January 1, 2019

Colon Street Cebu City – Photo Story

Colon Street obelisk

Colon Street in the Parian district in downtown Cebu City was originally developed by the Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legaspi. He arrived in the Philippines in 1565. The street was named after Cristobal Colon (Christopher Columbus).

From the very beginning, Colon street was the lifeline of trade and commerce in colonial Cebu. For centuries the oldest street remained the heart of Cebu's shopping and business district, the chief address for commercial activities, and the place where numerous important social and cultural events were taking place.       Photo source

The most fashionable shops, boutiques, restaurants, offices, and movie houses were once on Colon Street. With the arrival of the American shopping-mall culture in the 1990s that changed. A significant portion of business shifted to the uptown malls. But even so, Colon kept the leading role in economic activities for shoppers who search to get more value for their money.

Colon Street in 1920

Photo of the oldest street in Cebu City from around 1920: Calle Colon - Source

First Chinese traders in Cebu - Photo © 2018 Daria Perse

The earliest records of Chinese trading on the shores of Cebu are from the 13th century. By the time the Spanish colonizers arrived, even the inland trading was well established.

Parian well established - Photo © 2018 Daria Perse

When the Spanish colonizers first arrived in Cebu, the Parian (Chinese trading post) was already deep-rooted to the area. However, Chinese at that time remained as transient traders.

An old Spanish map of the world - Photo © 2018 Daria Perse

One of the old Spanish maps of the world.

"On April 27, 1565, Miguel López de Legazpi and the friar Andrés de Urdaneta arrived on Cebu and founded the first Spanish settlement and Catholic mission in the Philippine archipelago. For six years, until Legazpi's removal to Manila, Cebu was the Spanish colonial capital."

Friar Andres de Urdaneta = Photo © 2018 Daria Perse

Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi established the first colony in the Philippines while Friar Andres de Urdaneta discovered and charted the trans-Pacific Urdaneta's Route between Manila and Acapulco in 1565. His successful voyage enabled the beginning of the galleon trade and the Spanish colonization of the Philippines.

Story of Ciudad - Photo © 2018 Daria Perse

With Spanish colonization came the settlement of Ciudad and segregation into two divisions: one for Spaniards and the Pari-an as a Chinese ghetto, serving as their home, market and trading center.

Encomienda de Cebu - Photo © 2018 Daria Perse

Despite the economic policies employed by Spaniards in order to control the colony in every way, the Chinese traders were growing in number and dominated the Parian district with a great variety of businesses lining the Colon Street.

The Rise of Parian - Photo © 2018 Daria Perse

Colon Street keeps gaining in importance and continues to grow into one of the most progressive commercial areas in the country.

Photo © 2018 Daria Perse

When the estuary was no longer navigable, Cebu's place of commerce expanded toward the shore. With that change, Parian was no longer strictly a trading ghetto. Instead, it evolved into a suburban residential district.

Colon Street, Cebu City

Colon Street on a busy day. Always a dynamic commercial area.  Photo source

The Shop houses of Colon Street in Parian District - Photo © 2018 Daria Perse

Shophouses lining the Colon Street, the center of all kinds of economic activities.

Colon Street in Cebu City

Colon Street in the past and today, side by side.   Photo source


Daria is a SunFlower by nature, on a mission to shine the light of beauty and happiness on this world in the same way that the Sun spreads its warmth.

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