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Not to be confused with Cebu City.
For other uses, see Cebu (disambiguation).
Province of Cebu
Cebu Provincial Capitol
Cebu Provincial Capitol
Flag of Cebu
Official seal of Cebu
Location in the Philippines
Location in the Philippines
Coordinates: 10°19′N 123°45′E / 10.32°N 123.75°E / 10.32; 123.75Coordinates: 10°19′N 123°45′E / 10.32°N 123.75°E / 10.32; 123.75
Country Philippines
Region Central Visayas (Region VII)
Founded 6 August 1569
Provincial Capital Cebu City
 • Type Sangguniang Panlalawigan
 • Governor Hilario Davide III (LP)
 • Vice governor Agnes Magpale (LP)
 • Provincial Board
 • Total 4,943.72 km2 (1,908.78 sq mi)
Area rank 21st out of 81
  Excludes independent cities
Elevation 1,097 m (3,599 ft)
Population (2015 census)[2]
 • Total 2,938,982
 • Rank 4th out of 81
 • Density 590/km2 (1,500/sq mi)
 • Density rank 7th out of 81
 • Voter (2016)[3] 1,903,740
 • Language Cebuano
  Excludes independent cities
 • Independent cities
 • Component cities
 • Municipalities
 • Barangays
+  137 including independent cities
 • Districts
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP code 6000–6053
IDD : area code +63 (0)32
ISO 3166 code PH-CEB
Income class 1st class
PSGC 072200000

Cebu (/sɪˈb/, /sˈb/ or /sɛˈb/; Cebuano: Lalawigan sa Sugbo, Filipino: Lalawigan ng Cebu) is a first income class island province of the Philippines located in the Central Visayas region, and consisting of the main island itself and 167 surrounding islands and islets. Its capital is Cebu City, the oldest city and first capital of the Philippines, which is politically independent from the provincial government. Cebu City forms part of the Cebu Metropolitan Area together with four neighboring cities (Danao City, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City and Talisay City) and eight other local government units. Mactan-Cebu International Airport, located in Mactan Island, is the second busiest airport in the Philippines.

Cebu is one of the most developed provinces in the Philippines, with Cebu City as the main center of commerce, trade, education and industry in the Visayas. In a decade it has transformed into a global hub for shipping, furniture-making, tourism, business processing services, and heavy industry.


A map showing the route of the Magellan expedition circumnavigating the world.

Between the 13th and 16th century Cebu then known as Zubu[4] (or Sugbo) was an island inhabited by Hindus, Buddhists and animists, ruled by Rajahs and Datus.

The Rajahnate of Cebu was a defunct native kingdom which existed in Cebu prior to the arrival of the Spaniards. It was founded by Sri Lumay otherwise known as Rajamuda Lumaya, a half-Malay, half-Tamil prince of the Chola dynasty which had invaded Sumatra in Indonesia. He was sent by the Maharajah to establish a base for expeditionary forces to subdue the local kingdoms, but he rebelled and established his own independent Rajahnate instead.[5]

The arrival of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 established a period of Spanish exploration and colonization.[6][7]

Losing favor for his plan of reaching the Spice Islands from king Manuel I of Portugal, by sailing west from Europe, Magellan offered his services to king Charles I of Spain (Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor). On September 20, 1519, Magellan led five ships with a crew of 250 people from the Spanish fort of Sanlúcar de Barrameda en route to southeast Asia via the Americas and Pacific Ocean. They reached the Philippines on March 16, 1521. Rajah Kolambu the king of Mazaua told them to sail for Cebu, where they could trade and have provisions.

Arriving in Cebu City, Magellan, with Enrique of Malacca as translator, befriended Rajah Humabon the Rajah or King of Cebu and persuaded the natives of allegiance to Charles I of Spain. Humabon and his wife were given Christian names and baptized as Carlos and Juana. The Santo Niño was presented to the native queen of Cebu, as a symbol of peace and friendship between the Spaniards and the Cebuanos. On April 14, Magellan erected a large wooden cross on the shores of Cebu. Afterwards, about 700 islanders were baptized.

Pigafetta's illustrations of Cebuanos during the expedition.

Magellan soon heard of datu Lapu-Lapu, a native king in nearby Mactan Island, a rival of the Rajahs of Cebu. It was thought that Humabon and Lapu–Lapu had been fighting for control of the flourishing trade in the area. On April 27, the Battle of Mactan occurred where the Spaniards were defeated and Magellan killed by the natives of Mactan[8] in Mactan Island. According to Italian historian and chronicler, Antonio Pigafetta, Magellan's body was never recovered despite efforts to trade for it with spice and jewels. Magellan's second-in-command, Juan Sebastián Elcano took his place as captain of the expedition and sailed their fleet back to Spain, circumnavigating the world.

