While the majority of Cebuano writers are from the Visayas and Mindanao region, the most recognized Filipino literary outlet for them, including the Bisaya Magasin, is based in Makati city in Manila, while there is also a lively Cebuano community of writers in the language which is based outside the country. The term Cebuano literature, therefore, encompasses not only those Visayas and Mindanao-based writers writing in Cebuano, but all written output in Cebuano, wherever its source.
Cebuano literature, as much as most literature of the Philippines, started with fables and legends of the early people in the Philippines and colonial period, right down to the Mexican (Viceroyalty of New Spain) and Spanish influences. Although existence of a pre-hispanic writing system in Luzon is attested, there is proof that baybayin was widespread in the Visayas. Most of the literature produced during that period was oral. They were documented by the Spanish Jesuit Fr. Ignatio Francisco Alzinal. During the Spanish colonial period, the religious theme was predominant. Novenas and gozos, most notably the Bato Balani for the Santo Niño.
The first written Cebuano literature is Maming, by Vicente Sotto, The Father of Cebuano Literature. The story was published in the first issue (July 16, 1900) of his Ang Suga. Two years later Sotto wrote, directed, and produced the first Cebuano play, Elena.It was first performed at the Teatro Junquera (in what is now Cebu City) on May 18, 1902. The play established Sotto's reputation as a writer. The dedication of the play by the playwright reads, "To My Motherland, that you may have remembrance of the glorious Revolution that redeemed you from enslavement. I dedicate this humble play to you."
Vicente Sotto attacked