Cebu has no rich monumental structures parallel to Borobdor
in Indonesia, or Angkor Vat in Cambodia, what it does have is the
recently discovered San Diego treasurers, a Spanish commercial galleon
handcrafted somewhere in Consolacion, Cebu by local shipbuilders.
Above all these, are the material collection of prehistoric artifacts
found in the hands of early local collectors, namely: the
late Leocadia Patalinghug Binamira and Mr. Rodrigo Velez who started
collecting as early as 1920 is followed by Francisca Melendez Aboitiz,
Leonor M. Echavarria, Mrs. Evelyn Ogarte, Dr. Lydia Aznar Alfonso,
Mrs. Efefania P. Velez, Mrs. Rosita Arcenas, Mrs. Manuela Soriano,
Mrs. Felisa Chiongbian, Mrs. Lulu Aboitiz, Mrs. Ma. Cristina C.
Aboitiz, Atty and Mrs. Ricardo Benitez, Mr. Teody de la Torre, Mr.
Benghong and Mr. Merelo Aznar.
followed the trail and accounts of the University of San Carlos
Field work expeditions undertaken by Dr. Rosa Tenazas in the areas
of Cebu City, Bacong, Negros even as far as Luzon at the Calatagan
and Sta. Ana Sites.
to Mr. Teody de la Torre, a well-known antique collector and dealer,
Lydia Aznar-Alfonso, Leonor Echavarria, Paki Aboitiz and Evelyn
Ogarte pursued antique collection with passion in the 1968 period.
They were at the grave site, from the crack of dawn to sun down.
It was Dr. Lydia Aznar-Alfonso whose heart and soul went into the
retrieval of whole grave site excavations. In Langtad, Argao
in late 1969 she retrieved 63 good pieces of early blue and
white and celadons. Followed by a series of other excavations,
criss-crossing the whole island of Cebu and beyond. Her being
a doctor, doing fieldwork in population control and family planning
enabled her to acquire properties that were probable sites rich
of porcelain specimens.
observation of Ramon Echavarria who witnessed and took part in both
antique collection and research of the ceramic excavated wares in
Cebu, define the range and disposition of the areas of prehistoric
trade with mainland Asia.
Siamese, Anamese and other Southeast Asian pottery is almost as
plentiful as the Chinese. Second, all the
classic periods of Chinese ceramic history are adequately
represented in the archaeology of the region. Pots bearing
the robust forms, glaze 'bibs', splayed footrims and flaring mouths
characteristic of the T'ang style, and specimens of olive
and gray-green Yueh wares and white, translucent Hsing wares typical
of the T'ang period, have been recovered, especially in southern
Cebu and the western coast of Bohol. Sung and Yuan dynasty
porcelains have been found in great abundance throughout the
region---Tz'u Chou, Ting Ching Pai, and temmoku specimen, as well
as a vast number of green-glazed Lung-ch'uan and Kinuta type celadon
items of all shapes, shades, and designs. 1 Echavarria
of Cebu is the center of trade and commerce even during the time
of its discovery by Magellan in 1521. A Siamese junk paid
tribute to Rajah Humabon and negotiated for its gold, slaves, and
cotton among other rich material resources bartered with its porcelain,
silk cloth, and other goods. Indian traders have left behind
its cultural imprint. This can be seen in the rich semi-precious
stones of carnelian, lapiz-lazuli, corals, and other stones.
Islands had earlier encounter with the Greek traders in 21 A.D.
2 (Felix Regalado and Quentin B. Franco, History of
Panay (Ilo-ilo City Central Philippines University ,
1973) ed., Eliza B. Grimo, p. 78.) Its people enjoyed extensive
trade contacts with other cultures. Arabs, Indians, Vietnamese,
Thais, Cambodians, Malays and Indonesians as trader or immigrants.3
mores and practices found in burial grave furnitures reveal customs
and practices --- the belief in life after death, hand tooled
gold death mask, jewelries, alongside trade beads, swords with either
deer horn handles even the gold teeth peggings assume a rich
noble Visayan Social tradition. Particular only to the Bisayan Islands.
Cebu is the
capital of the Bisayan Pintados, an island known for its trade of
gold, and slave. The term Bisayan is synonymous to the term
slave, as slave hunting was practiced in Cebu. 4 (Filipino Heritage)
When Magellan landed in Cebu in 1521, a Siamese junk was moored
in its port loading gold, slaves and other goods. Enrique,
a slave bought by Magellan in Malacca who was instrumental in the
discovery of the Philippines, and the man who 1st circumnavigated
the world, must have used a language commonly spoken in the
areas of Sugbu to interpret for Magellan and Humabon when he landed
in 1521, thus a claim that Enrique was a Cebuano by origin of birth
is an interesting footnote of history according to former Secretary
of Education Alejandro Roces who used Pigafetta's Chronicle
as his major source and reference in a recently concluded Press
Conference at Cap Osmena Memorabilia last October. 20, l996.
in the Philippines has a greater concentration of ancient porcelains.
Beyer referred to Cebu as "truly a mine of ancient porcelains
and other artifacts of pre-Spanish times." Beyer's own
collection of pottery finds originating from Cebu numbered, by his
own account, more than 1,200 whole or nearly whole specimens,
in addition to more than two tons of ceramic fragments. He
further states that numerous porcelain collections gathered at the
island were shipped out to the United States, France, England and
Japan during the 1920's and 1930's. 5 Echavarria
Cebu in Pre-history,
as a port city opens a great panorama of a rich cultural legacy.
Excavated material artifacts and heirloom pieces preserved in the
collection of Dr. Lydia A. Alfonso 's basement for the last
30 years is now the centerpiece of the most extensive and complete
testimony; evidence and proof that Cebu was a port city then
as it is a bustling port city today. It is a gateway from
Central Philippines of trade and commerce not only to Asia and the
Asia Pacific but to the whole world.
of the LAA Collection to the family owned University -- the Southwestern
University Museum on loan -- has provided its students primarily
with the opportunity to understand history and culture from a closer
perspective. The program of interactive learning through
a General Museum, the Filipiniana Research Center vis-a-vis
the Multi-media Center enable them to touch base with the true significance
of their indigenous roots; Cebuano in particular, yet Filipino in
For the SWU
students, tourists and other guests, the Museum have established
a link not only in the pre-historic Neolithic material artifacts
whose forms and designs resemble today's export tradeware
of fashion accessories, gifts, toys,and housewares but
also of the Hispanic Liturgical Collection, 18th Century Furnitures,
Paintings and Sculptures of Cebuano and other Visayan Artists.
and Foreign importers frequently converge in Cebu for trade fair
exhibition showcasing Cebuano craftsmanship. These works reveal
a close affinity with designs found in the unique terra-cotta
angle pots and other forms, Anamese, Siamese, and Chinese
porcelain trade wares and excavated hand tooled jewelries
found in Cebu.
some new burial site somewhere on the island are being discovered
and hoarded by diggers. Thousands of excavated ceramics pass
through the hands of Cebuano "antique" peddler every year,
the majority of them being sold to private collectors here and abroad
or to dealers from Manila.
Jars, limestone burials jars from Sultan Kudarat in Cotabato
or heirloom silver jewelries from Jolo transfer hands
in Cebu. Again this proves that Cebu is a
transshipment point to the world. It does not assume
that its origin is from Cebu, what it does assert is the fact that
access to these available rich material resources passed through
Cebu as a port center, a city proud of its leadership in commerce
and industry even as early as pre-history circa from the 7th to
9th Centuries up to the 12th-15th even up to the 18th on the 21st
Century and beyond.