Spanish Colonial Period
Ferdinand Magellan and his troops arrived in Mactan Island, but were slain by inhabitants led by local chieftain Lapulapu. Since then, Cebu remained free until Miguel de Legazpi arrived in 1566.
Cebu civilization occurred under the Spanish regime: Catholic churches were built, and priests ruled communities alongside civil leaders. Fiesta celebrations were adopted, new agricultural products were introduced, and schools were established in all municipalities. A revolution broke out against Spain in 1898, but eventually resulted in American occupation in the Philippines.
Records of history in Cebu date back even before the 15th Century. Long before Spanish colonization in the Philippines, Cebu made its presence known as the center of trade of in the southern Philippines — dealing with traders from China, Malaysia, Japan, India, and other parts of Asia.
Cebu had an organized social structure before the Spaniards came. Small groups were headed by a datu, who governed the community, led battles, and received tributes from his people. A community ranging from 30 to 100 households was called a barangay, and was based mostly on kinship. People in Cebu were called pintados, because they were heavily tattooed. Lavish gold ornaments were used by men and women to signify social class and status.
Through The Ages
Before the 15th Century
Earlier in 1521
Today, you can experience Cebu's rich historical heritage by visiting many of the national monuments, museums and memorials located around the city. On your stay here, remember to take a walk along one of the many heritage trails or visit the well-known landmarks for a complete Cebuano journey.
Japanese Occupation and Postwar Reconstruction
Declaration of Martial Law