THE emperors in ancient times built cities as the centers of their empires. Some of these cities eventually fell when new powers emerged and built their own empires by conquering swaths of territories. Roman Emperor Constantine the Great founded in 324 the city of Constantinople in Byzantium, which was already an existing city. Centuries later, it fell in 1453 to the Ottomans who later built an empire of their own.
Cebu has its own story, too. Before the Spaniards came, Cebu had been ruled by rajahs. Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his band of Spanish sailors arrived in Cebu on April 7, 1521. He was later killed in a battle with Lapu-Lapu, the chieftain of Mactan.
However, it was only in 1565 that the Spanish Empire took possession of Cebu as its colony. It remained a town for centuries until it was inaugurated as a chartered city on Feb. 24, 1937 under then Commonwealth of the Philippines President Manuel L. Quezon.
The man behind Cebu’s cityhood was not an emperor but a prolific writer and politician—Don Vicente Rama.
The growth of Cebu City through the years has been engineered by scholars, educators, artists, activists, religious leaders, law enforcers, businesspersons and politicians. They were recognized by the Cebu City Government during the city’s celebrations of its 83rd Charter Day on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020.
Forget not the hardworking ordinary Cebuanos, too. They are the unsung heroes that will keep the city alive. (KAL)