100 Days in Cebu, Part 6
Colon Street was the first street ever named in the Philippines. Located in downtown Cebu City, this street was named after the Italian navigator who led many of Spain’s world voyages, Christopher Columbus, who was also known by his Spanish name Cristóbal Colón.
In its early years, Colon was a major thoroughfare lined with residential houses, shops, and offices closely similar to those in the Spanish-time Intramuros and Vigan. It was the center of business for a long time, a busy place for trade, social and cultural events.
Today, Colon Street is a far cry from what it was hundreds of years ago. First, it’s no longer just a street but a national road, the shortest and oldest in the country. In 1999, the National Historical Institute declared Colon a historical landmark, but one that struggles to tell its glorious days. For a non-local or perhaps the modern-generation Cebuanos, there’s barely left of the old days that can easily make them connect to its rich past, because all there is to see now is a rugged street labeled by many as run-down, ugly, and Bronx-like. The ancestral houses are long gone.* There are still, however, a number of century-old buildings, cinemas, and horse-drawn carriages that will make you feel like it’s an old city.
As a center of trade and commerce, however, Colon Street has not lost its hustle and bustle. It’s still a very busy place with an atmosphere like Manila’s Quiapo and Divisoria and is home to many shops and establishments. There are many cheap buys from every store: sunglasses, DVDs, textile, street food, spare parts for your car. Name it, Colon Street has it. There are also a number of universities in the area including the University of Cebu and the University of the Visayas.
From Colon Street, other tourist spots are accessible. One can have a walking tour to Magellan’s Cross, Basilica Minore del Santo Nino, Cebu Cathedral, Plaza Independencia, and ort San Pedro.
* I have only read about the Yap-Sandiego ancestral house, but haven’t yet visited the place.
** Photos taken with Cherry Mobile Flare.