Cebu City

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Cebu City
Dakbayan sa Sugbo
City of Cebu
Cebu City (Aerial).jpg
Allan Jay Quesada - Santo Nino Cathedral or the Basilica del Santo Niño DSC 7880.jpg
Magellan's Cross Cebu (cropped).jpg
Malacanan sa Sugbo.jpg
Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral 20180628a (cropped).jpg
Cebu City Skyline.jpeg
From top, left to right: Cebu City skyline • Basilica of Santo NiñoMagellan's CrossMalacañang sa SugboCebu CathedralCebu Business Park
  • Queen City of the South;
  • Oldest City in the Philippines;
  • First Capital of the Philippines; and
  • Creative Capital of the Philippines
Map of Cebu Province with Cebu City highlighted
Map of Cebu Province with Cebu City highlighted
Cebu City is located in Philippines
Cebu City
Cebu City
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 10°17′35″N 123°54′07″E / 10.293°N 123.902°E / 10.293; 123.902Coordinates: 10°17′35″N 123°54′07″E / 10.293°N 123.902°E / 10.293; 123.902
RegionCentral Visayas
ProvinceCebu (geographically only)
District1st (North) and 2nd (South) districts of Cebu City
(as Spanish colony)
Reincorporated (as city)

24 February 1937
Highly urbanized cityDecember 22, 1979
Barangays80 (see Barangays)
 • TypeSangguniang Panlungsod
 • MayorMichael L. Rama (BARUG)
 • Vice MayorRaymond Alvin N. Garcia (BARUG)
 • City Council
 • Congress
 • Electorate709,608 voters (2019)
 • City315.00 km2 (121.62 sq mi)
 • Urban205 km2 (79 sq mi)
 • Metro
1,062.88 km2 (410.38 sq mi)
 • Rank34th out of 145
135 m (443 ft)
Highest elevation
981 m (3,219 ft)
Lowest elevation
0 m (0 ft)
 (2020 census)[4]
 • City964,169
 • Rank6th
 • Density3,100/km2 (7,900/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Metro
 • Metro density3,000/km2 (7,700/sq mi)
 • Households
 • Income class1st city income class
 • Poverty incidence6.70% (2018)[5]
 • Revenue₱7,095,995,317.55 (2020)
 • Assets₱34,754,361,736.59 (2020)
 • Expenditure₱8,692,757,512.52 (2020)
Service provider
 • ElectricityVisayan Electric Company (VECO)
Time zoneUTC+8 (PST)
ZIP code
IDD:area code+63 (0)32
Native languagesCebuano, Filipino, and English
Sister cities
Dominant religionRoman Catholicism – 80%
Notable festivalSinulog Festival – Third Sunday of January
Catholic dioceseArchdiocese of Cebu
Patron saint

Cebu City, officially known as the City of Cebu (Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Sugbo; Tagalog: Lungsod ng Cebu), is a 1st class highly urbanized city in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines and capital of the Cebu Province. According to the 2020 census, it has a population of 964,169 people, [6] making it the sixth-most populated city in the nation and the most populous in the Visayas.

It is the regional center and primate city of Central Visayas and seat of government of the province of Cebu, but governed independently. The city and its metropolitan area exerts influence on commerce, trade, industry, education, culture, tourism & healthcare beyond the region, over the entire Visayas and partly over Mindanao. It is the Philippines' main domestic shipping port and is home to about 80% of the country's domestic shipping companies.

Cebu is bounded on the north by the town of Balamban and the city of Danao, on the west by the city of Toledo, on the east by the cities of Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue and the towns of Liloan, Consolacion and Compostela and on the south by the city of Talisay. Located at the center of the eastern seaboard of Cebu Island, it is the core city of Metro Cebu, the second largest metropolitan area in the Philippines by population & economy, which includes the cities of Carcar, Danao, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Naga and Talisay and the municipalities (towns) of Compostela, Consolacion, Cordova, Liloan, Minglanilla and San Fernando. Metro Cebu had a total population of 2,849,213 as of 2015, making it the second-most populous metropolitan area of the nation, after Metro Manila in Luzon.[7]

The current political boundaries of the city is an incorporation of the former municipalities of Cebu, San Nicolas, El Pardo, Mabolo, Talamban and Banilad in the Commonwealth period.[8]

In the Precolonial period, the area of what is today Cebu was occupied by the Rajahnate of Cebu which was known to the Ming dynasty as the nation of Sokbu (束務).[9] The capital of which was Singhapala (சிங்கப்பூர்) which is Tamil-Sanskrit for "Lion City", the same rootwords with the modern city-state of Singapore.

