Colon Street: Oldest Street in the Philippines

Colon Street is considered as the first and oldest street in the Philippines. It is located in downtown area of Cebu City, Cebu and has been the witness of so many events that happened during the Spanish settlement. It was named after Cristopher Columbus, a navigator, colonizer, and explorer from Genoa, Italy. The original plan of the town’s design was made by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, a Spanish explorer who arrived in the Philippines to constitute a settlement in 1565 on a fleet composed of the vessels San Pedro, San Pablo and San Juan.

Colon Street is still one of the most crowded parts of Cebu. It is an area with a wide variety of commercial sites, such as shopping malls, restaurants, fashion shops and movie theaters. Most of the jeepneys coming from different barangays in Cebu City usually pass by Colon Street which sometimes makes a clogged up traffic.

Colon Street

Colon Street

The other side of Colon Street

The other side of Colon Street

Decades ago, Colon Street has been known to be home of prostitutes as several motels and inns are scattered in nearby areas which only costs P50.00 for non-aircon and P75.00 to P150.00 for aircon for a two hour short-time check-in. Colon Street has also been known to be a place of ambush and snatching. Even up to now, foreigners and locals alike are becoming more careful when passing here even though policemen and “tanods” are being deployed in the area.

The Old Colon Street

The Old Colon Street

The countless development of Colon Street over the centuries has made it become unnatural especially to the new generation. Only the marker of Colon Street and markers of several nearby establishments are left.

In 2006, the Cebu City Council headed by Congressman (formerly Mayor) Tomas Osmeña proposed a plan to close some areas of Colon Street from vehicular traffic and converted it into a tourism zone. A couple of times during the year, one in December and one sometime during the mid-year season, they have a “Night Market in Colon” where a vast variety of items are sold at a very affordable price. A small “peryahan” or carnival is placed somewhere along Colon Street for visitors to enjoy during the evening. The Women’s International League Hapsay Sugbo, Inc. headed by President Adelaida P. Javier also provided great contribution to the preservation of Colon Street.

Through the efforts of the current leaders of Cebu City, Colon Street has slowly got back its good reputation. Roving police forces are tasked to secure the area 24/7. Lately there have been very minimum reports of crime happening in the area. During late evening until dawn, a lot of jeepneys are still available near Gaisano Metro Mall; it is a 5-10 minutes away from the Colon Street marker.

"Daang Colon" or Colon Street

"Daang Colon" or Colon Street

It was only in 1999 where the National Historical Institute made Colon Street a historical landmark. Markers are place at the road side of Colon Street. A small information about what lays there hundreds or thousands of years ago, that made history worth knowing, is written. These markers are Guidetti’s Studio, Vaño Residence, Rallos Residence, Lu Do Copra Plant, Studying in Colon, Tamayo Residence, Dona Modesta Singson-Gaisano Residence, Southern Institute, Residence of Don Victoriano Osmeña, Residence of Don Tomas Osmeña, University of the Visayas and many more.

This page is last updated on Jun 16, 2011 @ 2:52 pm
About the author
Mark Anthony Maranga Mark Anthony Maranga is a Web Designer based in Cebu, Philippines. He sells Balloons and Party Supplies in Mandaue City, Cebu and explores the Philippines tourist attractions. During his free time he take pictures and write blogs. Check his website design portfolio and know more about him.

  1. Joaqin Santos says:

    bakit kaya hindi i re-construct ang mga old buidings? para mas maramadaman naman ang pagiging “oldest” nito. parang kahawig ng Vigan, ganoon din naman yun. ang mura lang kaya kung i-rennovate yung buong kalye, ‘wag kayo, ang dami nyo kayang nako-corrupt! It will benefit us in the long run… trust me.

  2. Gregg Lloren says:

    Hi, Mark. I am a faculty at the University of the Philippines Cebu. I am also writing a critical paper on cultural heritage here in Cebu for presentation at a criticism workshop by UST come this June 2015. I am downloading your pictures which I will be using for the paper. Of course, you will be credited for your work. Thank you so much.

  3. FRED says:


  4. FRED says:

    it is a fact that cebu is the oldest city in the philippines. It is therefore my opinion that Cebu shall be called “THE OLDEST CITY IN THE PHILIPPINES” instead of calling it the “QUEEN CITY OF THE SOUTH”. its superiority being the first developed City needs to be acclaimed.

  5. Dharzie says:

    Feb 2013, I visited this place, I saw only the Colon Monument, but the said old structures were not there. I think it’s up to the government and the people who loves history are incharge on how to preserve the artifacts.

  6. the colon street is a historical place… then why not keep those old structures so it would be recognized as one…. i hope our government is thinking about this matter because it is such pride to have those old structures preserved..

  7. catlaine says:

    Hi, a teenager who stole my chinese gold necklace today in colon street when I crossed the street going to metro colon . I was so shocked and when I tried to chased him the traffic light was go sign and I cannot reach him . he ride the jeepney . very dangerous place to visit !

    • al says:

      If you are going to a crowdy place, don’t wear any expensive necklaces or something that can attract snatchers in the city, It’s for you safety..thanks..

    • steph says:

      miss. it’s not that dangerous as you think cause if it is in deed, then colon street will not be as crowded as it is everyday, and perhaps it’s already an SOP not to wear expensive things when you’re in crowded places…. thanks 🙂

  8. Rommie Pacana says:

    Colon Street, the oldest in the Philippines, is named after Cristobal Colon (Christopher Columbus). But the Filipinos’ disregard of it’s rich cultural heritage has, through time, transformed the street and the city itself into an ordinary one like other cities on this planet. Many of my friends were frustrated to find no old buildings except the Vision Theater building which has been turned into an enclave of porno vendors! It is of Greco-Roman architecture and really impressive to a visitor. If the Philippines is really serious on tourism, why not preserve a structure like Vision Theater or better yet why not make it a venue for cultural shows for tourists and locals alike?