the 7,100 islands comprising the Philippines, Cebu has the
significance. At the time of the global
scramble for exotic spices in the East,a Portuguese navigator
sailing for Spain, Fernando Magallanes, came upon Zubu (Cebu)
on April 7, 1921 The island then was already a flourishing
village with "many sailing vessels from Siam (Thailand), China
and Arabia docked at the port" as described by Antonio Pigafetta,
Magallanes' chronicler. Then begun the Spanish era in the
Philippines. However, it deteriorated upon the death of Magallanes
in the hands of the brave local warrior, Lapulapu, only to
resurrect with the arrival 44 years later, in 1565, of Miguel
Lopez di Legazpi.
Its rich and colorful
metamorphosis can be traced from 1521 as Zubu, the fishing
village and busy trading port, to Villa San Miguel, later
to Villa del Santissimo Nombre de Jesus in 1575, then as the
municipality of Cebu in 1905 up to its being a chartered city
on February 24, 1937.
In the 19th century,
Cebu started to exercise a dominant role in Southern Philippines'
economic limelight. Agriculture, especially sugar cane cultivation
and sugar manufacturing, pushed Cebu into playing an important
role in this part of the country. But even more crucial than
the agricultural products was her participation in trade and
commerce. Proudly, Cebu has been given the honor as having
many 'firsts' in the nation's history. Established by Legazpi
in 1571, it became the first city in the Philippines, ante-dating
Manila by 7 years. In point of fact, it is the oldest city
in the country, having the oldest and smallest fort (Fort
San Pedro), with the oldest church (Basilica of Sto. Niņo),
the oldest school (San Carlos) and the oldest street (Colon).
Referred to as the Queen City of the South and the seat of
early Filipino Christianization, Cebu is also famous for its
musical stringed instruments like banduria, guitar and piccolo.
Today, Cebu boasts
of being the only city in the Philippines with the perfect
blend of a business center and an entertainment hub.