Survivors of the Magellan expedition brought tales of a savage island in the East Indies with them when they returned to Spain. Consequently, several Spanish expeditions were sent to the islands but all ended in failure. In 1564, Spanish explorers led by Miguel López de Legazpi, sailing from Mexico, arrived in 1565, and established a colony.[9] The Spaniards fought the King, Rajah Tupas, and occupied his territories. The Spaniards established settlements, trade flourished and renamed the island to "Villa del Santísimo Nombre de Jesús" (Town of the Most Holy Name of Jesus). Cebu became the first European settlement established by the Spanish Cortés in the Philippines. In 1595, the Universidad de San Carlos (University of San Carlos) was established and in 1860, Cebu opened its ports to foreign trade. The first printing house (Imprenta de Escondrillas y Cia) was established in 1873 and in 1880, the Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion (College of the Immaculate Conception) was established and the first periodical The Bulletin of Cebu ("El Boletin de Cebú") began publishing in 1886. In 1898, the island was ceded to the United States after the Spanish–American War and Philippine–American War. In 1901, Cebu was governed by the United States for a brief period, however it became a charter province on February 24, 1937 and was governed independently by Filipino politicians.

Cebu, being one of the most densely populated islands in the Philippines, served as a Japanese base during their occupation in World War II which began with the landing of Japanese soldiers in April 1942. The 3rd, 8th, 82nd and 85th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army was re-established from 1942 to 1946 and the 8th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary was reestablished again from 1944 to 1946 at the military general headquarters and the military camps and garrisoned in Cebu city and Cebu province. They started the Anti-Japanese military operations in Cebu from April 1942 to September 1945 and helped Cebuano guerrillas and fought against the Japanese Imperial forces. Almost three years later in March 1945, combined Filipino and American forces landed and reoccupied the island during the liberation of the Philippines. Cebuano guerrilla groups led by an American, James M. Cushing, is credited for the establishment of the "Koga Papers",[10] which is said to have changed the American plans to retake the Philippines from Japanese occupation in 1944, by helping the combined United States and the Philippine Commonwealth Army forces enter Cebu in 1945. The following year the island achieved independence from colonial rule in 1946.

In February 2012 Cebu island experienced the effects of magnitude 6.7 earthquake on the neighboring island of Negros and was the largest quake in the area for 90 years. The tremor shook buildings but there were not reports of major building damage or loss of life on Cebu Island itself. This tremor was caused by a previously unrecorded fault.

In October 2013, Cebu and Bohol were hit by record-setting 7.2 magnitude earthquake which left more than 100 dead, and collapsed some buildings, including 5 historical churches. There were over 700 aftershocks.


Cebu Island
Native name: Sugbo
Ph locator cebu island.png
Location Visayas
Archipelago Philippines
Adjacent bodies of water
Area 4,467.5 km2 (1,724.9 sq mi)[11]
Length 196 km (121.8 mi)[12]
Width 32 km (19.9 mi)[12]
Coastline 513.9 km (319.32 mi)[11]
Highest elevation 1,097 m (3,599 ft)[11]
Region Central Visayas
Province Cebu
Population 3,537,262 (as of 2015 census)[2]
Density 800 /km2 (2,100 /sq mi)
Additional information
Whole province and Independent Cities:
Total area 5,236 km2 (2,022 sq mi)
Total population 4,167,320 (2015 census) 
Population density   800/km2 (2,100/sq mi)

Cebu is located to the east of Negros, to the west of Leyte and Bohol islands. The province consists of Cebu Island, as well as 167 smaller islands, which include Mactan, Bantayan, Malapascua, Olango and the Camotes Islands. But the highly urbanized cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue are independent cities not under provincial supervision, yet are often grouped with the province for geographical and statistical purposes.

The province's land area is 4,944 square kilometres (1,909 sq mi), or when the independent cities are included for geographical purposes, the total area is 5,342 square kilometres (2,063 sq mi).[1]

Cebu's central location, proximity to unusually exotic tourist destination, ready access to a diversity of plant, animal and geological wonders within the island, and remoteness from earthquake and typhoon activity are some of the special attributes of Cebu.

Cebu Island[edit]

Cebu Island itself is long and narrow, stretching 196 kilometres (122 mi) from north to south and 32 kilometres (20 mi) across at its widest point.[12] It has narrow coastlines, limestone plateaus and coastal plains. It also has rolling hills and rugged mountain ranges traversing the northern and southern lengths of the island.

