Cement, iron, and steel come together to form the towering Heritage of Cebu Monument, built right on the original site of Plaza Parian, the heart of the old town, in Cebu City.
Parian, which got its name from the word “pari-pari” (to barter or trade), according to scholar and historian Resil Mojares, was where the wealthy Chinese merchants of old (sangleys) lived and held lavish events. A few homes constructed during the 16th to 19th century remain standing today, notably the Jesuit House of 1730, Casa Gorordo, and the Yap-Sandiego house, all within a stone’s throw of each other.
Conceptualized by sculptor Eduardo Castrillo, the mammoth structure depicts significant moments in Cebu’s history beginning with that fateful fight of April 21, 1521 in the island of Mactan where native chieftain Lapu-Lapu killed Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.
The monument also portrays as well the conversion of Rajah Humabon and his followers to Christianity, local revolution against Spanish rule, Cebuano veneration of Sto. Nino, and beatification of first Cebuano saint Pedro Calungsod.
A keen eye can also make out the historical structures carved into the huge monolith, most of which are effigies to a colonial past: Basilica del Santo Nino, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, San Juan Bautista Parish Church, Magellan’s Cross, and a Spanish Galleon.
Also to be found in the monument are statues of Cebuanos that have risen to nationwide stature: the first Cebuano Philippine President Sergio Osmena Sr. and the first Cebuano saint, San Pedro Calungsod. The funding for the monument came primarily came from the efforts of Cebu-born Chief Justice of the Philippines Marcelo Fernan.