Designated as a town in 1850, Zamboanguita was initially under the spiritual administration of Dauin until it was established as a parish by the Recollects dedicated to St. Isidore the Farmer some 15 years later.
The first Recollect missionary assigned to Zamboanguita when it became a parish on May 21, 1866 was Fr. Faustino Sanchez. He arrived in the town in December of that same year and was parish priest until September 1867.
Hamabar was one of the names of Rajah Humabon, the leader of Cebu, a flourishing trading post and settlement since the 10th century. He was also known as Humabad.
Humabon was regarded as the “wisest and bravest man on the island” of Sugbu (Cebu), the “king and lord over eight chieftains and over 2,000 lancers,” according to the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP).
“He was chieftain of the confederation of barangays and known as their supreme ruler. Cebu was then an entrepot, with a flourishing trade with Siam (Thailand), China, Borneo, etc. This was evident in the ornaments that adorned the bodies and clothes of its people, as well as in the fine china used in its royal houses and court.” the NHCP said.
Humabon was the chieftain of Cebu when the Armada de Molucca headed by explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in Cebu in 1521.
The chronicler of that expedition, Antonio Pigafetta, described him as a short and fat man who had his face painted with fire in diverse patterns.
“We found the king of Zzubu at his palace, seated on the ground on a mat of palms, with many people. He was naked except for a linen cloth covering his private parts, and round his head a very loose cloth, embroidered with silk. Round his neck he had a very heavy and rich chain, and in his ears two gold rings hung with precious stones,” read a translation of Pigafetta’s writings.
Humabon was named Carlos after the Spanish king when he was baptized together with his subjects into the Catholic faith by Magellan. His young and beautiful wife, given the name Juana like the king’s mother, was gifted with the image of the Sto. Niño in gratitude for their hospitality.
In memory of this man stands Plaza Hamabar, located across the Archdiocesan Museum of Cebu in Mabini St.
The oldest dated house in the Philippines was hidden in plain sight inside a warehouse in Cebu’s Parian district for many years.
Jaime Sy, who owns the house and Ho Tong Hardware within the compound, stumbled upon its significance quite by accident. At the Ateneo, when he was in college, Sy was flipping through a book of old Jesuit houses in the Philippines by Fr. Repetti when he made out a structure that looked familiar. It turned out to be the family bodega in Cebu.
Dionisio Alo stood seething with anger as authorities tore down the magnificent San Juan Bautista Parish Church in Parian in the late 1870s.
“His heart bled with every stone that was removed and all he could do was bite his lips causing them to also bleed,” said Ang Sugbo sa Karaang Panahon: An Annotated Translation of the 1935 History of Cebu by Fe Susan Go.
Alo, who was capitan of the Parian gremio, was so angry at the destruction that he unknowingly crushed the golden handle of his baston.
The destruction of what had been described in various historical sources as the most magnificent church in Cebu was the end of centuries of struggle between the local mestizo community and the Spanish friars who wanted control over the structure.
The Parian church, according to Go’s translation submitted to the University of San Carlos as her masteral thesis in history, “has never been surpassed by any other church that has been built in Cebu, such as the Cathedral, the Seminary and San Nicolas.” It was built in 1602.
What remains on the site today, the San Juan Bautista chapel, is but a faint reminder of an opulent past.
“The church was made of stone blocks, plastered together in a mixture of lime and the sap of the lawat tree. The roofs were made of tiles, and the lumber used was molave, balayong and naga. The paraphernalia used in the mass was made purely of gold, the pews were carved by a sculptor of the Parian, the altars were covered with stone slabs with money and gold inlaid, and the church bells were big and loud. The tolling of these bells was so loud that it could be heard as far as Hilotungan ang the town of Talisay,” Go said in her thesis.
“The Augustinian friars upon seeing the magnificence of the church of the Parian, got envious, and employed every shrewd means they could think of to take over the Parian church,” the thesis said.
Fr. Rafael Vasquez, a Parianon, however, fought back and kept the friars at bay.
Go said in one of her footnotes that Augustinian Fr. Santos Gomez Marañon filed a petition “to have the Parian parish supressed and incorporated into the Cathedral.”
Go said, “Many reasons for this request were given, but it definitely had the earmarks of a direct challenge against the dominance of the Chinese mestizo community of Parian and their elaborate church, which far outshone the cathedral.”
Through the years, however, the rivalry with Spanish friars continued with succeeding priests and capitans of the Parian gremio.
During the time of Don Pedro Rubi as Parian captain, the bishop ordered that masses be held at the church only on Sundays.
During the time of Don Maximo Borromeo as captain, the bishop “removed the right of the Visayas priests to officiate mass in the Parian Church.”
“In retaliation the residents of the Parian decided to make use of the school across from the church and converted it into a chapel where the parish priest of Parian could officiate the mass.”