Cebu's highest mountains are over 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) high. Flat tracts of land can be found in the city of Bogo and in the towns of San Remigio, Medellin and Daanbantayan at the northern region of the province.[12]

The island's area is 4,468 square kilometres (1,725 sq mi),[11] making it the 9th largest island in the Philippines. It supports over 3.5 million people, of which 2.3 million live in Metro Cebu.

Beaches, coral atolls, islands and rich fishing grounds surround Cebu.

Coal was first discovered in Cebu about 1837. There were 15 localities over the whole island, on both coast; some desultory mining had been carried out Naga near Mount Uling, but most serious operations were at Licos and Camansi west of Compostela and Danao.[13] Active work ceased about 1895 with insurrections, and no production worked for more than ten years. A topographic and geologic survey of Compostela, Danao and Carmen took place in 1906.[14] The Compostela-Danao coalfield contained about six million workable tons. The tramroads, one from Danao to Camansi, one from Compostela to Mount Licos, were undertaken in 1895, together with a wagon road built in 1877, from Cotcot to Dapdap.


Main article: Climate of Cebu

The climate of Cebu is tropical. There are 2 seasons in Cebu − the dry and wet season.[15] It is dry and sunny most of the year with some occasional rains during the months of June to December. The province of Cebu normally gets typhoons once a year or none.

Northern Cebu gets more rainfall and typhoons than southern Cebu because it has a different climate. Typhoon Yolanda hit Northern Cebu in 2013 killing 73 people and injuring 348 others. Though most typhoons hit only the northern part of Cebu, the urban areas in central Cebu are sometimes hit, such as when Typhoon Ruping, one of the worst to hit Cebu, lashed the central Cebu area in 1990.

Cebu's temperatures can reach a high of 36 °C (97 °F) from March to May, and as low as 18 °C (64 °F) in the mountains during the wet season. The average temperature is around 24 to 34 °C (75 to 93 °F), and does not fluctuate much except during the month of May, which is the hottest month. Cebu averages 70–80% humidity.[16]

Administrative divisions[edit]

Ph fil cebu.png

Cebu is subdivided into 6 component cities and 44 municipalities. The cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue are often grouped with the province for geographical and statistical purposes, but are independent cities that are not under provincial supervision.

