"Great Cebu Provincial Capitol
Tells Its Story..."

Majestic Cebu Provincial Capitol Building

Cebu Provincial Capitol Building, CebuFrontview of Cebu Provincial Capitol building

Cebu Provincial Capitol

Cebu Provincial Capitol, the 'capitol', as it is commonly called, is the seat of the provincial government of Cebu, Philippines.

The Capitol was first established right in front of Plaza Independencia (Independence Park at Cebu's port area) under the management of the Filipino revolutionaries in 1898 and by the American army in 1899.

This present building sets at the North end of Osmena Boulevard, the Capitol was designed by Juan Arellano, a Filipino architect.

Arellano was the one behind the Legislative Building (1926 - turned National Museum of the Philippines), the Manila Central Post Office (1926), and the Manila Metropolitan Theater (1935).

Cebu Provincial Capitol plaque in Cebuano languageCebu Provincial Capitol plaque attached after it was declare a National Historical Landmark on July 9, 2008

The Translation

"Capitol of Cebu. It was first established in Plaza Independencia under the management of the Filipino revolutionaries in 1898 and the American army in 1899. This edifice was erected by the provincial government designed by the architect Juan Arellano in December 1936. The inauguration was led by Manuel L. Quezon on June 14, 1938. Recognized as a symbol of governance and architecture in the first part of the year 2000. The building was declared as National Historical Landmark on July 9, 2008."

The Beginnings & Inauguration of Cebu Capitol building

The present Capitol building was the replacement of the old Casa Provincial in the city's Spanish quarter. It's planning started in 1910 while inaugurating the Osmena Waterworks.

The construction commenced in 1937, with Governor Sotero Cabahug's administration, the principal champion of the project.

President Manual Quezon approved the financing through a bond and public subscription (wikipedia).

It was completed in 1938 during the term of Gov. Buenaventura Rodriguez.

The Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon led its inauguration ceremony on June 14, 1938 by planting a tree; and blessed by Cebu Archbishop Gabriel Reyes.

The Capitol got damaged during the Second World War but was restored by the Tydings War Damage Act of 1946.

Cebu Provincial Capitol's sideview facadeThe Capitol's sideview of the facade

The U-shape Architecture

As part of the master plan by William E. Parsons in his 1912 Cebu plan, Cebu Provincial Capitol is positioned dramatically at the end of a new avenue (Osmena Boulevard). It was not his design but he thought it would be the ideal place where the Capitol should be set.

The structure follows that of a U-shaped which symbolically embraces the terminus of Osmena Boulevard. Describing further, the building has...

  • main block or corps de logis, surrounded by two secondary wings.
  • main block has the minor rooms & offices, the piano nobile above, attic story...
  • heavy cornice & parapet that caps the facade with allegorical statues standing by in the corners. The one of the left of the facade is a male statue and the on the right is a female one and they both wear Roman costumes.
  • central concave pavilion that creates the semi-circular main balcony...
  • piano nobile has two staircases connected to the ground floor...
  • two stories high with wide windows...
  • ballroom in art deco style...
  • two grandiose chandeliers brighten the grand space.

The central concave portion of Capitol's facade is inscribed with the following wordings:

"The authority of the government emanates from the people. Erected in MCMXXXVII."

Right below, describes the original master plan where the Capitol is supposed to be located and how the avenues would look like according to plan by Parsons in 1912.

Summary of the master plan

In 1912, Parsons, the consulting architect, presented his master plan for the expansion of Cebu City after it was ravaged by war and fire.

Parsons designed a six diagonal avenues that lead to a central hub like a wheel. In this design the Fuente Osmena Rotunda is the hub itself, which the architect originally designated for the new Cebu Capitol building.

Unfortunately, with that beautiful plan similar to the Arc de Triomphe of Paris, two broad avenues that supposed to radiate on the western side were not realized. Only Osmena Boulevard (which extends towards the Capitol building to the north), Maxilom Avenue and B. Rodriquez Street.

Parsons left the province in 1914 and most probably did not check out if the plan got properly implemented. Some critics say that missing to build the two broad avenues is a missed opportunity for unban development of Cebu. The failure to complete the plan is probably causing the present traffic issues at the present (Jobers Bersales, Inquirer.net, 2011).

Visiting the Capitol & Website

If you have time or any chance at all to visit this building, you'll see a lot more about its building. Certainly, there's no harm in visiting it and look around to enjoy the structure, people coming in and out, lines of visitors applying for something...

I'm sure I have visited the place long time ago, and for what reason... can't remember.

To learn more about the Provincial Capitol, you can visit its official website...

The photo below was taken during my visit in the summer of 2013 (August). This was before the typhoon Yolanda devastated Leyte and its neighboring regions, but also damaged some islands of the province (especially Malapascua Island and Bantayan Island), such as those in the northern side.

Finding Cebu Provincial Capitol

Once you are at the heart of Cebu City, you can easily find the Capitol building.

You can ask directions from anyone in the street or just hire a taxi to bring you there. From Lapu-Lapu City (Mactan Island), it can take around 40 to an hour to get there by taxi or car.

Certainly, you can take the local jeepney from everywhere but you  have to get the right connections/links by transferring from one jeepney to another.

Thanks for visiting this page. You can drop by at the Capitol building to check out its historic structure.

It is also interesting to look around and imagine that many things that happen here affect most things in the province in terms of political, social, economic, among others.

You may visit more historic sites and places in Cebu City by clicking back the link below.

Have a great day, then!

Lapu Lapu statue at Cebu Capitol buildingLapu Lapu statue symbolizes Cebuano's bravery

Return to Landmarks & Magellan Cross from Cebu Provincial Capitol
Return to Cebu Bluewaters Homepage from Cebu Provincial Capitol

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