Clue: This is a structure close to the port of Cebu. It is akin to Intramuros in that it is teeming with history and gloriously preserved old stone structures.
Have a look around and see if you recognize it.
This was built in 1565 by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the conqueror of the Philippines. I have vague memories of my Sibika at Kultura classes in grade school wherein we had to memorize certain facts, such as Lopez de Legazpi was the first governor-general of the country. (I do have some “stock knowledge”, after all. Even if I wasn’t the most attentive student in grade school!) Thus, this was the center of the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines.
According to Lonely Planet, this place has served as an army garrison, a rebel stronghold, a prison camp, and the city zoo. Which makes it all the more interesting.
I feel rather privileged walking about the grounds of this place. So many hundred years after it was painstakingly built, it still stands to this day and here I am, milling about and getting a glimpse of the past.
Kudos to the government of Cebu for preserving this very important historical structure!
My time spent in this fortress reminded me of quotes from my favorite writer, Anais Nin. “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” and “People living deeply have no fear of death.”
I admire the courage of those who built this fortress, shedding so much sweat and blood and undeniable strength in lifting each stone night and day to built such an edifice.
I also admire the courage of those who left their families and gathered in this fortress, leaving every ounce of sentimentality and plucking up whatever bravery they could gather in order to fight for a cause they believed in and to protect their city.
Most of all, I admire those who strived to preserve the crumbling ruins of this fortress. Cebu has been a fast-growing city and the surrounding area where this structure stands has since been commercialized. Step out of its historic walls and you will see the hustle and bustle of a busy, modern life. Those who took a stand and chose to keep this fortress until today must have been strong in their own right, not thinking of displeasing investors or losing valuable commercial space.
It is because of these people that I was able to stand here today, and see this structure, as it is, still looking the same way it did when it was first built hundreds of years ago.
P. S. If you’re wondering where I got my pieces of trivia earlier, I read them from the respective websites of Lonely Planet and Cebu Central. I believe in the importance of citing the sources of information we put in our writing, so that the firsthand sources get the credit due to them. (Since this is not an an academic paper, I deemed it unnecessary to use certain citation formats such as the APA, the MLA, or the Chicago Manual of Style. This is, after all, a personal blog entry.)