Cebu is considered as the Philippines' oldest city, being the first Spanish settlement[10] and the first capital of the Philippines. It was granted city status on April 27, 1594, through a Real provisión by Philip II of Spain, preceding all other Philippine cities except Manila, and is thus the second oldest by city status in the country.[11] In 1889, the Real decreto sobre reorganización y régimen de Ayuntamientos de Filipinas[12] (commonly known as the Becerra Law) granted the formation of municipalities (ayuntamientos) in the islands, enabling Cebu to establish its own in 1890. 343 years later, it was granted a new charter with an expanded territory by the National Assembly of the Philippines.[8]

Owing to its economic importance and influence in modern times, Cebu City is popularly called Queen City of the South—a sobriquet adopted from Iloilo City after its economic decline in the mid-1900s.[a]

The city is considered the birthplace of Christianity in the Far East.[14][15][16][17] The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cebu is currently the largest archdiocese in the Philippines and in Asia.[18]

Cebu Island has entered the list of Condé Nast Traveler's World's Best Islands rankings thrice: 2016, 2017 and 2019. The city and its island-province are often marketed as a single tourist destination, combining natural countryside scenery with urban attractions including cultural-historical sites and developing infrastructure. Tourism is one of the most important industries in the city; it remains as one of the most visited in the country by both domestic and foreign visitors.

Cebu City was recognized by the British Council as the Creative Capital of the Philippines.[19] In 2019, it joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network as a City of Design.[20]


The name "Cebu" came from the old Cebuano word sibu or sibo ("trade"), a shortened form of sinibuayng hingpit ("the place for trading"). It was originally applied to the harbors of the town of Sugbu, the ancient name for Cebu City. Sugbu or Sugbo, in turn, was derived from the Old Cebuano term for "scorched earth" or "great fire".[21][22]



Before the arrival of the Spaniards, Cebu city was part of the island-rajahnate and trade center of Pulua Kang Dayang or Kangdaya (literally "[the islands] which belong to Baya “), now better known as the Rajahnate of Cebu. It was founded by a prince of the Hindu Chola dynasty of Sumatra, the half-Malay and half-Tamil, Sri Lumay. The name Sugbo (shortened form of Kang Sri Lumaying Sugbo, literally "that of Sri Lumay's great fire") refers to Sri Lumay's scorched earth tactics against Muslim Pirates or Moro raiders (Magalos).[21][22]

Spanish period[edit]

19th century kiosk containing the Magellan's Cross, which is said to be the cross planted by Ferdinand Magellan's expedition in 1521.

On April 7, 1521, Portuguese explorer at the service of the Spanish Crown and leader of the first expedition to circumnavigate the world, Ferdinand Magellan, landed in Cebu. He was welcomed by Rajah Humabon (also known as Sri Humabon or Rajah Humabara), the grandson of Sri Lumay, together with his wife and about 700 native islanders. Magellan, however, was killed in the Battle of Mactan, and the remaining members of his expedition left Cebu soon after several of them were poisoned by Humabon, who was fearful of foreign occupation. The last ruler of Sugbo, prior to Spanish colonization, was Rajah Humabon's nephew, Rajah Tupas (d. 1565).[21][22]

On February 13, 1565, Spanish conquistadors led by Miguel López de Legazpi together with Augustinian friars whose prior was Andrés de Urdaneta, arrived in Samar, taking possession of the island thereafter. They Christianized some natives and Spanish remnants in Cebu. Afterwards, the expedition visited Leyte, Cabalian, Mazaua, Camiguin and Bohol where the famous Sandugo or blood compact was performed between López de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna, the chieftain of Bohol on March 16, 1565. The Spanish arrived in Cebu on April 15, 1565. They then attempted to parley with the local ruler, Rajah Tupas, but found that he and the local population had abandoned the town. Rajah Tupas presented himself at their camp on May 8, feast of the Apparition of Saint Michael the Archangel, when the island was taken possession of on behalf of the Spanish King. The Treaty of Cebu was formalized on July 3, 1565. López de Legazpi's party named the new city "Villa de San Miguel de Cebú" (later renamed "Ciudad del Santísimo Nombre de Jesús)." In 1567 the Cebu garrison was reinforced with the arrival of 2,100 soldiers from New Spain (Mexico).[b] The growing colony was then fortified by Fort San Pedro.

A 19th-century map of Cebu City

By 1569, the Spanish settlement in Cebu had become important as a safe port for ships from Mexico and as a jumping-off point for further exploration of the archipelago. Small expeditions led by Juan de Salcedo went to Mindoro and Luzon, where he and Martín de Goiti played a leading role in the subjugation of the Kingdoms of Tundun and Seludong in 1570. One year later, López de Legazpi departed Cebu to discuss a peace pact with the defeated Rajahs. An agreement between the conquistadors and the Rajahs to form a city council paved the way for the establishment of a new settlement and the construction of the Christian walled city of Intramuros on the razed remains of Islamic Manila, then a vassal-state of the Sultanate of Brunei.

In 1571, the Spanish carried over infantry from Mexico, to raise an army of Christian Visayan warriors from Cebu and Iloilo as well as mercenaries from the Tagalog region, and assaulted the Sultanate of Brunei in what is known as the Castilian War. The war also started the Spanish–Moro Wars waged between the Christian Visayans and Muslim Mindanao, wherein Moros burned towns and conducted slave raids in the Visayas islands and selling the slaves to the Sultanates of the Malay Archipelago and the Visayans fought back by establishing Christian fort-cities in Mindanao, cities such as Zamboanga City.

On August 14, 1595, Pope Clement VIII created the diocese of Cebu as a suffragan to the Archdiocese of Manila.

