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General Information
Often called the “ Queen City of the South” and the Seat of Christianity in the Philippines , 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 through the centuries from the time the great explorer Ferdinand Magellan first planted the cross on Cebu 's shore. Time has been kind to Cebu . From Zubu, the busy trading port in 1521, it has evolved into a highly urbanized metropolitan center which now serves as focal point of growth and development in Southern Philippines .

With Cebu province's 8 cities; Bogo, Carcar, Cebu , Danao, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Toledo and Talisay; and its 45 smaller towns, it 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 favorite tourist destination. In contrast to the bustling metropolis, the rest of Cebu 's 167 islets and islands are lined with idyllic white sandy beaches and pristine clear waters. Cebu has gained wide popularity for fantastic diving grounds evidenced by the proliferation of resorts which offer luxurious accommodations, excellent dive facilities and the services of competent dive masters and dive guides. Cebu 's strategic location makes it ideal for those who wish to travel to the other islands and provinces by plan, boat or bus. No place could be too far from Cebu.

Historical Trivia


Cebu City, the Queen City of the South, shares memories that will surely interest people. It started from a sleepy fishing village in 1521. Magellan arrived and planted the wooden cross, which became Cebu’s first symbol of Christianity. The said cross is now located at the upper Magallanes, a street named after Fernando de Magallanes. He was intrepid Portuguese explorer who made the great voyage of exploration under the flag of Spain.

In April 3, 1898, General Leon Kilat of Bacong, Negros Oriental, organized a revolution against the Spanish colonialism. The Spaniards then decided to build a shelter for themselves. It was Miguel Lopez de Legazpi who insists on building a fort, which is now famous for being the oldest and smallest fort in the country, the Fort San Pedro.

However, on December 1898, the Americans beat the Spanish fleet during the war of Manila Bay. And the fort fell into the native Cebuanos’ hands. With the American reign in full force in 1901, the Senate Pro Tempore, late President Sergio Osmena Sr. and the Congressman and majority floor leader in the House of Representatives, late Senate Manuel Briones took action for Philippine Independence.

One of the most unforgettable moment in Cebuano history is the granting of charter by virtue of Commonwealth Act No. 58 on February 24, 1937. The late Senator Vicente Rama helped as the author and sponsor of the bill. Elpidio Quirino, as the representative of Manuel Quezon, appointed the mayor and board members of Cebu City.

Due to Cebu City’s extensive population and strategic location, it became the principal Japanese base after their landing on April 10,1942. Finally, on March 1945, Cebu felt freedom when American liberation landed in Talisay town. In full circle, Liberation restored law and order and established the Philippine Civil Affairs Unit (PCAU) in the city.

In April 1965, Cebuanos focused on Christianity, Don Legaspi and Fray Urdaneta ordered to build the San Augustine Church, which is now called the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino, in honor of the first miraculous image of Señior Santo Nino.

Cebu, which was formerly called as Sugbu, Zebu, Zubu, Sebu, Sibuy and others by merchants, from a sleeping fishing village, is now one of the most productive cities in the Philippines. And now that’s something we are certainly proud of!

Some Historical Sites  
cebu cross of magellan
cebu's fort san pedro
The most famous of all historical landmarks in Cebu City. This cross was planted in Cebu shores by Ferdinand Magellan in April 14, 1521, marking the spot where the first Catholic Christians- Rajah Humabon, Queen Juana and about 400 followers were baptized by Fr. Pedro de Valderama. Encased in hollow tindalo wood, it is now for centuries housed in a kiosk made of adobe wood and red-brick tiles. Devout Cebuano's and visitors never fail to pause and pray, drop coins and light votive candles before the Magellan's Cross. It has been venerated by people from all walks of life in the past four centuries. The smallest and oldest tri-bastion fort in the country. Built in 1738 this served as the nucleus of the first Spanish settlement
in the Philippines. It's three
bastions La Conception, San Ignacio de Loyola and
San Miguel till today still stand on their corners. It has a total area of 2,025 sq. meters; the walls are 20 ft. high,
8 ft. thick and each of the towers stands 30 ft. from the ground.
cebu's plaza independencia
taoist temple of cebu
Cebu’s Plaza Independencia was formerly called "Plaza Libertad". Strategically located between Fort San Pedro and the building that used to house the old Gobierno Provincial, it now becomes the most favored spot for picnics and trysts. Dominated by the obelisk of Legaspi, Plaza Independencia is Cebu's most historically significant plaza Located at Beverly Hills, Cebu City. This temple preserves the teachings of Lao-tse the 600 B.C. Chinese Philosopher. Everyday people climb its 99 steps to light joss sticks and have their fortunes read.

Quick Facts
Cebu Province has a total population of more than 3 million. Cebuano is the native tongue. While Filipino is commonly understood and spoken, the English language is widely used in business transactions and education.
Cebu is best from December to May when the weather turns dry. It is coolest from December to February, hottest from March to May. Temperature can rise as high as 37°C in the summer. The rainy season begins in July bringing torrential downpours that would sometimes inhibit movement.
Dress/What to Bring
Wear natural-fiber, lightweight clothing. Bring bathing suit, insect repellent, flashlight, sun block cream, comfortable shoes for walking, rubber slippers for the beach.
Electrical Appliances
Most areas in Cebu are supplied with 220 volts, 60 cycles. A plug with 2 flat parallel prongs is the norm.
The Philippine currency is peso, divided into 100 centavos. Most foreign currencies can easily be changed at banks, hotels and authorized dealers. Major foreign credit cards may be accepted only at major hotels, resorts, shops and restaurants. Visitors are advised to bring sufficient amount of change in small bills or coins.
Business Hours
Banks-9am to 3pm Monday to Friday; Government agencies and offices-8am to 5pm Monday to Friday; Department stores-10am to 8pm Monday to Sunday.
Bellhops expect a tip, as do waiters, taxi drivers, hairdressers, beauticians and porters. Tipping 5-15% of the bill is appropriate if no service charge is included.
Public Transport
Getting around Cebu , one may take a colorful jeepney or a bus at a minimal fare. Taxicabs are widely available.

Some DO'S AND DON'T'S in Philippine Society
The most important initial step in gaining insights about the local resident is to understand him in his own setting. The following are just some general statements intended to help you in your behavior in the local community:

  • Avoid wearing sandals when attending special occasions in the local community-wearing shoes is a sign that the event is important to you.
  • Do invite people at least three times. Local residents are taught that it is proper to refuse the first time or two. To them, insistence is a clear sign that the offer or invitation is genuine.
  • Do give the local residents a way out of the situation so he can save face, thus avoiding embarrassment, Embarrassment him will cause “hiya” or loss of face.
  • Don't use the common sign of OK-in the local community, its means money. You may use the new sign OK. This is the thumbs-up sign which has been commonly seen on television.
  • Don't use your forefinger upward to call a local resident. It is considered somewhat degrading. One way of calling is to beckon with the hand in gentle downward motion. “Pssst” is another popular way to get someone's attention. As a rule however, it is even better to use nicknames, because these are reserved for close friends.
  • Smiling is a form of friendship and a form of greeting.

Do show respect for age-use the proper appellations for elders and relations. Find out right away what appellations are used in the family.

(sources: Cebu City Tourism Commission and Cebu City Government Websites)

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