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Cebu Island, Cebu Province, and Cebu City

Did you know that Cebu City is not part of Cebu Province and the Lapu-lapu City is not part of Cebu Province or Cebu City but is part of Cebu? Confused already? Read on.

For a good number of people, Cebu is basically Cebu City. Especially for those who have not really read into what Cebu has to offer, the common assumption is CEBU is Cebu City or even their neighboring cities. Well, I think it’s time to clarify exactly the division of Cebu in geographical partitions: The North, South and the Metro

First off, it would be best to identify Cebu as a group of islands in Central Visayas, the biggest being the main island and 167 other islands surrounding it. So to clarify, so long as you are in CEBU islands, yes you’re in Cebu. But what about Cebu City? Well Cebu City is a city on its own and does not include the other cities like Mandaue, Talisay, and Balamban. We’ll get to those divisions further later. First thing you need to know, in government classification, there are 3 major divisions you need to know:

1. Cebu City
2. Lapu-lapu City
3. Cebu Provincial Government

What!? Cebu City and Lapu-lapu city are not part of the Cebu Province?!

Actually yes, they are lone districts and therefore are separate from the Cebu Provincial Government’s jurisdiction. So is Mactan part of Cebu Province or not?

The island of Mactan is composed of Lapu-lapu city and Cordova which is not a city, but a 3rd-class municipality just beside Lapu-lapu city therefore their area is under the Cebu Provincial Government’s division. However for the rest of Mactan which is covered by Lapu-lapu City, this is a lone district and therefore is not part of the Cebu Provincial Government’s coverage. However it was once called Opon and was part of the Cebu Province before it became a lone district on its own.

The South of CEBU

We start with the enumeration of cities and municipalities in this part of Cebu because they compose the First to Third district of the Cebu Province. FIRST DISTRICT:
1. Talisay City
2. Minglanilla
3. Naga City
4. San Fernando
5. Carcar City
6. Sibonga

Fun facts:
• Talisay City celebrates Lechon festival every year and is the only city in Cebu to do so despite Cebu being collectively known for Lechon (roasted pig)
• Carcar City is known for their very affordable by the kilo portions of Lechon in their public market, it is also the city bifurcating the Southeast and Southwest of Cebu
• Naga City is the industrial capital of Cebu
• Sibonga is more popularly known for the religious groups because of the Shrine of the Lady of Simala which only seem to grow every year and is a sight to behold!

SECOND DISTRICT

7. Argao
8. Dalaguete
9. Alcoy
10. Boljoon
11. Oslob
12. Santander
13. Samboan

Fun facts:
• Argao is known for their tablea chocolate. The next time you are there try to ask around for their traditional bitter chocolate which goes really well with “budbud” or “bibingka”. They also claim the title for the best Torta in Cebu which is why they celebrate the La Torta festival.
• Alcoy has some very beautiful beach fronts just beside the highway!
• Boljoon is known for being a very picturesque municipality that shows their beautiful church and their park that faces the sea. If you swim in their waters, there is a chance the whalesharks may also be passing close by the shore because of their unique structure of their seabed
• Oslob became very popular due to the controversial Whaleshark feeding that happens in the town’s waters.
• Santander is the southernmost point of Cebu’s main island.
• Samboan is known for many waterfalls and hiking trails that only a few tourists have actually tried exploring, this can be an alternative if one wishes to deviate from the usual Kawasan Falls canyoneering.
• The highest peak in Cebu can be found in Dalaguete- Osmeña Peak

THIRD DISTRICT

14. Tuburan (may be considered already part of Northern Cebu)
15. Asturias (may be considered already part of Northern Cebu)
16. Balamban (may be considered as the central part of Cebu)
17. Toledo City
18. Pinamungahan
19. Aloguinsan
20. Barili

Fun facts:
• Asturias is home to several fresh water springs. Some of these springs even spring forth from the Sea itself!
• Balamban is known as bifurcating point for North and South of Cebu. Popular in this town is their Balamban Liempo.
• Toledo City is popular known as a port City where many big shipping boats dock.
• Aloguinsan is known for their river tour at Bojo river which showcases wildlife and biodiversity.
• “Bato Barili” is what you will hear in the south bus terminal, this is the route you will take if you wish to get to Moalboal or Badian.

