Cebu is one of the Visayan Islands in the Philippines, between Leyte and Negros. The coastal plains are intensely cultivated and densely populated. The island was important agriculturally, but overpopulation and soil depletion have virtually halted production. There are coal and copper deposits. Fertilizer is made from local pyrite, and seaweed farming and processing is a growing industry. Magellan landed on the island in 1521; the remnants of the wooden cross he planted is a major tourist attraction. The island, with several small adjacent islands, comprises Cebu province, the capital of which is the city of Cebu (1990 pop. 610,417), the second (after Manila) most important harbor and city in the Philippines. With its excellent port, which handles both interisland and overseas shipping, it is the trade and manufacturing center of the Visayan Islands.
With its five cities; Cebu, Danao, Lapulapu, Mandaue and Toledo; and its 48 smaller towns, Cebu. has more than kept pace with the nation's progress. Today ' the island province leads in traditional and non-traditional exports and has the highest economic growth rate anywhere in the country. Likewise, recent indications pointed out that Cebu has become the country's most favorite tourist destination.
Cebu is the country's oldest city. Exploring Cebu City, one encounters a rich historic past. Cebuanos are extremely proud of their cultural and historical heritage, a legacy which has endured thru the centuries from the time the great explorer Ferdinand Magellan first planted the cross on Cebu's shore.
Cebu has the most historical significance. At the time of the global scramble for exotic spices in the East,a Portuguese navigator sailing for Spain, Fernando Magallanes, came upon Zubu (Cebu) on April 7, 1921. The island then was already a flourishing village with "many sailing vessels from Siam (Thailand), China and Arabia docked at the port" as described by Antonio Pigafetta, Magallanes' chronicler. Then begun the Spanish era in the Philippines. However, it deteriorated upon the death of Magallanes in the hands of the brave local warrior, Lapulapu, only to resurrect with the arrival 44 years later, in 1565, of Miguel Lopez di Legazpi.
Its rich and colorful metamorphosis can be traced from 1521 as Zubu, the fishing village and busy trading port, to Villa San Miguel, later to Villa del Santissimo Nombre de Jesus in 1575, then as the municipality of Cebu in 1905 up to its being a chartered city on February 24, 1937.
In the 19th century, Cebu started to exercise a dominant role in Southern Philippines' economic limelight. Agriculture, especially sugar cane cultivation and sugar manufacturing, pushed Cebu into playing an important role in this part of the country. But even more crucial than the agricultural products was her participation in trade and commerce. Proudly, Cebu has been given the honor as having many 'firsts' in the nation's history. Established by Legazpi in 1571, it became the first city in the Philippines, ante-dating Manila by 7 years. In point of fact, it is the oldest city in the country, having the oldest and smallest fort (Fort San Pedro), with the oldest church (Basilica of Sto. Niño), the oldest school (San Carlos) and the oldest street (Colon). Referred to as the Queen City of the South and the seat of early Filipino Christianization, Cebu is also famous for its musical stringed instruments like banduria, guitar and piccolo.
Cebu is an elongated island some 250 kilometers from North to South and 45 kilometers across at its widest point wide. It is central to the Philippine archipelago and some 600 kilometers south of Manila.
This location combined with a sheltered deep water harbour has made Cebu the base for most of the country's domestic shipping and the gateway to the central and southern Philippines.
The island's area of 5,000 square kilometers supports over 3 million people of whom 1.5 million live in Metro Cebu.
The east and west coasts are separated by a mountainous spine which rises to 1,000 metres. The climate is warm, generally 23 to 33 degrees Celsius. Rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year, except for the summer months from March to May which are dry.
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 which help maintain Cebu's track record.
Cebuano is the dialect in the province, which is also widely spoken in the Visayas and Mindanao. Tagalog and English are also spoken and understood.
TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATION
Today, nearly 8 km. of shipping berths line Cebu's deep water port area, now the largest outside Manila. Efficient container handling, trucking and storage is available. The modern Macron international airport is a major international gateway with direct flights to many countries. B747-400 aircraft at maximum takeoff weight can use the airport in all weathers.
Cebu's modern communications links utilize satellites, cellular telephone networks and routine land based telephone services. High quality broad band links and IDD services are available and compatible with systems worldwide. Direct links are maintained with over 116 countries. Cebu has a very high density of computer installations, and full access to the internet
Radio and television broadcast services are popular advertising mediums. Cable TV is installed over a wide area. The government postal services is efficient and is supplemented by established courier companies. Most international and local courier companies have offices in Cebu.
SPORT AND LIESURE
Scuba diving in a coral wonderland, hiking or mountain bike riding in the hills. The door is open. Excellent golf courses, jet skis, sail boards and boating facilities are widely available.If you wish to be pampered, there is a remarkable choice of world class resorts within easy reach for a quick weekend away. For the indoor enthusiast, the latest computerized ten pin bowling rinks or air conditioned squash courts beckon. Music is of a high standard and teaching of traditional and classical instruments is readily available. The importance to executives and workers of recreation facilities cannot be overemphasised.
Cebu ensures every need is satisfied.
Rapid access to myriads of offshore destinations for swimming, exploring, parasailing and diving is made easy by fast ferry services from Cebu's international port.
Copper and dolomite mining, industrial parts assembly, food processing, footwear, handicraft, rattancraft, woodcraft, metalcraft, garments, shellcraft, ceramics, basketware, rattan and wicker furniture, cement, costume jewelry, giftware, fertilizer, stonecraft, food products and preserves, electronic devices, transistors and diodes, vehicle assembly, agricultural products.