In 1875, Dionisio Alo, known as Capitan Isyo, became capitan of the Parian gremio. With the San Juan Bautista fiesta in June approaching, Capitan Isyo called for a meeting to discuss preparations. The fiesta was a big affair in the area with most Parian residents spending “as much as three thousand pesos” for the celebration.
Capitan Isyo also wanted to discuss who would replace their parish priest, the Ilonggo Fr. Anselmo “Pari Imoy” Albanceña, who died in December 1874. The replacement would be celebrating the fiesta mass.
Fr. Tomas de la Concepcion, the parish priest of the cathedral, told the group “to request the bishop to appoint a white priest.” De la Concepcion said there was no Filipino priest capable of being named to the post.
Capitan Isyo, however, strongly disagreed and shouted at a cabeza de barangay who agreed with the suggestion.
“At that instance, a quarrel broke out between the two. While Capitan Isyo used his prerogatives as head of the mestizo gremio, Padre Tomas also made use of his power as representative of the Bishop in order to force Capitan Isyo to yield and accept (a) white priest as their parish and spiritual guide.”
The heated and bitter exchange ended with the two deciding not to hold a mass for the fiesta or even holding any celebrations.
Followers of Capitan Isyo feared he would be excommunicated and tried to change his mind but the nationalist community leader just told them, “I would prefer that the church be destroyed rather than have a friar in it.”
Fr. Tomas kept a grudge against Parian and “boasted to his priestly friends, especially the friars, that he was obsessed with the complete destruction of the Parian church.”
When Fr. Tomas reported the incident to the bishop, including Capitan Isyo’s declaration that he would rather have the church destroyed than have a white priest in it, the bishop felt insulted.
On June 24, 1875, the bishop forbade the parish priest from saying mass in the Parian church. The community’s fiesta celebration was also overseen by the Cathedral parish priest. Capitan Isyo could not do anything and his enemies made sure he would keep his post so that they could exact their revenge. They told residents that the capitan was to blame for what happened in Parian.
The bishop then ordered a Spanish engineer to check the durability of the Parian church. The engineer later informed the governor that the materials used to build the church were weak and the structure, including the stone wall that surrounded it, should be torn down.
The governor of Cebu then ordered the destruction of the church. He also ordered the bishop to take possession of everything inside the church, including its statues and bells.
While Ang Sugbo Sa Karaang Panahon listed the destruction of the church as having occurred in 1875-1876, Go said “the actual destruction of the church seems to have taken place in late 1878 or 1879.
According to information printed on a photograph found at the Cebuano Studies Center in the University of San Carlos, “the convent of the church was spared and was used later during the American regime as a public library and a fire station.”
Cement, iron, and steel come together to form the towering Heritage of Cebu Monument built right on the original Plaza Parian in Cebu City.
Conceptualized by the late National Artist sculptor Eduardo Castrillo, the mammoth structure depicts significant moments in Cebu’s history beginning with that fateful fight of April 21, 1521 in the island of Mactan where native chieftain Lapu-Lapu killed Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.
The monument also portrays as well the conversion of Rajah Humabon and his followers to Christianity, local revolution against Spanish rule, Cebuano veneration of Sto. Nino, and beatification of first Cebuano saint Pedro Calungsod.
Construction of the structure began in July 1997; its inauguration was on December 8, 2000.
Funding for the monument’s construction came from the late Cebuano senator Marcelo Fernan as well as private individuals and groups.
Historical structures carved into the huge monolith are the Basilica del Santo Nino, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, San Juan Bautista Parish Church, Magellan’s Cross, and a Spanish Galleon.
Also to be found in the monument are statues of the late president Sergio Osmena Sr. and Blessed Pedro Calungsod.
The structure is in Parian, which got its name from the word “pari-pari” meaning to barter or trade, according to scholar and historian Resil Mojares. It was where the wealthy Chinese merchants of old lived and held lavish events. A few homes constructed during the 17th to 19th century remain standing today.
Cebu’s history as told by the monument
Sergio Osmeña Sr.
Former Philippine president Sergio Osmeña Sr. is shown seated. Osmeña is also a former governor of Cebu, speaker of the House, and senator. He is the patriarch of the prominent Osmeña political clan that includes his son, former senator Sergio Osmeña Jr., and grandsons former senators Sergio Osmeña III and John Henry Osmeña, former governor Lito Osmeña, and former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña.
San Pedro Calungsod and Sinulog dancers
To the left is an image of San Pedro Calungsod, who was martyred in Guam in 1672 while doing missionary work. Calungsod was identified as from the Visayas. He is said to be from Ginatilan, Cebu. At right are Sinulog dancers on top of Fort San Pedro. Sinulog is both a dance that venerates the Sto. Niño and a festival held in his honor every 3rd Sunday of January.
