a “once in a lifetime event.”

“If Bethlehem is point x of our salvation history, in the Philippines, Cebu – the cradle of Christianity – is the point x where faith spread,” he said.

HERITAGE WALK. Designer Kenneth Cobonpue, head of the Visayas Quincentennial Committee, discusses the heritage walk the Cebu City Government and various stakeholders want to put up in time for the celebration.
HERITAGE WALK. Designer Kenneth Cobonpue, head of the Visayas Quincentennial Committee, discusses the heritage walk the Cebu City Government and various stakeholders want to put up in time for the celebration.

Mission congress

Part of the preparation for the year-long celebration leading to the quincentennial is the holding of mission congresses in the different parishes from August to October 2020. The Archdiocesan Mission Congress will be held on October 24, 2020. This will culminate with the sendoff of 500 missionaries outside extra during the National Mission Congress on April 12-16, 2021.

On April 11 to 18, 2021, organizers will stage an Amorsolo Painting Exhibit. One of Fernando Amorsolo’s most important paintings is “The First Baptism in the Philippines.”

Triduum celebrations will also be held three days before the baptism anniversary. Preceding it is the arrival of the Jubilee Cross scheduled on April 10, 2021. The first day of Triduum on April 11 will be held at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The second day will be at the National Shrine of St. Joseph while the last day will be at the Sto. Niño Pilgrim Center. The Triduum will end with a procession around Cebu City.

First recorded Easter Mass

Valles said the church will mark the first recorded Easter Mass with a national celebration of masses. The Mojares panel is still looking into the question on where the first mass in the Philippines was held. Two previous panels have ruled in favor of Limasawa against the other claimant Butuan.

During today’s press conference, renowned designer Kenneth Cobonpue, who is head of the Visayas Quincentennial Committee, unveiled the planned downtown heritage walk that would take people to historical buildings and locations, including churches, in Cebu City. (See separate story).

Valles said the CBCP will send an invitation to Vatican for Pope Francis but they said they are aware of how tight his schedule is. He said it is likely that a papal legate will attend the events for the Vatican. He said they will also be sending an invitation to President Rodrigo Duterte.

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1521 Feature History

Lapulapu statue implicated in deaths of Opon mayors

In the old town center of Opon, the old name of Lapu-Lapu City when it was still a municipality, stands a statue of Lapulapu carrying a staff. Far from being the warrior that is depicted in the bigger and more popular statue in Liberty Shrine eight kilometers away, this Lapulapu looks less menacing.

He’s more shepherd than warrior. It’s ridiculous, said historian Jobers Bersales in an interview, “alho man daw na.”

Lapulapu legends

That alho or pestle figures in the many legends and myths that obscure the historical Lapulapu, National Artist Dr. Resil Mojares said in a paper he read during the Symposium on Lapulapu at the University of San Carlos on April 21, 1979.

One of the legends had the mythical Datu Mangal, said to be Lapulapu’s father, asking the warrior to make an alho out of a biyanti tree and hurl it against a coconut tree and if the pestle pierces the trunk then it would serve as a good omen that he will be victorious in the upcoming battle with the Spaniards. Lapulapu did so and not only did the pestle pierce the coconut trunk, it went through five, according to some accounts.)

Mojares said that folk tradition has Lapulapu himself killing Magellan with a blow of the alho.

Lapulapu statue then and now.

While interesting, there are scant historical bases for the tradition, Mojares said.

The killing by Lapulapu of Magellan with a blow of the alho does not jibe with Pigafetta’s account of his killing. He was killed with a poisoned arrow, Bersales said.

Also, Oponganons during Lapulapu’s time may have been orang-laut or sea-nomads who inhabit the sea, Mojares wrote. “They were obviously more attached to the sea than the land,” he wrote.

Canuto Baring and stories of Lapulapu

“It strikes us therefore as strange that an alho, an agricultural implement, should figure prominently in the Lapulapu legend,” said Mojares.

The alho myth ties up with the stories of Canuto Baring “a popular source of Lapulapu legends who claimed direct descent from the hero.” He died in 1962.