City or municipality Population[1] ±% p.a. Area[1] Pop. Density Climate
(2010)[2] (2007)[17] km2 sq mi /km2 /sq mi C K
Alcantara 0.4% 13,556 13,036 1.43% 35.20 13.59 390 1,000 III Af
Alcoy 0.4% 14,757 14,571 0.46% 61.63 23.80 240 620 III Af
Alegria 0.6% 22,072 21,699 0.62% 89.49 34.55 250 650 III Af
Aloguinsan 0.8% 27,650 26,353 1.76% 61.92 23.91 450 1,200 III Af
Argao 2.0% 69,503 62,226 4.11% 191.50 73.94 360 930 III Af
Asturias (Naghalin) 1.3% 44,732 40,939 3.28% 190.45 73.53 230 600 III Am
Badian 1.1% 37,699 35,876 1.82% 110.07 42.50 340 880 III Af
Balamban 2.0% 71,237 66,261 2.67% 333.56 128.79 210 540 III Am
Bantayan 2.1% 74,785 71,655 1.57% 81.68 31.54 920 2,400 IV Am
Barili 1.9% 65,524 60,430 2.99% 122.21 47.19 540 1,400 III Af
Bogo 2.0% 69,911 69,123 0.41% 103.52 39.97 680 1,800 IV Am
Boljoon 0.4% 15,027 14,877 0.37% 117.00 45.17 130 340 III Af
Borbon 0.9% 31,598 32,278 −0.77% 120.94 46.70 260 670 IV Am
Carcar 3.0% 107,323 100,632 2.37% 116.78 45.09 920 2,400 III Af
Carmen 1.3% 44,648 41,279 2.90% 84.78 32.73 530 1,400 III Am
Catmon 0.8% 28,320 27,330 1.30% 109.64 42.33 260 670 IV Am
Cebu City 24.5% 866,171 799,762 2.95% 315.00 121.62 2,700 7,000 III Am
Compostela 1.2% 42,574 39,167 3.08% 53.90 20.81 790 2,000 III Am
Consolacion 3.0% 106,649 87,544 7.45% 37.03 14.30 2,900 7,500 III Am
Cordova (Cordoba) 1.4% 50,353 45,066 4.12% 17.15 6.62 2,900 7,500 III Am
Daanbantayan 2.1% 74,897 73,254 0.81% 92.27 35.63 810 2,100 IV Am
Dalaguete 1.8% 63,239 61,405 1.08% 154.96 59.83 410 1,100 III Af
Danao 3.4% 119,252 109,354 3.20% 107.30 41.43 1,100 2,800 III Am
Dumanjug 1.3% 46,754 44,807 1.56% 85.53 33.02 550 1,400 III Af
Ginatilan 0.4% 15,327 13,654 4.30% 70.10 27.07 220 570 III Af
Lapu-Lapu (Opon) 9.9% 350,467 292,530 6.80% 58.10 22.43 6,000 16,000 III Am
Liloan 2.8% 100,500 92,606 3.02% 45.92 17.73 2,200 5,700 III Am
Madridejos (Lawis) 1.0% 34,905 30,673 4.82% 28.60 11.04 1,500 3,900 IV Am
Malabuyoc 0.5% 18,426 18,117 0.62% 69.27 26.75 270 700 III Af
Mandaue 9.4% 331,320 318,577 1.44% 25.18 9.72 13,000 34,000 III Am
Medellin 1.4% 50,047 44,860 4.06% 73.19 28.26 680 1,800 IV Am
Minglanilla (Balud or Buat) 3.2% 113,178 101,585 4.01% 65.60 25.33 1,700 4,400 III Af
Moalboal 0.8% 27,676 27,398 0.37% 124.86 48.21 220 570 III Af
Naga 2.9% 101,571 95,163 2.40% 101.97 39.37 1,000 2,600 III Af
Oslob 0.7% 26,116 22,732 5.18% 134.75 52.03 190 490 III Af
Pilar 0.3% 11,564 11,941 −1.16% 32.42 12.52 360 930 IV Af
Pinamungajan 1.6% 57,997 54,859 2.04% 109.16 42.15 530 1,400 III Af
Poro 0.7% 23,498 21,529 3.24% 63.59 24.55 370 960 IV Af
Ronda 0.5% 18,582 17,214 2.82% 57.10 22.05 290 750 III Af
Samboan 0.5% 18,613 18,140 0.94% 45.16 17.44 410 1,100 III Af
San Fernando 1.7% 60,970 54,932 3.87% 69.39 26.79 880 2,300 III Af
San Francisco 1.3% 47,357 44,588 2.22% 106.93 41.29 440 1,100 IV Af
San Remigio (Kanghagas) 1.5% 51,394 48,516 2.12% 95.27 36.78 540 1,400 IV Am
Santa Fe 0.8% 27,270 26,826 0.60% 28.05 10.83 970 2,500 IV Am
Santander (Tañong) 0.5% 16,105 15,294 1.90% 29.53 11.40 550 1,400 III Af
Sibonga 1.2% 43,641 40,765 2.51% 133.45 51.53 330 850 III Af
Sogod 0.9% 30,626 28,955 2.06% 119.23 46.03 260 670 IV Am
Tabogon 0.9% 33,024 31,942 1.22% 101.35 39.13 330 850 IV Am
Tabuelan 0.6% 22,292 21,421 1.46% 141.13 54.49 160 410 IV Am
Talisay 5.7% 200,772 179,359 4.19% 39.87 15.39 5,000 13,000 III Am
Toledo (Pueblo Hinulawan) 4.4% 157,078 152,960 0.97% 216.28 83.51 730 1,900 III Af
Tuburan (Bagacawa) 1.7% 58,914 53,663 3.46% 224.50 86.68 260 670 III Aw
Tudela 0.3% 9,859 11,266 −4.74% 33.02 12.75 300 780 IV Af
TOTAL 4,167,320 3,850,859 2.92% 5,236.48 2,021.82 800 2,100
Provincial capital Highly urbanized city
Component city Municipality
Italicized names are former names


During the 11th Congress (1998–2001), Congress enacted into law 33 bills converting 33 municipalities into cities. However, Congress did not act on a further 24 bills converting 24 other municipalities into cities.

During the 12th Congress (2001–2004), Congress enacted into law Republic Act No. 9009 (RA 9009), which took effect on 30 June 2001. RA 9009 amended Section 450 of the Local Government Code by increasing the annual income requirement for conversion of a municipality into a city from ₱20 million to ₱100 million. The rationale for the amendment was to restrain, in the words of Senator Aquilino Pimentel, "the mad rush" of municipalities to convert into cities solely to secure a larger share in the Internal Revenue Allotment despite the fact that they are incapable of fiscal independence.

After RA 9009 went into effect, the House of Representatives of the 12th Congress adopted Joint Resolution No. 29, which sought to exempt from the ₱100 million income requirement in RA 9009 the 24 municipalities whose cityhood bills were not approved in the 11th Congress. However, the 12th Congress ended without the Senate having approved Joint Resolution No. 29.

