Cebu City – Queen City of the South

Cebu City is one of the most important cities in the Philippines. It is hailed as “The Queen City of the South” due to its importance in trade, shipping and tourism in that part of the country.

Geography

Cebu City lies along the eastern shore of Cebu Province in the Visayan region. It has a total land area of 291.2 square kilometers and a population of some 800,000 people according to the latest census. The city consists of 80 barangays divided into two districts. The native dialect is Cebuano.

Trade and Economy

While the cities of Manila and Makati are the business centers of the northern Philippines, Cebu is the trade capital of the south, Visayas and Mindanao.

Because of its location, it is only natural that business in Cebu would revolve around the sea and seafaring. The city is the country’s largest shipping hub, being home to 80% of all domestic shipping lines. Seafood is abundant in the area, and in fact one type of fish was named after the hero Lapu-Lapu (see below). Recently the outsourcing of companies to Asia has benefited the Cebuano people. Many have found jobs in call centers since English is widely spoken.

One of the Philippines’ two international airports, Mactan-Cebu International Airport, is a half-hour drive from the city. Due to its strategic location, Cebu is often used as a hopping point by travelers to other tourist destinations in the region.

History

Even before the advent of Spanish rule, Cebu was already a well-developed and prosperous city that enjoyed trade relations with other Southeast Asian countries. On April 7, 1521 the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the island. He was welcomed and befriended by Raja Humabon, the king of Cebu. Humabon and his people converted to Catholicism and became the first first Filipino Christians. But the people of nearby Mactan Island were not so friendly, and Magellan was killed in battle by their king, Lapu-Lapu.

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