This large and active town, the second largest in the Philippines after Manila, has been called the “Queen of the South” and the “Capital of the South”. Much of the town’s business is in the hands of families of Chinese origin who live in sumptuous residences on the hills above the town. The historic centre of the town contains a number of interesting buildings surrounded by modern streets. Recently 160 hectares of land have been reclaimed from the sea to the North of the harbour, and it is planned to carry out a similar operation on the South side.
Traffic in the town and in the wider built-up area (called Metro Cebu, on the model of Metro Manila) is extremely dense. The ancient horse-drawn tartanillas still survive in the centre of the town for the benefit of tourists, but elsewhere taxis and jeepneys dominate the streets, building up into an awe-inspiring maelstrom of traffic at rush hours.