During the 13th Congress (2004–2007), the House of Representatives re-adopted former Joint Resolution No. 29 as Joint Resolution No. 1 and forwarded it to the Senate for approval. However, the Senate again failed to approve the Joint Resolution. Following the suggestion of Senator Aquilino Pimentel (Senate President), 16 municipalities filed, through their respective sponsors, individual cityhood bills. The 16 cityhood bills each contained a common provision exempting it from the ₱100 million income requirement of RA 9009 –

"Exemption from Republic Act No. 9009. — The City of x x x shall be exempted from the income requirement prescribed under Republic Act No. 9009."

On 22 December 2006, the House of Representatives approved the cityhood bills. The Senate also approved the cityhood bills in February 2007, except that of Naga, Cebu which was passed on 7 June 2007. These cityhood bills lapsed into law on various dates from March to July 2007 after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo failed to sign them.

The point of law at issue in 2007 was whether there had been a breach of Section 10, Article X of the 1987 Constitution, which provides –

No province, city, municipality, or barangay shall be created, divided, merged, abolished or its boundary substantially altered, except in accordance with the criteria established in the local government code and subject to approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected.

– and in each case the established criteria were far from met.

In November 2008, Cebu and 15 other cities lost their cityhood after the Supreme Court of the Philippines granted a petition filed by the League of Cities of the Philippines, and declared unconstitutional the cityhood law (RA ) which had allowed the town to acquire its city status.[18] The Supreme Court ruled that they did not pass the requirements for cityhood.[19][20]

On 10 December 2008, the 16 cities affected acting together filed a motion for reconsideration with the Supreme Court. More than a year later, on 22 December 2009, acting on said appeal, the Court reversed its earlier ruling as it ruled that "at the end of the day, the passage of the amendatory law" (regarding the criteria for cityhood as set by Congress) "is no different from the enactment of a law, i.e., the cityhood laws specifically exempting a particular political subdivision from the criteria earlier mentioned. Congress, in enacting the exempting law/s, effectively decreased the already codified indicators."[21] Accordingly cityhood status was restored.

But on 27 August 2010, the 16 cities lost their city status again, after the Supreme Court voted 7-6, with two justices not taking part, to reinstate the 2008 decision declaring as "unconstitutional" the Republic Acts that converted the 16 municipalities into cities. A previous law required towns aspiring to become cities to earn at least ₱100 million annually, which none of the 16 did.[22]

On 15 February 2011, the Supreme Court made another volte-face and upheld for the third time the cityhood of 16 towns in the Philippines.[23]

Finally, on 12 April 2011, the Supreme Court, in an en banc ruling delivered in Baguio City, affirmed the finality of the constitutionality of the 16 cityhood laws by resolving that:

We should not ever lose sight of the fact that the 16 cities covered by the Cityhood Laws not only had conversion bills pending during the 11th Congress, but have also complied with the requirements of the LGC prescribed prior to its amendment by R.A. No. 9009.[22] Congress undeniably gave these cities all the considerations that justice and fair play demanded. Hence, this Court should do no less by stamping its imprimatur to the clear and unmistakable legislative intent and by duly recognizing the certain collective wisdom of Congress. WHEREFORE, the Ad Cautelam Motion for Reconsideration (of the Decision dated 15 February 2011) is denied with finality.[23]

On 28 June 2011 the Supreme Court directed the Clerk of Court to issue the entry of judgment on the cityhood case of 16 municipalities.[24] This entry of judgment ended the cityhood battle of the 16 cities.


Population census of Cebu
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1960 1,003,894 —    
1970 1,159,200 +1.45%
1980 1,392,000 +1.85%
1990 1,709,621 +2.08%
1995 1,890,357 +1.90%
2000 2,160,569 +2.91%
2007 2,440,120 +1.69%
2010 2,619,362 +2.61%
2015 2,938,982 +2.22%
Excludes independent cities
Source: National Statistics Office[2][25][17]

The population of Cebu Province in 2015 was 2,938,982 persons.[2] When the independent cities (Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu, and Mandaue with 922,611, 408,112, and 362,654 residents respectively) are included for geographical purposes, the total population is 4,632,359 people, with a population density of 900/km2 (2,300/sq mi).

The population of the Central Visayas is predominantly young with about 37 percent of its population below 10 years old. This is very evident in the very broad base of the population pyramid in the region which has prevailed since 1970 but at a declining rate. A decline of 2.29 percentage points in the proportion of household population below 15 years old was noted from 1980 to 1995. Conversely, an increase of 3.06 percentage points was observed in the 15−64 age group during the same period. The population of the region is evenly distributed between male and female. However, the male population in the region has been increasing at a faster rate compared to the female population.[26]

In 2010, the median age of the population of the province was 23.0 years, which means that half of the population was younger than 23.0 years. [1] This is higher than the median age of 20.8 years that was recorded in 2000.


