Suroy Ta Bai: Cebu Historical Excursions

Suroy Ta Bai  is a Cebuano dialect which means Suroy ( roaming,wandering, strolling, walking or travelling) and Bai ( friend or buddy ).

This is my personal project to show the treasures and wonders of Cebu by visiting its historical sites. In fact, we all know that Cebu has been recognized as the most livable city in the country. Through this excursion, it will show and prove why Cebu is really the most livable city.

This week, I started my first excursion within the city and here are my captures to the places I’ve visited.


The fort in Cebu City served many purposes at various times in the island’s history. This  is the smallest and oldest fort in the country. It was first built with logs and mud in 1565, with Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. It has been served as the nucleus of the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines.


Fort San Pedro

The fort’s name was taken from Legaspi’s flagship “San Pedro” in which he sailed the Pacific Ocean in 1565. Little was known about the fort from its construction in 1565 until it was mentioned in 1739 in an official report to King Philip II of Spain.

The structure was also described as having a total area of 2,025 square meters, with walls that are 20 feet high and eight feet thick, and towers that rise 30 feet from the ground.It became a prison for local rebels during the Philippine revolution from 1896 to 1898.The fort was turned over to Cebuanos by American Commodore George Dewey after the decisive Battle of Manila Bay, which happened on May 1, 1898 or a few days after war was declared between Spain and the United States. 


Fort San Pedro is now a museum-park where Spanish artifacts, documents, paintings, sculptures, sword fragments, cannons, and helmets and Ming porcelain pieces of various sizes are displayed.

Visitors pay a nominal PHP 30.00 as an entrance fee to enter the tourism landmark. The fort is located in Barangay San Roque in Cebu City. In front of the fort is another city landmark, the Plaza Independencia, and to its side is the Cebu Central Post Office, which is near Pier 1.


The Heritage of Cebu Monument is a representation and illustration of sculptures depicting significant and symbolic events in the history of Cebu back from the time of Rajah Humabon to the recent beatification of the Cebuano martyr, Pedro Calungsod.

The monument was built by the local artist, Eduardo Castrillo. Its construction started in July 1997. He and the late Senator Marcelo Fernan funded the construction together with other donations from private individuals and organizations. The construction was finished and inaugurated on December 8, 2000.


The scenes illustrated in the monument are the conversion of Rajah Humabon and his followers to Christianity, the local revolution against the Spanish rule, a Roman Catholic Mass, and the fateful fight on April 21, 1521 in the island of Mactan where native chieftain Lapu-Lapu killed Ferdinand Magellan. The structures carved in the monument includes the Basilica Del Sto. Nino, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, The Saint John the Baptist Church, Magellan’s Cross, a Spanish Galleon, Statues of Sergio Osmena Sr. and Blessed Pedro Calungsod. (source:



The Cross of Magellan is a popular historical landmark and tourist attraction in the middle of busy Magallanes Street.

This important symbol of Cebu was planted by Magellan in April 14, 1521 when he baptised the first Christian Filipinos, RajahHumabon and Queen Juana and about 400 followers into the Catholic faith.The cross is now housed in a roofed kiosk in Magallanes Street. To protect it further, the original cross was encased in a cross of hollow tindalo wood which still stands today.



The crypt’s ceiling is beautifully painted with a scene depicting the landing of Magellan in Cebu in 1521 and the planting of the original cross on the shore.Among the devotees it is an old practice to drop coins or put light candles at the foot of the cross.
(source: )



The Minor Basilica of the Holy Child (Cebuano: Basilica Menore del Santo Niño Spanish: Basilica del Santo Niño and Filipino: Basilica Menor del Santo Niño) and commonly known as the Santo Niño Basilica, is a minor basilica in Cebu City in the Philippines that was founded in the 1565 by Frays Andrés de Urdaneta, O.S.A. and Diego de Herrera, O.S.A.. The oldest Roman Catholic church in the country, it is built on the spot where the image of the Santo Niño de Cebú was found during the expedition of Miguel López de Legazpi. The icon, a statue of the Child Jesus, is the same one presented by Ferdinand Magellan to the chief consort of Rajah Humabon upon the royal couple’s christening on April 14, 1521. It was found by a soldier forty years later, preserved in a wooden box, after Legazpi had razed a local village. When Pope Paul VI made the church a basilica in 1965, he said it is “the symbol of the birth and growth of Christianity in the Philippines.”[

The present building, which was completed from 1739-1740, has been designated by the Holy Sea as the “Mother and Head of all Churches in the Philippines” (mater et caput… omnium ecclesiarum Insularum Philippinarum).

(source :


The church and convent erected by the Augustinian Fathers under the Rev. Andres Urdaneta in 1565 were the first established in the Philippines.

