Plaza Independencia | Take a Stroll along Philippine History

Plaza Independencia has several landmarks that are an important part of Philippine history.

Plaza Independencia is the largest public park in Cebu City. The spacious, open area makes it perfect for all kinds of recreational activities. You will find students practicing for school dances, fitness enthusiasts on early morning brisk walks, or couples who are simply hanging out to enjoy some fresh air and good ambiance.

However, the plaza is more than just a place for fun under the sun. It is also one of the most important historical places in Cebu. Here, you will find the oldest fort on the island and several items and monuments that are an essential part of Philippine history.

As one of the biggest parks in Cebu City, locals and tourists come here to hang out and spend time with loved ones.

You will also find statues of national heroes and structures dedicated to warfighters and colonizers who helped turn the city and country into what it is today.


Throughout the years, the plaza had many different names. Today, it mainly represents the freedom and independence of the island against foreign rule.

A marker in front of the entrance states that the plaza was once called Plaza de Armas in the 1600s, as the space was used for military training and public parades. When it expanded to include the Cebu Cathedral, it was renamed Plaza Mayor.

It was again renamed Plaza Maria Cristina during the Spanish colonization, paying homage to the Queen of Spain at the time. When the Americans took over, it was called Plaza Libertad.

Finally, when the foreign colonizers left and the Philippines gained independence in the 1940s, it was officially called Plaza Independencia.

In 2006, archaeologists uncovered human bones near the plaza during the construction of the tunnel connecting Cebu City and South Road Properties.

These discoveries point to how the area was once used as a Spanish settlement and trading port.


Fort San Pedro – the oldest military structure in Cebu – is located within the plaza. Here, you will find canons and bunkers that were used by the military in the past, although they are now merely for display.

Not many public spaces in Cebu are as big and accommodating as this one.

Currently, the fort has an open space occasionally used for special events like wedding receptions. The long stone walkways at the top give a magnificent view of the park, while several exhibits help you learn more about Philippine history, specifically Cebu.

Most locals know Plaza Independencia as a huge, spacious park where they can hang out and relax with friends and family. It is one of the most accessible public spaces in Cebu, and even tourists find the time to visit the park and learn about its history.

The quadrangles are wide enough to accommodate multiple large groups. You might notice students or dance groups practicing their routines in these areas as well.

When the heat gets unbearable, you can get some shade under the long line of centuries-old acacia trees within the park. There is also a small hut in the central area of the plaza.

You can take a walking tour down Memory Lane, which is located along a large area of colorful flowers that add to the aesthetics and ambiance of the park.

There is also a large fountain surrounded by benches and a wishing well within the garden.

Among the historical monuments within the park, the most noticeable might be the obelisk dedicated to Miguel Lopez de Legaspi. Legaspi established the first Spanish settlement in the East when he arrived in Cebu in 1565.

There is also a structure dedicated to the victims of the Filipino-Japanese war. The monument reminds us that there are no gains from war victories, and that peace brings love and brotherhood among the people.

The text on the marker states:

It is, therefore, our hope that there shall be no more wars in the future to come upon us and that everlasting peace shall ever reign on this world.

The plaza is also a significant part of Philippine history.

The plaza also has a Martial Law marker planted within Memory Lane, commemorating the victims of the Martial Law era in the 70s and 80s. The era is considered one of the darkest moments in Philippine history, with hundreds and thousands of people killed and some still missing under the rule of dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

You can also find a V-shaped sculpture in front of the Malacañang sa Sugbo. This structure commemorates the courageous Cebuano soldiers who fought during the wars.

Statues of National Hero Andres Bonifacio and former Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay also stand at the plaza. In 1957, Magsaysay unfortunately lost his life when the plane he took perished at Mount Manunggal, located in the province of Balamban.

Plaza Independencia is more than just a park that Cebuanos have come to know and love over the years. It is also one of the most important historical landmarks in the country.

Thanks to its accessible location, the park has become a go-to place among residents in the area, students from nearby schools, tourists on vacation, and locals from in and out of the city. A stroll along the plaza is enough to make you appreciate its significance, and you can visit it any time of day.

Share this:

Other posts

Charlie's Cup, the Newest Balamban Tourist Spot

Charlie’s Cup, the Newest Balamban Tourist Spot to Visit!