Spoken languages in Cebu[27][not in citation given]
Languages percentage
Other Visayan languages

Cebuano is spoken in Cebu and it is also spoken in most areas of the Visayas, including Bohol, western Leyte, Negros Oriental and some provinces of Mindanao.


The majority of its population are Roman Catholic[28] followed by roughly 95% of Cebuanos. There are also some followers of Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism.

Devotees inside the Basilica del Santo Niño.

Cebu is the capital of the Catholic faith[29] by virtue of being the first Christian city,[30] the first capital of the Spanish East Indies, and the birthplace of Christianity and the Philippine Church. Pope John Paul II, in his Homily for Families in Cebu (February 19, 1981), called the island as the birthplace of Christianity in the Philippines[31]

The image of Santo Niño de Cebú (Holy Child of Cebu), the oldest Christian image in the Philippines, is enshrined and venerated at the Basilica of Santo Niño. According to Philippine historical documents, the statue of the Santo Niño (Holy Child) was given to the wife of the Rajah of Cebu by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. The friendship is depicted in Cebu's cultural event, the Sinulog where street parades and loud drum beats preceded by a Christian Mass is celebrated every third Sunday of January. Cebu has a Roman Catholic Archdiocese and has several major churches, including the Basilica Minor del Santo Niño de Cebu, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Santo Rosario Parish Church, San José–Recoletos Church, Sacred Heart Church, Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, National Shrine of Our Lady of the Rule, National Shrine of Saint Joseph, Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe of Cebu, San Nicolas de Tolentino Church and other Christian churches, as well as several other non-Catholic churches, mosques and temples.


Cebu City, although independent from Cebu Province (together with Lapu-Lapu), is the largest city and economic hub of the island.

"Ceboom", a portmanteau of Cebu and Boom, has been used to describe the province's economic development. With many beautiful islands, white sand beaches, luxury hotel and resorts, diving locations and heritage sites, high domestic and foreign tourist arrivals have fueled the tourism industry of Cebu. Cebu consistently gets a big share of tourist arrivals in the Philippines, and has become the tourist gateway to Central and Southern Philippines due to its central geographic location, accessibility and natural resources. The province also hosts various national and international conferences every year.

About 80% of domestic and international shipping operators and shipbuilders in the Philippines are located in Cebu. Shipbuilding companies in Cebu have manufactured bulk carriers of up to 70,000 tonnes deadweight (DWT) and double-hulled fast crafts as well. This industry made the Philippines the 4th largest shipbuilding country in the world.[32]

Cebu's extensive port facilities and its proximity to intra-Asian shipping and air routes are major factors which led multinational companies to establish offices or factories on the main island, as well as in the island of Mactan, where they are clustered in special economic zones known as the Mactan Economic Processing Zone 1 (MEPZ-1) and the Mactan Economic Processing Zone 2 (MEPZ-2). Due to its burgeoning furniture-making industry, Cebu has been named as the furniture capital of the Philippines. Cebu's other exports include: fashion accessories, guitars, dried mangoes, carageenan, gifts, toys, watches, cameras, electronic components and housewares.

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. An additional 100 commercial and residential buildings would be completed by 2015 and another 170 to 200 buildings are expected to be finished by 2017. 64 new hypermarkets will be developed in Cebu.[33]

In 2013, Cebu ranked 8th worldwide in the "Top 100 BPO Destinations Report" by global advisory firm, Tholons.[34][35] The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, an organization of Cebu's businesses, is promoting the city's growth and economy on information and communications technology, with the aim of making Cebu the premier ICT, software and e-services investment destination in southeast Asia. Data gathered by the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) 7 showed that of the 98 BPO and IT companies operating in Cebu, 32 offer voice operations while 66 companies offer non-voice operations. Of the 95,000 employed by the industry, more than half or 50,000 are in the non-voice sector. 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.[36][37]

Cebu's economy is also driven by the mining and quarrying areas in Toledo, Naga, Alcoy, and Danao.

Cebu even boasts being a subsidiary of one of the leading ice rink manufacturers in the world. These rinks are engineered and fabricated in Cebu by Ice Rink Supply and shipped worldwide.[38]


The Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Mactan Island serves as the main gateway to domestic and international routes to or from Cebu City and other islands in the Visayas region. In the last 15 years, Mactan–Cebu International Airport’s passenger traffic has grown at an annual average of 21% for international passenger traffic. The airport is the second busiest airport in the Philippines in passenger and cargo traffic. The plan for a new terminal expansion of the airport is underway and estimated to cost $240 million under a public-private partnership program of the Philippine government. The new terminal will host international flights while the old terminal will host domestic flights.[39]

In addition, MCIAA General Manager Nigel Paul Villarete (who was the project of BRT earlier) also proposed to establish a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line to transport airport passengers to and from MCIAA and different parts of Cebu. This will be integrated into the proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System being planned in Metro Cebu.[40]

The Cebu International Port is the largest shipping hub in the Visayas region.