Both were burned down on November 1, 1566. The second church was likewise destroyed by fire in March of 1628, but rebuilt soon after (1628-1629) under the administration of the historian Rev. Juan de Medina, O.S.A. The present massive church was designed and constructed during the priorship of Rev. Juan Albarran, O.S.A., (1735-1737). The Santo Niño venerated in this church since the time of Legaspi, is the center of intense devotion and religious pilgrimages throughout the Visayas.

( source: )



The ‘Cebu Cathedral’, as it is popularly called, is the ecclesiastical seat of metro Cebu Archdiocese in the Philippines.

On 14 August 1595, Cebu has been established as a diocese and elevated as a metropolitan archdiocese on 28 April 1934.The church was established as the seat of Cebu bishop when the province became one of the suffragan dioceses under the archdiocese of Manila in 1595.
Just like all the churches built during that period, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral started as a holy place built with wood and nipa palms as its structure, according to “Balaanong Bahandi, a book  on the Sacred Treasures of the Archdiocese of Cebu.”( source: )


Facade of Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral

Church Architecture & Details

Typical of Spanish colonial church architecture in the country is the squat and with thick walls to withstand typhoons and other calamities.

According to “Balaanong Bahandi”, the cathedral is a Baroque-Rococo style. The facade with a trefoil-shaped pediment – decorated with carved relieves of:

  • floral motifs
  • Phonenixes (could be of Chinese influence)
  • Images of Saints peter and Paul
  • A clamshell medallion of the most Holy Name of Jesus, and
  • two fu dogs guarding the main doors of the Cathedral


At the main Cathedral ‘retablo’ (a devotional painting, particularly a small popular or folk art one using iconography derived from traditional Catholic church art) has the following features:

  • ‘JHS’ initials of the Most Holy Name of Jesus located at the topmost part – or retablo
  • central niche contains an old crucifix
  • right niche now enshrines the new saint – San Pedro Calungsod
  • left niche has the popular statue of San Lorenzo Ruiz



The Cathedral Museum of Cebu is housed in an imposing bahay-na-bato located in the downtown area in close proximity to the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral and the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño. As it is the ecclesiastical museum of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cebu, it showcases religious architecture and artifacts from the region.(source: )


Main entrance of the museum

The structure itself can be considered a museum piece. Although no factual information regarding its construction can be found, according to Balaanong Bahandi: Sacred Treasures of the Archdiocese of Cebu, it was probably built by Bishop Santos Gomez Marañon during the mid-1800s. No records are currently available as the archdiocesan archives burned along with the Cathedral and the original Archbishop’s Palace during the trial bombing runs of the U.S. forces in September 1944.

Bishop Marañon was a known church builder. He is credited for designing the Metropolitan Cathedral and various other religious structures in the province of Cebu including the churches in Oslob and Naga, Argao’s bell tower and Sibonga’s convent.(source: )


Outside view of the museum


Blessed Mother Theresa letter to his eminence


Msgr. Virgilio R. Yap Memorial Chapel

Carmen Collection

The museum building is a fine example of a bahay-na-bato. This particular architecture is based on the bahay kubo using more durable materials other than the traditional bamboo and nipa or sawali. Its posts are made of hardwood trunks to support the wide hardwood planks used as flooring for the second storey. The second floor has wooden walls and has wide windows, which are made of wood and unique Capiz shells. Before the structure’s roofs were changed to galvanized iron sheets, it boasted of a pitched roof made of “tejas” (baked clay tiles).


When you visit the museum, do not be surprised if you find an area where the floor has been excavated. The hollowed space will reveal several layers of flooring. One of which is made up of the distinctive coral stone blocks, which are commonly used materials for old churches built during the Spanish era. You will also find a display of artifacts unearthed in the museum’s vicinity encased in glass, near the hollowed out floor.

For more information about the Cathedral museum, click here .


2ND FLOOR Gallery


Life of Cardinal Vidal (Memorabilia)



An old wide staircase built with no nails


The outside view of the museum



Gallery room


Christian Song Book written in Latin


A priest bedroom looks like


Statues from the various parishes during the Spanish era.




“KAMPANA”Bells coming from the various churches of Cebu during the Spanish era.



The Mercedes-Benz used by Pope John Paul II during his visit in Cebu in Febuary 1981

If you want to visit the museum you have to pay the PHP 50 as an entrance fee. It is located @ Manalili corner P. Gomez Street, Cebu City.
You can also contact them @ (032)0412-3455.

Who does not want to live in a city where we can live a life? Most of us want it, right? We want to live a city where we can find good transportation, good people and plenty of places to hangout. 

This is Cebu! 

-Its More Fun In Cebu-


Cebu Historical Excursion will be continued this coming 120216.
If you wish to join this amazing excursion visit my facebook page and look for events.

Disclaimer: All photos that you can see in this article is personally owned by me. 

Historical facts for each places is coming from various sites/sources.

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