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Point Cebu    Everything you want to know about Cebu plus more!

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Cebu is at the center of the Philippines. Sitting at the crossroads of trade, transportation and communications links, the island is the natural hub of the archipelago. Cebu is a long narrow island separated by narrow straits from Negros Island in the west and Bohol to the southeast. Several smaller islands ring Cebu, the most important of which are Mactan, Bantayan and the Camotes Islands. A rugged mountain backbone runs the length of the island, creating two narrow coastal regions. The climate is dry with no pronounced seasons and infrequent typhoons.


  The settlement of Sugbu was a prosperous settlement when Ferdinand Magellan visited in 1521. It had extensive trade relations with China and other Southeast Asian nations. The Rajah Humabon, acknowledged king of much of the coast of Cebu, welcomed Magellan and together with his wife and hundreds of their followers, were baptized into the Roman Catholic faith. An image of the infant Jesus was given to the queen to mark the occasion of her baptism. The image was later found among the ruins of Cebu after the Spaniards returned to the city in 1565 and was venerated as a miraculous icon. Humabon accepted Spanish protection but another leader, Lapu-lapu of Mactan, refused to accede to Spanish dominion. Magellan died in Mactan trying to subdue Lapu-lapu.

  The Spaniards returned to Cebu in 1565 and destroyed the old Cebuano settlement. In its place, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi erected the Spanish town of San Miguel, the core of what is presently Cebu City, the oldest Spanish settlement in Asia. Cebu continued to be the center of Spanish colonization until it was partially evacuated by Legazpi in 1569. Although the Spaniards transferred the seat of power to Panay and then to Manila, Cebu remained an important regional entrépot for Visayas and Mindanao. In 1860, the port of Cebu was opened to international trade.

  Cebu is the mother province of most of the Visayas and Mindanao. The old province of Cebu used to encompass Leyte, Samar, Bohol and northern Mindanao. From Cebu, the provinces of Samar and Leyte were taken out in 1738. Eastern Negros was incorporated into the corregimiento of Negros in 1734. The province of Misamis (in late 18th century), and the island of Bohol, (in 1837), were taken out of Cebu, reducing the province to its present size.

  The province was evacuated by Spanish troops in December 1898 and all of Cebu was under revolutionary control until February 1899, when Americans occupied the city of Cebu. The revolutionaries fought a guerrilla war against the Americans, which delayed the establishment of civilian rule until 1902.

  During the 1980s, Cebu experienced rapid economic growth, anchored on strong local entrepreneurship and foreign investments. This economic boom transformed the regional trade center into the largest metropolitan area outside of Metro Manila.

 People, Culture and the Arts

  The Cebuanos are a most vibrant people. They are very lively, enterprising and plucky and are also well-known for being gregarious and fun-loving. They take great pride in their own heritage and identity that is strengthened by their distinct culture and distinguished history.. The people speak Sugbuanon or Cebuano.

  The culture of Cebu has been enriched by centuries of foreign contact. It is the home of a vibrant mixture of Cebuano, Spanish and Chinese racial elements that have combined to form a uniquely insular, yet cosmopolitan atmosphere. Having been the earliest settlement of the Spaniards, the province is awash in living tradition that dates back to the Spanish era. The Cross of Magellan marks the spot where Ferdinand Magelland planted the cross in Cebu. The first church in the country, the Basilica Minore de Santo Niño in Cebu City, contains the image of the Infant Jesus given by Magellan to the rajah’s wife as a baptismal gift in 1521. The Santo Niño is visited by pilgrims from throughout Cebu and the Philippines and is revered as a patron. The Sinulog Festival, held on the 3rd week of January, is a celebration of the pageantry of the early Cebuano culture that honors the Santo Niño.

  Cebu is a province of firsts. It has the oldest street in the Philippines called Calle Colon, which dates from 1565 and was named after Christopher Columbus, the intrepid explorer who came to the Americas. The University of San Carlos, founded by the Jesuits in 1595, is the oldest educational institution in the country. Cebu City’s other important landmarks showcase as array of houses, churches, and municipal buildings dating back to the first settlements established by the Spaniards in the 16th century.

  Traditional industries have thrived in the province, attesting to the long enterprising spirit of the Cebuanos. The guitar factories in Maribago and Abuno are well known and reputedly produce the best guitars in the country. A wide selection of guitars, ukeleles, mandolins, banjos and string basses are offered. Carcar is famous for its pottery. Home-made guns called paltik also come from the province. Spanish delicacies like otap, masareal are favorite items for sale to tourists.

  Cebu has also built a certain fame for having produced some of the best singers in the country, which is proof of a strong tradition of singing and performing. The Cebuano singers croon from the heart and soul and this sincere quality of their style has earned for the province the general adulation of the Filipino audience.

Trade and Investments

  Cebu does not only hold promise or potential but has clearly shown capability with its excellent economic track record. The second largest city and fastest growing economy of the country, Cebu leads not only in country exports, but also stands as the tourism gateway for central and southern Philippines. It is the hub of transportation in the country, far surpassing the accessibility of the national capital in terms of domestic traffic. Eighty percent (80%) of inter-island shipping and the highest number of domestic air linkages pass through Cebu. The 5,000 square kilometer island is the heart of the Visayas and is centrally located within the South East Asian region. The local population of 4.3 million holds a labor force that is oriented towards non-agricultural lines and considered as one of the most productive in the country.