Cebu Pacific Air is an airline owned by Cebu-based Gokongwei family. On May 28, 2008, Cebu Pacific was named as the world's number one airline in terms of growth. The airline carried a total of almost 5.5 million passengers in 2007, up 57.4% from 2006.[41] On January 6, 2011, Cebu Pacific flew its 50 millionth passenger (from Manila to Beijing). The airline reached the 100 million passengers in 2015.[42] Cebu Pacific commenced international long-haul flights to Middle East and Australia, flight to Guam starting Q1 2016.

Notable business districts are the Cebu Business Park and the Cebu IT Park. This area hosts industries related to the information technology industry such as software development, telecommunications, engineering research and development centers, and business process outsourcing. In 2013, Ayala Corporation's affiliate, Ayala Land Inc., announced that it is looking at introducing another business park development within the Cebu City area to optimize the high performance of real estate investments in Cebu.[43] Cebu Holdings Inc. and the Ayala Corporation created Cebu Park District, an integrated, master-planned, mixed-use economic zones of the Cebu Business Park and Cebu I.T. Park. The district plays a vital role in the city’s economy. It is where many of the region’s corporate headquarters are located. Both parks and the adjoining areas enjoy a critical mass of local and international locators in the spheres of business, banking, finance, IT and tourism services, among others.

The city's 300-hectare (740-acre; 3.0 km2; 3,000,000 m2) reclamation forms South Road Properties – a mixed-use development south of the city which features entertainment, leisure, residential and business-processing industries.[44] Is the site of SM Seaside City Cebu, the eighth largest mall in the world (and 3rd largest shopping mall in the Philippines), Filinvest's Citta di Mare[45] and Il Corso,[46] and the University of the Philippines – Cebu campus.[47]

In Mactan Island, Megaworld Corporation's Mactan Oceantown is a 25–hectare business park near Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa. The project will be home to high-tech offices, a retail center, residential towers and villages, leisure facilities with a beach resort frontage.[48]

Mactan Island is linked to mainland Cebu via Mactan-Mandaue Bridge and Marcelo Fernan Bridge.


Cebu has television and cable stations namely: MyChannel (channel 28), Real Cebu Television (RCTV) (channel 36), Amazing Cebu (channel 56) and the CCTN (channel 47[a]). MyChannel, RCTV, Amazing Cebu and Sugbo TV are only seen on cable television. CCTN operates an UHF frequency on channel 47 and can also be accessed through Skycable's channel 18 Cebu City.

Despite having their local stations, Cebuanos prefer to watch the Philippine three dominant television networks namely: ABS–CBN, TV5 and GMA Network.

While national newspapers have presence in the island, Cebu has English-language local newspapers – The Freeman (under the Star Group), Sun.Star Cebu and Cebu Daily News (under the Inquirer Group): and Cebuano-language newspapers – SunStar SuperBalita owned by SunStar, and Banat News owned by The Freeman. Each of the local newspapers sell cheaper than their national counterparts.


Congressional districts
District Representative Party City Municipality
1st Gerald Anthony V. Gullas Jr. Nacionalista Carcar Minglanilla
Naga San Fernando
Talisay Sibonga
2nd Wilfredo S. Caminero Liberal Alcoy
3rd Gwendolyn F. Garcia One Cebu
(United Nationalist Alliance)
Toledo Aloguinsan
4th Benhur L. Salimbangon One Cebu
National Unity
Bogo Bantayan
San Remigio
Santa Fe
5th Ramon H. Durano VI Liberal Danao Borbon
San Francisco
6th Jonas C. Cortes Liberal Mandaue Consolacion
7th Peter John D. Calderon Liberal Alcantara


Cebu City is a significant cultural centre 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 planted by Ferdinand Magellan (Fernão Magalhães) when he arrived in the Philippines in 1521.[49] 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 the present Magallanes street between the City Hall and Colegio del Santo Niño. Revered by Filipinos, the Magellan's Cross is a symbol of Catholicism in the Philippines.

A few steps away from the 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 year celebration of Catholicism 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 Cebu (Holy Child of Cebu).

