Wednesday, October 24, 2018

When you have passed by along South Road Proerties, Cebu you have most likely seen the ruins of Compania Maritima. It is that abandoned building you can see upon entering SRP. If you are like me who is fascinated with heritage sites and it's stories, you probably also look forward to being able to get into the building or at least take a photo of it.

History of Maritima Ruins (Compania Maritima)

Before this building became known as the Maritima Ruins, it was known as the Fernandez Building. It was built in 1910 and was owned by Fernandez Hermanos Inc. It was later on, occupied by Shamrock Hotel in the 1930's.  It was prominent for being the flagship hotel of Shamrock. It was also reported that Shamrock Hotel utilizes the upper floors while the ground floor is occupied by Manila Steamship Company.

  Today, the Maritima Ruins is left abandoned, occupied by the homeless and the facade surrounded with parked cars
Today, the Maritima Ruins is left abandoned, occupied by the homeless and the facade surrounded with parked cars
In 1945, during the World War II, this building wasn't spared from the bombing and havoc of war. It was dilapidated until an international shipping lines offered to have it restored. That was Compania Maritima.

Compania Maritima was the biggest shipping company in the Philippines. They have also put up the Philippine's first international port in Cebu. Their dominant routes were going to Southern Mindanao. Their ships are bigger and able to carry more cargoes than the competitors.

Abandoning the Building

In 1976, fast cruiser liners came. Sulpicio Lines and William Lines has introduced a faster ships which travels 50% less time than Compania Maritima currently have and only have one intermediate stop compared to the Compania Maritima that has up to six intermediate stops.  The company tried to take care of things and reduce their sailing time to 4 days however, they were still unable to compete. As competetors acquire faster and better ships, Compania Maritima got stuck to their old ships and way of sailing. Together with the political and financial crisis in the 80s and their losing operations. They had to file bankruptcy and in 1988 non of their ships exist.

Owners of the company left and went back to Spain, while the building was left abandoned since then.

Truly, this heritage building has gone through the test of time. It has witnessed Cebu from pre-war up until now. It's beautiful structure and facade shows the rich history of the Philippines. My only wish for this building is for this to be restored like in its glory days and become a historical museum. I would definitely be the first to go.

A view of the Maritima ruins


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