THE PROVINCE OF CEBU lies to the east of Negros Island, Leyte to the west and Bohol province in the southeast side. It is also bordered on both sides by the straits of Cebu and Tañon. Cebu Island is surrounded by 167 neighboring smaller islands, that includes Mactan Island, Bantayan, Daanbantayan, Malapascua, Olango and the Camotes Islands. Its capital is Cebu City, the oldest city in the country.
In 500 A.D, Cebu was part of the Malay empire and early inhabitants called the Island “Zebu” or “Sugbu” which is also a trading post for other Asian countries or nearby Malay Islands.
In the turn of the 15th century, Ferdinand Magellan together with his 200 men reached the Philippine archipelago and headed to Cebu. On April 14, 1521, Magellan erected a large wooden cross on the shores of Cebu and baptized Raja Humabon, Queen Juana and their followers. The Santo Niño was given to Cebu's Queen as a symbol of peace between the Spaniards and the Cebuanos. However on April 27, the historic Battle of Mactan occurred where Magellan was killed by Lapu-Lapu and his men were driven off the island by the natives of Mactan. Forty four years later, conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi and his 500 armed soldiers together with several Augustinian and Franciscan friars arrived and colonized the islands. Legazpi and his men then marched through Zugbo, attacked the palisades of chieftain Rajah Tupas and destroyed the village. It was later rebuilt and called it “Villa del Santíssimo Nombre de Jesús (Village of the Most Holy Name of Jesus)”. Thus, in 1569, it became the first Spanish settlement. The place later became the Diocese of Cebu. In 1860, the area opened its ports to foreign trade. June 12, 1898 marked the end of the Spanish era.
Then in 1901 under the American regime, Cebu became a municipality and later on became a chartered city on February 24, 1937. In the onset of World War II, Cebu also became the main Japanese base in April 1942.
The province has a total land area of 508,844 hectares which consists of narrow coastlines, limestone plateaus, coastal plains, rolling hills and mountain ranges. Flat tracts of land can be found at the northern tip of the province.
Currently, Cebu has a total population of more than 3 million in 2,876 households. The province is considered as the second largest metropolitan area in the Philippines after Manila. Cebuano is the native tongue by most residents. But generally, Filipino and English language is also widely used. In lieu of religion, most people are Roman Catholics, followed by Protestant, Iglesia ni Cristo, Jesus Miracle Crusade, Jehovah's Witnesses, Baptists, Mormons, Taoists and Muslims. The patron of Cebu is the Santo Niño de Cebu, the Holy Child Jesus.
The best months to travel in Cebu is from December to May when the weather turns dry. Cool months are from December to February, while hottest months occur from March to May. Temperature can rise as high as 37°C in the summer. Rainy season begins in July.
COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY IN CEBU
The province is one of the most developed provinces in the Philippines and is also the center for trade and commerce, education and industry in the central and southern parts of the archipelago. Cebu also has 80% domestic air and sea linkages; thus, it is the most accessible place to all points of the country.
The province houses more than 100 big firms and/or companies, as well as five-star hotels, casinos, white sand beaches, manufacturing plants, industrial estates, world-class golf courses, banks, convention centers, and shopping malls. Cebu is also fast becoming an IT hub as many companies, either local or outsourced, are establishing their headquarters in Cebu. The city has become a site for various U.S. call centers and BPOs. Exporting of products such as semi-conductor devices, electronic timepieces, electronic components, wire harness, floppy disk drives, photographic equipment, garments, and furniture, among many others also adds in the revenue of the province.
ART AND CULTURAL HERITAGE IN CEBU
Cebuano culture is laid back and has preserved Hispanic traditions in its native culture. American influence is dominant in contemporary music, movies, fastfoods, and the wide use of English.
YEARLY SPECIAL EVENTS
Fiesta sa Carcar This is celebrated on November 24 to 25 in honor of St. Catherine of Alexandria. The residents would invite friends, relatives and town visitors into their homes to taste popular local delicacies. A lively and enjoyable event.
Kadaugan sa Mactan A one day re-enactment held at the Mactan shrine, featuring pageantry every April 27 in commemoration of the historic Battle of Mactan between the forces of Lapulapu and Magellan.
Mantawi Festival The Festival features unique dance steps accompanied by a brass. This is truly one of the most anticipated celebration in the City of Mandaue.
Nuestra Señora de Regla Fiesta This is held every November 20 to 21 in Lapulapu City, in honor of the patroness of Opon. A food fair, carnival, procession and a coronation of the Fiesta Queen highlights the festivity.
Sanayon A month-long activity which is an agro-tourism festival in the southern towns of the second district.
Sinulog The Sinulog festival is Cebu's biggest and most popular festival. It is celebrated every 3rd Sunday of January. The feast is in honor of the holy image Señor Santo Niño de Cebú. Fiesta Señor.
Tagbo This is held at Poro, Cebu every January in honor of Patron Santo Niño de Poro.
The province is famous for its guitar-making especially in the districts of Mactan and Maribago. Other handicrafts, rattancraft, woodcraft, metalcrafts, garments, shellcraft, ceramics, basketware, rattan and wicker furniture, cement, costume jewelry, giftware, fertilizer, stonecraft, and food products and preserves are also best buys in Cebu. Dried mangoes can also be bought here.
MUNICIPALITIES OF CEBU
The province has 6 congressional districts, 8 cities, 45 municipalities and 1,202 barangays:
Bogo City Carcar City
Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Naga Oslob Pilar Pinamungahan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Santa Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan Tudela
Basilica Minor Del Santo Niño
This church was built by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and Fr. Andres Urdaneta on the site where the image of Santo Niño was found in 1565.
Fort San Pedro
This is the smallest, oldest tri-bastion fort in the country. The walls are 20 feet high, 8 feet thick, and the tower is 30 feet high from the ground. At present, it is under the care and administration of the PTA and now houses the National Museum that showcases the San Diego shipwreck & Fort San Pedro diggings.
This marker was erected in 1866 to mark the spot where the great explorer died.
Planted in April 21, 1521 by Ferdinand Magellan; spot where the first Christian Filipinos, Rajah Humabon and Queen Juana and about 400 followers, were baptized by Fr. Pedro Valderema. In 1525 to 1740, the Agustinian priests built an open shrine for the cross but the natives began to take chips from the cross believing it had miraculous power so a kiosk-like structure was built to protect the cross from total destruction.
It has white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. The west coast is ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
Other places to visit:
BEACH / RESORTS / CHURCHES
ANCESTRAL HOUSES /MUSEUMS / LIBRARIES AND HISTORICAL LANDMARKS
Chapel of the Last Supper
Casa Gorordo Museum
Fort San Pedro National Museum
Heritage of Cebu Monument
Julian Jumalon's Butterfly Sanctuary and Art Gallery
Olango Wildlife Sanctuary
Pres. Sergio Osmeña Memorabilia & Cap Art Gallery
Rizal Museum and Library
Rose Ong Orchid Collection
The Southwestern University Museum
University of San Carlos
HILLS AND ISLANDS
CAVES AND FALLS
Cebu is home to the Mactan International Airport. Cebu is just a short flight - an hour - away from Manila by plane or 22 hours by boat. It is an ideal jump-off point for other tourist attractions in the Visayas and Mindanao.