Cebu is home to some of the oldest landmarks in the country, the oldest fort, oldest churches, and, of course, the oldest street in the Pearl of the Orient, Colon Street. Aside from being the oldest street in the Philippines, Colon Street is also the shortest national road in the country.
Much has changed since the street was created with the establishment of the first Spanish settlement in Cebu, the Villa de San Miguel or St. Michael’s Town. The street was named after Cristobal Colon or Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer who led a Spanish expedition into the New World. The street was once the main business and commercial district of the city. The street was also where the veritable who’s who of the Queen City of the South at that time used to live, including the Cuencos, Osmeñas, Ludos, and Singsons, among others. The residences of these prominent families typically had their shops or offices located in the ground floor of the structure with the upper floors serving as their living quarters.
Since the street was the center of commerce and trade in the city, many universities were built in the area, including the University of the Visayas, University of Cebu, University of San Jose-Recoletos and the University of San Carlos. The street is also connected to the old Chinese district of Cebu, Parian. Parian was where wealthy Filipino-Chinese businessmen used to live and sell their merchandise.
Entry of Malls in Cebu
The entry of the malling culture of the United States signaled the change in fortunes of the area. The entry of big malls in the city saw customers seeking refuge in these air-conditioned structures that offered a better ambiance to shoppers. The shift in commercial activity resulted to the closure of some businesses in Colon.
Today, Colon Street continues to attract bargain hunters and small businesses looking for merchandise they can sell in other parts of the province. Many of the old stores continue to sell items at rock-bottom prices. The area is also home to numerous shops selling second-hand merchandise or items popularly known as “ukay-ukay” or UK. Since people still flock to the area, some big-name businesses have also opened branches in Colon Street.
Colon Street was designated as a historical landmark by the National Historical Institute in 1999. With this designation, markers were installed along the road showing the significance of certain structures or areas to the history of the Philippines. Sadly, most of the markers were vandalized and only a few are currently existing.
Getting to Colon
Getting to Colon Street is quite easy since most of the jeepneys plying the roads of Cebu City pass through the street. Some of these jeepneys interest the street while others run through a part of the street itself. All you need to do is to look for a signboard showing Colon on it, or you can simply ask the driver if he will pass through Colon Street.
Check out the pictures below showing some of the things you can see when you take a walk along Colon Street.
Lola Pureza's Peanut Browas, a taste of old Cebu.
Available in leading supermarkets and pasalubong shops.