Mojares wrote that in 1930, a giant alho and kuwako (pipe) said to be of Lapulapu and owned by Baring were put on exhibit. Kuwako ug alho ni Lapulapu ipasundayag sa Kamabal, reported Bag-ong Kusug on January 3, 1930.

His daughter Antonia, however, told Mojares in an interview that “these were just old artifacts that were dug up and “ascribed” to the hero.”

LAPULAPU. A photograph of the Lapulapu stature on October 10, 1949 by “Life” photographer Jack Birns. Beyond the statue is the old Opon church. (Photo from John Tewell’s Flickr account)
LAPULAPU. A photograph of the Lapulapu stature on October 10, 1949 by “Life” photographer Jack Birns. Beyond the statue is the old Opon church. (Photo from John Tewell’s Flickr account)

Deaths of Opon mayors

But when the statue was put up in 1933, Lapulapu was armed with a bow and arrow and aimed at the direction of the old Opon municipal hall across the town plaza.

Three successive mayors then died in office – Rito de la Serna, Gregorio de la Serna, and Simeon Amodia – all serving short terms. Superstitious townsfolk blamed the Lapulapu statue for their deaths.

It was modified during the term of Mariano Dimataga, who assumed as Open chief executive in 1938. The bow and arrow were taken away and replaced with the staff or pestle. Dimataga remained chief executive for the next 30 years, the longest serving town mayor of Opon and the first city mayor when the town became Lapu-Lapu City.

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1521 History

Marica! Bisaya words in use when Magellan was in Cebu

I’ve long been curious about the word marica, which I first heard when I relocated to Cebu more than 20 years ago. I never heard it growing up in Polomolok, South Cotabato where we talked a patois that was a mix of Cebuano and Ilonggo.

For us, it was “dali” or “adto diri” or “ari di.” For years I spoke an ungrammatical “adto ko dinhi ugma (I’ll be here tomorrow).” The correct phrase is “anhi ko ugma.” To come here is anhi, to go there is adto, I was to learn soon enough.

I can no longer recall when I first heard marica but I’ve always thought it a modernism, a portmanteau of “muari ka” (edit: several people have said the root is the phrase “umari ka“) that evolved into a single-word bidding.

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1521 History

Magellan’s Cross offers indulgence to Catholic faithful

Augustinian friar Santos Gomez Marañon, who served as bishop of Cebu from 1829 to 1840, granted the Magellan’s Cross plenary indulgence to those who pray before it every Feast of the Triumph of the Cross on September 14.

The indulgence is gained by praying the Creed.

For those unfamiliar with Catholic teachings, an indulgence is a way to reduce the punishment for sins. It can be attained by performing a good deed or reciting a prayer or visiting a place.

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1521 Feature Heritage History

In Oslob, Fr. Bermejo looks out to sea he protected in his lifetime

Just outside the compound of the Inmaculada Concepcion parish church in Oslob, southern Cebu, stands a forlorn statue of a slightly hunched priest holding a cross — as if to offer a blessing — while looking out to the open sea.

The statue is that of Fr. Julian Bermejo, an Augustinian priest who played a pivotal role in protecting Cebu and other parts of the Visayas from devastating Moro raids in the 19th century.

He was called “El Padre Capitan” and served as the commander-in-chief of the defense network, centered in nearby Boljoon, against Moro raiders who staged regular pirate attacks for looting and slave raiding, said Paul Gerschwiler in his book “Bolhoon A Cultural Sketch.”

EL PADRE CAPITAN. The statue of Fr. Julian Bermejo OSA in Oslob stands in front of the ruins of the baluarte – the watchtower part of a network that he organized to protect southern Cebu towns from Moro raiders.
EL PADRE CAPITAN. The statue of Fr. Julian Bermejo OSA in Oslob stands in front of the ruins of the baluarte – the watchtower part of a network that he organized to protect southern Cebu towns from Moro raiders.

Behind his statue are the ruins of a watchtower, a defensive structure that he organized into a grid that served as sentinels against the marauding Moros. That network and the defensive system he set up ultimately stopped the pirate raids in the middle of the 19th century.