On April 3, 1898, local revolutionaries led by the Negrense Leon Kilat rose up against the Spanish colonial authorities and took control of the urban center after three days of fighting. The uprising was only ended by the treacherous murder of Leon Kilat and the arrival of soldiers from Iloilo and Manila.[24][25] On December 26, 1898, the Spanish Governor, General Montero, evacuated his troops to Zamboanga, turning over government property to Pablo Mejia.[26] The next day, a provincial government was formed under Luis Flores as president, General Juan Climaco as military chief of staff, and Julio Llorente as mayor.

American occupation and World War II[edit]

Aerial view of Cebu, 1936

The signing of the Treaty of Paris at the end of the Spanish–American War provided for the cession of Cebu along with the rest of the Philippine Islands to the United States until the formation of the Commonwealth Era (1935–46). On February 21, 1899, the USS Petrel (PG-2) deployed a landing party of 40 marines on the shores of Cebu.[27] Cebu's transfer to the American government was signed by Luis Flores although others, most notably General Arcadio Maxilom and Juan Climaco, offered resistance until 1901.[28] Governor W. H. Taft visited Cebu on April 17, 1901, and appointed Julio Llorento as the first provincial governor.[29] Juan Climaco was elected to that office in January 1904.[29]


With its city status[11] granted by the King of Spain in 1594 invalidated by the change of colonial administration, in 1934 the neighboring municipalities of El Pardo, Mabolo, Talamban, Banilad, and San Nicolas were dissolved and merged to become the chartered City of Cebu on February 24, 1937. These former towns were broken up into several barangays, including their town centers which assumed their names (in contrast, Manila and Iloilo preserved their incorporated towns as geo-political districts).[8] Many other Philippine cities such as Dansalan (now Marawi), Iloilo City, and Bacolod were also incorporated at the same time (see Cities of the Philippines).

Japanese Occupation

Along with the rest of the country, Cebu came under Japanese occupation during World War II. The Japanese encountered opposition from guerrillas and irregular forces led by Col. James Cushing and the Cebu Area Command. It was finally liberated with the Battle for Cebu City in March and April 1945. The military general headquarters of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and 8th Constabulary Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary, active from January 3, 1942, to June 30, 1946, was stationed in Cebu City during World War II.

During the Marcos dictatorship[edit]

Cebu became a key center of resistance against the Marcos dictatorship,[30] first becoming apparent when the hastily put-together lineup of Pusyon Bisaya defeated the entire slate of Marcos' Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) in Region VII.[31]

Among the Cebuanos immediately arrested by the Marcos dictatorship when Martial law was announced on September 23, 1972, were columnist and future National Artist Resil Mojares and human rights lawyer and Carcar Vice Mayor Democrito Barcenas, who were both detained at Camp Sergio Osmeña.[32][33][34]

One of the Marcos Martial Law desaparecidos from Cebu was Redemptorist priest Fr. Rudy Romano,[35] a prominent Marcos critic and executive secretary of Cebu's Coalition against People's Persecution, who was accosted by armed men in Tisa, Labangon, Cebu City, on June 11, 1985, and never seen again.[36][37] Levi Ybañez, Romano's colleague in the Coalition against People's Persecution, was abducted on the same day as Fr. Romano, and was also never heard from again.[38][39]

Later, Cebu would play a key role in the days leading up to the 1986 People Power revolution and the ouster of Marcos. It was from Fuente Osmeña circle in Cebu City that the opposition forces relaunched a civil disobedience campaign against the Marcos regime and its cronies on February 22, 1986. After that, the Carmelite Monastery in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City, served as a refuge for opposition candidates Aquino and Laurel during the first day of the People Power revolution, because it was not yet safe to go back to Manila.[40]

Present day[edit]

Skyline of Cebu City in 2009

Colon Street, the oldest national road in the Philippines, is the center of a dense and compact area in downtown Cebu City that was once the heart of Cebu City's shopping and business activity, with fashionable shops, restaurants and movie houses. In the early 1990s, much of this activity shifted to the more modern and more diverse business districts located in almost all of the urban areas of the city, including in what was considered residential and leisure neighborhoods. Colon also serves as a transit point for public utility jeepneys (PUJ) covering arterial routes within the city.


Panorama of Cebu City North district
Panorama of Cebu City South district

Cebu City has a land area of 315 square kilometres (122 sq mi). To the northeast of the city is Mandaue City and the town of Consolacion; to the west is Toledo City and the towns of Balamban and Asturias; to the south is Talisay City and the town of Minglanilla.

Across Mactan Strait to the east is Mactan island where Lapu-Lapu is located. Further east across the Cebu Strait is the island of Bohol.


The city comprises 80 barangays. These are grouped into two congressional districts, with 46 barangays in the northern district and 34 in the southern district.[41][42][43][44] The three most populous are Guadalupe (> 61,000), Lahug (> 38,000), and Tisa (> 37,000).

