Cebu Island, the Philippines’ oldest settlement, was a fishing village and trading port in 1521. Originally named Zubu, Cebu has evolved into a bustling metropolitan center and is now a focal point of growth in southern Philippines. Its rich history has left an indelible impression on all things Cebu – from colorful fiestas to delicious food and hospitable people. Cebu’s greatest asset is its people: fun loving, warm, and extremely friendly.
If you’re into sports, Cebu has lots to offer—from the fast-growing badminton to biking through the mountains, caving, horse riding, trail bike riding, go-kart racing, and yes, all types of water sports.
Cebu is a great location to set up a business with its low operation costs. A number of expats and returning Pinoys call Cebu home. In addition, Cebu is now attracting a number of high-profile business people to its shores.
Located 365 miles south of Manila, Cebu island is long and narrow, flanked at one side by Tañon Strait and the other by the Strait of Cebu. Southeast of mainland Cebu lies a smaller island named Mactan where white-sand beaches and diving resorts abound. Cebu is comprised of dozens of other smaller islands, some of which are uninhabited, and this makes them the targets of adventure-seeking tourists.
Typical of a tropical island, Cebu has narrow coastlines, limestone plateaus, and coastal plains. It also has predominant rolling hills; rugged mountain ranges traverse the northern and southern lengths of the island. Cebu has steep mountains reaching over 1,000 meters but there is substantial lack of adequate forest cover. Cebu towns like Bogo, San Remigio, Medellin, and Daan Bantayan at the northern tip of Cebu Island have flat tracts of land.
Doing Business in Cebu
Cebu is a fantastic place to utilize as a low-cost business base. Dubbed the “Queen of the South,” Cebu is not only the gateway to pristine beaches, spectacular diving sites, and unique championship golf courses, it is also at the forefront of traditional and non-traditional exports. Cebu has the highest economic growth rate in the country. This island-province has several economic zones, which have attracted many investors in the last 15 years.
Most of Cebu’s other islets and islands are blessed with white sandy beaches and clear waters. Mactan Island, the closest island to mainland Cebu and arguably the most progressive, is indeed a great jewel in Cebu’s crown. Mactan has evolved into a water sports mecca. The economical services of competent dive masters and a superb infrastructure have attracted dive tourists from the world over.
Cebu City has a South Reclamation Project (SRP), a massive pile of reclaimed land estimated to be at around 3 square kilometers. Cebu City has sold or leased a great portion of the SRP to potential investors and big businesses. Among the planned construction projects for the SRP are a modern sports complex (to replace the overused Cebu City Sports Center), a yacht club, and a hotel. Understandably, the mall tycoons of the Philippines have also expressed interest to build malls in the SRP. The SRP’s modern highway, called South Coastal Road, connects Cebu City to Talisay City and cuts travel time to up to 50 minutes.
With its five old cities—Cebu, Danao, Lapu-Lapu (Mactan Island), Mandaue, and Toledo—and its 48 smaller towns, Cebu Island has more than kept pace with the nation’s progress. Many Cebuanos see their province as a unique country within a country!
Cebu’s location makes it ideal for those who wish to travel to the other islands and provinces to get away for a short break. By plane, boat or bus, there is no place too far from the paradise we call Cebu.
Travel within and around Cebu will not break the bank either. A typical bus ride from Cebu City to the northernmost point of the island would set you back just a few dollars. Ferries to the neighboring islands are also inexpensive, typically costing US$6-US$10 one-way. A plane trip to Boracay, 35 minutes away from Cebu Island, would cost about US$30 while a plane trip to Manila would cost around US$40. For more information on traveling by plane from or to Cebu, check out our Cebu Airport page.
Sinulog – Cebu’s Biggest Festival
Cebu’s natural beauty and famous fiestas have helped the province become the country’s favorite tourist destination. Cebu’s biggest and most popular festival is the Sinulog, which is one of the biggest celebrations in the Philippines. What’s the Sinulog like? Think Mardi Gras, street carnival, literally thousands of people partying in the streets.
The Sinulog is celebrated every third weekend of January and should not be missed. The colors and atmosphere is palpable. The festival is in honor of the Señor Santo Niño de Cebu, the island’s patron saint. Fiesta Señor, as it widely known, is when people converge along the street routes of a grand solemn procession (hundreds of colorful floats with equally vibrant people dancing in hand-made costumes) immersed in vivid colors and the constant drums of the Pit Señor. Make sure you book your Cebu accommodation in advance! This period has like-minded individuals drawn to Cebu like a magnet.
More Cebu Information
Local Online News: For current news on Cebu, we recommend Sunstar Cebu, Cebu Daily News, and The Freeman.
There are also many Cebu hotels and inns that will make your stay in the island comfortable. Cebu has a bustling nightlife and many restaurants and bars. Check them out and see how the locals party.
For more information on the province, history, politics, infrastructure, the people, and festivals, visit Cebu Lifestyles.
For your Cebu travel, stay at SDR Apartments for accommodation at par with 5-star Cebu Hotels sans the costs. Contact SDR today!