When we speak of Old Cebu, we always associate it with Colon being the oldest street, along with Juan Luna Street, Plaridel, Manalili, Magallanes, Legaspi, Pelaez, Sanciangko, Junquera, etcetera For us baby boomers, these parts of Cebu will always be dear to our hearts as they form a fabric of our yesteryear, when we were the young and the restless, the indefatigable batch of fresh faces, replete with so much vim, vigor and vitality in the so-called "Yeah Yeah Vonnel generation."
Downtown of the Old Cebu was the place where I would run to for my shopping needs, from school supplies to wearables, toiletries, gifts, toys, and other items. You name it, the stores have it there. I remember it was in White Gold (located then in Juan Luna Street now Osmeña Boulevard.) where I went and shopped for just about anything I needed.
Downtown of the Old Cebu was the center for business and entertainment. It was where the movie houses were: Victor, Vision, Eden, President, Premier, Majestic, Mever, Oriente, Rizal, Seven Arts, Ultravistarama, Best, Omega, Diamond, among many others. It was Southern Flame at the revolving Skyvue Diamond Tower for our nightclubbing or disco sessions. Other times, I would find myself either eating my favorite chicken mami and siopao at Fuji Teahouse located in what is now Gaisano Metro, or shopped along Fairmart, Best Buy, Gaisano Colon, Gaw Fashion Square, Rosita's Colon, Cinderella, Chekito Bazar, Sen Hiap Hing, Paulino's, Atin's Supermarket, Felcris, etcetera.
I also vividly remember the other places located in downtown Cebu of the olden times, like: La Suerte Bar & Restaurant, El Tesoro, State Fair, Visayan Restaurant, Manila Restaurant, International Rice House, Cebu Majestic Restaurant, Snow Sheen, Swank Cafe, Ding How, La Fortuna, Happy Mart, Lao Eng Chong, Gazini Plaza, Ever Shoes Emporium, Shanghai Bazar, Gilmore Tailoring, Stag Clothier, Happy Emporium, Biema, Umerco, Fair Deal Electrical Supply, Tagalog Hotel, Apollo Hotel, Pine Hurst and many, many more.
In the '90s when the mall trend hit Cebu, with the establishment of Ayala Business Center and SM City Cebu, and the other gigantic malls that followed, the Old Cebu downtown has never been the same again. It has taken on a different stand. Gone are the movie houses, the restaurants, our favorite hang-outs, department stores, supermarkets, etcetera. Nowadays, the Old Cebu downtown is no longer the place where we run to whenever we need something. But in my moments of solitude, when life takes on a standstill, I still long for the Old Cebu downtown because it was where lots of beautiful memories were built and created together with the many significant people who have been part of my young life, in a world that was simpler, more peaceful, devoid of so much pollution, trash and traffic, trivialities and all.
I look forward to the recreation or renovation or reinvention or whatever we may call it... if only to bring back the glory that was the Old Cebu. In His Time.
Written by Henry L. Yu M.D.
Source: The Freeman Publications