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1521 Feature History

Is the original really encased inside Magellan’s Cross?

No, according to several historians. The panel placed at the foot of the cross makes two astonishing claims: that it contains the original Magellan’s Cross and that it was planted by the Portuguese explorer on that very spot.

Neither claim holds up to close scrutiny.

It is also interesting to note that the commemorative marker put up by the then Philippines Historical Committee in 1941 never made that claim.

MAGELLAN’S CROSS. This undated photo shows a view of the cross from Cebu City Hall. Behind it is the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño convent. (Photo from the Cebuano Studies Center of the University of San Carlos)

MAGELLAN’S CROSS. This undated photo shows a view of the cross from Cebu City Hall. Behind it is the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño convent. (Photo from the Cebuano Studies Center of the University of San Carlos)

Putting up of Magellan’s Cross

Antonio Pigafetta, chronicler of the Spanish armada led by Magellan, wrote that they put up the cross to mark the conversion of Cebuanos, led by ruler Rajah Humabon, to Christianity.

“A large cross was set up in the middle of the square. The Captain General told them that if they wished to become Christians as they had declared on the previous days, they must burn all their idols and set up a cross in their place. They were to adore that cross daily with clasped hands, and every morning after their custom, they were to make the sign of the cross (which the Captain General showed them how to make); and they ought to come hourly, at least in the morning, to that cross, and adore it kneeling,” Pigafetta wrote.

Magellan planting the cross. (Image from the New York Public Library)

National Artist and Cebuano historian Dr. Resil Mojares wrote in his book “The Feast of the Santo Niño: An Introduction to the History of a Cebuano Devotion” that it was the practice of Spaniards to plant crosses on land they “discover” to mark possession for the crown and signify divine presence.

But after Magellan’s death in the Battle of Mactan, which author Hugh Thomas described as “a gratuitous adventure that deserved to end badly,” the Cebuanos turned against the Spaniards, allegedly at the incitement of the explorer’s slave Enrique.

Humabon invited the surviving Spaniards to a feast on May 1. He promised them gifts and jewels to take with them to the King of Spain.

FERDINAND MAGELLAN. This portrait of the Portuguese explorer and captain of the Armada de Molucca is “believed to be one of the few accurate likenesses of Magellan,” wrote historian Laurence Bergreen in his book Over the Edge of the World.

FERDINAND MAGELLAN. This portrait of the Portuguese explorer and captain of the Armada de Molucca is “believed to be one of the few accurate likenesses of Magellan,” wrote historian Laurence Bergreen in his book Over the Edge of the World.

Pigafetta, who did not join because he was still nursing injuries from the battle in Mactan, said a quarter of the crew attended, including the two new co-commanders, Juan Serrano and Duarte Barbosa.

During the meal, the Spaniards were killed by Humabon’s men. The massacre culminated in a standoff at the shore where the Cebuanos held for ransom Juan Serrano, who pleaded with his compatriots to save him. After an initial negotiation on ransom when the Cebuanos kept asking for more, the armada decided to leave Cebu.

NO SUCH CLAIM. The official marker put up in 1941 by the then Philippines Historical Committee, which is now the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, never made the claim about the original cross being encased in the one now at the site.

NO SUCH CLAIM. The official marker put up in 1941 by the then Philippines Historical Committee, which is now the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, never made the claim about the original cross being encased in the one now at the site.

IS THIS ACCURATE? Thousands of tourists visiting Magellan’s Cross daily think, because of this panel, that part of the cross is still there and that it was planted at this very spot. Those claims don’t have historical support.

IS THIS ACCURATE? Thousands of tourists visiting Magellan’s Cross daily think, because of this panel, that part of the cross is still there and that it was planted at this very spot. Those claims don’t have historical support.

