The Philippines is an archipelago of over 7,000 islands, and Cebu is its own cluster of islands and islets. The city and its island province are a tourist hotspot with a winning combination of beautiful countryside scenery with urban attractions, for instance, cultural and historical sites. The place is also famous for its beaches with fine white sand and clear, blue waters. So, whether you are planning a trip or are just curious to know more, here are some of the most interesting facts about Cebu City.
7 Interesting Facts about Cebu City
1. Cebu City comprises more than 150 islands
Cebu City, officially known as the City of Cebu, is located in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines. It is the capital of the Cebu Province. Cebu City comprises Cebu Island and more than 150 smaller surrounding islands and islets. With a population of 964,169 (as of 2020) people, it is the sixth-most populated city in the Philippines and the most populous in the Visayas region.
2. Cebu City was the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines
On the 4th of June 1565, Rajah Tupas, the last Rajah of Cebu, signed the Treaty of Cebu with Spanish navigator Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. This was after the colonisers attacked and destroyed the village of Rajah Tupas, where they founded the first Spanish settlements. Tupas and Legazpi signed the ‘Treaty of Cebu’; thus, Cebu became the first and oldest Spanish settlement in the Philippines.
3. Cebu City is home to the oldest street in the Philippines
The National Historical Institute declared Colon Street in Cebu City a historical landmark and recognised it as the oldest street in the Philippines. The government built an obelisk at the end of Colon Street to mark the landmark. Inscribed on the obelisk is: “Colon St., also known as Parian, is the oldest street in the Philippines. The Spaniards arrived in Cebu in 1565 and made the very popular Cebu street. Moreover, the said fleet was a flotilla of the vessels San Pedro, San Pablo, and San Juan under the command of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi.” The street takes its name from Italian explorer Christopher Columbus whose Spanish name is Cristóbal Colón.
4. Cebu City is the birthplace of Christianity in the Far East
Christianity in the form of Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion in Cebu for about 80 per cent of the population. In fact, Cebu City is considered the birthplace of Christianity in the Far East. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cebu is the Mother Church of the Philippines, and the jurisdiction of Cebu is considered the fount of Christianity in the Far East. It is currently the largest archdiocese in the Philippines and in Asia, having the most Catholics, seminarians and priests.
5. The oldest fort in the Philippines is in Cebu City
Fuerte de San Pedro is a military defence structure in Cebu City. The Spanish constructed the fort under the command of Miguel López de Legazpi, the first governor of the Captaincy General of the Philippines. You’ll find it in Plaza Independencia, in the pier area of the city. Its architectural style is that of the Italian-Spanish school of fortification. The date of construction of the original wooden fort is uncertain, but today’s structure dates from 1738, making it the oldest triangular bastion fort in the Philippines.
6. The oldest surviving Catholic relic in the country is in Cebu City
The Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu Church and the image of the Sto. Niño is one of the country’s national cultural treasures. The image of the Sto. Niño is the oldest surviving Catholic religious relic in the country. The Holy image was a gift of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 to Hara Humamay. The church is more commonly known as Santo Niño Basilica.
7. Cebu Island is one of the best islands in the world
Cebu Island is one of the best islands in the world. But it’s not just us who thinks so. Condé Nast Traveler’s also voted it one of the World’s Best Islands in 2016, 2017 and 2019. Tourism is one of the city’s most important industries; due to its wonderful reputation, it is one of the most visited in islands in the Philippines by both domestic and foreign visitors.