Cebu City is known for its rich history. The famous Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan landed here in April 7, 1521 and was welcomed by Rajah Humabon king of Cebu. Rajah Humabon and his people converted to Christianity and were baptized by Magellan’s priest.
In spite of being a Portuguese, Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition was under the banner of Spain. His proposed expedition to the king of Portugal was refused several times, so he went to the king of Spain and was granted funding.
In April 27, 1521, Ferdinand Magellan died in the Battle of Mactan lead by the Philippine’s first national hero Lapu-Lapu.
What most people don’t know is that, he’s not the first European explorer who landed in the Philippines. A European explorer named Tomé Pires wrote about Luzon which he refers to as Luções or Luzones during his expedition around 1512-1515.
Here’s what he wrote:
“The Luções are about ten days’ sail beyond Borneo. They are nearly all heathen; they have no king, but they are ruled by a group of elders. A robust people, little thought of in Molucca. They have two or three junks at the most.”
“The Borneans go to the lands of the Luções to buy gold, and foodstuffs as well, and the gold which they bring to Molucca is from the Luções and from the surrounding islands which are countless; and they all have more or less trade with one another. And the gold of these islands where they trade is of low quality – indeed very low quality …”
The Account of the Genoese Pilot (Leone Pancaldo) says that in March 1521, when Magellan’s expedition arrived at the small island of Malhou, in the south-eastern Philippine Islands, the natives informed them that ‘they had already seen there other men like them‘, which suggests that possibly even before 1521, there were other Europeans that already visited the archipelago.
The 300 years of Spanish occupation in the Philippines left very large traces of their culture in our country. In Cebu City alone, you’ll find several Spanish style structures, houses, churches and artworks from medieval to classic.
Then why travel quickie?
When we planned to go to Bohol in November 2011, we realized that the most practical way to get there is by passing through Cebu City first. Passing through meant meeting at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport first, then waiting for half a day because our ferry’s departure is at 1:00pm. A lot can happen in half a day so we took advantage of the wait time by indulging into something forbidden (by punctual people waiting for a departure), a travel quickie.
Wandering around before a scheduled departure is a bit risky but we were willing to take it. It’s hard to anticipate what problems we might encounter along the way but we still went for it.
Since quick travel requires a seamless transfer from one place to another, we hired a taxi cab to maximize time. Thanks to my wife’s haggling skills, the taxi driver agreed to get paid P800.00 for our half-day tour. She later paid him P1,000.00 instead because of his friendliness.
This is just an introduction to our Cebu City Travel Quickie series. Please join us in discovering Cebu City’s beauty and find out how many tourist spots we were able to go to in just a short period of time.