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Cebu City, the original and only true Queen City of the South

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B Jimenez (The Freeman) - February 24, 2020 - 12:00am

Today, the queen is celebrating its 83rd anniversary as a chartered city, thanks to the great Don Vicente Rama who authored Commonwealth Act 58 (House Bill 1428), signed into law on February 24, 1937, nine years ahead of Philippine Independence Day on July 4, 1946.

There was a time that Iloilo City claimed the title of Queen City of the South, but that was a passing historical fancy and error (with apologies to our Ilonggo friends, like Senator Franklin Drilon, the late Miriam Defensor Santiago, Rep. Arthur Defensor Sr., and his son, incumbent Governor Arthur Jr.). Maybe it was because some Cebu City mayors in the past didn’t take care of the queen so well at those times when crime rates were high, garbage and canals stank and traffic was horrendous, when vendors were berated and driven away with arrogance. But today, Cebu City is in the good hands of Mayor Edgar Labella and Vice Mayor Mike Rama. Cebu City now is really the queen again. No ifs, no buts, and without any objections.

In terms of economic development and financial strength, there is no other city south of Manila that can compare to Cebu City. Cebu is ranked in total assets in the whole country, with P33.861 billion surpassed only by Makati (P196.573B), Quezon City (P68.332B), and Manila (P38.676B). In education, there is no other city the whole Philippines, including Manila that has ten big universities and hundreds of colleges and institutes. Cebu has more universities than Makati, Quezon City, and even Manila itself. In culture and history, Manila was discovered by Legaspi in 1565. Cebu was visited by Magellan in 1521. The first Christian cross is in Cebu City and the first Catholic baptism was done here in our city.

With all due respect to the Dinagyang and the Ati-atihan, even if they were established first, they can never compare to Sinulog in volume of attendance, participation, popularity, and prestige. Iloilo City has not produced a president of the republic. Don Sergio Osmeña Sr. was president next to Don Manuel Quezon. Don Manuel Roxas was not from Iloilo but from Capiz. Today, Cebu City is the center of business, trade, industries, education, even medical and health maintenance organizations and hospitals. There are flights direct to Cebu from a number of foreign cities in the US, China, Japan, Australia, and Europe.

Cebu City is a sister city of Honolulu, Salinas City, Chula City in California, Seattle in Washington, Xiamen and Chengdu in China, Yokohama in Japan, both St. Petersburg and Vladimir in Russia, Kaoshiung in Taiwan, Yeushu in South Korea. Also of Paramatta, Australia; Guadalajara, Mexico; Sabrosa, Portugal; and even Haarlemmermeer in Netherlands. Cebu City is the biggest hub for BPO and call centers outside Manila, an industry generating an annual output of no less than $15 billion, and employing no less than 300,000 personnel. It is also the locations of about 200 high-class hotels and resorts, catering to thousands of foreign tourists coming in droves every day, even under threats of coronavirus and terrorism.

Cebu City, with due respect, is more pleasant than Manila. The Cebuanos are a happy, polite, and hospitable people. Food is excellent, clean and affordable, hotels are world-class, music and arts are the best, and the ambiance is simply fantastic. A tourist who has not visited Cebu is missing too much of life.

josephusbjimenez@gmail.com

DON VICENTE RAMA
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