Cebu is an island province in the Philippines, consisting of the main island itself and 167 surrounding islands and islets. Its capital is Cebu City, the oldest city in the Philippines, which forms part of the Cebu Metropolitan Area together with four neighboring cities (which comprise Danao City, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City andTalisay City) and eight other local government units. Mactan-Cebu International Airport, located in Mactan Island, is the second busiest airport in the Philippines.
Cebu is one of the most developed provinces in the Philippines, with Cebu City as the main center of commerce, trade, education and industry in the Visayas. Condé Nast Traveler Magazine named Cebu the 7th best island destination in the Indian Ocean-Asia region in 2007, 8th best Asian-Pacific island destination in 2005, 7th in 2004 and in 2009, with popular tourist destinations such as Mactan Island and Moalboal. In a decade it has transformed into a global hub for furniture making, tourism, business processing services, and heavy industry.
Cebu is the capital of the Catholic faith by virtue of being the first Christian city, the first capital of the Spanish East Indies, and the birthplace of Christianity and the Philippine Church. Pope John Paul II, in his Homily for Families in Cebu (February 19, 1981), called the island as the birthplace of Christianity in the Philippines
The image of Santo Niño de Cebú (Holy Child of Cebu), the oldest Christian image in the Philippines, is enshrined and venerated at the Basilica of Santo Niño. According to Philippine historical documents, the statue of the Santo Niño (Holy Child) was given to the wife of the Rajah of Cebu by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. The friendship is depicted in Cebu's cultural event, the Sinulog where street parades and loud drum beats preceded by a Christian Mass is celebrated every third Sunday of January. Cebu has a Roman Catholic Archdiocese and has several major churches, including the Basilica Minor del Santo Niño de Cebu, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Santo Rosario Parish Church, San José-Recoletos Church, Sacred Heart Church, Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, National Shrine of Our Lady of the Rule, National Shrine of Saint Joseph, Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe of Cebu and other Christian churches, as well as several other non-Catholic churches, mosques and temples.
The Philippine elementary school begins from Grade 1 to Grade 6. The high school program takes six years to finish, taken after graduating from elementary school. Cebu is the main educational institute in the central region of the country. It has several large universities each with a number of college branches throughout Cebu City and more than a dozen other schools and universities specializing in various courses such as Medicine, Engineering, Nautical courses, Nursing, Law, Commerce, Education, Computer and IT and other professions.
The most prominent of these universities are the University of San Carlos, University of the Philippines Cebu, University of San Jose–Recoletos, Cebu Normal University, University of Cebu, University of Southern Philippines Foundation,Southwestern University, and the University of the Visayas. The Cebu Doctors' University (formerly Cebu Doctors' College) located in the Cebu Boardwalk in nearby Mandaue City. It was elevated to university status in November 2004. Another medical school is the Velez College in affiliation with Cebu Institute of Medicine. The Cebu Institute of Technology – University (formerly Cebu Institute of Technology) located in N. Bacalso Ave. and the Cebu Technological University(formerly Cebu State College of Science and Technology) which is located in M.J. Cuenco Avenue cor. R. Palma Street, Cebu City are the newest universities. CIT-U and CTU were elevated to university status in the year 2010. The Cebu's first film school, The International Academy of Film and Television was established on Mactan Island in 2004. The Asian College of Technology, is also located in Metro Cebu.