Fuente Osmeña: Tired and Forgotten

The 2109 Pasigarbo sa Sugbo Festival was held recently here in Cebu City. The festival, which features a parade and showdown competition, was recently brought back by returning Gwendolyn Garcia. In the past, the festival parade was usually held in Mandaue City (around the CICC complex.) However, since the controversial structure is now no longer safe for such a very well-attended event, the parade was instead moved to Cebu City (Osmeña Boulevard, V. Rama, Avenue, and M. Velez Street.) Since I wasn’t able to enter the Cebu City Sports Center to see the showdown, I opted to instead watch the parade from inside the Fuente Osmeña circle.

I didn’t care too much about the parade because, honestly, street dancing and recorded jingle do not go very well together. (I’m sure the grand showdown was an entirely different thing, though.) Anyway, my attention was focused instead on the circle itself. Here’s what I saw:

As someone who has fond childhood memories of Fuente Osmeña, it pains me to see its current condition. When I was a kid, the circle was teeming with life and energy. The whole area was bright and the grounds were filled with families having a picnic. You could also see people jogging and roller-skating around the fountain. Today, it is dark and unkempt. Only a few people visit the park even in broad daylight. It is dirty, and, at times, looks unsafe, too.

The iconic Fuente de Osmeña is one of Cebu City’s most identifiable landmarks. The fountain was built in 1912 to commemorate Cebu City’s first waterworks system as well as to honor Cebu’s Grand Old Man Sergio Osmeña. The famous fountain is located right at the heart of the city and sits on one of the remaining open spaces in midtown Cebu City.

Cebu City’s Fuente de Osmeña

Take a look at photos of Fuente Osmeña in 2008

Today, the fountain has become extremely dirty. I haven’t seen it turned on for quite a while now. And the water looks like it hasn’t moved for a long time.

What I found really unsettling was this whole on the side of the actual fountain. I always pass by the circle and this is the first time I’ve seen this hole left uncovered.

Here is another shot of the pool around the fountain, as well as the wires and pipes which are now exposed because of the low water level.

I saw a few stuffed animals sitting on the shrubs surrounding the fountain. They are now part of the hundreds of pieces of trash strewn all over the park.

And then we have the exposed wires right next to the fountain. This looks very dangerous, don’t you think?

I also saw empty beer bottles left by park visitors near the benches. I wonder why they couldn’t throw them in the proper bins?

To be fair, the trash was probably deposited by a contingent or a team working during the parade. Still, it would be better if there were enough trash bins all over the circle.

And then we have the uncut grass which makes the whole circle look unmaintained and forgotten.

Note: They finally cut the grass a few days after the parade. They are probably just following a schedule or something.

Some portions of the jogging path have been destroyed by the roots of the large trees around the circle.

The park benches are in terrible shape. Also, a lot of street people sleep on these benches especially in the early morning and in the evening.

I remember the time when these drinking shell fountains were still functional many years ago. Today, it’s filled with trash and the faucets have been removed.

One of the planters inside the circle was donated by the Cebu Garden Club (?) in the sixties. That was more than five decades ago!

Just some of the pieces of trash found in various parts of the circle.

I hope that the government would do something to bring back the glory of Fuente Osmeña. It’s never too late. It has a lot of potential to become every Cebuano family’s Sunday night go-to spot once again. If the government units couldn’t handle the situation, I hope some NGOs would step in to help save this amazing gem.

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