SEVENTH DISTRICT

21. Dumanjug
22. Ronda
23. Alcantara
24. Moalboal
25. Badian
26. Alegria
27. Malabuyoc
28. Ginatilan

Fun facts:
• Dumanjug claims to have the original and most delicious recipe for the Bisayang Manok or Bisnok. This is why they celebrate the Bisnok festival.
• Moalboal is one of Cebu Province’s most popular destinations because of their beautiful white sand beaches in Basdako and their coral reefs and sardine shoal in Panagsama. Moalboal is the most popular dive destination in the South of Cebu
• Badian recently gained popularity in Social media because of the Kawasan falls named as one of the most beautiful falls in the world. This is also the end-zone for the Southern Canyoneering adventure that starts in Alegria.
• Alegria is the starting point for the river-trek/canyoneering adventure that became very popular around 2014-2016
• Malabuyoc has much to offer in terms of mountainous sceneries and long hikes through nature. Though very far from the metro, it is worth a visit if you need an escape from the urban environment.

The North of CEBU

The north of Cebu is accessible via the North Bus terminal located in the city of Mandaue. This is actually just 30 minutes (if traffic isn’t heavy) from the airport.

FOURTH DISTRICT

29. Tabuelan
30. San Remigio
31. Sta. Fe
32. Bantayan
33. Madridejos
34. Daanbantayan
35. Medellin
36. Bogo City
37. Tabogon

Fun facts:
• San Remigio is known for having the longest shoreline stretch in Cebu
• Sta. Fe is the port of entry for visitors of Bantayan: the egg basket of Cebu
• Madridejos is where you can catch a sunset when you are in Bantayan island, it is also home to some ruins from the Spanish colonisation
• Daanbantayan, from the name, was the former “Bantayan” which means the watch-out area of Cebu
• Medellin prides itself of the sugar plantations stretching all over the town
• Bogo City holds the title for cleanest city of Cebu Province

FIFTH DISTRICT

38. Pilar
39. Poro
40. Tudela
41. Borbon
42. Sogod
43. Catmon
44. Carmen
45. Danao City
46. Compostela
47. Liloan

Fun Facts:
• Sogod literally means “start” or “beginning”
• Borbon sells pickled snails as a delicacy.
• Liloan is famous for their Rosquillos, a biscuit snack distinctively seen with a whole in the middle and which makes for a fun snack to eat when you wear it on your fingers like rings.
• Camotes Island is composed of three municipalities: Pilar, Poro, and Tudela.
• Compostela has become a choice destination for religious pilgrims because of Q park which is said to be one of the appearance sites of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Philippines.
• Compostela is also known for being the major producer of white Carabao cheese or “Queseo”.

SIXTH DISTRICT

48. Consolacion
49. Mandaue City
50. Cordova

Fun Facts:
• Mandaue City is the only way in through Cebu City coming from the airport.
• Mandaue City was also known as the furniture Capital of the Philippines back when Cebu was one of the top exporters of furniture.
• Consolacion was once a part of Mandaue and when they got their own township identity, they derived the name “Consolacion” from the daughter of the Spanish governor who declared their independent municipality status.
• Two of the most popular islands in Mactan Island Hopping activities is found in the municpality of Cordova: Gilutongan and Nalusuan island.

With 6 cities and 44 municipalities, there’s really more to Cebu than just Cebu City. For those who say they’ve been to Cebu, you’ll be surprised just a few hours away from the Metro there are more opportunities to experience new things. Most important would be to know which areas are North and South so that the next time you try to cover as many activities in the island of CEBU you’ll have an idea just how far off these places are from each other.

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