Many Cebuanos are well aware of the upcoming 445th Founding Anniversary of Cebu on August 6, 2014 as it has been declared a special holiday in the province.

Beyond the fact that there is no work or classes on that day, what do we really know about this singular date in Cebu’s history and what it has come to represent?

It turns out it was on August 6, 1569 that King Phillip of Spain issued a “real cedula” granting the Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi the title of governor and captain general of Cebu.

Founding anniversary

Cebu Founding Anniversary
The Cebu Capitol spruces up for its 445th Founding Anniversary celebration on August 6, 2014.

Citing historical sources, the book “Cebu: Yesterday and Today” said the province identified Legazpi as the first governor and picked the date as its symbolic founding. It was only on March 10, 1917, however, that the Province of Cebu was officially created under Act 2711.

The title granted to Legazpi, the book added, gave him the responsibility of administering justice, maintaining order and harmony, and fostering friendly ties with the local inhabitants for a more orderly rule.

Monsignor Martin Calcocer was the last Spanish leader of Cebu and he was succeeded by Luis Flores, first governor of a Filipino Provincial Government established on April 3, 1898.

Capitol seal

While many Cebuanos also recognize the provincial seal, only a few understand the meaning behind the symbols for understandable reasons. Chief among them is the failure to mainsteam such historical information.

Cebu Provincial Government seal
Cebu Provincial Government seal

Shaped like a shield divided into quarters and enclosed in a circle, the Provincial Government seal features six oysters, a spear crossed by a bolo twice, and 48 small squares.

The spear and the bolo represents resistance against oppression as symbolized by Lapu-Lapu’s successful struggle against the mightly Spanish force led by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

The six oysters were the six generals who revolted against Spanish and American authorities, namely Generals Maxilom, Echavez, Cabreros, Leon Kilat, Jaca, and Genes. On the other hand, the squares represent the total number of local governments in the Province of Cebu.

Digital tourism

In line with the 445th Founding Anniversay of the Province of Cebu, several activities have been lined up through the month of August.

Among the highlights of the celebration are the founding mass and program on August 6, Gabii sa Sugbo on August 8, and a pact signing on August 4 with our start-up InnoPub Media for a province-wide implementation of Digital Tourism.

Digital Tourism comes in two components: mobile apps (downloadable from Google Play Store) that serve as handy guides to Cebu tourist attractions and special markers that use quick response (QR) codes to provide context to local culture, heritage, and history.

With the QR markers, information about Cebu’s built heritage that includes but is not limited to more than 30 centuries-old stone churches will be easily accessible to local and foreign tourists.

Schedule of activities

August 1, Friday
Flag Ceremony & Raising of Municipal Flags / Opening of Agro-Fair
Opening of Business Incubation Exhibit

August 2, Saturday
Family Day: Fun Walk / Zumba / Caleza Riding / Awarding

August 3, Sunday
Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines

August 4, Monday
Wellness Day / MOA Signing with Inno Pub Media on Digital Tourism

August 5, Tuesday
Bangga sa Kanta, Balak ug Pakatawa

August 6, Wednesday
445th Founding Anniversary Holy Mass / Anniversary Program / Awarding

August 8, Friday
Gabii sa Sugbo / Launching of Bidlisiw Awards

August 14, Thursday
Shark Summit

August 15, Friday
Halad sa Kabataan

August 18, Monday
Recognition Day / Punong Barangay Day

August 20, Wednesday
Media Night

August 24, Sunday
Local Job Fair

August 29, Friday
Launching of UBAS (Ugnayang Barangay at Simbahan)

Marlen is the editor of and co-founder of Cebu-based journalism startup InnoPub Media.

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