Cebu City Guide

by Jose Marc Castro on August 15, 2007

Cebu City is the capital city of the Cebu province found in the Visayan islands of the Philippines.  Known as the Queen City of the South, it is the Philippine’s second most important metropolitan center, after Metropolitan Manila, as it is the most important business, trade, and industrial center in the Visayas and Mindanao regions.  Cebu City is also the city center of Metro Cebu, which comprises of the cities of Mandaue, Naga, Lapu-Lapu, and Talisay.Cebu has a long span of history which stretches as far as 3000 years ago.  It had a flourishing settlement that traded with China and other Southeast Asian Countries even before the Spanish came to colonize it.  In 1521, the first Europeans came and set foot in the archipelago with the landing of Ferdinand Magellan in Cebu.  With the baptizing of Cebu’s chief raja, Raja Humabon, it became the first Catholic settlement in the Philippines.  After Magellan’s death on nearby Mactan Island by the local chieftain Lapu-Lapu, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi made Cebu the capital of the Spanish colony until it was moved to Intramuros in Manila.

Cebu today is a fast growing city.  Its booming economy is due largely to its strong trade and service industries, as well as its thriving tourism industry.  Its easy accessibility via the Mactan-Cebu International Airport or through its ports attracts many international corporations to put up their industries in the country’s second most important economic   center.

Residential Places in Cebu

Cebu has a number of upscale gated communities that the locals call villages or subdivisions.  These gated communities are often fortified by a surrounding wall around the subdivision or village with a security guard at the gate.  Residents often form an association to provide a communal venue for addressing the upkeep of their community.  Empty lots and various housing units may be found in these subdivisions and villages. Some of Cebu’s affluent gated communities located north of the Cebu City are Beverly Hills in Lahug, Maria Luisa Estate Park in Banilad near the Gaisano Country Mall, Northtown Homes in Talamban, and Ayala Heights, near PTA Kang-irag Golf course, which was developed by the same corporation that had developed Manila’s prestigious gated communities of Forbes Park, Dasmariñas Village, and Ayala Alabang.  These prime subdivisions are located on a hill or an elevated area, providing a breezy living environment and stunning views of the city.   Situated on level ground, on the other hand, is the subdivisions of Doña Rita, Santo Niño village, Paradise Village and St. Michael’s Village, which are all found in Banilad.  The last two subdivisions are both near the Cebu Country Club Golf Course.  Also on level ground is Silver Hills in Talamban.  South of the city in Guadalupe are the prime residential neighborhoods of Maria Luisa South, South Hills Subdivision, Guadalajara Subdivision, and Nichol’s Park.  Also in south is Paseo San Ramon in Banawa, Altavista Residential Estates, and Newtown Estates which are both found in Pardo near the South Road.

Hospitals and Universities of Cebu

Cebu is one of the Philippines’ educational centers with its 9 universities and dozens of schools and colleges. One of its major universities is UP-Visayas which is a regional unit of the University of the Philippines (UP).  UP is acknowledged as the country’s leading tertiary educational institution.  UP-visayas has a satellite campus in the city’s Lahug district, which is the UVP-Cebu College (UPCC).  UPCC offers undergraduate degrees in fine Arts, Mass Communication, Political Science, Psychology, Biology, Mathematics, Computer Science, and Business Management.  Graduate programs include diplomas in Governmental management, Science Teaching, and Urban and Regional Planning, as well as masteral degrees in Computer Science, Environmental   Science, Business Management, Public Management, Integrated health Services management, Educational Management, Education, and Nursing. Another notable university in Cebu is the University of San Carlos which is a Catholic university established in 1595.  It had produced many prestigious alumni including Sergio Osmeña, the second president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, the NASA-acclaimed Filipino astronomer, Christopher  Go, who had discovered Jupiter’s new red spot, and Filipino Tycoon    John L. Gokongwei Jr., who ranked 34th among Asia’s 40 richest people in 2005.  Also notable are the Cebu Doctors’ University, Cebu University, and Cebu Normal University.

Healthcare and Medicine

Healthcare in the Philippines is of relatively good quality with doctors trained in the country’s many reputable medical institutions.  Most doctors in the Philippines made additional studies and training in the United States before coming back to practice.  Many of these well-trained doctors serve in government hospitals.  The services afforded in public and private hospitals are the same, differing mainly in the facilities.

Cebu has four large private medical institutions.  First of these is the Cebu Doctors’ University Hospital, which is considered as one of the best hospitals in the Philippines and possesses most modern facilities.  It was the first hospital to offer nuclear medicine and first to obtain a 64 slice MSCT in the region.  It is also the teaching hospital for the Cebu Doctors’ University.     Another large private hospital in Cebu is the Chong Hua Hospital, in Fuente Osmeña, which is the only hospital in Cebu to be accredited by the Department of Health’s Bureau of Health Facilities and Services.  It boasts of 660 beds, state-of-the-art facilities, specialized units in critical care, cardiology, endoscopy, hematology-oncology, and neurophysiology, a sleep laboratory, and centers for ophthalmology, litho, and women’s health. Other notable hospitals in Cebu are Perpetual Soccour Hospital and Visayas Community Medical Center.