Tearing it down

“Only 115 men remained of the 260 who had left Spain, and as they fled to safety, their last sight of Cebu was of enraged islanders tearing down the cross on the mountaintop and smashing it to bits,” wrote American historian Laurence Bergreen in his book Over The Edge of The World Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe. (Emphasis mine. Note the reference on a mountaintop. I haven’t found a similar one but the Spaniards were reported to prefer to plant the cross on the highest point of a place.)

“Simultaneously, before the ships had cleared the harbour, amid cries of jubilation from the indigenes, another party of them was tearing down the great Cross which Magellan had erected. What the leader had achieved during weeks of careful and patient work came to naught in an hour,” wrote Stefan Zweig in his seminal book Magellan.

In her dissertation on the Santo Niño de Cebu for her doctorate in anthropology, Astrid Sala-Boza said “there is no archaeological or historical evidence that this cross is actually the original (or at least the site of the original) Magellan’s cross.”

“Instead, because of its proximity to the Basilica, the site of the finding of the Holy Image during Legazpi’s expedition, there is the possibility that the cross could be “Legazpi’s cross” (now encased in wood),” Sala-Boza wrote. She also pointed out that the Legazpi expedition did not mention finding a cross.

NO TEXT OF CLAIM. This photo after a restoration of the kiosk by the Knights of Columbus several decades ago (we’re still looking into date) does not show at the base of the cross the panel that contains the claims about the original cross and its site.

NO TEXT OF CLAIM. This photo after a restoration of the kiosk by the Knights of Columbus several decades ago (we’re still looking into date) does not show at the base of the cross the panel that contains the claims about the original cross and its site.

Rada cross

In 1565, the Spaniards returned to the Philippines under the leadership of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. They planted another cross, made of bamboo and measuring five fathoms.

“It is credited to the Augustinian Martin de Rada and has been called the cross of Rada,” wrote Mojares. He said Rada was known as the Apostle of Cebu because of his evangelization work here.

The cross of Rada was reputed to be miraculous because it “did not suffer the least lesion” in a fire that destroyed houses around the cross on November 2, 1565.

MAJOR TOURIST SPOT. Magellan’s Cross is a top tourist attraction in Cebu. It’s part of the tour circuit that includes the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Fort San Pedro, and Plaza Independencia. (Photo provided by the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu)

MAJOR TOURIST SPOT. Magellan’s Cross is a top tourist attraction in Cebu. It’s part of the tour circuit that includes the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Fort San Pedro, and Plaza Independencia. (Photo provided by the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu)

“Augustinian prior Juan de Albarran, during the construction of the current church complex in 1735-40, built an enclosure around the cross. In 1834, Santos Gomez Marañon, the Augustinian bishop of Cebu (1829-40), had an octagonal temple built to protect the cross from the weather and devotees who, regarding it as miraculous, were accustomed to chip away splinters from it as relics,” Mojares wrote. “The “original” cross is now contained in another hollow hardwood cross set in the middle of a stone altar inside the kiosk.

Sala-Boza said the cross was once referred to as “the cross on Magallanes street” and became eventually known as Magellan’s Cross.

Magellan's Cross in 1965. ({Photo provided by the Basilica Minore del Sto.  Niño.

Magellan’s Cross in 1965. ({Photo provided by the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño.

“The lack of definitive documentary evidence on the identification of this cross obliges us to admit that it is a relic from the expedition of Legazpi, and not from that of Magellan,” Sala-Boza wrote in her study, quoting Villanueva’s 1969 work.

Did you know?

Until our research for the interactive marker that will be installed at the site, I did not know that it was granted an indulgence. To Catholics, an indulgence is “a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven.”

Bishop Santos Gomez Marañon granted the Magellan’s Cross plenary indulgence who those who pray before it every Feast of the Triumph of the Cross on September 14. The indulgence is gained by praying one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory to the Father for the intention of the pope in Rome.

PLENARY INDULGENCE. This framed document found in the basilica library is the actual plenary indulgence granted by Cebu Bishop Santos Gomez Marañon for the Magellan’s Cross.

PLENARY INDULGENCE. This framed document found in the basilica library is the actual plenary indulgence granted by Cebu Bishop Santos Gomez Marañon for the Magellan’s Cross.

