10 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Cebu

Think you know everything there is to know about this lovely island that we call home? Well, we’re quite certain that you don’t. And that’s perfectly fine. After all, Cebu has been around for quite a while. And its rich colorful past is filled with so many important details that it sometimes becomes difficult to keep track of all of them.

So here are some interesting things you (probably) didn’t know about our good old Cebu. We can’t teach you everything, but we can at least start with ten. 🙂

10. Cebu Had Trains

Yes, that’s right. Cebu had trains back in the day. The 57-mile track connected the southern town of Argao and the northern town of Danao. Unfortunately, the rail tracks, piers, and bridges were destroyed during the 2nd world war. And it didn’t help that buses caught on after the war.


9. Refrigerator = Fri-Ji-Der

Wondering why your older Cebuano folks usually refer to the refrigerator as ‘FRI-JI-DER?’ (Say it with the thick Visayan accent now.) The term actually came from a real product called FRIGIDAIRE which was later carried by the Electrolux brand. The brand was very popular in the United States in the early 20th Century and this may have been the reason why the Filipinos were familiar with it.


8. Busay Means Waterfall

The Cebuano term for waterfall is actually Busay. And this highland barangay was basically named after a beautiful waterfall found in the area. The waterfall is still visible from the main road to this day, especially during the rainy season.


7. Cebu’s First Skyscraper Had a Revolving Restaurant

The Ludo and Luym Building in downtown Cebu is considered the first high-rise and real skyscraper in Cebu City. The building was once the home of Sundowner Hotel, The Centrepoint Hotel, a Shoemart (SM) store, the GMA 7 Studio, and a ‘revolving’ restaurant which was considered the very first in Asia.


6. Hipodromo was a Race Track

The area now occupied by Barangay Hipodromo was once part of Barangay Mabolo. The area was frequented by horse racing aficionados. Eventually, a real race track called the Hippodrome was constructed and it became hugely popular among the Cebuanos. After the war, priorities shifted, and the Cebuanos soon lost interest in the sport. After a huge fire in the 1950’s, the track oval became a relocation site for fire victims.

History of Hipodromo

5. Viva Pit Senyor!

The “Pit” in Pit Señor is actually a shortened version of the original word “sangpit” which means “to call upon.” The term “Señor” is used to show respect to a male individual. When the two words are combined, the phrase refers to Señor Santo Niño de Cebu. The word Viva is a Spanish word which means “long live!”


4. Mango Avenue Was Literally “Mango” Avenue

General Maxilom Avenue, more popularly known as Mango Avenue among locals, was literally a ‘Mango’ avenue. This old photo of one of Cebu City’s major thoroughfares shows that Mango groves once covered both sides of the road . Today, Mango Avenue is referred to as the entertainment and night-life capital of Cebu City.


3. The University of Cebu Was Once Called CCC

Before the University of Cebu got its name, it was called CCC or Cebu College of Commerce. In 1972, however, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved the change of name to Cebu Central Colleges. It was in 1992 when DECS Secretary Dr. Isidro Cariño approved another change of name. This time, the institution was called University of Cebu.

Source | History

2. Jones Avenue was Named After a US Congressman

Before it was called Osmeña Boulevard, this major thoroughfare was once called Jones Avenue. Jones Avenue was created during the American occupation. It was named after William Atkinson Jones, a United States Congressman who sponsored the Philippine Autonomy Law of 1916 (aka the Jones Law). It only became known as Osmeña Boulevard in 1960.


1. Larsian Isn’t a Street Name

It’s not a dish or a name of a sitio, either. It is said that LARSIAN, the famous barbecue district in midtown Cebu, actually came from the name of twin sisters PILAR and SIANA. Pilar was the mother of  a certain Col. Alvino Mondarez  who owned a popular restaurant in the area. The two names of the twin sisters were combined to form one of the most popular Cebu brands today.


Note: This article, written by the same author, was originally posted on hangingrice.com in 2014 which is now no longer online.


Which items did you find most intriguing or surprising? Let us know in the comments section below!

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