Take a Stroll at Plaza Independencia

Plaza Independencia is probably Cebu's most popular public park. The plaza is more than just a meeting place. It is also of great historical value to Cebu. This public space was built during the Spanish colonial era. It is located within the main district of the oldest city in the Philippines.

Tourist attractions in the vicinity are:
  1. Fort San Pedro
  2. Aduana Building
  3. Compania Maritima Building
  4. Cebu City Hall
  5. Gotiaoco Building
  6. Plaza Sugbu
  7. Magellan's Cross
  8. Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño
  9. Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral
  10. Plaza Hamabar
  11. Cebu Archdiocesan Museum
  12. Don Sergio Osmeña Birthplace Marker

Plaza Independencia: A Park With Many Names

Plaza Independencia has evolved through the centuries and so has its name. In the 1600's, it was called the Plaza de Armas. Back then, it was a public square used for military training and parade grounds. Then it was known as the Plaza Mayor when it was expanded to reach nearby properties of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Cebu. It was also once known as the Plaza Maria Cristina in honor of the Spanish queen. During the American colonial era, it was known as the Plaza Libertad. That was to acknowledge the liberation of the islands from Spanish colonial rule. After the Philippines gained independence from the Americans, it was finally known as the Plaza Independencia.

Plaza Independencia in Cebu City
Plaza Independencia in Cebu City


Within Plaza Independencia are several monuments in honor of Filipino heroes and the Spanish explorer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. An obelisk in the center of the plaza is dedicated to Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. Legazpi also has a statue dedicated to his honor right outside the nearby Fort San Pedro.

Legazpi Obelisk at Plaza Independencia
Legazpi Obelisk

Also found within the public space is the Cebu War Veterans Memorial. The memorial honors World War II veterans.

Cebu War Veterans Memorial at Plaza Independencia
Cebu War Veterans Memorial

Other monuments are those of Andres Bonifacio and Ramon Magsaysay. Bonifacio is the founder of the Katipunan revolutionary movement. Ramon Magsaysay is the well-loved former Philippine president. President Magsaysay died in a plane crash at Mount Manunggal, Balamban, Cebu.


Part of the park is a playground behind Fort San Pedro. Fort San Pedro is the smallest and oldest tri-bastion fort in the country. The are features a children's playground. There is a beach volleyball court. Several traditional Filipino games such as takyan and sungka also have play areas. This part is known as the Plaza Recoletos. It could be regarded as either an extension of Plaza Independencia. Some treat this as a different park on its own.

Beach Volleyball Court at Plaza Independencia
Beach Volleyball Court

Under the big trees are customized takyan courts. Instructions on how to play this team play variation of takyan are placed near the big tree in the middle of the field.

Takyan play area at Plaza Independencia
Takyan play area

On the far end are custom-made sungka boards. Instructions on how to play this game are posted near the play area.

Sungka at Plaza Independencia

Popular Public Park

Plaza Independencia is popular among locals. There are no fees charged for visitors. On Sundays, the park turns into a popular dating place. On weekdays, it is a popular hangout for students. Most of these students do rehearsals for their school activities. Joggers also frequent the place specially early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Most tourists pass by the public plaza when they visit Fort San Pedro. The park's popularity experienced an even bigger resurgence after renovations were made in the early 2000s. It now has a neater look. Lighting at night is better. Roving patrols made the area feel more secure.

Have you strolled around Plaza Independencia in Cebu City? How was the experience? You may share in the comments below.