Commercial Establishments in Cebu

Cebu has many shopping malls, with the Ayala Center Cebu being the most upscale of these malls.  It is owned and developed by the same corporation that had developed the most upscale malls in Manila, such as the Glorietta, Greenbelt, Serendra, and Market Market.  It features specialty stores that carry local and international brands, cinemas, two supermarkets, and dozens of cafes and restaurants.  In 2002, Ayala Center Cebu was declared by the Philippine Retailer’s Association and the Department of Trade and Industry as a finalist for the Best Shopping Center of the Year. Another shopping mall in Cebu is SM City Cebu which is the biggest in the city and located at the North Reclamation Area.  It is a four-level shopping structure with a large department store, a supermarket, cinemas, and over 200 shops and restaurants.  SM City Cebu is part of a mall chain developed by the SM Prime holdings.  Robinsons Place-Cebu is another large shopping mall in Cebu located in Fuente Osmeña.  It is also part of a large shopping mall chain by the JG Summit Holdings.  The Mango Square, Gaisano Country mall, and E-Mall are smaller, older, but just as notable malls.

Restaurants and Nightlife in Cebu

Cebu has restaurants that can cater to any palette. Restaurants that serve International, Continental, Spanish, Indian, and Japanese, Korean, and Thai cuisines are dotted all over the city.  Just like Krua Thai at the SM City-Cebu, Maharaja near Chika-an sa Cebu, Persian Palate at the Ayala Center and Mango Square, Sol y Luna at the Ayala Entertainment Center, Jerez at a secluded shop at the corner of Escario and Gorordo, Araños at the neighborhood of Guadalupe, Cielo at The Forum, La Buona Forchetta da Paolo Ristorante Pizzeria at the Advent Business Center, Mooon Café in a side street in Guadalupe,  and Vienna Kaffeehaus (aka Cafe Wien) found in  many places in the city.  However, many restaurants are also grouped together at the Ayala Center Cebu and at the Asiatown Information Technology Park or the IT Park.

Cebu has a lively nightlife with its numerous nightclubs, bars, discos, and karaoke bars scattered all over the city.  Some famous establishments in the city are AutoShop Bar and Restaurant and P.U.M.P. which are both found at the Mango Square, Club Vudu at Crossroads, Sunflower Disco on Salinas Drive, Cafe Havana at the Ayala Center, Club Temptation near Mango Avenue, Badgers Sports and Dining Pub located at the ground floor of the RCDC Building along Gov. Cuenco Avenue, and Silver Dollar Bar along Jones Avenue near Robinsons Place.  The last two establishments are a favorite watering hole for tourists and expats.

Service Establishments of Cebu

Telecommunication services in Cebu are provided by the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT and Globelines of globe Telecom. PLDT offers fixed line services and internet connection via DSL or broad band.  On the other hand, Globelines offers internet connection via broad band, aside from fixed line services.  PLDT has a branch office on Osmena Blvd (known as the Jones branch).  Globelines has service centers located at the Ayala Center and SM City.  Another internet service provider in Cebu is Mozcom which has its office located at the Metrobank Plaza on Osmena Boulevard One of the companies that provide mobile services in Cebu is SMART Communications, which is a subsidiary of PLDT.  It offers postpaid and prepaid subscriptions, 3G, SMS, MMS, GPRS, Mobile Banking, and broad band connection.  It also offers a lower rate prepaid subscription through its brand Talk N’ Text.   Globe Telecom provides cellular telephony through its mobile brand Globe Handyphone.  It provides the same services as SMART.  Globe’s lower rate prepaid subscription in the other hand is Touch Mobile.

Government Owned Facilities and Service Providers

Electric distribution in Cebu is provided by the Visayan Electric Company, Inc. (VECO).  It has its office located at D. Jakosalem Street in Cebu City. The country’s law enforcement agency, the Philippine National Police, has its Central Visayas regional office located at CAMP SERGIO OSMENA SR on OSMEÑA BOULEVARD in Cebu City.

Embassies in Cebu

Most foreign embassies are located in Makati City in Metro Manila.  However, a number of consulates have their offices in Cebu City, particularly along Gorordo Avenue in Lahug.  Among these are the American Consulate at the PCI Building, Honorary Consuls of Belgium and Slovakia at Insular Life Building, Honorary Consul of Mexico at Wee Building, and the Honorary Consul of Sweden. The other consulates located in the city are the Honorary Consuls of Denmark and Japan at Keppel Building in Cebu Business Park, Honorary Consul of Austria at CRM Building on Escario Street, Honorary Consul of Canada at Andres Abellana Street in Guadalupe, Honorary Consul of Chile at F Cabahug Street in Mabolo, Chinese Consulate at Julio Llorente Street, French Consulate on Juan Luna Avenue in Mabolo, Honorary Consul of Great Britain at Maria Luisa Park in Banilad, Honorary Consul of  Norway at Aboitiz & Co. Building in Banilad, Honorary Consul of Panama at Plaridel Street, Honorary Consul of Spain at Molave Street in Lahug, Swiss Consulate at Diplomat Building in F Ramos Street, South Korean Consulate in the University of Cebu Banilad Campus , Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Turkey at Plaridel Street, and the Honorary Consul of Thailand at Eastern Shipping Lines Building along MJ Cuenco Avenue.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Gee Reyes January 13, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Hello there,
I agree with most of the things mentioned in this post, particularly the one regarding education. In recent years, universities like CIT and UP Cebu have earned recognitions as Centers of Excellence in the field of Information Technology. In fact, UP’s Department of Computer Science has recently launched its own website: showcasing this award.


R. Go August 19, 2010 at 7:11 am

where in cebu or mandaue or lapulapu city can i buy marine radio (icom) equipment? the phone number of only one marine radio store in the telephone directory is no longer in use…I would highly appreciate your urgent help!


Alex September 22, 2011 at 11:57 am

Searching through Google, and I can't find any information about ISP's in Cebu City. Anyone know of some company names for residential internet service providers over there? We're trying to get internet to a family members house…


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