community media

demonstrates how media which is created for and by the community serve as an effective venue to express community issues and concerns, promote participation, and encourage cultural diversity.

Starting a Media Tradition


IT IS not quite clear really, when the initial publishing effort was first undertaken in Cebu. While Philippine history states that Cebu was the last island Magellan landed on before he died in the hands of Lapulapu, it is obvious that Cebu did not get to print a newspaper until more than 300 years later. Perhaps, the story would have been different if Spain had not decided to make Manila the base for its colonial government in the islands. In a paper called "A Short History of Cebu 1500 - 1897" by Dioniso A.Sy, a historical researcher, it was pointed out that the first recorded printing press in Cebu "which was also the first outside Luzon," was the Imprenta de Escondrillas y Compania owned by Domingo de Escondrillas. It started operation in 1873, but lasted only three years. Its owner, Escondrillas was also a writer and publisher. It was managed by Felimon Roa.

In any case, historical records point to 1886 as the year when a Cebu news weekly first appeared. Called El Boletin de Cebu, it carried news and discussions of current issues that concerned not only the developing urban community, but also the whole country as well. EL Boletin, a four page, four column weekly that measured 12 inches wide and 17.5 inches long was published and edited by Don Eduardo Jimenez Frades and printed in Cebu.

Printed in the press that it owned-the second one in Cebu--the weekly's content was generally pro-Spanish, especially in matters of political issues. It was, of course expected, considering the social and political environment of the period. That it was printed in its own printing press bought from Chofre y Compania, indicated that the publication had the capability to survive longer than it did.

That it shied away from advocacies of liberal ideas, in some way, assured its survival. But the El Boletin ceased publication in early 1898. Management of the paper fell into the hands of Alfredo Velasco when Jimenez died in 1888. But the start of revolutionary hostilities in Cebu 1898 forced Velasco to stop its publication. Velasco had written a "monograph entitled "La Isla de Cebu" which came out in 1892.

There was still a third printing plant in Cebu that emerged early in the last decade of the 19th century. This one started operation in 1891, the year before Velasco came out with his monograph that probably opened the way for him to occupy positions of influence in the developing city's ayutamiento. The third printing press was owned by the Seminario-Colegio de San Carlos, which mainly produced then religious literature.

Among its publications were guides to religious worships, such as Tulomanon sa mga Celadores ug Celadorassa Corazon de Jesus ug sa Spostolado de la Oracion, 1893, and Devocionario para el Alma Devota, by Fr. Tomas Concepcion in 1897.