Cebuanos know Freedom Park and Warwick Barracks as the most accessible hangout spots at the Carbon Public Market. Situated near Magallanes Street, dozens of public transportation options can be seen passing by.
It is home to several small-scale businesses selling souvenirs and budget meals that are frequented by locals on a daily basis.
But Freedom Park wasn’t just the center of commerce we know today. Before it was commercialized into a business district, the area was also a nature park where special gatherings and various recreational activities were held.
It played an important part during the Philippines’ colonial period, as it was used as a training ground for drills and inspections within the American military.
Soon, it became a venue for debates, rallies, and demonstrations, and it is where Freedom of Speech was empowered.
Presidential campaigns by prominent political powers like Ramon Magsaysay, Jose P. Laurel, and Diosdado Macapagal were even held here.
It was during the 1960s that the park was converted into a haven for budget shopping, as part of the Carbon Market. Several stalls were put up, where vendors sold a variety of products like flowers and souvenirs.
Fast forward to Cebu City’s current administration, they are breathing new life into this once-beloved public space by bringing back its old look.
RENOVATING THE FREEDOM PARK
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama included the renovation of the Freedom Park in his plans to create a “Singapore-like” Cebu. Together with their private construction partner Cebu2World, he unveiled the newly restructured park in October 2022.
Freedom Park now has tree-lined pathways leading to a tall obelisk in the middle. This structure is surrounded by 20 Narra trees, spacious benches, food concessionaires, and the newly renovated Barracks.
The luscious greenery around the park creates a relaxing ambiance for leisurely walks, hanging out with loved ones, and other recreational activities.
The benches allow visitors to enjoy the ambiance and fresh air, giving them a more comfortable spot to indulge in the various foods and beverages sold at the nearby concessionaires.
Warwick Barracks has also improved as a food park, selling some of Cebu’s best dishes. It is open from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM on weekdays, and 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM on weekends.
In front of the barracks are small stalls selling items like cellphone accessories, clothes, and souvenirs.
Most Cebuanos visit the park at night because the air is cooler, and the obelisk lights up to give it an even more pleasant view for a chill night with friends or family.
Vendors that were previously stationed at the business hub before the renovation were moved to the Interim Building. It is located right in front of the Sunday Market.
The park is open 24 hours every day, with no entrance fee, so you can visit at your most convenient time.
Many of us may not know about Freedom Park’s place in the history of Cebu, but the new renovations made by the city government will let younger generations appreciate this famous locale.
It’s the perfect venue for outdoor activities and casual hangouts with friends, thanks to its accessible location and budget friendly market.
There are more plans to boost Cebu City’s tourism sector, and the city government aims to have this newly restored historical landmark become a go-to relaxation spot for many years to come.
HOW TO GET THERE
Open 24 Hours
Like many other nature parks in Cebu, Freedom Park is pretty accessible. Look for any jeepney that passes by Carbon or Magallanes Street. You can get off the road between the park and the University of San Jose-Recoletos.
If you want a more unique way to get there, you can hitch a ride on a horse-drawn carriage known as the Tartanilla.
Unfortunately, this only passes by certain areas in downtown Cebu. Watch out for them when you travel to specific locations like Colon and Pasil.