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Heritage History TBT

Rizal Memorial Library and Museum

Along the modern urbanscape of Osmena Blvd. stands the pre-World War II neo-classical building the Rizal Memorial Library and Museum or commonly known to Cebuanos as the Cebu City Public Library.

The structure grew out of contributions from civic-minded residents way back in 1939 and is named after the country’s national hero and multi-talented scholar, Dr. Jose Rizal, who immortalized the phrase “the youth is the hope of our fatherland.”

Fronting the building is the statue of Jose Rizal with a book spread on his lap as he reads with two little children.

Rizal Memorial Library
BUILT FROM CONTRIBUTIONS. During the war in the 1940s, the Rizal Memorial Library was used as Japanese headquarters while the books and all were dumped in a nook at the Capitol building. (Photo used with permission by the Cebuano Studies Center of the University of San Carlos)

Contributions by Cebuanos

The monument’s plaque reads. “To the memory of the most outstanding Filipino educator, patriot, and martyr who is conscious of the importance of education, the people of Cebu voluntarily contributed to the construction of this memorial.”

The contribution came from the net proceeds of the literary-musical programs and carnival-expositions periodically held since 1919 in celebration of Rizal Days.

A committee composed of Cebu’s prime movers invested the money from the activities in the Cebu Mutual Loan Association, where, forgotten in later years, it was earning dividends.

Rizal Memorial Libray
The Jose Rizal Memorial Library today. (Photo from the Gabii Sa Kabilin app)

Japanese headquarters

In 1935, Governor Sotero Cabahug led the construction of the building, which on Dec 30, 1939 was inaugurated and christened as the Rizal Memorial Library.

During the war in the 1940s, the library building was used as Japanese headquarters while the books and all were dumped in a nook at the Capitol building. In 1953, the institution was reopened due to public clamor. The Cebu City Government appropriated a budget for the library collection and other operating expenses.

In 2009, the library was closed for the renovation of a cultural museum which is now located in the second level of the building. It resumed its operation in 2009.

The library is open from Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. In March 2018, however, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña ordered the library to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week upon the request of a student.

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Heritage History News Places

Gabii Sa Kabilin 2015 sites: A walkthrough

Gabii Sa Kabilin or Night of Heritage is the year’s most-awaited cultural and heritage event in Cebu. On this day, which is always the last Friday of May, museums, churches, temples and heritage houses in Cebu stay open until midnight. To preview and plan ahead your Gabii Sa Kabilin route on May 29, check out the story map we created below. To get a mobile guide to the event, which also serves as portable resource on heritage sites in Cebu, download the Gabii Sa Kabilin app for Android. The iOS version is still coming.

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Heritage History

Going on Visita Iglesia? Download a handy guide to Cebu’s heritage churches

Are you planning to visit seven churches this Holy Week in observance of the religious tradition Visita Iglesia?

Cebu-based journalism startup InnoPub Media, in partnership with Smart Communications, Inc. and the Archdiocese of Cebu, provides you a handy guide to the heritage churches in Cebu with the release of an updated version of its Visita Iglesia mobile phone app.

The app is available for download on iOS, Android, and Windows devices.

If you’re planning to observe the traditional Visita Iglesia or simply after visiting Cebu’s Spanish period stone churches, let the Visita Iglesia app guide you to where the structures are located in the province.

Visita Iglesia App
Visita Iglesia App. The app, available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone, is a handy reference to the heritage churches of Cebu.

Historical information

The app also provides historical and current information on centuries-old churches scattered across the whole span of the island, from its southern to northern tip.

Learn more about Cebu City’s Basilica del Sto. Nino, Boljoon’s Nuestra Patrocinio de Maria Church, or Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Bantayan as you visit these structures during Lent or any other time through the information provided in the app.

The VisitaIglesia app’s first version was released last year in time for Holy Week, when devotees visit seven churches, a tradition known as Visita Iglesia, typically during Maundy Thursday.

More churches are featured in the app’s latest version.

