Cebu Islands Philippines

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Cebu : Past and Present

As early as the 13th century, Sugbo, how the island of Cebu was called, was already an important crossroad of pre-colonial Southeast Asian trade.

Lapu-Lapu Shrine Cebu Islands PhilippinesIn 1521, Ferdinand Magellan made it a base for the exploration and conquest of the islands. However, his efforts were thwarted when he was  killed in a battle on the nearby island of Mactan by its chieftain, Lapu-Lapu, who became the first Philippine hero to repulse foreign domination.

The second wave of Spanish conquistadores led by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi founded their first settlement, Villa San Miguel, on Cebu in 1565. Later, the name was changed to Villa de Santissimo Nombre de Jesus, after an image of the Santo Nino or Boy Jesus found among the ruins of a vanquished native village.

In 1860, the demand for sugar cane, tobacco and hemp paved the way for the opening up of the countryside. And with Cebu's central location in the south, goods entered and exited through its ports. By the mid-19th century, Cebu had caught up with the outside world. Cities thrived with newly-established industries, and suburbs flourished. With the American rule came improved infrastructure, more modern ports and facilities.

Today, Metropolitan Cebu is a 33,000-hectare complex of three cities and six municipalities. Its population of more than a million is a cosmopolitan mix of Filipinos with Chinese, American and European influences. The prevailing dialect is Cebuano or Bisaya, the vernacular, but English and Tagalog are widely spoken.

As in the past, the island province preserves with pride its role as the crossroads of international trade. The recently-expanded and modernized Mactan International Airport services flights from all over the world. Ocean-going vessels dock at the similarly modernized ports.

Accommodations within the city range from the luxury of first-class hotels to comfortable pensions and lodging houses at affordable rates. Resorts provide out-of-town accommodations with adequate facilities for a variety of land and water sports.


Philippines Cuisine Characteristics

The traditional way of eating is with the hands, especially dry dishes such as inihaw or prito. The diner will take a bite of the main dish, then eat rice pressed together with his fingers.

This practice, known as kamayan, is rarely seen in urbanized areas. However, Filipinos tend to feel the spirit of kamayan when eating amidst nature during out of town trips, beach vacations, and town fiestas.

More details at Philippines Cuisine Characteristics

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