Vol. 11 (2017): CNU-JHE

Historicity of City and Town Names in the Province of Cebu

Published 20-07-2017


  • historicity, narrative typification, town/city name, reference, origin


Place names are an important part of social life as they signify the collective identity of the inhabitants. Since place names signify social identity, it is important to determine the historicity of the narrative that trace their etymologies and origins. This study examined the historicity of the existing name narratives of the cities and towns of the province of Cebu contained in the fifty-five volumes comprising the histories of Cebu Province, Cebu Provincial Capitol together with 9 cities and 44 towns. The name narratives are categorized as either historical, most likely historical, most likely not historical, and not historical. Since bear certain characteristic features, they are classified into types. The examination and typification of the narratives yielded the following findings: 2 city and 20 town names are considered historical; 6 city and 14 town names are deemed most likely historical; 6 town names are adjudged most likely not historical; whereas, 1 city and 7 town names are regarded not historical. Moreover, 5 cities and 9 towns are named after flora and fauna; 2 cities and 5 towns are named after geographical features; 12 towns are named after customs, festivals, and events; 1 city and 4 towns are named after people; and, 1 city and 14 towns are named after Catholic saints, places in Spanish and Latin America. About 79% of cities and towns which are classified as fourth and third types are found to be historical and most likely historical. Several pre-colonial place names were replaced with Spanish names which usually consisted of names of Catholic saints or names of places in Spain and Spanish territories.