Saturday, February 13

Chronologicals of Cebu

 
Long Time Ago, Cebu was called Sugbo. Cebuanos lived in stilt houses made of bamboo, wood and nipa. Men were extensively tattooed and women were lavishly ornamented with gold jewelries, silks and lip color.
Prior to Spanish colonization, the city was the center of trade in the south, where Chinese ships arrived with silks and porcelains which they exchanged for honey, gold, wood and spices from Mollucas. Unreasonable trade restrictions of the colonizing Spanish caused the rapid decline of Cebu as a trading port. However, in 19th century, restrictions were lifted and brought back the commercial life of the city.

The Spanish troops headed by Ferdinand Magellan arrived Cebu in 1521 with a friendly reception from the island villagers. He made friends with Rajah Humabon and converted most of the locals to Christians including the leader’s family. But when Magellan reached the narrow strait to Mactan Island, the reception was not similar. He encountered a negative response and had a hard time entering the area. Lapu Lapu, the chief, resisted his entry and fought against the Spanish troops leaving Magellan lifeless on the ground. Cebu’s invasion was delayed until Legazpi and Fray Andres de Urdaneta arrived in 1566.


The historic Fort San Pedro has served many purposes to the Cebuanos. It was constructed in 1565 upon the arrival of Legazpi on the ship San Pedro but remained unfinished until 1738. Originally intended to protect the island from Muslim raiders, the port also served as the barracks and defense post of the US army during the American occupation; a prison camp during the 3 year Japanese invasion; the city zoo; and now a small park. For many centuries, renovations have removed the waterfront lying few blocks from the Fort.


Cebu City is a significant cultural centre in the Philippines. The city's most famous landmark is Magellan's Cross. This cross, now housed in a chapel, was supposedly planted by Ferdinand Magellan when he arrived in the Philippines in 1521. It was encased in hollow tindalo wood in 1835 upon the order of the Augustinian Bishop Santos Gómez Marañon to prevent devotees from taking it home chip by chip. The same bishop restored the present template or kiosk, located at the present Magallanes street between the City Hall and Colegio del Santo Niño. Revered by Filipinos, the Magellan's Cross is a symbol of Christianity in the Philippines.



Cebu City is an independent and chartered city. Registered voters of the city cannot vote for provincial candidates unlike its nearby counterparts (Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Talisay cities) that form part of Metro Cebu. It is the capital of the province mainly because the provincial capitol is located in it. There were proposals however during the time of Governor Emilio Mario Osmeña to establish an "administrative district" that would be independent from Cebu City. This would literally mean carving out Cebu City's Barangay Capitol where the provincial capitol and other provincial offices are located. The plan however didn't push through and was even followed by other proposals like the transfer of the capital to Balamban.

Cebu City is governed mainly by a city hall, composed of one mayor, one vice-mayor and sixteen councilors (eight representing the northern and eight representing the southern region). Each official is elected publicly to a three year term. The chief of the Association of Barangay Captains and the President of the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation also managed in the city council. The day to day administration of the city is handled by a city administrator.
Tomas Osmeña is the mayor of Cebu City. He was elected in 1988 and re-elected in the 2004 Philippine elections. Michael Rama is the vice mayor .

Cebu City considered as one of the most progressive cities in the Philippines. About 80 percent of the island vessels operating in the country are also based there. Recently, the entry of business process outsourcing (BPO) firms such as call centres have contributed much to the growth of the local economy.

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