The City of Cebu (Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Sugbo, Filipino: Lungsod ng Cebu, Spanish: Ciudad de Cebú) is the capital city of the province of Cebu and is the “second city” of the Philippines, being the center of Metro Cebu, the second most populous Metropolitan area in the Philippines after Metro Manila. With a population of 866,171 as per the 2010 census, it is the fifth most populated city in the country. Cebu City is a significant center of commerce, trade and education in the Visayas area.
The city is located on the eastern shore of Cebu island. It is the first Spanish settlement and the oldest city in the Philippines. Cebu is the Philippines’ main domestic shipping port and is home to about 80% of the country’s domestic shipping companies.
It is the center of a metropolitan area called Metro Cebu, which includes the cities of Carcar, Danao, Lapu-lapu, Mandaue, Naga, Talisay and the municipalities of Compostela, Consolacion, Cordova, Liloan, Minglanilla and San Fernando . Metro Cebu has a total population of about 2.55 million people (2010 Census). Cebu City is bordered to the northeast by Mandaue City and the town of Consolacion, to the west are Toledo City, and the towns of Balamban and Asturias, to the south are Talisay City and the town of Minglanilla. Across Mactan Strait to the east is Mactan Island.
Cebu City is a significant cultural centre in the Philippines. The imprint of Spanish and Roman Catholic culture is evident. The city’s most famous landmark is Magellan’s Cross. This cross, now housed in a chapel, is reputed to have been planted by Ferdinand Magellan (Fernão Magalhães) when he arrived in the Philippines in 1521. It was encased in hollow tindalo wood in 1835 upon the order of the Augustinian Bishop Santos Gómez Marañon to prevent devotees from taking it home chip by chip. The same bishop restored the present template or kiosk, located at the present Magallanes street between the City Hall and Colegio del Santo Niño. Revered by Filipinos, the Magellan’s Cross is a symbol of Christianity in the Philippines.
A few steps away from the Magellan’s Cross is the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño (Church of the Holy Child). This is an Augustinian church elevated to the rank of Basilica in 1965 during the 400th year celebrations of Christianity in the Philippines, held in Cebu. The church, which was the first to be established in the islands, is built of hewn stone and features the country’s oldest relic, the figure of the Santo Niño de Cebú (Holy Child of Cebu).
Cebu City has a land area of 315 square kilometres (122 sq mi). To the northeast of the city is Mandaue City and the town of Consolacion; to the west is Toledo City and the towns of Balamban and Asturias; to the south is Talisay City and the town of Minglanilla.
Across Mactan Strait to the east is Mactan Island where Lapu-Lapu City is located. Further east across the Cebu Strait is the Island of Bohol.