Political map of Cebu City
North South
PSGC Barangay Population ±% p.a.
2020[6] 2010[45]
072217001 Adlaon 0.4% 4,028 3,647 0.97%
072217002 Agsungot 0.2% 2,290 1,981 1.42%
072217003 Apas 2.6% 24,591 22,566 0.84%
072217006 Bacayan 1.7% 15,919 14,021 1.24%
072217007 Banilad 0.8% 7,890 9,903 −2.19%
072217010 Binaliw 0.4% 3,417 2,722 2.24%
072217013 Budlaan 0.6% 5,316 5,100 0.40%
072217017 Busay 1.4% 13,048 11,335 1.38%
072217019 Cambinocot 0.3% 3,099 2,658 1.50%
072217020 Capitol Site 1.2% 11,307 15,308 −2.90%
072217021 Carreta 1.3% 12,557 11,211 1.11%
072217023 Cogon‑Ramos 0.3% 3,339 3,337 0.01%
072217025 Day‑as 0.5% 4,817 4,851 −0.07%
072217028 Ermita 0.9% 8,451 8,291 0.19%
072217030 Guba 0.5% 4,976 4,771 0.41%
072217031 Hipodromo 1.0% 9,684 9,673 0.01%
072217033 Kalubihan 0.1% 866 563 4.28%
072217035 Kamagayan 0.2% 2,170 2,061 0.50%
072217036 Kamputhaw (Camputhaw) 2.1% 20,030 21,765 −0.80%
072217037 Kasambagan 0.9% 8,428 8,389 0.05%
072217041 Lahug 4.0% 38,584 35,157 0.91%
072217042 Lorega‑San Miguel 1.2% 11,873 11,178 0.59%
072217043 Lusaran 0.3% 2,931 2,530 1.44%
072217044 Luz 1.9% 18,313 16,923 0.77%
072217045 Mabini 0.2% 1,909 1,649 1.43%
072217046 Mabolo 2.3% 22,008 21,842 0.07%
072217048 Malubog 0.3% 2,568 2,441 0.49%
072217050 Pahina Central 0.5% 5,258 5,227 0.06%
072217054 Parian 0.2% 1,574 1,503 0.45%
072217055 Paril 0.2% 1,479 1,412 0.45%
072217057 Pit‑os 0.6% 6,244 5,185 1.82%
072217059 Pulangbato 0.6% 5,988 5,539 0.76%
072217064 Sambag I 1.4% 13,434 11,865 1.22%
072217065 Sambag II 1.2% 11,223 13,526 −1.80%
072217066 San Antonio 0.2% 1,928 2,010 −0.40%
072217067 San Jose 0.7% 6,870 5,704 1.83%
072217069 San Roque 0.5% 4,444 4,870 −0.89%
072217070 Santa Cruz 0.2% 2,316 2,522 −0.83%
072217022 Santo Niño 0.1% 1,213 1,568 −2.47%
072217074 Sirao 0.4% 3,456 3,871 −1.10%
072217078 T. Padilla 0.8% 7,646 8,113 −0.57%
072217081 Talamban 3.3% 32,139 28,278 1.25%
072217082 Taptap 0.2% 2,093 1,741 1.81%
072217083 Tejero (Villa Gonzalo) 1.5% 14,496 15,204 −0.46%
072217084 Tinago 0.7% 6,743 6,554 0.28%
072217087 Zapatera 0.3% 3,146 3,317 −0.51%
TOTAL – North 42.9% 396,099 383,882 0.60%
PSGC Barangay Population ±% p.a.
2020[6] 2010[45]
072217004 Babag 0.5% 4,452 4,451 0.00%
072217005 Basak Pardo 2.0% 19,415 17,756 0.87%
072217008 Basak San Nicolas 3.7% 35,422 34,313 0.31%
072217011 Bonbon 0.6% 5,632 5,014 1.14%
072217014 Buhisan 1.6% 14,977 13,032 1.36%
072217015 Bulacao (Bulacao Pardo) 3.2% 30,450 26,820 1.24%
072217016 Buot-Taop (Buot‑Taup Pardo) 0.3% 2,475 2,203 1.14%
072217018 Calamba 1.2% 11,177 12,417 −1.02%
072217024 Cogon Pardo 2.2% 21,276 7,805 10.24%
072217027 Duljo Fatima 1.8% 17,664 16,387 0.73%
072217029 Guadalupe 6.4% 61,238 60,400 0.13%
072217032 Inayawan (Inayawan Pardo) 3.2% 30,707 28,329 0.79%
072217034 Kalunasan 2.8% 26,756 22,737 1.60%
072217038 Kinasang‑an (Kinasang‑an Pardo) 1.6% 15,185 14,382 0.53%
072217040 Labangon 3.5% 33,477 31,643 0.55%
072217049 Mambaling 3.4% 32,564 32,162 0.12%
072217051 Pahina San Nicolas 0.3% 3,196 1,409 8.29%
072217052 Pamutan 0.2% 1,862 1,807 0.29%
072217056 Pasil 0.9% 8,593 8,591 0.00%
072217053 Poblacion Pardo 1.3% 12,596 12,103 0.39%
072217060 Pung‑ol Sibugay 0.3% 2,556 2,357 0.79%
072217062 Punta Princesa 2.3% 22,369 22,270 0.04%
072217063 Quiot (Quiot Pardo) 2.5% 24,200 21,659 1.08%
072217068 San Nicolas Proper 0.7% 6,694 6,240 0.69%
072217077 Sapangdaku 0.8% 7,594 6,904 0.93%
072217071 Sawang Calero 0.9% 8,259 7,831 0.52%
072217073 Sinsin 0.2% 2,161 2,111 0.23%
072217075 Suba (Suba San Nicolas) 1.1% 11,026 9,628 1.33%
072217076 Sudlon I 0.3% 2,777 2,461 1.18%
072217088 Sudlon II 0.4% 3,913 3,579 0.87%
072217079 Tabunan 0.2% 2,138 1,951 0.89%
072217080 Tag‑bao 0.2% 1,767 1,951 −0.96%
072217085 Tisa 3.9% 37,766 35,600 0.58%
072217086 Toong (To‑ong Pardo) 0.4% 4,178 3,986 0.46%
TOTAL – South 57.1% 526,512 482,289 1.68%
NB As per REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9905, Banawa-Englis was supposed to be the 81st barangay in the city after being carved out from barangays Guadalupe and Labangon, however the law lapsed after the needed plebiscite didn't pass.[46][47][48][49]