  • Magellan shrine
  • Colon Street – Named after Christopher Colombus (Cristóbal Colón), this is the oldest street in the Philippines
  • Yap Sandiego Ancestral House – showcases the ancestral home of a Chinese businessman during the Spanish Era. Houses old relics which are well preserved


Festivals and fiestas[edit]

All cities and municipalities in the province have their own different respective cultural festivals. Only the municipalities of Asturias, Compostela, Pilar and Tabogon have no designated annual celebrations.

  • Pintos Festival – Bogo
  • Kabkaban Festival – Carcar
  • Karansa Festival – Danao
  • Garbo Festival – Lapu-Lapu
  • Panagtagbo Festival – Mandaue
  • Dagitab Festival – Naga
  • Halad Inasal Festival – Talisay
  • Hinulawan Festival – Toledo


Main article: Sinulog
Sinulog's annual fluvial procession

Sinulog Festival is the largest fiesta (festival) in the Philippines. Held every third Sunday of January, it commemorates the Child Jesus, the Lord and Protector of Cebu. The Sinulog is a dance 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 the current (sulog) of what was then known Cebu's Pahina River. Thus the name Sinulog.

The Sinulog Festival celebration lasts for nine days, culminating on the final day with the Sinulog Grand Parade. The day before the parade, the Fluvial Procession is held at dawn with a statue of the Santo Niño carried on a pump boat from Mandaue City to Cebu City, decked with hundreds of flowers and candles. The procession ends at the Basilica where a re-enactment of the Catholicizing (that is, the acceptance of Roman Catholicism) of Cebu is performed. In the afternoon, a more solemn procession takes place along the major streets of the city, which last for hours due to large crowd participating in the event.

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 Cebu in their indigenous Sinulog ritual[citation needed]. The Sinulog ritual was preserved but limited to honoring the Santo Niño. Once the Santo Niño church was built in the 16th century, the Catholic Malay people 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 Cebu during the Sinulog Festival to its cultural event. In 2012, Cebu introduced Life Dance, the biggest outdoor dance party in the country outside Metro Manila.


The Philippine elementary school begins from Grade 1 to Grade 6. The high school program takes six years to finish, taken after graduating from elementary school. Cebu is the main educational institute in the central region of the country. It has several large universities each with a number of college branches throughout Cebu City and more than a dozen other schools and universities specializing in various courses such as Medicine, Engineering, Nautical courses, Nursing, Law, Commerce, Education, Computer and IT and other professions.

The most prominent of these universities are the -University of San Carlos, -University of the Philippines Cebu, -University of San Jose–Recoletos, -Cebu Normal University, -University of Cebu, -University of Southern Philippines Foundation, -Southwestern University, and the -University of the Visayas. The Cebu Doctors' University (formerly Cebu Doctors' College), a medical school located in the Cebu Boardwalk in nearby Mandaue, was elevated to university status in November 2004. Another notable medical school is the Velez College in affiliation with Cebu Institute of Medicine. The Cebu Institute of Technology – University (formerly Cebu Institute of Technology) located in N. Bacalso Ave. and the Cebu Technological University (formerly Cebu State College of Science and Technology) which is located in M.J. Cuenco Avenue cor. R. Palma Street, Cebu City are the newest universities. CIT-U and CTU were elevated to university status in the year 2010. The Cebu's first film school, The International Academy of Film and Television was established on Mactan Island in 2004. The Asian College of Technology, is also located in Metro Cebu.

Cebu is home to one fully accredited international school, Cebu International School, a K–12 school established in 1924.

A Punjabi teaching school is also opened in Cebu.[50]

International relations and sisterhood agreements[edit]

  • Cebu Province hosted two major Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and telecom events, the 12th ASEAN Telecommunications and IT Ministers Meeting (TELMIN) and the 13th ASEAN Telecommunications and IT Senior Officials Meeting (TELSOM) in 2012.
  • Cebu Province hosted the international 4th Dance Xchange, a project organized by the National Dance Committee of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts in 2012.
  • Cebu Province as member hosted the 11th East Asia Inter-Regional Tourism Forum in 2011[51]
  • Cebu Province join as a participating member of Inter–Island Tourism Policy Forum in 2011 (ITOP Forum)[52]
  • Cebu Province hosted the 12th ASEAN Summit in 2007.[53]

Existing sisterhood agreements
National sisterhood agreements


  1. ^ a religious station partly owned and endorsed by the Archdiocese of Cebu


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  18. ^ Republic Act No.  of 21 July Charter of the City of Cebu
  19. ^ G.R. No. 176951 et al. (First appeal) of 18 November 2008 Consolidated petitions for prohibition assailing the constitutionality of the subject Cityhood Laws and enjoining the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and respondent municipalities from conducting plebiscites pursuant to the Cityhood Laws.
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  21. ^ G.R. No. 176951 et al. (First reversal) of 21 December 2009
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External links[edit]