Cebu City is considered as the oldest city in the country, as this was the site of the earliest European settlement established by Spanish conqueror Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in 1565.
The Baclayon Church in Bohol is considered as the oldest stone church in the Philippines. But some historians disagree, claiming that San Agustin Church in Manila deserves the title
20 FACTS ABOUT THE “OLDEST” IN THE PHILIPPINES
I went to Cebu City last weekend to visit some friends and some reunion activities there in Mactan Seafront and I found out that Cebu City is the oldest city in the country. So from there, I started to do a research on some of the “oldest” in the country.
Here are the 20 facts about the “oldest” in the Philippines:
Oldest Steel Church
Despite the discrepancies in the dates of its founding, the San Sebastian Church is the only steel church in Asia built in the late 18th century. It should have celebrated its centennial around 1991. Yet, it seems that not even the Catholic administration paid any interest in its historical significance or in the fact that it was Alexander Gustave Eiffel who designed it.
Image Credit San Sebastian Church
New Toho Food Center (1888, 422 Tomas Pinpin Street, Binondo, Manila) Five Chinese friends set this up in Binondo, Manila, where the restaurant still stands, in a newer structure also on Tomas Pinpin (formerly San Jacinto) Street which was built after a fire razed the wooden building back in 1984. That explains the slight change in the name. It used to be called the Toho Antigua Panciteria.
Aklan, originally known as Minuro it Akean, is considered as the oldest province in the country and believed to have been established as early as 1213 by settlers from Borneo. Its first ruler was Datu Dinagandan. In 1399, Datu Kalantiaw grabbed the throne. In 1433, Kalantiaw III formulated a set of laws that is known today as the Code of Kalantiaw.
Image Credit Aklan Province
Unisan, Quezon could be the oldest town in the Philippines. The people of Unisan claimed that their town is now 481 years old, having been established in 1521, the same year that Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philippines. All other towns in the country were established not earlier than 1565, when Spain formally occupied the Philippines as a colony.
A Malayan queen named Ladya reportedly founded Calilayan, the old name of the town. In 1876, Calilayan was renamed Unisan which was derived from the Latin word uni-sancti, meaning "holy saint". (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer)
Cebu City is considered as the oldest city in the country, as this was the site of the earliest European settlement established by Spanish conqueror Miguel Lopez De Legazpi in 1565.
The first Spanish settlement in the country, Villa del Santisimo Nombre de Jesus, was located inside Fort San Pedro in Cebu City. The fort's construction began in 1565.
Calle Colon in Cebu City is considered as the oldest street in the country. Named after explorer Christopher Columbus, Calle Colon was first constructed in 1565 by men of Miguel Lopez De Legazpi.
Oldest Stone Church
The Baclayon Church in Bohol is considered as the oldest stone church in the Philippines. But some historians disagree, claiming that San Agustin Church in Manila deserves the title.
Image Credit Baclayon Church
Image Credit San Agustin Church
Church historians claim that the cornerstones of San Agustin Church were laid as early as 1571, 25 years before Baclayon Church was built in 1596. But most people believe the title should be kept by the latter, since it is situated in the island first occupied by the troops of Miguel Lopez De Legazpi, the country's first Spanish governor general.
Bohol was where a friendship was sealed with blood between Chieftain Rajah Sikatuna and Legazpi. The event is known today as ''The Blood Compact.''
The San Lazaro Hospital could be the oldest hospital in the country. According to Pampango historian Zoilo Galang, the San Lazaro hospital was established in 1578; Enfermeria de Naga, 1583; and Hospital de San Juan de Dios, 1596.
Image Credit San Lazaro Hospital
Oldest Church Bell
The oldest church bell in the country is said to be the one found in Camalaniugan, Cagayan. That bell was reportedly forged in 1595.
The Jones Bridge, formerly known as Puente de Espana, was first built in 1701. It was rebuilt by the Americans in 1916 and renamed after Atkinson Jones.
The University of San Carlos (U.S.C.) in Cebu City is considered as the oldest school in the country and in Asia. Formerly known as the Colegio de San Ildefonso, it was founded by the Spanish Jesuits on August 1, 1595. This makes the Cebu-based university older than the University of Santo Tomas (1611) in Manila and Harvard University (1636) in the United States.
The old Semenario-Colegio de San Carlos de Cebu in Martires St. (now M.J. Cuenco Avenue) near Plaza Independencia
San Carlos University
The University of Santo Tomas, however, contests this title. Formerly known as the Colegio de Nuestra Señora Del Rosario, U.S.T. was the first school, which got a university status in 1645. U.S.C. became a university in 1948. UST also claimed that the original U.S.C. was closed in 1769 as a result of the expulsion of the Jesuits. It reopened in 1783 under a new name and ownership. But the USC officials stick to their claim. The university observed its 400th foundation day on August 21, 1995. (I was in third year high school at U.S.T. Education High School)
Oldest Vocational School
The Don Honorio Ventura College of Arts and Trades (DHVCAT) in Bacolor, Pampanga is said to be the oldest vocational school in Asia. Augustinian Friar Juan Zita and civic leader Don Felino Gil established the vocational school on November 4, 1861.
Ayala Corp., one of the largest conglomerates in the country, is also the oldest existing company around. It was established in 1834 by sugar barons Domingo Roxas and Antonio de Ayala. It was later renamed as Casa Ayala, then as Ayala y Compania and recently as Ayala Corp.
In 1881, Domingo Roxas, an ancestor of the Ayala family, became one of the first directors of Banco Español-Filipino De Isabel II, which was founded by virtue of a royal decree issued by Queen Isabel II. The bank issued the country's first currency notes the following year. Considered as the first private commercial bank in the country, the bank came to be known as the Bank of Philippine Islands in 1912. The oldest savings bank was Monte de Piedad, which was established in 1882.
Oldest Military Supply Shop
The oldest military supply shop in the country was said to be Alfredo Roensch and Co.
Oldest Rizal Monument
What can be considered as the oldest in the country is a 20-foot metal structure standing at a park in Daet, Camarines Norte. Its construction reportedly began on December 30, 1898 and was finished in February 1899. In comparison, the Rizal monument at the former Luneta Park was built in 1912.
Image Credit Rizal Monument in Daet, Camarines Norte
Image Credit Rizal monument in Luneta Park
The earliest vice among native Filipinos, according to historians, was the chewing of betel nut or "nganga". It was said that Filipinos had been chewing betel nut for 3,000 years.
Image Credit Nganga (Betel Nut)
Oldest Insurance Firm
Insular Life Insurance Company was established on November 26, 1910, becoming the oldest insurance agency in the country.
Image Credit Insular Life Insurance
In a 1962 study, E. Arsenio Manuel said the country had at least 19 epics, which were passed to the present generation from our early ancestors through oral chanting. Among these so-called ethno epics were 13 epics among pagan Filipinos, 2 among Christian Filipinos, and 4 among Muslim Filipinos. These included the Ilocano epic Lam-ang, Manuvu's Tuwaang, Sulod's Hinilawod and Maranaw's Bantugan.
Many thanks to Mr. Robert Lim for sharing some of our old pictorials and albums.
Main sources of information include Zoilo Galang's Encyclopedia of the Philippines and Julio Silverio's Diksyunaryo ng mga Unang Pinoy.
All images from Google Image