Charlie’s Cup is a cafe in Cebu that offers a cool and refreshing vibe thanks to its cliffside location. The Cebu Transcentral Highway (TCH) has become one of the island’s best spots to check out the newest and most interesting cafes and restaurants with breathtaking views. The long, winding road makes it an ideal expedition

Read More
SM Seaside shopping mall’s famous cube

Where to Go for the Ultimate Shopping Experience in Cebu

Enjoy shopping in Cebu on your next visit. Shopping in Cebu is at another level. Anywhere you are in the metropolis, make no mistake that a shopping mall is just around the corner. Whether you are looking to buy souvenirs, shirts, accessories, or food, shopping malls in Cebu have it all. Cebu is a prime

Read More
The Cebu City Hall, the venue for the celebration of the Cebu City Charter Day

Cebu City Charter Day

Cebu City Charter Day commemorates another year of Cebu being considered a city. While the world recognizes February for Valentine’s Day and different concepts of love, Cebu City, the Visayan region’s Queen City of the South, embraces its cityhood, heritage, people, and economic growth within the same month. The 24th of February calls for a

Read More
Sinigang, a popular Filipino comfort food

Discovering Filipino Comfort Food

Try any of these Filipino comfort food when you’re feeling under the weather. When you’re feeling down in the dumps or a little under the weather, there is always that one dish that your mother makes that would always perk you up. There are also those types of meals and delicacies in Philippine food culture.

Read More
Bisaya phrases

Bisaya Phrases You Should Learn and Know

There are many Bisaya phrases you can use when traveling to Cebu. You may have plans to go to Cebu for a trip. A local comes up to you and asks for help. You barely know any Cebuano, what do you do? You may speak to them in English since most Cebuanos understand the English

Read More
Places to visit in Cebu for jogging enthusiasts

Places to Visit in Cebu for Health Junkies on a Budget

These are the best places in Cebu to jog in a budget! Gym memberships can be expensive. The equipment, the trainer, and maybe the diet plan you invested in can all leave a big dent in your wallet. However, you don’t really need a treadmill or thousands of pounds in weights to get ripped. Just

Read More

Best of Cebu Videos

Seeking to learn more about Cebuano culture, or wanting to know what to do once you arrive, Cebu Insights is the travel guide for you in Cebu!

Contact Us

See other Articles

Mactan Cheers for the Garbo sa Lapu-Lapu Festival 2022

Contingents from Lapu-Lapu City celebrated their pride and culture at the Mactan Newtown. For two years, the Garbo sa Lapu-Lapu festival was canceled. The 2020 event was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, while the 2021 celebration broadcasted a pre-recorded show online. However, in 2022, the Historic Resort City finally

Sophisticated ESL Schools in Cebu | CIA Mactan

Most ESL schools in Cebu are not as high-end as the Cebu International Academy. Want to learn English as a second language (ESL)? There are many ESL schools in Cebu because of the proficiency in English among Cebuanos. While most ESL teachers hold lessons online, a few allow face-to-face classes

Enjoy the Soothing Garden and Outdoor Setup at Nimo Brew

This coffee shop in Cebu has an impressive outdoor setup. Welcome to Nimo Brew, a coffee shop that entices customers with its relaxing outdoor atmosphere. This cabin-style cafe radiates a peaceful aura through its cleverly hidden location and spacious outdoor garden. Nimo Brew is more than just a place for

How to Get a Philippine Passport in Cebu

Take note of the requirements for a passport application and book a schedule ahead of time. A passport is a document issued by a government to its citizens for the purpose of international travel and identification. It’s the most reliable document accepted by airlines, immigration officials, and airport authorities. If

Museums in Cebu Light up the Night | Gabii sa Kabilin

Cebuanos flocked to the museums of Cebu for the yearly heritage walk known as Gabii sa Kabilin. Gabii sa Kabilin is the perfect way to learn more about the history of Cebu. Every year, this heritage walk promotes some of the top landmarks and museums in Cebu by giving participants

Ride-Hailing Apps in Cebu You Should Have On Your Phone

Travel around Cebu with ease by using these helpful ride-hailing apps. If you don’t know it already, ride-hailing apps are a must-have on your smartphone. When regular transportation disappoints, these software programs will come to the rescue, allowing you to book a ride to your desired destination. For years these

Scroll to Top