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Saturday, July 28

Colon Street: Philippines’ Oldest Calle in Cebu

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The obelisk marker at Colon Street in Cebu signifies its historical root as the oldest street established in the Philippines.

Colon Street is said to be the oldest street established in the Philippines. It was rooted back to the plans by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi who arrived in the Philippines in 1565, and was named after Christopher Columbus. Now, Colon Street in the heart of Cebu City in Cebu is a busy downtown street lining up stalls, stores, boutiques, business shops, offices, cafes and a lot more. In 2006 there was a plan to rehabilitate the said “calle” to convert it into a tourism zone.

Some of the big schools in the Central Philippines are located in Colon Street. (University of the Visayas on photo)

Part 2 of Cebu Heritage Tour (A Beginner’s Guide to Cebu)

University of the Visayas Colon Campus
It was our first stop on our Cebu trip. After we left our things in the baggage section of Sugbutel (we did not sleep here but we left our baggage for a charge of P25), we rode on a jeepney passing through Colon (code 12G P8 fare). To go to Colon Street, you can check out my post “How to Go to Cebu Attractions: Colon to Casa Gorordo”.

I really do not know how to get to Colon, and thus I told the konduktor to drop me off to Colon. We arrived to it somehow. Since our hunger could not last anymore, we decided to eat at McDonald’s in Colon Street. It was a bright sunny day when we went to Colon, or else I cannot imagine myself walking through the rain and wandering around the corners of the city. For travelers who want to roam Cebu City, plan it on a summer day. It doesn’t guarantee a bright sunny day but at least it alleviates the chance that it would be a rainy day. In Baguio, roaming along Session Road during rainy season is a bit thrill, like wearing a jacket, chilling by the cool breeze and speaking with a craze of “smoke” coming out of your mouth (yes that “usok” effect when you breathe out through your mouth when actually you don’t smoke). I guess it wouldn’t be that good to tour Cebu on a rainy day, I just don’t feel it haha. Besides, historical landmarks are the main attractions of Cebu and you don’t want to get inside their museum wet, do you?

Colon Street, Cebu City

Colon Street is like any other street in the country, except that it’s the first ever street established in the Philippines. Walking it one finds some old establishments (I’m not sure if they’re old, but it seems though). I saw an old cinema house along Colon Street and I was surprised that these kinds of establishments still do exist (because cinema houses these days are inside malls and shopping centers). Some of the big schools of Cebu are also located here like University of Cebu (UC) and the University of the Visayas (UV).

I don’t find it to be a main attraction, or a must-see in Cebu, but somehow it can serve as a side trip to the next attractions like Cebu Heritage Monument and Yap-San Diego Ancestral House. At the end of Colon Street there was a standing obelisk. It signifies the historical root of the street, showing the people it’s the oldest of its kind in the country.

I just noticed though that some of the plaques or marbles hinged at the obelisk marker were already gone. I hope the government of Cebu reconsiders the plan to make Colon Street a robust business district, redesigning the lengthy road into a boulevard of old architecture and art, like Calle Crisologo in Vigan (lots of historical landmarks are also found in this city up north). I find Calle Crisologo in Vigan an interesting work of human art, and if only Colon Street will be somehow that way, I’d appreciate it better. I want to reimagine Colon Street a main road in Cebu lining up the best restaurants, shops, cafes, schools and other stores. It needs not to be a center of high skyscrapers. Comparing it to Baguio, Session Road is far better than Colon Street. Both of them have historical roots (Session Road was so named because of the economic “sessions” done in that street). The only difference somehow is that Session Road has that appeal because of its “preserved” value, art and somehow architecture and lots of fine dining and budget restaurants are also there. I guess Colon Street just needs a revamp.

Sadly, some of the frames hinged in this marker were already lost.
Okay enough of the commentary, let’s just hope someday the oldest street in the Philippines will also become the liveliest street and the most meaningful among them all, a street of heritage and calesa rides, and a culture of Cebuanos we tourists would ever want to feel. Nevertheless, Colon Street still serves as one of Cebu’s historical landmarks.

Cebu Heritage Tour (A Beginner’s Guide to Cebu) Travel Series:

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1 comment:

  1. "After we left our things in the baggage section of Sugbutel (we did not sleep here but we left our baggage for a charge of P25)"
    When did you pick up your baggage?
    It was not detailed in the sample itinerary :)
    Was wondering how far is Sugbutel from the last destination on the Heritage Walk Tour.


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