Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Danao City's Scenic Diosdado Macapagal Park and Boardwalk (Cebu Province)

Durano-Macapagal Boardwalk 
I first encountered Danao when I had to inadvertently take a different ocean route out of Camotes Island due to an impending storm a few years ago. It was a fast transit because I had to catch a flight thereafter. But even then, I vowed to come back to check out the city located some two hours north of Cebu City. With its population of 120,000, Danao is part of the conurbation of Metro Cebu and enjoys a certain vibrancy to its daytime demeanor.

With a well organized transport terminal beside a Gaisano Mall, it's a breeze getting in and out of Danao. I was also aware that Danao Church required a visit. But what caught me by surprise was how elegant the center of town was. As a coastal city, the government made use of the seaside complex to build a promenade - the President Diosdado Macapagal Park and Boardwalk as it's written in the park. The local government's website however refers to the 13,000 square meter facility as the Durano-Macapagal Boardwalk. The fish port and pier are nearby.

Plaza Rizal is contiguous and overlaps with the promenade. You can't miss Jose Rizal's statue standing on a roundabout. Like many other Philippine towns, Rizal's statue graces the town plaza, and why not? If European capitals like the ones in Switzerland and Spain have parks paying homage to Rizal, why not our own cities and towns?

There's an old canon nearby, and Danao Church is just a block away from here. The Spanish vintage church is made of coral blocks with white-washed angels guarding the front. The Augustinian friars constructed it in 1671. It is 343 years old as of this writing!  


Local legend has a Spanish Captain, Manuel Aniceto del Rosario traveling around northern Cebu. He was tasked by the Spanish government to build and develop towns. While resting beside a lake, the captain met a few resting natives with their carabaos. He then asked where he was. Thinking that he was asking about the lake, one of the farmers answered, "danawan" (Visayan term for a "small lake"). The Spanish Captain then documented the place as "Danao" which really underlined the fatuousness or laziness of some of our early colonizers. Getting a name right is part of your job, buddy!

The poblacion is pretty much concentrated near the eastern coast where the main highway travels on a north-to-south axis. There's a playground called "Children's Paradise" with a misplaced heroic statue of a Filipino guerrilla raising his rifle as he steps on a lifeless body of an enemy, presumably a Spaniard or a Japanese. Why misplaced? Because while we adhere to nationalism, an impressionable child might think that killing a man is heroic. Messages like that have to be contextualized to avoid misinterpretations. There should be signs that explain the statue. After all, this is a playground; children can't just hop on the slides and swings and absolutely disregard the said statue.

Another church worth visiting is the St. Antonio of Padua Church, more popularly called "Durano Foundation Church", located some 15 minutes west of town. The city acknowledges a beloved local figurehead - Ramon Durano, Sr., known as the "Father of Danao". The city is, make no mistake, the bailiwick of the powerful Durano clan. It is also home of guns and ammunition. This gun industry has been legalized by the local government, owing to its history which dates back to 1905; the same industry that, for a short time, went underground during the second World War.

The boardwalk provides a leisure place and a breathing space for its people. I did not expect to find anything this scenic outside Cebu City, to be honest, but I am up for a lot more surprises as I traveled south of Cebu. But that's for another story. In my next post, I shall feature Danao Church.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

A memorial for President Diosdado Macapagal (above and below).

Plaza Rizal is just beside the boardwalk.

A school is located beside Danao Church.

Children's Paradise

Danao Church is 343 years old!

Danao City Hall

Ramon Durano, Sr. - the Father of Danao

Danao City Terminal beside Gaisano Capital Mall

Hop on a multicab to get your ride back to Cebu City.

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