  Cebu has a balanced infrastructure development and has all the necessary ingredients to sustain investments. The Cebu International Airport not only facilitates the movement of passengers by offering numerous flights to many Philippine cities and Asian destinations, but also offers reliable and efficient airfreight services backed by foreign couriers. The seaport of Cebu also offers excellent shipping and cargo services. Operating on a 10-hectare area, the seaport has a cargo back-up area of 20,000 square meter and a ground slot for 2,418 containers. Sea freight operations ply routes to international destinations such as Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, London, USA, Australia, Canada, China and Vietnam. Power and water supply is not a problem in Cebu. Most of the major banks found in the country are already in Cebu or are planning to have branches located in the province. Communication facilities use modern landlines with international direct dialing capabilities, fiber optic data lines and internet capabilities. Analog and GSM digital cellular networks have good coverage in the city and in most of the province as well as support international roaming services.

  The investment opportunities in Cebu are supported by special economic zones that are currently being developed following the success of the Mactan Export Processing Zone. They are also supported by incentives like income tax holidays, tax credits, tax and duty free importation and full ownership or control of zone enterprises. Major export firms in Cebu are engaged in production of cameras, electronic components, and communication equipment. Cebu also leads the country in the export of furniture, fashion accessories, carageenan, gifts, toys and houseware items.

  Cebu's enviable position in the center of the archipelago makes it an ideal point to locate business operations. Petrochemical, oleo-chemical and sugar based industries can take advantage of the easy access of Cebu from sources of raw materials, the availability of highly skilled labor and its well developed infrasctructure base. The province's large population base also makes it a major consumer market outside of Metro Manila. It is a center for inter-island shipping and shipping support services. Ship repair and shipbuilding activities have thrived in Cebu and will continue to attract investments because of the volume of shipping handled by the ports of Cebu.

  The tourist industry in Cebu continues to grow due to the warm hospitality of its people, the natural beauty of its white sandy beaches and the wonders of its coasts lined with coral reefs. The average increases in tourist arrivals from 1992 to 1996 were 17.83% for foreign tourists and 10.67% for local tourists. 

Region Central Visayas
Province Cebu
Capital Cebu City
Governor Pablo P. Garcia
Income/Financial Resources (1999) P1,621 M
Income classification (1996) 1st
Expenditure (1998) P684.4 M
Population (2000 projection) 3,251,628
Labor Force (1998) 1,316,000
Land area 5,368 sq. kms.
Major Dialects/ Languages Cebuano, Tagalog, English, Chinese (Fookien and Mandarin)
No. of Barangays 1,203
City/ies CEBU, Mandaue, Lapu Lapu, Danao, Toledo
Municipalities (48) Talisay, Minglanilla, Naga, San Fernando, Carcar, Sibonga, Argao, Dalaguete, Alcoy, Boljoon, Oslob, Santander, Samboan, Ginatilan, Malabuyoc, Alegria, Badian, Moalboal, Alcantara, Ronda, Dumanjog, Barili, Aloguinsan, Pinamungajan, Balamban, Asturias, Tuburan, Tabuelan, San Remegio, Medellin, Daanbantayan, Bogo, Tabogon, Sta. Fe, Bantayan, Madridejos, Borbon, Sogod, Catmon, Carmen, Compostela, Liloan, Poro, San Francisco, Tudela, Pilar, Consolacion, Cordova
Infrastructure Facilities Power plants, water treatment facilities, road network, Ports (Cebu International Port and 44 domestic ports); airport (Mactan International Airport and 5 feeder airports); Telecoms (248,740 digital lines, 70,410 non-digital, 2 land based telephone companies, 5 cellular phone firms, 5 pager companies, 15 internet services providers, 7 local TV channels, 3 cable TV stations, 33 AM/ FM radios) ;Schools (200 high schools, 6 universities, 28 colleges, 22 technical training centers);
Major Products Agricultural (corn, rice, legumes, fruits, root crops, ornamental plants, coffee, cacao and spices)
Major Industries Industrial parts assembly, food processing, furniture, stone craft, garments, fashion, accessories, gift/ toy/ house ware making, electrical eqpt manufacturing, ship building, coal/ dolomite mining, gun making
Natural Resources Metallic ore deposits, agricultural lands
Indigenous People  

 Development Initiative Highlights:

  • To upgrade existing infrastructure to support access to the province
  • To strengthen intra-provincial linkages through better transport facilities
  • To decongest urban development by developing communities outside the city
  • To ensure that the province will have energy sufficient for the needs of the growing industries
  • To upgrade health facilities and sanitation services to meet the needs of a growing population
  • To increase the number of formal tertiary education institutions especially outside town centers
  • To develop areas with tourism and recreation potentials



Links:    A new site that has a lot of potential.

Living in Cebu

Living in the Philippines

Holland - Philippines

RAO Cebu

Filipino Travel Center Rooms: Cebu City, Mactan Island (Int'l Airport), Bantayan Island (North Cebu), Malapascua Island (North Cebu), Moalboal (South Cebu)

Tours Cebu

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting schedule Cebu





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