An uprising against Spanish rule in the 1870s in the Philippines saw Filipino families making their way to South Africa and seeking refuge in Kalk Bay. Picture: Supplied
Cape Town - An uprising against Spanish rule in the 1870s in the Philippines saw Filipino families making their way to South Africa and seeking refuge in Kalk Bay, which became home to about 200 families who settled in the area.

The descendants of the Filipino community still inhabit the area, yet the only indicator of their historic journey to the Cape was a single tombstone at the top of Boyes Drive, which served as the resting place of the Filipino settlers.

However, on Sunday the steps leading to the cemetery were honoured by Executive Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson, Philippine Ambassador Joseph Angeles and the Kalk Bay Historical Association, who renamed the steps Manila Steps.

The previously unnamed steps, on the corner of Quarterdeck and Kimberley roads, were renamed to honour the Filipino fishermen who contributed to the fishing community and culture present in the area today.

An uprising against Spanish rule in the 1870s in the Philippines saw Filipino families making their way to South Africa and seeking refuge in Kalk Bay, which became home to about 200 families who settled in the area. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency
An uprising against Spanish rule in the 1870s in the Philippines saw Filipino families making their way to South Africa and seeking refuge in Kalk Bay, which became home to about 200 families who settled in the area. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency

“The Filipinos were known for being excellent fishermen, and became part of the growing community in Kalk Bay whose livelihood depended on both fishing and whaling. The naming of the Manila Steps recognises the history and influence of the Filipino community in Kalk Bay,” said Neilson.

An information board was unveiled at the bottom of the steps to mark the occasion and share more details on the history of the Filipino community.

@IAmAthinaMay

[email protected]

Cape Argus