More Cebuano Than We Admit: Aspects of Cebuano History, Culture, and Society

Cover: Hardcover


More Cebuano Than We Admit: Aspects of Cebuano History, Culture, and Society

Edited by Resil B. Mojares and Hope Sabanpan-Yu

Series: Academica Filipina +
Copyright © 2022
344 pages; 15.24 x 22.86 cm


In More Cebuano Than We Admit, fourteen scholars, mostly Cebuanos, delve into the history, language, religious practices, architecture, writing, art, food, and more, that give Cebu its distinctive character: from religious festivals and carnival pageantry, to the enduring majesty of church architecture, to the development of the local tourism industry and film industry, and even to the crowd-pleasing Cebuano version of that iconic Filipino dish, lechon. The book also features a selection of contemporary Cebuano poetry, providing a taste of how Cebu’s literature thrives to this day. 

Edited by acclaimed Cebuanos—historian Resil Mojares and writer Hope Sabanpan-Yu—this anthology seeks to bring to light the ways in which Cebuano culture has left its indelible mark on the complex map of Philippine identity. 

With cultural roots dating back as far as first millennium AD, Cebu would be transformed by the imposition of Hispanic influence and colonial rule, heralded by the arrival in 1521 of a Spanish expedition led by Ferdinand Magellan. It became the entry point by which Christianity was introduced to the archipelago through the first Catholic mass and baptism, and the base from which Miguel Lopez de Legazpi would begin the conquest of the islands for Spain decades later. Cebu’s strategic location at the heart of the archipelago made it an ideal harbor and center for regional and international trade, and from 1565 to 1571, it was the natural choice as the capital of the nascent colony. 

However, Manila would ultimately be designated the capital city, and over the centuries as one colonial regime was exchanged for another and eventually for independence, a Luzon-centric cultural hegemony endured. This focus on Manila as the cultural and administrative center fails to acknowledge the foundational role of Cebu and its people in shaping the destiny of the country through the centuries.  

More Cebuano Than We Admit is a gateway for Cebuanos and non-Cebuanos alike to look into the people, history and cultural heritage of Cebu and its important contributions to the understanding of Philippine culture.


More Cebuano Than We Admit by Resil Mojares and Hope Sabanpan-Yu is a book that indulges its reader with a diverse but engaging reading fare. Unlike literature on the sociopolitical and cultural histories of certain island provinces in the country told as a univocal narrative, this book is multivocal, primarily because our understanding of Cebu is founded on a complex of narratives and studies by Cebuano and foreign scholars, who each unravel an interesting facet of the island—history, religion and tradition, language and literature, art and film, tourism, food and carnival. The diverse voices in the book and their perspectives, plus a sampling of poetry by Cebuano writers, make More Cebuano an engrossing read.

—Victor Sugbo 
Retired Professor, University of the Philippines, Tacloban


More Cebuano Than We Admit, a collection of essays gathered and edited by National Artist Resil B. Mojares and Dr.Hope Sabanpan- Yu, proves that Cebu indeed is “one of the most singular places in the country in terms of historical, cultural, economic, and political importance.” The beginning of written Cebuano history is marked with early European colonization and Christianization, and with maritime trade due to its central geographic location. Among other things, these have infused a vibrancy on the island’s culture. …

This book underlines the pride of Cebuanos. And for us, despite the implication of the book’s title, the question of identity “known, masked, admitted, declared—is never out of season.”

—Thelma E. Arambulo 
Retired Professor, University of the Philippines, Diliman


More Cebuano Than We Admit is a proud addition to the Vibal book series which delves into the social and cultural formations of identities that mark Filipinos. …What marks this book as strikingly different from the others in the series is the inclusion of a folio of poems by six contemporary poets whose voices and vision, language, and style, epitomize the astonishing inventiveness, depth, and wit of the Cebuano imagination. This imagination has radiated from Cebu island to the peoples of the southern parts of the Philippines who speak Sinugboanon. Anyone who wants to know the “Bisdak” in the Visayas and Mindanao a little bit better would find this book a delightful read.

—Marjorie Evasco 
Professor emeritus, De La Salle University De La Salle University, Manila


Admittedly, where we arrive is also where we sometimes leave. And for those us who call Cebu home, whether we are far away or near, passing through or here, this book is both call to the home base and souvenir, what can be placed deftly at the living room table, signifying welcome back, or slipped last minute into one’s luggage at the departure lounge, because we are only as good as what we are willing to keep for ourselves or to give away. There is virtue in hearing what other people have to say of this place, but what a pleasure it is to read what Cebuano thinkers and artists themselves have to sing about our own heritageand our dreams.

—Lawrence Lacambra Ypil 
Author of The Experiment of the Tropics



Preface BY Resil B. Mojares and Hope Sabanpan-Yu   (vii)


Rite, Ritual, and Ceremony: Ethnohistory and Archaeology of Death in Late Precolonial Cebu by Jose Eleazar Bersales    p. 5

Port of Cebu: Navigation and Economic Development During the Spanish Era, 1521–1898 by Trizer Dale Mansueto    p. 25

Panahon ni Mampur: Cebu’s Last Decade under Spain by Michael Cullinane    p. 37


CHAPTER II Religion and Tradition

Two Devotions, One Christ: A Comparison of Popular Piety towards Santo Niño de Cebú and Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno by Jason Abellaneda Baguia   p. 73

The Bantayan Pasos: Tradition and Devotion by Clodoveo Nacorda    p. 85

Extant Colonial Churches: More Cebuano Than You Imagine by Melva Java    p. 107


CHAPTER III Language, Literature, and Music

Sinugboanon: Resilient as the Cebuano by Erlinda Kintanar-Alburo  p.  129

The Zarzuela in Cebu: The Dulang Hinonihan of Vicente Sotto and Piux Kabahar by
Jose Buenconsejo   p. 151

First as Laughter, Then as Moral: The Comic Plays of Piux Kabahar by Hope Sabanpan-Yu   p. 177


Cebuano Poems

"Kon Horeb ang Sugbo" by Corazon Almerino     p. 200

"Bakhawan Beach, Daanbantayan, Cebu" by Simeon Dumdum Jr.     p. 201

"Ang Bulingit nga Dispatser sa South Terminal" by Vicente Vivencio Bandillo    p. 202

"Sumpay sa Gihuwat nga Asoy Kabahin sa Kalipay" by Michael Obenieta    p. 204

"Wa Kamata by Adonis Durado"    p. 205

"Ang Colon Usa Ka Peryahan by Ester Tapia"     p. 206


CHAPTER IV Art and Film

Martino Abellana and the Emergence of Contemporary Cebuano Realism by Raymund Fernandez      p. 209
Screening Bisaya: Pre-Digital Film in Cebu by Paul Douglas Grant     p. 221


CHAPTER V Tourism, Food, and Carnival

Diving for Coins: Early Tourism in Cebu by Resil B. Mojares     p. 249
The Cebuano Lechon: Getting High on the Hog by Joselito Costas   p. 271
The Life and Times of a Carnival Queen b y Cecilia Manguerra-Brainard    p. 283

About the Contributors    p. 307

Bibliography    p. 314

Index    p. 328



Academica Filipina+ is an interdisciplinary series that pushes the boundaries of scholarly publishing with smart, literate, and thought-provoking works exploring the Philippine past, present, and future.


You may also like

Recently viewed