Cebu City has a tropical monsoon climate under the Köppen climate classification. The city has a lengthy wet season and a short dry season, with only the months of March and April falling into the latter season. Average temperatures show little variance during the year with average daily temps ranging from 27 °C (81 °F) to 29 °C (84 °F). The city on averages experiences roughly 1,700 millimetres (67 in) of precipitation annually.

Climate data for Cebu City (Mactan International Airport) 1981–2010, extremes 1972–2012
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 33.5
Average high °C (°F) 29.8
Daily mean °C (°F) 26.8
Average low °C (°F) 23.9
Record low °C (°F) 19.8
Average rainfall mm (inches) 105.2
Average rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm) 12 9 8 6 8 14 16 14 15 16 14 14 146
Average relative humidity (%) 83 81 79 77 78 81 82 81 82 83 83 84 81
Source: PAGASA[50][51]


Language Generally Spoken at Home (2010)
Language Inhabitants
Population census of Cebu City
YearPop.±% p.a.
1903 45,994—    
1918 65,502+2.39%
1939 146,817+3.92%
1948 167,503+1.48%
1960 251,146+3.43%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1970 347,116+3.29%
1975 413,025+3.55%
1980 490,281+3.49%
1990 610,417+2.22%
1995 662,299+1.54%
YearPop.±% p.a.
2000 718,821+1.77%
2007 799,762+1.48%
2010 866,171+2.95%
2015 922,611+1.21%
2020 964,169+0.87%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[4][52][45][53][54]

The population reached 799,762 people in 2007, and at the 2010 census, the city's population had grown to 866,171 in over 161,151 households. [6]

The most recent census data on ethnicity (based on the 2010 census) shows that the vast majority of the city's population speaks Cebuano.[55]


Christianity in the form of Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion in Cebu for about 80% of the population. The remainders are divided with various Protestant faiths (Baptist, Methodists and Presbyterian), Non-denominational, Iglesia Ni Cristo, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon), Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventist and other Christian groups. Other religions include Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.

Within the city is the Cebu Taoist Temple, a Taoist temple located in the Beverly Hills subdivision of Lahug.


Ceboom, a portmanteau of Cebu and Boom, has been used to refer to the rapid economic development of both Cebu City and Cebu Province in the early 1990s.[63]

With Cebu city's proximity to many islands, beaches, hotel and resorts, diving locations and heritage sites, high domestic and foreign tourist arrivals have fueled the city's tourism industry. Due to its geographic location, accessibility by air, land and sea transportation, Cebu City has become the tourist gateway to Central and Southern Philippines. Its port, Port of Cebu, is the country's second largest seaport.[64]

The city is a major hub for the business process outsourcing industry of the Philippines. In 2013, Cebu ranked 8th worldwide in the "Top 100 BPO Destinations Report" by global advisory firm, Tholons.[65][66] In 2012, the growth in IT-BPO revenues in Cebu grew 26.9 percent at $484 million, while nationally, the industry grew 18.2 percent at $13 billion.[67]

Aboitiz Equity Ventures, formerly known as Cebu Pan Asian Holdings, is the first holding company from Cebu City publicly listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange. Ayala Corporation, through its subsidiary Cebu Holdings, Inc. and Cebu Property, both publicly in the PSE Index, developed the Cebu Park District where the mixed-used development zones of the Cebu Business Park and Cebu IT Park are located. Both master planned areas are host to regional headquarters for various companies in the banking, finance, IT and tourism sectors among others.