From left, if you’re facing the monument, are the replicas of the 3 significant churches in Cebu: San Juan Bautista Parish Church, the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, and the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño. The San Juan Bautista church used to stand near this monument but it was destroyed in the 19th century. The story of its destruction can be read in the marker that is found near the chapel across the monument. Below the churches are dancers performing the Sinulog atop a replica of Fort San Pedro.
This scene commemorates the holding of the first mass in the Philippines. From the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, it was generally accepted that the first mass happened in Butuan. Scholars and historians, after studying Pigafetta’s accounts and other pieces of historical evidence, said that the mass recorded by the Italian chronicler happened in the island of Limasawa in Southern Leyte. Two panels organized by the National Historical Institute said that the mass on Easter Sunday on March 31, 1521 happened in Limasawa. Butuan, however, recently pushed forward another claim and the National Quincentennial Commission convened a panel led by National Artist and historian Resil Mojares to restudy the issue.
Battle of Mactan
Ferdinand Magellan died on the shores of nearby Mactan Island in the hands of native warriors led by chieftain Lapulapu. Magellan attacked the Mactan settlement after Lapulapu refused the order to provide food and other supplies and convert to Christianity.
That battle on April 27, 1521, is celebrated yearly as the Kadaugan sa Mactan or Victory in Mactan. In 2021, the country will commemorate its 500th year with a nationwide celebration.
The Portuguese explorer led the Armada de Molucca for Spain, meant to find a western route to the Moluccas or the spice islands. The existing eastern route was already controlled by Portugal.
Magellan led a fleet of five vessels. Of the five, only one eventually made it back to Spain. Magellan was killed in the Battle of Mactan on April 27, 1521.
Miguel Lopez de Legazpi
The Spanish navigator was known as El Adelantado. He was the first Governor-General of the Spanish East Indies that included the Philippines, Guam, and the Marianas Islands.
Legazpi arrived in Cebu on April 27, 1565. Locals led by Rajah Tupas fought the Spaniards but were subdued. A Spanish soldier later found inside one of the houses the image of the Sto. Niño given as a gift to Queen Juana when Magellan was in Cebu. The discovery led the Spaniards to name the settlement “Villa del Santisimo Nombre de Jesus.”
Leon Kilat and Cebuano revolutionaries
This scene shows Katipuneros in Cebu with their leader, Pantaleon Villegas, more popularly known as Leon Kilat. He led the rebellion against Spaniards that broke out on April 3, 1898, a Palm Sunday. He was, however, betrayed and killed in Carcar on April 8, a Good Friday.
Enrique Villanueva was erected as a town and parish close to 50 years after the creation of the first five parishes in the island of Siquijor.
It wasn’t part of the cluster of five parishes that were already established by 1877 under the religious administration of the Augustinian Recollects.
Formerly known as Talingting, from the species of fish that used to thrive abundantly in the area, it used to be a barrio of the Siquijor town of Cano-an that is now called Larena.
Talingting became Enrique Villanueva after the Negros Oriental governor who was instrumental in its creation as a town in 1925. The island of Siquijor was ceded to Negros Oriental from 1854 to 1892, becoming a sub-province in 1901 and independent province in 1971 by virtue of Republic Act No. 6398.
Enrique Villanueva doesn’t have a church that can trace its beginnings to the Spanish period. The parish, which has Our Lady of Mt. Carmel for patron, features a church of modern construction built in the early 20th century.
While it’s a fairly new structure, the church of Enrique Villanueva is one of six visited by devout Catholics as part of an island pilgrimage called Round Siquijor.
If you’re doing the pilgrimage, you are in the fifth stop of your undertaking. The chapel that houses the image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is where you light the seven candles and pray your special intention.
Next stop — the St. Vincent Ferrer Parish Church in Larena — is just 20 to 30 minutes by car or public transport.
The school was established by the friars of the Order of the Preachers as the Colegio de Santo Tomas de Nuestra Señora de Santissimo Rosario in 1611.
In 1645, It was raised to the status of a university by Pope Innocent X.
The university was graced with the following titles: “Royal” by King Charles III of Spain, 1785; “Pontifical” by Pope Leo XIII, 1902; and “Catholic University of the Philippines”by Pope Pius XII, 1947.
It was destroyed during the Second World War. It moved out of Intramuros in 1945 to Sampaloc, Manila, where its present campus now stands.
The office building that occupies the site was constructed in the 1960s.
The Beaterio de la Compaña de Jesus was established by the Venerable Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo in 1678. No less than the Archbishop of Manila approved the rules of the order in 1732.
It was granted royal recognition in 1755 and canonically approved by the Holy See in 1931. Destroyed during the Second World War, the beaterio was reconstructed as the Bagumbayan Light and Sounds Museum in 2003.