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Cebu: center of 4th centennial celebration

The Philippines celebrated the 4th Centennial of its Christianization from April 27 to May 2, 1965. General Miguel Lopez de Legaspi docked his ships in Cebu City on April 27, 1565 and established the country’s first Spanish government center christened as Fort San Pedro.

On July 7, 1964, President Diosdado Macapagal issued Administrative Order No. 98, creating a committee for the Christianization of the Philippines on the participation of the government in its celebration.

Recognizing Cebu as the center of the celebration, President Macapagal declared the following holiday in Cebu:


WHEREAS, the fourth centennial of the Christianization of the Philippines will be celebrated from April 25 to May 2, 1965, in Cebu City; and

WHEREAS, students and school children should be afforded an opportunity to participate in the celebrations;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Diosdado Macapagal, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by law, do hereby designate the period from April 26 to 28, 1965, as special school holidays for public and private schools in the City of Cebu.

DIOSDADO MACAPAGAL President of the Philippines

Recorded in the Official Gazette is the meetings between the President and Cebu City Mayor regarding the commemoration; July 20,1964: “

—PRESIDENT Macapagal conferred this morning with Cebu Mayor Sergio Osmeña, Jr., on the celebration on the 400th anniversary of Christianity in the Philippines. The event, which is scheduled from April 28 to May 2 next year, will have Cebu City as the center.

Among the matters taken up were the proposed schedule activities and public improvements, such as, expansion of the water supply and widening of streets.”

The following were the officials of Cebu provincial government:

Governor: Rene G. Espina, Vice Governor: Priscillano D. Almendras, Board Members: Nazario Pacquiao, Salutario Fernandez, Isidro Escario.

Provincial Board Secretary: Atty. Jose Paulin, Assistant Provincial Board Secretary: Atty. Felisberto Sosmena. (Months after the Centennial Celebration, an election was held on November 19, 1965, an election for the president, senate, as well as local. President Diosdado Macapagal lost in his reelection bid, with President Ferdinand E. Marcos elected for the first time for the presidency).

Judges of the Court of First Instance (today’s Regional Trial Court): Mateo Canonoy, Guillermo Villasor, Amador Gomez, Jose Mendoza, Jose Borromeo

Provincial Fiscal (today’s Provincial Prosecutor): Pio Ferrandos, Assistant Provincial Fiscals: Tomas Evangelista, Medardo Conde, Catalina Ybanez, Samuel Carin, Bienvenido Belarmino. Provincial Treasurer: Atty. Panfilo Dunque, Assistant Provincial Treasurer: Atty. Dominador Durano. Provincial Auditor: Atty. Sulpicio Paredes, Assistant Provincial Auditor: Felipe Son. Provincial Assessor: Atty. Anatolio Ynclino, Assistant Provincial Assessor: Adalberto Balbuena, Register of Deeds: Atty. Martina Arnoco, Assistant Register of Deeds: Atty. Cecilio Casals.

Provincial Warden: Emigdio Tocao, Assistant Provincial Warden: Bartolome Buscato. Superintendent of Schools: Frucuoso Yanson, Assistant School

Superintendent: Catalino Delana. Highway District Engineer: Engr. Nicolas Aldana.

Provincial Health Officer: Dr. Galo Franco, Assistant Provincial Health Officer: Dr. Galileo Pepito. Provincial Agriculturist: Isidro Opsima, Assistant Provincial Agriculturist: Gregorio Cabahug.

Cebu City was then part of the political structure of the Provincial Government. Cebu was divided into seven congressional districts with Cebu City being part of the second district. Cebu City had the biggest population with 400,000. The total population of Cebu at that time was 1,629,603.