It’s difficult to imagine this today but the area where you are standing now, the Fuente Osmeña Circle, was considered dangerous in the 1900’s because it was far from the Cebu City center and bandits were said to be present here.
Built first in 1912 on what used to be a stretch of cogon grass and mango trees is that fountain in the middle of the park.
Lucy Urgello Miller, in her book “Glimpses of Old Cebu: Images of the Colonial Era,” wrote that the fountain was constructed to mark the opening of the Osmeña Waterworks in Tisa, Labangon where pipes were laid leading from the dam to the northern part of the City of Cebu.
She added that Gov. Gen. William Cameron Forbes, Speaker Sergio Osmeña, and officials of the city and province of Cebu were present during the inauguration of the water system. They delivered speeches before a crowd who gathered for the turning on of the fountain.
In her book, Miller tells of how the wives of officials present were soaked when a strong wind blew water in their direction and were prevented from moving away by the mass of people who gathered in the area.
According to her, the murder of a couple near Fuente in 1925 fueled fears that it was unsafe and it was only in the late 1930s to 1940s, when people began to occupy Jones Avenue, now Osmeña Boulevard, and Lahug, that the park became a place frequented by Cebuanos.
She recalled that the Philippine Army band would play music in Fuente during Sunday afternoons.
In the more recent past, it was here at Fuente Osmeña that the late President Corazon Aquino called on Cebuanos in 1986 to support a civil disobedience campaign against the strongman Ferdinand Marcos who ruled the Philippines for some 20 years.
This article is part of a project on tourism and heritage supported by Smart Communications, Inc., the country’s telecommunications leader.