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. Condé Nast Traveler Magazine named Cebu the 7th best island destination in the Indian Ocean-Asia region in 2007, 8th best Asian-Pacific island destination in 2005, 7th in 2004 and in 2009, with popular tourist destinations such as Mactan Island and Moalboal. In a decade it has transformed into a global hub for 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 (or Sugbo) was an island inhabited by Hindus, animists and Muslims ruled by Rajahs and Datus. It was a kingdom of the defunct Rajahnate of Cebu.
The Rajahnate of Cebu was a native kingdom which used to exist in Cebu prior to the arrival of the Spaniards. It was founded by Sri 'Lumay' otherwise known as 'Rajamuda Lumaya', a half Malay and 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.
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. 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 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. The Spaniards fought the King Rajah Tupas and occupied his territories. The Spaniards established settlements, trade flourished and renamed the island to "Villa del Santíssimo 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 forts 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 CommonwealthArmy was reestablished 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 Cushing is credited for the establishment of the Koga Papers 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.
Excludes independent cities
Source: National Statistics Office
The population of Cebu in 2010 was 2,619,362 persons. The three largest cities (Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu, and Mandaue) had 866,171, 350,467, and 331,320 residents respectively. Therefore there are a total of 4,167,320 people living on Cebu, with a population density of 780.1 persons per km2. 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.
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 and other Christian churches, as well as several other non-Catholic churches, mosques and temples.
Cebu is located to the east of Negros, to the west of Leyte and Bohol islands. Cebu is a long narrow island stretching 225 kilometres (140 mi) from north to south and 45 kilometers across at its widest point, surrounded by 167 neighbouring, smaller islands, which include Mactan, Bantayan, Malapascua, Olango and the Camotes Islands. Cebu 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.
The island's area of 4,468 square kilometers supports over 3.6 million people, of which 2.3 million live in Metro Cebu. The province's land area is 494,372 hectares (1,221,620 acres), or 534,200 hectares (1,320,000 acres) including the independent cities. As per other sources - 4,468 square kilometres (1,725 sq mi).
Beaches, coral atolls, islands and rich fishing grounds surround Cebu.
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.
On February 6 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 and caused fear however there were not reports of major building damage or loss of life on Cebu Island itself. This tremor was caused by a previously unrecorded "blind" fault.
On October 15, 2013, Cebu and Bohol where hit by record setting 7.2 magnitude earthquake leaving over 100 dead, 5 historical churches collapsed sending residents to panic, there were over 700 aftershocks.
The Climate of Cebu is tropical. There are 2 seasons in Cebu − the dry and wet season. 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 Haiyan hit Northern Cebu in 2013 killing 73 people and injuring 348 others. Though most typhoons hit Northern Cebu, the urban areas in Central Cebu are sometimes hit, such as when Typhoon Mike (PAGASA name: 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 percent humidity.
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. 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 Cebú (Holy Child of Cebu).
Sinulog's annual fluvial procession
Sinulog Festival is the largest fiesta (festival) in the Philippines. Held every third Sunday of January, it celebrates the festival of the Santo Niño, the patron 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 the 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 Cebú in their indigenous Sinulog ritual. 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!".
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. In 2012, Cebu introduced Life Dance, the biggest outdoor dance party in the country outside Metro Manila.
The Mactan-Cebu International Airport on Mactan Island serves as the main gateway to domestic and international routes of 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.
The Cebu International Port is the largest shipping hub in the Visayas region.
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.
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.
Cebu City, although independent from Cebu Province (together with Lapu-lapu City), 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 thanks 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 metric tons deadweight (DWT) and double hulled fastcrafts as well. This industry made the Philippines the 4th largest shipbuilding country in the world.
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.
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.
In 2013, Cebu ranked 8th worldwide in the "Top 100 BPO Destinations Report" by global advisory firm, Tholons. 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.
Cebu Pacific Air (Cebu Air Inc.), 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 per cent from 2006. On January 6, 2011, Cebu Pacific flew its 50 millionth passenger from Manila to Beijing. The airline targets to reach the 100 million passengers mark in 2015. Cebu Pacific will commence international long-haul flights to Middle-East, U.S.A., Australia and some parts of Europe in the third quarter of 2013 using Airbus A330-300.
The city’s 300-hectare reclaimed South Road Properties is a mixed-use development south of the city that will feature entertainment, leisure, residential and business-processing industries. It will be the site of SM Seaside City, the 4th largest mall in the world, FIlinvest's Citta de Mare and Il Corso, and the University of the Philippines-Cebu campus.
Cebu's economy is also driven by the mining and quarrying areas in Toledo, Naga, (Alcoy), and Danao.
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.
Despite having these local stations, Cebuanos prefer to watch the Philippines' three dominant television networks namely: ABS-CBN, TV5 and GMA Network Inc. 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), while there are also Cebuano language newspapers, SunStar SuperBalita owned by Sun Star and Banat News owned by The Freeman. Each of the local newspapers sell for about 10 pesos per copy, which is much cheaper than their national counterparts.
Cebu is known for being the hometown of teen pop duo "Iyan Myk and Eydriyan", who attribute their success to growing up in Cebu. African-Cebuano Marsam Tagsip, a local TV host, is also critically acclaimed for his observational comedy, where he uses humour to highlight racial, ethnic, class and cultural stereotypes. He often refers to his own life experiences growing up with "Nigerian-black" complexion.
In 2007, the towns of Bogo, Carcar and Naga became cities. They, along with 13 other cities in the country, were demoted back to municipalities the following year by the Philippine Supreme Court, citing that these 16 cities did not pass the requirements of cityhood. However, on December 22, 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." As such, the cityhood status of Bogo, Carcar and Naga, was effectively restored.
On August 27, 2010, the cities of Bogo, Carcar and Naga reverted to municipalities again. It shared the fate of 13 other cities, after the Supreme Court reinstated a 2008 decision declaring as “unconstitutional" the cityhood laws converting 16 municipalities into cities. A previous law required towns aspiring to become cities to earn at least P100 million annually, which none of the 16 did.
Voting 7−6, with two justices not taking part, the Supreme Court reinstated its November 18, 2008, decision declaring as unconstitutional the Republic Acts (RAs) converting 16 municipalities into cities. The most recent development in the legal battles surrounding the "League of 16" came on February 15, 2011. Voting 7−6, the Supreme Court (SC) ruled that 16 towns that became cities in 2007 can stay as cities. It was the fourth time the SC has ruled on the case and the third reversal. It said the conversion of the 16 towns into cities met all legal requirements.
Sinulog is a religious festival celebrated every third Sunday of January. The feast is held in honor of the patron, Señor Santo Niño de Cebú (Lord Holy Child of Cebu) and the arrival of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in the Philippines. The Fiesta Señor (Festival Lord) converge a procession and take part in a Mardi Gras-like parade.
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.
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.
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