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Cebu (island)

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Cebu (island)

Cebu Island
Cebu (island)
Map of the Philippines marking Cebu Island
Location South East Asia

10°20′N 123°45′E / 10.333°N 123.750°E / 10.333; 123.750Coordinates: 10°20′N 123°45′E / 10.333°N 123.750°E / 10.333; 123.750

Archipelago Visayas
Area 4,468 km2 (1,725.1 sq mi)[1]
Length 251 km (156 mi)
Width 46 km (28.6 mi)
Highest elevation 1,000 m (3,000 ft)
Highest point unnamed
Cities/municipalities 17
Largest city Cebu City (pop. 866,171)
Population 3,629,540 (as of 2010)[2]
Density 812.3 /km2 (2,103.8 /sq mi)
Ethnic groups Visayans (Cebuano)

Cebu (/ˈsb/; Tagalog: [seˈbu]) is an island of the Philippines. It is the main island of Cebu Province at the center of the Visayan Islands, 365 miles (587 km) south of Manila.

It lies to the east of Negros Island; to the east is Leyte and to the southeast is Bohol Island. It is flanked on both sides by the Cebu Strait (between Cebu and Bohol) and Tañon Strait (between Cebu and Negros). Cebu is located between 9°25'N and 11°15'N latitude and between 123°13'E and 124°5'E longitude in the center of the archipelago.

Cebu Island is a long narrow island stretching 225 km (140 mi) from north to south, surrounded by 167 neighboring smaller islands, that includes Mactan, Bantayan, Malapascua, Olango and the Camotes Islands.

The island is also known as the site of Ferdinand Magellan's death in the Battle of Mactan. Magellan had joined forces with Spanish soldiers and was leading them against Lapu-Lapu, a Visayan chieftain. There are memorials to both men on the island in Lapu-Lapu City.

Cebu City is the capital of Cebu Province and largest city on the island. It is centrally located in the widest portion of the island at the east coast harbor, facing Bohol.

Cebu City is a commercial center whose main industries include copper mining, fishing and aquaculture, farming and agriculture, shipbuilding, steel and cement. In addition to University of San Carlos, major universities in Cebu City include Southwestern University, the University of the Visayas, Cebu Doctors' University, the University of Southern Philippines Foundation, University of San Jose – Recoletos, Cebu Technological University, University of Cebu, Cebu Normal University, Cebu Institute of Technology - University and the University of the Philippines Cebu College.

The harbor of Cebu City is an international port with ocean-going vessels and domestic ships and five inter-island shipping companies, providing access to all other major islands of the Philippines. Cebu's international airport has daily flights to Manila and other domestic and international destinations. Its location combined with a sheltered deep water harbor has made Cebu City the base for most of the country's domestic shipping and the gateway to the central and southern Philippines.


At the time of the global scramble for exotic spices in the East, Portuguese navigator sailing for Spain, Ferdinand Magellan, came upon Zubu (Cebu) on April 7, 1521. The island then already had a flourishing village with "many sailing vessels from Siam (Thailand), China and Arabia docked at the port" as described by Antonio Pigafetta, Magellan's chronicler. Then began the Spanish era in the Philippines. However, it deteriorated upon the death of Magellan in the hands of the local warrior, Lapu-Lapu, only to resurrect with the arrival 44 years later, in 1565, of Miguel López de Legazpi. That year, the first Spanish settlement was built in Cebu by Mexico's Spanish government to colonize the country.

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. Cebu City has seen many 'firsts' in the nation's history. Established by Legazpi in 1571, it became the first city in the Philippines, ante-dating Manila by seven (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 Santo Niño), the oldest school (University of San Carlos) and the oldest street (Colon Street). 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. It is central to the Philippine archipelago and some 600 kilometers south of Manila.

Cebu is known for its narrow coastlines, limestone plateaus, and coastal plains, all characteristics of a typical tropical island. Cebu also has predominant rolling hills and rugged mountain ranges traversing the northern and southern lengths of the island, separating the east and west coasts. Cebu's steep mountainous spine reaches over 1,000 meters (3,300 ft). Flat tracts of land can be found in towns of Bogo, San Remigio, Medellin, and Daanbantayan at the northern tip of the island.

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 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 of Cebu.

On February 6 2012, Cebu island experienced the effects of a 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 earth quake leaving over 100 dead, 5 historical churches collapsed sending residents to panic, there were over 700 aftershocks.


Cebuano Visayan is the indigenous language and of Malayo-Polynesian origin with Spanish influences, which is also widely spoken in the rest of the Visayas and Mindanao. Tagalog and English are also widely spoken and understood, as are several other Philippines languages and dialects from other islands.

Transport and communications

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 Mactan-Cebu 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 weather.

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 and satellite television installation among homes is common. The government postal services is efficient and is supplemented by established courier companies. The Philippines major cargo and logistics companies, LBC and 2Go have dozens of outlets in Metro Cebu. FedEx, UPS, and DHL, three of the largest cargo and logistics companies in the world, also have minor operations around Metro Cebu.

Sports and leisure

The island of Cebu has a large tourism industry. The southern town of Moalboal is famous for its diving spots. Small vacation houses-cum-resort are the accommodation norm around here.

There currently nine golf-courses, around the island, to choose from.

One of the island's limited array of sporting venues is the Cebu City Sports Complex. The complex was constructed when Cebu City hosted the 'Palarong Pambansa' (National Olympics). The main feature of the complex is its track and field oval, along with a 10,000-seater 'main' grandstand. An Olympic-sized swimming pool, along with a 1,000-seater grandstand, sits next to the 'main' grandstand.


Industries on the island include copper mining 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, and agricultural products.

Also, bone fishing is now one of the new fly-fishing adventures that draw thousands each year.


External links

  • DMOZ
  • Cebu Islands Philippines

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