Shipbuilding companies in Cebu have manufactured bulk carriers of up to 70,000 metric tons deadweight (DWT) and double-hulled fast craft as well. This industry made the Philippines the 4th largest shipbuilding country in the world.[68]

With a revenue growth rate of 18.8 percent in 2012, the real estate industry is the fastest growing sector in Cebu. With the strong economic indicators and high investors' confidence level, more condominium projects and hypermarkets are being developed in the locality.[69]

The South Road Properties (SRP) is a 300-hectare (740-acre) prime property development project on a reclaimed land located a few metres off the coast of Cebu's central business district. It is a mixed-use development that will feature entertainment, leisure, residential and business-processing industries.[70] It is registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and is funded by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation(JBIC).[71] Traversing the property is a 12-kilometre (7.5 mi), four-lane highway known as the Cebu Coastal Road that provides the motorists with a good view of Cebu's south coast and the nearby island of Bohol.

Ayala Center Cebu is a shopping mall at the Cebu Business Park. More than 85,000 people visit this mall every day, with the figure increasing to 135,000 daily on weekends.[72] A second mall located in IT Park was opened last December 6, 2019, dubbed as Ayala Malls Central Bloc.


Cebu City Hall

Being a highly urbanized city, Cebu City (along with neighboring Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu) is independent from Cebu province. Its electorate do not vote for provincial officials. There were proposals during the time of Governor Emilio Mario Osmeña to establish an "administrative district" that would be independent from Cebu City. This would mean carving out Cebu City's Capitol Site barangay, where the provincial capitol and other provincial offices are located. The plan, however, did not go through and was even followed by other proposals like the transfer of the capital to Balamban.

Cebu City is governed by a mayor, vice mayor and sixteen councilors (eight representing the north and eight representing the south districts). Each official is popularly elected to serve for a three-year term. The chief of the Association of Barangay Captains and the president of the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation also serve in the city council. The day-to-day administration of the city is handled by a city administrator.[73][74]

Current city officials (2022–2025)
19th Congress


Devotees inside the Basilica del Santo Niño.

Cebu City is a significant cultural center in the Philippines. The imprint of Spanish and Roman Catholic culture is evident. The city's most famous landmark is Magellan's Cross. This cross, now housed in a chapel, is reputed to have been erected by Ferdinand Magellan (Fernão Magalhães) when he arrived in the Philippines in 1521.[76] It was encased in hollow tindalo wood in 1835 upon the order of the Augustinian Bishop Santos Gómez Marañon to prevent devotees from taking it home chip by chip. The same bishop restored the present template or kiosk, located at Magallanes Street between the City Hall and Colegio del Santo Niño. Revered by Filipinos, the Magellan's Cross is a symbol of Christianity in the Philippines.

A few steps away from Magellan's Cross is the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño (Church of the Holy Child). This is an Augustinian church elevated to the rank of basilica in 1965 during the 400th anniversary celebrations of Christianity in the Philippines, held in Cebu. The church, which was the first to be established in the islands, is built of hewn stone and features the country's oldest relic, the figure of the Santo Niño de Cebú (Holy Child of Cebu), who is Jesus Christ as a Child.

Procession during the Feast Day of the Santo Niño.

This religious and cultural event is celebrated during the island's cultural festivities known as the Sinulog festival. Held every third Sunday of January, it celebrates the festival of the Santo Niño, who was formerly considered to be the patron saint of Cebu. (This patronage was later changed to that of Our Lady of Guadalupe after it was realized that the Santo Niño could not be a patron saint because he was an image of Christ and not a saint.) The Sinulog is a dance prayer ritual of pre-Hispanic indigenous origin. The dancer moves two steps forward and one step backward to the rhythmic sound of drums. This movement resembles somewhat the current (sulog) of the river. Thus, the Cebuanos called it Sinulog.

When the Spaniards arrived in Cebu, the Italian chronicler Antonio Pigafetta, sailing under convoy with the Magellan expedition, offered a baptismal gift to Hara Amihan, wife of Rajah Humabon. She was later named Juana, the figure of the Santo Niño. The natives also honored the Santo Niño de Cebú in their indigenous sinulog ritual.[citation needed] This ritual was preserved but limited to honoring the Santo Niño. Once the Santo Niño church was built in the 16th century, the Christianized-Austronesian natives started performing the sinulog ritual in front of the church, the devotees offering candles and indigenous dancers shouting "Viva Pit Señor!"[citation needed]

In the 1980s and 2000s, the city authorities of Cebu added the religious feast of Santo Niño de Cebú during the Sinulog Festival to its cultural event.

The city joined UNESCO's Network of Creative Cities as a Design City on October 31, 2019, on the occasion of World Cities' Day.[77]


Cebu City is regarded as the birthplace of BisRock, a term coined by Cebuano writer Januar E. Yap in 2002.[78] Notable BisRock bands include Missing Filemon, Junior Kilat, Phylum, and Scrambled Eggs, among others. Popular Filipino bands Urbandub and Cueshé also hail from Cebu, but mostly sing their songs in English, and in the latter's case, also in Tagalog.

The Cebu Reggae Festival is a popular Filipino Reggae and Roots music festival, it now has become one of the Philippines' largest annual Reggae Festivals.

Lifedance and Sinulog Invasion are rave music festivals held in the city in the days before the Sinulog Festival. These music festivals are regarded as among the biggest music festivals in the country.[79]

The Cebu Pop Music Festival is an annual music festival, founded in 1980,[80] showcasing Cebuano language pop songs. Like Lifedance and Sinulog Invasion, the music festival is also held in the days before the Sinulog Festival.

