Saltwater Eeel or Bakasi
Photo by jobrown777

Cebu is our home. We live on Cebu soil and breathe Cebu air daily. We are Cebu. While many of us think that we know everything about our humble abode, do we, really?

I don’t. So to bridge the gap between us and our homeland, take a quick read at these 10 fast facts you probably don’t know about Cebu yet.

Cebu is NOT the Queen City of the South

Fuente Osmena

Photo by Reche Gelig

Legally. The title is well associated with Cebu, but it was not given to us officially. It was granted to Iloilo because of the flourishing growth of the city back in the days– which the queen loved. The title was given through a Royal Decree. Yep, it was that serious.

But since Cebu thrived economically more than Iloilo did, after the Spanish regime, the title was then shifted to Cebu to give honor to Cebu’s hard-earned power. However, this was not an official declaration. Quoting from our article about Cebu being the Queen City of the South:

“It then gained the designation as “The Queen City of the South” – an honorary title it earned not by becoming loyal to other country, but by emerging as the second most powerful province next to the King.”

So to close all arguments, Cebu is NOT the official Queen City of the South.

One of the country’s well-loved President died in a plane crash in Mt. Manunggal

Mt. Manunggal

Photo by Jay Tutor

Mt. Manunggal

Photo by Jay Tutor

Mt. Manunggal

Photo by Robert Sullano

 

He was “The Guy”, “The People’s President” and “The Champion of the Common Man” as known to many. These titles were given to him because of his outstanding governance and his impeccable impact on the Filipino people, most especially to the masses.

He was celebrated. President Ramon Magsaysay, the 3rd President of the Philippines, died on Cebu soil on March 1957, after a quick take off from the Lahug airport.

The plane crashed in Mt. Manunggal, killing the beloved President and many more. The entire nation mourned over his untimely death. Today, Mt. Manunggal is not just a beautiful peak to witness the sea of clouds at but a historical place where a hero’s life ended in just a matter of minutes, is remembered.

Saltwater Eels are a popular street food

Bakasi

Photo by Marivic Carbonilla Sabla-on

Contrary to the northern part of the Philippines’ belief, Bakasi, or Saltwater Eels, is indeed a popular street food among the Cebuanos. Probably not among the upper social class because bakasi is mostly served as street food (in carenderias) and not in big restaurants, but it is widely consumed.

There are plenty of ways to cook eels. You can deep-fry them, or try the adobo style, but the most famous is linarang. Larang is usually compared to Tinuwa (or Tinola, for non-Cebuano speakers), another sour soup with fish– but Larang serves a different taste and texture, especially if eels are used as the main viand.

So yes, Bakasi deserves a global recognition, too, as it represents Cebu so well.

The first tourist submarine in the Philippines was launched in Cebu

Cebu Sumbmarine

Photo from Travelers Couch

Did you know that we actually have a legit submarine where tourists can tour under the sea? It launched years ago in Mactan, but unfortunately, the yellow submarine is now under Boracay’s waters.

The reason why Cebu does not own the submarine anymore is probably because of permit issues, and it is damaging our coral reefs. More details on our previous article on the Philippines’ first submarine here.

Cebu has over 100 islands

Bantayan Island

Photo from Dodzki Photography

Cebu may be just a small piece of island when viewed on a map, but our home actually consists of 167 more islands and islets– making Cebu one of the best places in the Philippines for having a great island life. In Bantayan alone, there are 13 surrounding smaller islands. Some of them are regular destinations for island hopping activities when in Bantayan.

A few of these gorgeous islands are Kalanggaman, Capitancillo, Carnaza, Gapas-gapas, Olanggo, and Saragossa. Within these islands are islets, adding to the number of islands in Cebu alone. So if you are wondering where to kickstart your fun water adventures, come to Cebu!

The first capital of the Philippines was Cebu

Cebu map

Photo from Cebu on Wheels

Cebu used to be the capital of the Philippines until 1976 when Manila took over.

Cebu led the way in the discovery of the Philippines

Magellan landing in Cebu Philippines

Photo from digitalcollections.nypl.org

Well, kind of– because people from different neighboring lands have already slightly discovered the country and had been doing business here. But the major discovery started with Magellan’s expedition.

We all know the story of the Spanish colonization in the country and how Lapu-Lapu fought Magellan. It was chaotic and huge. But to put it in a bigger picture, if it wasn’t because of Cebu, the Philippines wouldn’t have been fully discovered, colonized, and become what it is today.

One of the oldest universities in the Philippines, and in entire Asia is the University of San Carlos

University of San Carlos

Photo from Wikipedia

One of the oldest– USC claims to be the oldest university, which UST protests. The university was originally named Colegio de San Ildefonso in 1595. The college closed and reopened as the University of San Carlos.

Still standing strong, USC continues to produce professionals, topnotchers, and students with high values that are recognized globally.

Cebu has a Malacañang Palace

Malacanang sa Sugbo

Photo from Lexical Crown

A building for the Bureau of Customs was built in 1910 as an office but was later on converted to house the President of the Philippines whenever he or she comes to the Visayas. The Malacañang sa Sugbo is located in Cebu City, near Fort San Pedro.

There have been talks that the palace will be converted back to its original purpose and host the BOC office again there soon. You can read more about that here.

Pusô was a pagan object

Puso

Photo from Linamnam

Our favorite hanging rice or pusô was not just created out of nowhere. It has a deeper history. Did you know that back in the ancient times, pusô was an object that was being offered to the gods until the Spaniards came? Remember, they brought Christianity to Cebu, so the religious practice was stopped.

Today, pusô is a well-loved pair to many viands that are served in the streets because of its handiness. It is also popular among beach-goers because of its convenience. Pusô is basically just rice cooked inside woven coconut leaves.

Do you have quick facts about Cebu that you can share with us? If you do, please let us know in the comments below, or send us a private message so we can update this article right away.

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