February 17, 2019

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About Cebu

Cebu Province

The province is a narrow strip of land, approximately 200 km long and 40 km across at its longest and widest points, respectively. It’s backbone is made up of rugged mountains rising to 1013 meters in the center. Narrow plains can be found along the islands´ coastline. Smaller islands surround the mainland. It is located in Central Visayas, which is in the center of the Philippine archipelago. It is bounded by the Visayan Sea in the north; Camotes Sea in the east; Tanon Strait in the west; and Bohol Strait in the southeast. Cebu’s weather promises to be good for business because typhoon activities are minor and rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year. Moreover, the island is not located within any earthquake belt, there is no known active volcano.

Cebu Province has 6 cities; Cebu, Danao, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Toledo and Talisay and 47 smaller towns. In contrast to the bustling metropolis, the rest of Cebu’s 167 islets and islands are lined with idyllic white sandy beaches and pristine clear waters. Cebu City is the capital of Cebu. Often called the “Queen City of the South” and the Seat of Christianity in the Philippines, Cebu is the country’s oldest city. It is where you can find Colon, the first and oldest street in the whole country which used to be the center of trade and industry during the pre-colonial days.

A Brief History

CebuCebu, also known as Sugbu, was already a prosperous settlement before the Spaniards came in 1521. On April 14, 1521, 800 natives were baptized during the first Mass in Cebu, including the chieftain and his wife. Thirteen days later, Ferdinand Magellan died in the battle against Lapu-Lapu, a native chieftain, in Mactan, an island off the coast of Cebu.
The first permanent Spanish settlement in the Philippines, it was founded in 1565 as San Miguel by Miguel López de Legaspi; it was capital of the Spanish colony until 1571. On January 1, 1571, the present city of Cebu was founded, changing its former name of San Miguel to La Villa del Santissimo Nombre de Jesus. The province of Cebu was created on March 10, 1917.

As a major Japanese base in World War II, it was largely destroyed by U.S. bombs. It has been rebuilt and today is a charming mixture of old and new, East and West. A Roman Catholic archdiocese, it has a bishop’s palace, a cathedral. The Sto. Niño Church houses the jewel-encrusted gold statue of the Holy Child, given by Magellan to King Jumabon and Queen Juana.

The People

Cebuanos are extremely proud of their cultural and historical heritage. The Cebuano dialect is the main language used. While Filipino is commonly understood and spoken, the English language is widely used in business transactions and education. Cebu Province has a total population of more than 3 million.

Commerce and Industry

It is not just a promise or potential, Cebu demonstrated its capability with an excellent economic track record. It is the second largest city and fastest growing economy in the Philippines.

Cebu grows coconut, sugarcane, abaca, bananas, tobacco and rootcrops, but the main agricultural product grown is corn. The province is also popular for its grapes, mangoes, and cut flowers.

The island is rich in mineral resources. One of the biggest copper mines in Asia is in Toledo City. Other deposits include gold, silver, iron and coal.

Industries include the production of cement, fertilizer, paper, coconut oil and beer. The province of Cebu is especially well known because of the production of locally handmade acoustic guitars, bandurrias (Filipino mandolins), banjos and ukuleles. Already for generations the Cebuanos have been making quality guitars. The guitar makers are considered to be among the world’s finest craftsmen. Mactan island, is the center of Cebu’s guitar-making industry. Handicrafts made of bamboo, wood, and shells can also be found. The products find their destination in shops on the national market as well as via export in shops in foreign countries.

The relevance of foreign investors in the export-industries in Cebu City (and Mactan island) is evident. The MEPZ (Mactan Economic Processing Zone) industrial park is the site of big foreign as well as local companies. On the top of the list of relevant export products in this region are semiconductors, electronic watches, electrical equipment, cameras and furniture. The largest foreign markets are the USA and Japan. Outside Metro Manila, Metro Cebu is considered as the largest and most progressive urban center in the country. The development of its infrastructure is balanced; it has all the ingredients necessary to be competitive and sustain investments. It is a cosmopolitan with all the support facilities and amenities needed for an ideal lifestyle It is the most accessible place in the Philippines, with more domestic air and sea linkages than Manila. Cebu is base to over 80% of inter-island shipping capacity in the Philippines.

Cebu is the Tourism Gateway for the Central and Southern Philippines.


The Philippine currency is peso, divided into 100 centavos. Next to the peso, the US dollar enjoys wide acceptance. Most foreign currencies can easily be changed at banks, hotels, and authorized dealers. Foreign currency is not readily taken by the establishments in Cebu. Major foreign credit cards may be accepted only at major hotels, resorts, shops and restaurants. Visitors are advised to bring sufficient amount of change in small bills or coins.

Getting There and Away

Boats and fast ferries travel to and from Cebu on almost all neighboring island provinces several times a week. The Mactan International Airport is the nation’s second largest airport and accommodates domestic and international flights that connect the island to several continents. Many tourists from abroad will directly fly to Cebu’s airport. From Cebu they spread out by boat to the many islands in the Visayas or they stay on Cebu island.

Getting around Cebu one may take a colorful jeepney or a bus at a minimal fare. Tricycles (motorcycles with sidecars) are popular in outlaying areas and in the suburbs, quiet notably within Mactan Island. Taxicabs are widely available.

Life & Tourism

Cebu ranked no. 4 among Asian island destinations, according to Travel + Leisure magazine, which recently released the results of its World’s Best Awards 2009, a listing of the best hotels, airlines, cruises in islands and cities all over the world.

On Mactan island, tourism is well developed. Many dive centres and dive resorts (more than 75) arrange day excursions and diving safaris to the surrounding dive sites. Not only in the nearby waters, but especially to the nearby small islands, Cebu became the country’s top tourist destination. Foreign as well as local tourists have countless choices on what to do and what to see in Cebu from soaking in on fine white-sand beaches and fantastic dive spots or getting into any sort of exciting water sports like parasailing, jet skiing, to name a few, or land adventures like trekking, or visiting local industries, to dining in and shopping on world-class malls, or tracing the province and city’s Spanish and religious past, to celebrating its festivities, or simply discovering the local’s way of life.

Cebu has one of the best records for peace and order in the country.