Cebu extends for a distance of some 250 km from North to South, a long slender island which is less than 40 km wide at its narrowest point. It has a total area of 4865 sq. km. It has a range of hills running along its spine, reaching an altitude of 870 m at the south end, with small areas of plain on either side. Cebu City, the capital, occupies the most favoured site on the island, on the east coast facing the little island of Mactan.
The climate is moderate, little influenced by the typhoons which pass farther to the northeast; and Cebu is also sheltered from the southwest monsoon by the neighbouring island of Negros. It thus escapes the tyrannical rainy season; its wettest months are June and July, its hottest ones April and June. The mean annual temperature is 27°C, but the thermometer rarely falls below 17 or rises above 34.
Cebu is the leading producer of maize in the Philippines. Large quantities of vegetables and fruit (bananas, mangoes) are produced, supplying the markets of Manila; the mangoes of Guadalupe district of Cebu City, are reputed to be the sweetest in Asia. Vines have recently been introduced round Cebu City; and there is a considerable export trade in flowers, particularly roses. Other important crops are copra and sugarcane.
The island’s mineral resources consist of coal, copper in the central area, a little iron and limestone, which supplies cement works. Fishing is an important activity on the coast.