On Cebuano musical heritage, the Jose R. Gullas Halad Museum in V. Gullas St. (former Manalili) corner D. Jakosalem St. in Cebu City, holds musical memorabilia of Cebuano composers in the early 20th century, the likes of Ben Zubiri (composer of Matud Nila), Inting Rubi (Kasadya Ning Taknaa) and Minggoy Lopez (Rosas Pandan).

Since 2013, Cebu has hosted the Visayan Pop Songwriting Campaign, an annual songwriting competition that aimed to showcase songs written in the Cebuano language. Founded by multi-awarded artist Jude Gitamondoc, Ian Zafra, Cattski Espina, and Missing Filemon's front-man Lorenzo Niñal through the Artists and Musicians Marketing Cooperative (ArtistKo) with the support of the Filipino Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Vispop, or sometimes Visayan pop, later on evolved from being associated with the music festival to a genre of the new wave of Visayan pop songs that gained nationwide popularity, even those songs that were not exclusively produced for or presented in the contest.


The Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. is based in the city. Its member schools are located within the Metro Cebu area. It is often considered one of the Philippines' strongest college sports league.

The city has an active boxing scene. ALA Gym, one of the most famous boxing gyms in the Philippines, is based in the city, at the Banilad district. In addition, ALA Gym's promotion arm, the ALA Promotions, organizes the Pinoy Pride boxing series.

The Aboitiz Football Cup is the longest-running association football competition in Cebu. The cup has been considered to be one of the most prestigious association football tournaments in the Philippines. The tournament is organized and supported by the Aboitiz family, one of the Philippines' richest families, and owners of one of the Philippines' largest conglomerates, the Aboitiz Equity Ventures.

The Cebu City Sharks is currently the only professional basketball team that is based in the city. The team plays in the South Division of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL). The team plays its home games at the Hoops Dome in nearby Lapu-Lapu and at the USJ-R Coliseum, located in Barangay Basak Pardo.

The Cebu F.C. is a professional football club in the Philippines Football League (PFL), and will begin play in 2021. The club is the second professional football club to be based in Cebu, after Global F.C., which also played in the PFL. The club plays its home games at the Dynamic Herb Sports Complex in nearby Talisay.[81]

Former professional sports teams include the following:


Tourism is a thriving industry in Cebu. It hosted the 1998 ASEAN Tourism Forum. The city also hosted the East Asian Tourism Forum in August 2002, in which the province of Cebu is a member and signatory.

Views of Cebu City and its skyline can be seen from villages and numerous gated communities located on its mountainsides.

There is a significant number of Filipino-Spanish heritage buildings in Cebu City such as Fort San Pedro, Basilica del Santo Niño, Magellan's Cross, and the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.[82] The city hosts the Museo Sugbo and Casa Gorordo Museum. The Cebu Taoist Temple is also situated within the city.



Artist impression of Osmeña Boulevard upon construction of a proposed bus rapid transit in Cebu City

Mactan–Cebu International Airport, located in Lapu-Lapu, is the country's second-busiest airport and serves direct international flights to Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, China, Taiwan, Dubai and South Korea, with charter flights to Russia and domestic destinations.[83][84] Many international and cargo airlines fly to Cebu. There are also direct transfer flights via the capital's Ninoy Aquino International Airport that readily connect the city to other destinations in the world.

The city is served by a domestic and international port which are handled by the Cebu Port Authority. Much of the city's waterfront is actually occupied by the port with around 3.5 kilometres (2.2 mi) of berthing space. The city is home to more than 80% of the country's island vessels traveling on domestic routes mostly in the Visayas and Mindanao.[64]

Transportation throughout the city and the metropolitan itself is provided by jeepneys, buses and taxis. The Cebu City Government conducted a 2012 feasibility study on implementing bus rapid transit (BRT) system that will ease the transportation of the residents in the city and throughout the entire Metro Cebu area.[85][86] Aimed to serve an estimated 330,000 passengers per day, the project would have a capacity of 176 buses running through 33 stations along Bulacao until Talamban with a link to South Road Properties.[87][88] The project is currently branded as TransCebu and is expected to be fully operational by 2017.[89] As of March 2017 it was two years late, and the price had increased to ₱9.04B (US$180M).[90]

In March 2019, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board announced the opening of a new Premium Point-to-Point Bus Service in Cebu City with three express bus routes to Lapu-Lapu, Danao and Sibonga.[91]

A new light railway is expected to start its construction in 2022.


The city mostly gets its power from an interconnection grid with the Leyte Geothermal Power Plant, which also powers the majority of the Visayas.[92][93] Cebu is also powered by a coal-fired thermal plant with two units each generating 52.5-MW and 56.8-MW,[94] a 43.8-MW diesel power plant and 55-MW land-based gas turbine plants located at the Naga power complex which is planned to be rehabilitated and replaced with 150-MW coal units by 2016 and to be completed by 2019.[95]

Telecommunication facilities, broadband and wireless internet connections are available and are provided by some of the country's largest telecommunication companies.

