On January 24-25, the Global Voices Citizen Media Summit 2015 will take place at the Cebu Provincial Capitol, a national landmark steeped in history that is considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the Philippines.
A historical heritage handed down from the American colonial era, the Cebu Capitol building has become a part of the everyday existence for most Cebuanos. Here are 5 things that you might want to know about the building:
1. The Capitol building presently houses the Office of the Provincial Governor, among other government offices. It also has a big and spacious Social Hall where many provincial government functions are conducted. This is where the Global Voices Summit proceedings on January 24-25 will take place. On the second floor is the Governor’s Gallery, which contains mementos from past provincial administrations for public viewing. The second building at the back is the Marcelo B. Fernan Hall of Justice which houses the courts and other judiciary offices.
2. The Cebu Provincial Capitol is often compared to the White House in Washington, D.C. in the United States. In fact, its architectural design is said to have been patterned after the State Capitol in Texas, USA. The Cebu Capitol building shares many features with the Texas State Capitol, which is based on 15th Century Renaissance-era Italian architecture characterized by classical arrangements, symmetrical composition, columns, arches, and statues in Roman costume. The Cebu Capitol building was designed by the late Filipino architect Juan Marcos Arellano. It has been declared a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Institution in recognition of its beauty which is expressive of Cebu’s rich culture and history.
3. The Cebu Capitol building was completed in 1938 during the term of Governor Buenaventura Rodriguez. Leading the building’s inauguration ceremonies on June 14, 1938 was Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon and Cebu Archbishop Gabriel Reyes, who blessed the new structure. The building was severely damaged during World War II between 1942 and 1945 but was repaired after the war.
4. Before the construction of the present Capitol building, the Cebu Provincial Government used to be housed at the Casa Provincial. This was located at the Plaza Independencia, along the Calle de los Trece Martires (now M.J. Cuenco Ave.) near the port area. Many opposed the transfer to the new location because it was then still very remote from Cebu City’s main hub of activity centered in the downtown are. People made fun of the new capitol, saying that it was so far that only monkeys living in the hills behind the building would attend its sessions!
5. The inscription on the façade of the Cebu Provincial Capitol Building reads: “The Authority of the Government Emanates from the People.”