Digital Tourism program

The Visita Iglesia app is released as part of the nationwide Digital Tourism program of telecommunications leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and Cebu-based new media startup InnoPub Media. Digital Tourism harnesses mobile technology to deliver tourism, cultural and historical information.

The program includes the production of mobile phone apps and ebooks that are offered for free download to serve as guides to tourists. The program also includes the installation of interactive tourism markers that contain a QR or quick response code and NFC or near-field communications sticker to trigger the download of historical, cultural and tourism information into mobile devices.

Digital Tourism was pioneered in Cebu but is now also in Iloilo and Baguio City and is set for launch in Albay and Intramuros. The program was commended on mass motion by the Cebu City Council in January 2012 as an “ingenious way” to deliver tourism and historical information. It was also a recipient of an Anvil Award of Merit during the 49th Anvil Awards held last February 26, 2014.

Download the app

download-on-the-app-store

Android app on Google Play

Download from Windows Phone Store

 

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Feature Heritage History TBT

TBT: Fuente Scandal

It’s hard to imagine today but the Fuente Osmeña circle was considered dangerous in the 1900s because it was far from the city center. Fuelling the fear in that period was what author Lucy Urgello-Miller described in her book “Glimpses of Old Cebu” as a “scandalous, melodramatic case” that happened in the area.

On the morning of March 22, 1915, two bodies bearing multiple stab wounds were found near Fuente Osmeña, Miller recounted in her book. The two were identified as Ramon Santiago and Natividad Garcia Reyes.

Santiago was single. Natividad, on the other hand, was married to Carlos Reyes, whose family owned Bazaar Rizal, which Miller described as one of the biggest stores in Cebu at that time. The two were rumored to be having an affair.

Carlos was in Manila during the killings. His brother Elias, friend Isidro Jureidini and three of Elias’s servants were accused of the murder.

Fuente Osmeña history
Fuente Osmeña. This Cebu City landmark was built in 1912 to mark the opening of Osmeña Waterworks, now known as the Buhisan Dam. This photo was taken in 1915, close to the time of the murders discussed in this article. These three, it must be said, had nothing to do with the killings. (Photo used with permission of the Cebuano Studies Center of the University of San Carlos)

Sensational case

“It was a sensational case where the people of Cebu attended the packed trial faithfully for two years,” Miller wrote in her book.

A tartanilla driver later testified that he brought Natividad to Fuente, where Santiago was already waiting to bring her to the thickets. Another tartanilla driver testified that he brought Elias, Isidro and 2 other men to Fuente. Miller, however, wrote that the latter kept on switching his story.

The judge later convicted all the suspects and sentenced them to 17 years in jail, save for Sergio Orias, one of Elias’s servants. They appealed their case to the Supreme Court and were exonerated on January 22, 1917 because the magistrates found that the testimonies of witnesses were tampered with. They were subsequently released.

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Heritage History TBT

#TBT: Traffic much? Colon traffic and the ‘Best Trafficman of the Year’

This photo taken in about 1930 shows trafficman Pio Alo manning traffic on Colon Street. According to the information that accompanied this photograph at the Cebuano Studies Center archives, Alo was named “Best Trafficman of the Year” in the year this photo was taken.

Photo by Jose Martinez. This image is part of the Cebuano Studies Center collection at the University of San Carlos and is used in this site with permission from the center.
Photo by Jose Martinez. This image is part of the Cebuano Studies Center collection at the University of San Carlos and is used in this site with permission from the center.

Alo is shown inside a traffic box that was in use at that time. The box had an umbrella to shield trafficmen from rain or the heat of the sun.

At left is Vision Theater, where you can see a line of taxis from the Checkered Cab. Next to the theater, according to the photo info card, was the residence of the late Don Sergio Osmeña. It is now occupied by Eden Theater.

Across Vision theater was Cebu Lunch, a popular eatery at that time.

Here’s Colon Street today, in a photo taken by by USJ-R intern Nel Mozol just yesterday, January 15, 2015, at the general area of the photo above.

#TBT Colon
Colon today. (Photo by USJ-R Intern Nel Mozol)