This flight of steps in Samboan that goes all the way down to the coastal highway is called Jacob’s Ladder or Escala de Jacob.
It was named after Jacob, the biblical ancestor of the 12 tribes of Israel who in his dream saw a ladder extending all the way from earth to heaven, explained the Filipinas Heritage Library.
Before the coastal highway that snakes around the island of Cebu was constructed, the steps that ascend up to the town center, which is located on a plateau over 200 feet high, began on the seashore. A portion of the stairway was demolished to make way for the coastal road.
Built in 1878 upon the instruction of then parish priest Fr. Toribio Gerzon, the hand-carved staircase of flat stones and lime was intended to make it easier for parishioners in the low-lying areas to attend mass.
Like any Spanish settlement in the Philippines, the central complex was where all the important buildings were located. In the case of the Philippine pueblos, the blueprint was for the settlement center to host the church, rectory, municipal hall, and plaza.
In the case of Samboan, the St. Michael Archangel Parish Church was built atop the plateau and best accessed from the lowlands through the Escala de Jacob.
The staircase, now made up of 147 steps, immediately ends at the town’s three-storey Campanario de Antigua (Ancient Watchtower).