Monday, November 28, 2011

Cebu Three - Fort San Pedro, Plaza Independencia, Carbon Market, Ocean View

Cebu City is small. In fact, it's sight-seeing checklist is conveniently completed within two days. I also resisted visiting the city's major malls, SM City and Ayala Center, the city's premiere shopping malls, just so I can leisurely concentrate on the real sights. After ruling out the possibilities of visiting Danao (giant pope statues and life-size stations of the cross), I've abandoned the idea after getting pissed off listening to the ladies minding the internet cafe at Josh's Internet (along Jones/Osmena). I couldn't concentrate.


Most days I don't mind, but one particular counter lady talked at the top of her whiny voice; a irritating voice, it bore deep down my hypothalamus. She was flirting with her male guest overtime and escaping the assault of senses was difficult since I was seated beside them. The other girl kept announcing, "Malibang ko" (She wanted to move her bowels!). It had to be repeated ad nauseam even after she eventually relieved herself. "Kalibangun na pud ko," (She felt like pooping - again!) she proudly announced to the whole community. If I'd get a million dollar every time I heard her desire for bowel movement, I'd be a multimillionaire now. Geesh.

I've never known a bunch of ladies so proud of their pooping. Ever.

From the internet shop, I hopped into a jeep heading towards "Santo Nino" (Basilica Minore del Santo Nino). I was Colon-bound again. This time, there were fewer vehicles plying Osmena Avenue. It was a Sunday and the world moved at a more relaxed speed.

I reached Plaza Sugbu flanked by Cebu City Hall and Magellan's Cross. From a distance, I saw supermarkets bearing "City Hall" in their names. I wonder if they paid royalties for such use. I walked further ahead, passing by Magellan's Cross and beyond. Old buildings in several state of decay dot the streets. I could hear the rush of the waves from the sea nearby. Unfortunately, there's no promenade facing the sea. It could be a popular hang-out had the local government meandered on one.

Jose Rizal writing his prose, "Mi Ultimo Pensamiento", standing beside Cebu City Hall.

La Nueva Supermarket City Hall Center and Prince City Hall Supermart

Cebu Ports Authority

Plaza Independencia has been refurbished, now scenic and beautifully maintained. Old gigantic trees, benches, grassy lawns, a gazebo, statues of Ramon Magsaysay and Miguel Lopez de Legaspi; another statue honoring the war veterans; very quaint! At one point, a group of kids shouted at me, "Keep off the grass, kuya!" I looked around and saw no signs from my entrance (the one beside the Cebu Ports Authority area). I scampered to get to the pavement. True enough, there were a couple of "keep off the grass" signs at the other end of the plaza complex. But none from my entrance.

Veterans Monument at Plaza Independencia

An idyllic sight to behold beside Cebu Ports Authority which not a lot of people can enjoy.

Scenic Plaza Independencia has majestic trees that date back from Cebu's historical past.

I was finally able to enter Fort San Pedro (photo below) - for the first time. At a measly P30, I stepped into the fort complex, a Spanish installation (the first, oldest and smallest Spanish installation in the country). The old museum inside has since moved to another building elsewhere (Museo sa Sugbo), but the room still bears Apolinario Mabini's letters to his Cebuano Katipuneros, as well as a few "bolos".

There's nothing much left to do but climb up to the lookout viewpoint, a sturdy concrete pavement the surrounds the whole fort. There were several Koreans going around the fortress, and a noisy bunch of Filipinos who hugged each spots for minutes, it was hard to take a photo without anyone of them in sight.

Fort San Pedro - the country's first, oldest, smallest Spanish fortress facing the Visayas Sea.

Bolos used by Andres Bonifacio's Katipuneros (revolutionary men)

Graphic representation of Fort San Pedro. It was once a triangular fort made of wood!

From Fort San Pedro, I checked out the Postal Office (Cebu Central Post Office) nearby which was closed since it was the weekend. I tried to find a place that directly overlooked the ocean, but no views were seen anywhere nearby.

I made my way back to Plaza Sugbu and walked along Magallanes Street until I reached San Jose Recoletos University. It was a pleasant sight, huge and beautifully constructed. Just across it is Freedom Park, the "green spot" I found from my map. Mysteriously, there's nothing green there but the leafy vegetables being sold. Freedom Park has ceased to exist and has been turned into rows and rows of makeshjft stalls and shops selling ukay-ukay (second hand garments, think Oxfam), flowers, fruits and vegetables. It was an ugly place, to be pretty fair about it. Freedom Park has been annexed to Carbon Market.

San Jose Recoletos University

Talk about a bouquet of roses... a little lass peddles her blood-red flowers in Carbon Market.

Seemingly abandoned Gottaoco Building previously home of a PCIBank.

I preferred walking Colon Street the day before than going around these chaotic streets completely overcome by vendors and snail-paced jeepneys. Colon, the country's first street, in its crumbling majestic presence, had a lot of character. It reeked of many untold stories from a rich historical past.

I walked around the cascading little streets of the market, immersing myself in such lively local color. People were spilling over this bustling district, even on a Sunday afternoon. I saw the tasteful colors of Oriente Cinemas, an old landmark in the area, along with several other movie houses that we've mentioned from our last post.

This place beats with a pulsating rhythm. It anchors its activities from a crumbling past, but it lives on like a rejuvenated soul. I was witnessing urban decay. But there's a palpable electricity that will probably translate to eventual urban renewal.

Can't wait to see that in this lifetime. Maybe in a decade.


I met her in her most ebullient. "Friends na tayo," (We're now friends) she declared with an infectious grin, without giving me time to ponder. I wasn't in anyway close to any of her friends. In fact, I was there as a favor for my brother. But like a breeze of pleasant wind, she became a friend. She didn't smile; she laughed. She didn't declare; she exclaimed! Her phone calls started like jovial puns and fiery flights of fancy. One day, she learned she was sick. We spoke less. I last spoke to her when she unexpectedly rang a couple of months ago - to seek advise for a TV series she was writing for, and to talk about her trip to Prague. The call bristled with hope and excitement. It lasted for 40 minutes, like she wasn't afflicted with anything fatal.

Last Saturday, she succumbed to breast cancer - in an unGodly time of 4:30 AM while people still dreamed of dreams.

Her decision to go the contentious alternative route took the air off her giggles and ultimately off her breath with so much anguish and pain. Cancer spreads even when you fight back. Imagine when you don't. There are still questions I couldn't help but ask; but it's all moot and academic.

The world is a less happier place without you. But I shall pray for you, my dear friend. May you have a safe journey to the world beyond. Your friends will sorely miss your laughter. I already do. Goodbye, Kune.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Deserted building has an enviable ocean view beside the highway. Imagine the possibilities if this has a park or promenade? Most other cities would kill for such a space. In Cebu, they haven't considered such. Maybe in a few years?


Ola said...

when I saw the Veterans Monument I had one question-why this form? what it is supposed to represent? Any idea?

I like the port views-so sunny and colorful

eye in the sky said...

I saw the sign in the emblems of these veterans too, but I have no idea what they mean. :)

Siddhartha Joshi said...

Hahaha...I never knew women could be so frank about their bowel movements! :)))

And a fort made of wood! Never heard of anything so unusual...interesting thought though!

eye in the sky said...

Me neither. She was made of sterner stuff, proclaiming to the world how much pleasure she derives from taking crap. :)