Parian was the original and affluent Chinese heartland of Cebu, founded as a de facto settlement in the middle of the 16th century.
Today, nothing much remains of this district of fine houses and shops, except for a handful of old houses, like Casa Gorordo and the Jesuit Residence of 1730. Though it ceased to be wholly Chinese by the 19th century due to the rabid Chinese pogroms in the 18th century, Cebu’s Parian remained the enclave of affluent Chinese mestizos like the Borromeos, Cuis, Osmeñas, Velezes, Velosos and over 20 other families.
The center of the Parian was the church of San Juan Bautista. The fire station at the crossroads of Sikatuna and Zulueta streets is built on the foundations of the church’s convento. A small chapel nearby, dedicated to San Juan, is a mute reminder of this once impressive church.
The church was built by a mestizo Chinese secular priest in the 1700s. Jurisdictional conflicts with the convento of Santo Niño forced the bishop to demote the church from parish to the level of visita dependent on Santo Niño.
In time, the church was abandoned and deteriorated. Its appurtenances went to other churches and to the Colegio de San Ildefonso, which inherited some of its furniture and statuary. The site of the church’s sanctuary was marked by a cross before World War II. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer, Other web sources)
Long live Cebu’s Parian district!