Friday, May 13, 2011

Plaza Independencia

My parents used to bring us here at Plaza Independencia when we were kids.  Big trees filled the place and the grounds were covered with so much grass for children to run and play around. It was a great venue for spending lazy Sunday afternoons for free.  And Fort San Pedro was just beside the plaza for a quick look.
New Plaza Independencia, Cebu City, Philippines
As I remembered it, Plaza Independencia was the place to go then for families and tourists alike.  It has a skating rink at the center and there were many benches around the park.  It used to hold cultural concerts and big carnivals.  And just beside the Fort was a big playground filled with big slides, see saws, swings and monkey bars. It has a water fountain too. It was always a place we looked forward coming to every weekends.
New Plaza Independencia, Cebu City, Philippines
But as time goes by and other entertainment venues began to emerge, Plaza Independencia seemed to lost its glory as it became a host for snatchers and other criminal elements.

New Plaza Independencia, Cebu City, Philippines
With the construction of the SRP tunnel, the Plaza independencia was given a much needed facelift and last May 08, 2011 was reopened to the public.

I went there last May 12, 2011 and checked the place. Indeed it is so beautiful now.  There is now a large space for people to roam around. 
New Plaza Independencia, Cebu City, Philippines
There is a covered stage for concerts and cultural events.
New Plaza Independencia, Cebu City, Philippines

The obelisk is still there. 
New Plaza Independencia, Cebu City, Philippines
I think the fountain was moved from its original location.
New Plaza Independencia, Cebu City, Philippines
But the place just looks so different now,though still evoking the same memories and feel as before.  The century-old trees are gone but new ones are being planted.  I saw couples on a date, children running around, tourists taking pictures, friends hanging out.  I even saw “maniniyots” or professional photographers offering their service for a fee for anyone who might want their picture to be taken for souvenir.  Ah, it seemed nothing’s changed.  You can stroll or just simply sit on the benches.
New Plaza Independencia, Cebu City, Philippines
I feel safer walking in the park ‘coz it is now fenced and I saw policemen patrolling the area. 
New Plaza Independencia, Cebu City, Philippines
On the right side of the park is the “Malacañang sa Sugbo” where the President of the Philippines will stay when in Cebu.  While on the other side is Fort San Pedro.
Malacañang Sa Sugbu, Cebu City, Philippines
This is the History of Plaza Independencia (as can be read on its marker near the entrance).
New Plaza Independencia, Cebu City, Philippines
“Plaza Independencia is one of the most historically siginificant places in Cebu. 
At the center stands an obelisk dedicated to Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, the first Spanish Governor-General of th ePhilippines, who established here the first Spanish settlement in the country.
Miguel Lopez de Legazpi
Its role in the history of Cebu is reflected in the evolution of its name.  In the early 1600’s the park was called Plaza de Armas, a public square used as military training and parade grounds.  When it was expanded later to reach nearby properties of the cathedral of cebu, it was called Plaza Mayor.  Later in the Spanish rule it was christened Plaza Maria Cristina in honour of the reigning Queen.  During the American Colonial perios, its name was changed to Plaza Libertad, acknowledging the liberation from Spanish rule.  Finally, when the colonial masters had all left, it became Plaza Independencia.
Pre-hispanic human bones and some earthenware were uncovered in the course of the excavations while the SRP tunnel was constructed in 2006.  The Plaze was rehabilitated and was reopened on May 08, 2011.”

The farther end of the Plaza Independencia on the eastern side, is still under rehabilitation but one can already enjoy the place and reminisce memories of the past.
New Plaza Independencia, Cebu City, Philippines
There are lots of activities you can do at Plaza Independencia now that it boasts of large space. One can jog around the Plaza, or ride a bike, flew a kite, sat on a bench and read a book or simply walk around. 

New Plaza Independencia, Cebu City, Philippines
I suggest you go there early morning when the sun is not too hot yet or late in the afternoon when the sun is beginning to set.
New Plaza Independencia, Cebu City, Philippines
At the northern end of the Plaza, you can find a statue in commemoration of the 400 years presence of the OAR or the Order of the Augustinian Recollects in the Philippines. 
New Plaza Independencia, Cebu City, Philippines
They are the first Christian missionaries to the Philippines.
New Plaza Independencia, Cebu City, Philippines
While in the Plaza, might as well check out Fort San Pedro nearby or Sto. Niño Basilica which is just a walking distance.
Fort San Pedro, Cebu City, Philippines
A nice view of Plaza Independencia atop the Fort San Pedro.
New Plaza Independencia, Cebu City, Philippines

Getting There:
You can ride taxicabs from any point in Cebu (as of this writing the flagdown rate is P40 and 2.50 onwards).  Just tell the driver to drop you at the entrance of Plaza Independencia (that is beside the Trans-Asia Building or the Department of Tourism office) so that you can see the marker and read the history of Plaza Independencia which is located righ at the entrance to the Plaza.

You can also ride jeepneys for a fare of P7.50.  If you are riding at the SM Mall  terminal take 08F or you may ask the jeep conductors and dispatchers for the jeep that ply the route to Plaza Independencia or you can see the sign at the windshield of the jeepney.

Click Map to view location of Plaza Independencia in Cebu City.

View Larger Map

Adto ta bai! (Let's go bai!)

(“Bai” is a Cebuano word for Friend, pal, mate, or dude, but has become a generic or common term to denote any male in a friendly Cebuano way)


Tania said...

hi! i wanted to ask if pets are allowed? :)

Bai Rai said...

Hi Tania, yes pets are most welcome to join you at Plaza Independencia. Specially if you're into jogging, you can jog with your pets (i presume your pet is a four-legged creature or so hehehe) The place is the new jog haven in that area.

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