𝐂𝐞𝐛𝐮 𝐇𝐚𝐫𝐛𝐨𝐫 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐁𝐚𝐲 𝐌𝐚𝐩, 𝐌𝐚𝐲 𝟏𝟓, 𝟏𝟖𝟖𝟓
The port of Manila became available to international trading from 1835 onwards, and the port of Cebu opened up to international trade seven years later. The Cebu custom house and port were opened in April, 1842. Other vital improvements of Cebu port were planned and built in due time.
The map, done on May 15, 1885, shows Cebu Harbor and the Cebu Bay flanked by the islands of Cebu and Mactan. The towns of Talisay, Cebu, Mandaue and a caserio (hamlet) are indicated in the partial map of Cebu Island. The unique triangular edifice in place is Fortaleza de Zebu (Cebu Fortress), also known as Fort San Pedro, which was then a military installation, which later became a public school, and is now a museum.
One can also note at the rear right section of the fort, the newly-constructed
emplacement probably reserved for a new dock. A pier and other establishments are also located near the fort. In red ink, the words carretera del norte y carretera del sur indicate the roads leading to the north and to the south of Cebu.
Included in the map is a nautical chart that indicates the location of lighting beacons as well as equipment such as small and large buoys. The chart also shows the baywater’s lowest depth, in fathoms, during low tides. These are essential data in guiding ship navigators safely along the narrow channel or to dock safely at the harbor.
On the map of the island of Mactan, the names Opon and Tanlay are indicated. Likewise, Punta de Panguan o del Sepulcro de Magellan (Engaño Point or Magellan’s Sepulcher), which was erected in 1866, is seen on the rightmost edge of the map.
For centuries, travelers had followed the long and grueling Mactan to Cebu City sea channel route through the Cebu Bay. However, there is now a better and faster land route. Today, motorists can bypass the traditional sea channel route using three bridges that cross the Mactan Channel, one of which is the Cordova Bridge on Cordova Island. Inaugurated on April 27, 2022 and opened to the public on April 30, 2022, the 8.9-kilometer Cordova bridge directly connects Cebu City to Cordova City, Cordova Island. Although not shown in the old map, Cordova Island is off the southern part of Mactan Island.
Mojares, Resil. Cebu: more than an island. By … and Susan F. Quimpo. Makati, Metro-Manila, Ayala Foundation, Inc., 1997.