In 1998, the 15-hectare (37-acre) Inayawan Sanitary Landfill was constructed to ease garbage disposal within the city. After 15 years, the landfill reached its lifespan and the Talisay city government recently allowed Cebu to temporarily dump its garbage in its own 2-hectare (4.9-acre) landfill.[96][97] In 2015, Cebu appropriated a total of ₱2.5M to close and rehabilitate the landfill at Inayawan.[98]


Cebu City, and Metro Cebu as a whole, is an important educational hub in Southern Philippines. Cebu City itself is currently home to ten large universities each with a number of campuses throughout Cebu province and more than a dozen other schools specializing in various courses.

Among these schools is the University of San Carlos, one of the most highly regarded educational institutions in the Philippines. It claims to trace its roots to Colegio de San Ildefonso, which was founded in 1595. It has five campuses around Cebu City, including the Downtown Campus (formerly Main Campus) and the Talamban Campus (TC), both of which are home to the school's college programs. It is currently headed by the Society of the Divine Word.

The University of the Philippines Cebu, located at Barangay Camputhaw in the district near Lahug currently has eight courses and has plans of expansion and development. The U.P. Board of Regents elevated the status of U.P. Cebu as a constituent university of the University of the Philippines System on October 27, 2016.[99]

Another Catholic university in Cebu City is the University of San Jose–Recoletos which was established in 1947.[100] It is currently headed by the Augustinian Recollects and has two different campuses within the city, excluding a new campus outside the city located in the municipality of Balamban.

Cebu Normal University (CNU) was established in 1902 as a provincial normal school, a branch of the Philippine Normal School. It became an independent institution in 1924, a chartered college in 1976, and a university in 1998. CNU offers academic programs at the nursery, kindergarten, elementary, junior high, undergraduate, and graduate levels. CNU is designated by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) as Center of Excellence (COE) in both Nursing Education and Teacher Education.[101]

The Cebu Doctors' University (formerly Cebu Doctors' College) was granted university status in November 2004. It is the only private school in the Philippines to achieve university status without a designated basic education (pre-school – high school) curriculum; it caters mainly to courses related to the health services field. It was relocated to a nine-story building in 2007 at the Cebu Boardwalk (now Dr. P.V. Larrazabal Jr. Avenue) in neighboring city of Mandaue, thus closing its old campus near the then Cebu Doctors' Hospital (now Cebu Doctors' University Hospital). As of 2016, the university now offers senior high school (grades 11 and 12)

The University of Cebu (UC) has four campuses located within the city: Its main campus, located in Sanciangko Street, offers degree programs such as a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (BSIT), HRM, Computer Engineering, BSED and others. The Maritime Education & Training Center (METC), located in Barangay Mambaling, which hosts the university's maritime programs, was opened in 1991. Its third campus, in Barangay Banilad, was opened in June 2002. A fourth campus, the Pardo–Talisay campus, located in Barangay Bulacao Pardo, near the boundary between Cebu City and Talisay, was added to the UC network in 2021 after the university's acquisition of St. Paul College Foundation, Inc.

Also located within in the city is the University of the Visayas, established in 1919, and is considered to be the first educational institution in Cebu which was granted with a university status. It was granted an autonomous status by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in 2010 and currently offers basic education and a number of courses in the tertiary level including medical courses (Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Midwifery, and Health Care Services) which are housed in its campus in Banilad area. Aside from its campuses within Cebu City, it also has numerous campuses located around the province of Cebu.

Other noteworthy institutions in the city include the Cebu Institute of Technology – University (formerly Cebu Institute of Technology), the main campus of Cebu Technological University (formerly the Cebu State College of Science and Technology), Southwestern University, University of Southern Philippines Foundation in Lahug and Mabini, Asian College of Technology (formerly Asian Computer Institute), Benedicto College, Cebu Eastern College, Cebu International School, Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion, College of Technological Sciences - Cebu, Don Bosco Technical College–Cebu (DBTC), Saint Theresa's College of Cebu, Sacred Heart School - Ateneo de Cebu, Salazar Colleges of Science and Institute of Technology, and Velez College (together with its independently administered medical school arm Cebu Institute of Medicine), among others.

Cebu City has 68 public elementary schools, 23 national high schools and 28 night high schools. These night high schools are operated by the city government.

The Cebu City Public Library and Information Center is the only public library in Cebu.

Sister cities[edit]

International (in alphabetical order of the names of the cities)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Iloilo City was originally known as the "Queen City of the South," a title that evolved from another Iloilo title, "Queen's Favored City of the South." From being the Queen Regent of Spain, Maria Christina's favorite city in the south of Manila in the late 19th century. Iloilo became the second-most important city in the Philippines at that time, giving it a reason to evolve to the title of "Queen City of the South" until the mid 20th century, after World War II, leaving the city devastated and causing investors to flee to nearby Cebu City. Cebu later claimed the title after it surpassed Iloilo's economy in the 80s. Although some people disagree with Cebu's claim since the title is of historical significance to Iloilo alone and not for which city is the next second-most important in the country.[13]
  2. ^ On orders of the King Philip II, 2,100 men arrived from Mexico.[23]


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First Capital of the Philippines
Succeeded by