The Heritage of Cebu Monument rises on a gated triangular patch of land called Parian Park bordered by three narrow streets in Barangay Parian, a few hops from the northern tip of Colon. It’s an eye-popping showcase of artistry that mostly depicts the start of colonial rule in the country. In it elaborate artistry, the struggle for freedom isn’t lost on us. This pastiche of handpicked events are an amalgam of what transpired in a historical past peppered by hundreds of years of colonial invasions – from the Spaniards to the Americans and the Japanese, though the spine tingling, albeit horrific invasion of Japan has been stricken out from this collection.
Commissioned during the time of Mayor Alvin Garcia, the monument was an original idea of the artist Eduardo Castrillo and the mayor. Conceptualized in 1996, construction of the monument began in 1997 and took 3 years to complete (December 8, 2000). According to The Freeman, during the excavation for its foundation, artifacts of pre-Spanish Cebuanos were dug out, which unearthed skeletons and several stonewares, plates and jars. There was indeed evidence that local civilization flourished way before the arrival of Ferdinand Magelllan, the iconic “discoverer” of the Philippines – as though the country only started to matter once he set foot on our soils. This one coming from men who wore tights and, on occasion, skirts. Such conceit, indeed.
On cursory glance, we can enumerate some of its detail: the arrival of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his Spanish crew of 150 in huge galleon ships; the introduction of Christianity, and the country’s first mass; a Santo Nino procession; the fierce Battle of Mactan with chieftain Lapu Lapu leading the pack; the revolution of 1896, and, curiously, a statue of the imposing Manuel Quezon, the first President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines (as sanctioned by the United States of America) who envisioned the possible annexation of the country into U.S. statehood.
The park's surrounding area is residential, but just across the entrance, you will find the Pari-an Fire Station, circa 1954, one of the oldest existing fire stations in the country. Just beside it is a small Chapel of San Juan Bautista (John the Baptist). Crossing the street will get you to the Yap-San Diego House, known to be the oldest preserved residential dwelling in the country which has been turned into a museum.
The past continually guides us so that we don’t commit the same mistakes, nor allow intrusions into our sovereignty.
This is the Eye in the Sky!
Chieftain Lapu Lapu
Manuel L. Quezon
The first mass held in the Philippines happened on Easter Sunday, March 31, 1531. It transpired in an island named Mazaua, as witnessed by Antonio Pigafetta, Gines de Mafra, Frnacisco Albo, and Martin de Ayamonte in Limasawa, a town at the tip of southern Leyte, now Butuan City.
Parian Fire Station circa 1954
San Juan Bautista Chapel
Some European tourists checking out the monument.