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Do you know the Eraserheads song “Downtown”? Well, I don’t expect 75 percent of Carolinians know this song and maybe know this famous OPM band. Let me give you an excerpt of this song:
“Take a left to the freeway, we’re going downtown The weather is fine tonight, everybody get down I got my red backpack, strapped and in tact Anywhere is a 20 minute ride, on and on in the sea of feedback.”
Some of you might wonder how is this relevant to our History class tour, “Kabataan, Kultura ug Kabilin”, that was organized by our dear Alma Mater in partnership with the good guys from the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. There were no freeways in downtown Cebu, the weather was against us, and my backpack wasn’t red. But we saw a different downtown Cebu. You can feel and hear the “sea of feedback” between students wondering the treasure beneath the city’s forgotten area.
Everyone who has been in downtown knew how polluted and how disorganized it is. It was the former financial district of the queen city of the south; the gateway of Cebu to the world. But one should never forget the rich cultural heritage this area in our nation’s history. I can tag downtown as “Cebu’s Neglected Cultural Haven” and I hope the ones whom my father voted for their seats can do something.
The first landmark that quickly caught my eye was the Magellan’s Cross. That shrine was the reason why I’m here in Cebu. It was like the Statue of Liberty for me as it gave me the hope to start my future in the city that I revered since my childhood. I asked one volunteer there if he believes that the original cross is still encased in its Tindalo wood. He said yes and I accepted his answer even though I don’t believe that an encasing a wood within a wood can preserve it.
After we went to the majestic Basilica and Magellan’s Cross, we took a quick walk and went to the old port area. There I learned a fact about Sugbo’s meaning is “to wade in water” and it was in 1860 that Cebu was opened to World trade and that place was the witness to the rise and the revolution of Cebu’s economy. We rode a tartanilla (horse-drawn carriage) from the port to the historic Fort San Pedro. It was Cebu’s Intramuros and inside the fort is Pigafetta’s map of Cebu. It looks very bizarre and the map of Cebu looks very similar to U.S.A. Well, he made that way back in 1521 and we cannot blame him for there was no great technology to assist him in the exact rendition of Cebu.
Rain did not halt our adventure and we went to Casa Gorordo to learn more about this historic house. Well it wasn’t just your typical Spanish ancestral house for the family who lived there was one of Cebu City’s foundation. There were two books that made my eyes so big. The Gorordo family holds a facsimile of the original manuscript of our national hero’s novels, the Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. How I envy them for safekeeping that treasure! I was mesmerized how they collected so many encyclopedias like Geografia Universal.
Our last stop to our wet journey is the Colon Street Obelisk. We had a very hard time locating that place for people we asked don’t know where it was located. I tried to speak in Bisaya but still they cannot give us the exact location. It’s just a simple landmark but it has a great history about our nation’s oldest street. It was like the intersection between the old Financial and Shopping Centre Colon and the current dilapidated and forgotten street.
I would like to thank everyone who organized it even though it wasn’t perfect as there were some minor problems and the weather didn’t go quite as we expected. But surely it was a great experience for the students of University of San Carlos to embrace and learn our history not just by classroom discussions but also some outside interactions. It’s great to see the new generation witnessing the old world.
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Result: Won 1st place, Write-up Contest, Kabataan Kultura ug Kabilin
Karbun: The Sixth, the Base, the Diamond.
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