Cebu City—When Cebu City earned the moniker “Ceboom” in the 1990s because of its economic and tourism boom, progress began spreading in the neighboring towns giving birth to new urban centers. Ceboom did not only refer to the Queen City of the South, but to the whole province of Cebu.

Among the towns to ride the unprecedented wave of development are Bogo, Naga and Carcar which were declared cities in 2007, and whose cityhood status were affirmed by the Supreme Court last year.

Bogo: The Place to Go

Located in the province’s northern portion is Bogo, the hub for trade and commerce, agri-business, education, fishery and aquaculture, and transportation of 10 towns in Cebu’s fourth congressional district.

The growing trade and industry led to Bogo’s expansion, says Mayor Celestino Martinez Jr.. The public market was moved to a bigger area, portions of the shoreline had to be reclaimed, and a new business center had to be created.

New Bogo City Hall under construction

Sports complex turned supermarket

Just like the proverbial northern star, this new city has been a beacon of progress to its neighboring towns.

Due to its ideal location, Bogo has been chosen to be Cebu’s northern gateway through the Polambato Roll-on-Roll-off Port, which is undergoing a long-range expansion program to make it capable of accommodating more and bigger ships to declog the ports in Cebu City.

The port connects to the provinces of Leyte and Masbate, and all the way to Manila through the Strong Republic Nautical Highway.

Polambato Wharf in Bogo

The city boasts of the biggest livestock market in the province, thanks to the city’s ports.

Adjacent to the Polambato port is a 40-hectare land envisioned to form part of the planned Special Economic Zone for light and medium industries.

Due to its rapid urbanization, Bogo has put up a new sprawling city center in Bgy. Cayang along the provincial highway to house the new government and business district. Seeing the potential of the new CBD, retail giant Robinson’s Mall has reportedly acquired 10 hectares which will be northern Cebu’s commercial recreational

Tourism-wise, the city is getting known for its inland resorts, religious sites and the rock-of-ages islet of Capitancillo, formerly a lighthouse, which is now a protected marine sanctuary.

It is also a vital transit point to the resort islands of Bantayan and Malapascua, as well as Kalanggaman in Palompon, Leyte which are all noted for their fine sand beaches and dive sites.

Moreover, Bogo is being eyed as a retirement haven because of its hidden coves and natural ambiance.

Naga: Industrial Hub south of Cebu

Situated 21 kilometers from Cebu City is the City of Naga, dubbed as the “Industrial Hub south of Cebu” because of the presence of vital industries.

Even before its elevation into a city, Naga has been an industrial town with the 147-MW Salcon Power Corp. coal-fired plant and Apo Cement Corp., which produces 4,000 metric tons of cement daily. The latter also has the distinction of being the country’s biggest factory and supplied cement to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Bolstering Naga’s industrial status was the opening last year of the KEPCO Philippines Corp. (KEPHILCO) 290-MW Circulating Fluidized Bed Combustion (CFBC) thermal plant.

A government-to-government economic cooperation between Korea and the Philippines, the project is under a new scheme of a merchant power plant, characterized by power sales contracts (PSC) with distribution utilities and electric cooperatives.

The city’s other major industries include Kyocera Crystal Device, Kinseki Philippines Inc., Rikio Southeast Asia, Pryce Gases, FSP Oxy & Acet Inc. and MRC Allied Industries. This is supported by livestock and poultry farms and agro-industries such as Bounty Agro Ventures, Daily Fresh Foods, and Cebu Sherilin Agro-Industrial Corp.

Naga City Baywalk with the Kepco thermal plant in the background

According to Mayor Valdemar Chiong, the city’s exponential growth has improved the delivery of basic social services such as health care, education, public safety and sanitation under his Vision and Leadership 20/20.

Naga’s income has surpassed the P 100 million annual income mark, making it par with some of the country’s medium-sizes cities.

The city now boasts of a modern city hall complex, a new sports coliseum, a picturesque Baywalk Park, and a material recovery facility which recycles the solid wastes of Naga and neighboring towns.

Naga City Hall

Naga City Sports Complex

Moreover, it also has the bragging right of having a sports complex being bought by a local retail giant to be converted into a supermarket, perhaps the only one of its kind in the country.

Carcar: Heritage City of Cebu

Carcar is an eclectic city which combines old world charm and the potentials of a new and emerging urban center.

Acknowledged as the Heritage City of Cebu, Carcar is famed for its picture perfect structures which have withstood the ravages of time. There is the Greek-Orthodox style inspired Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria, its rows of colonial Spanish and American period houses; the art deco Carcar City Museum, the city plaza, and the Carcar rotunda.

Carcar Museum

Carcar City College

As beautiful as these heritage sites are, the city refuses to be stuck in the past with its strides to modernity, with its light steel industries, agribusiness ventures, commercial and retail establishments of known brands such as Jollibee, Mercury Drug, Gaisano, LBC and M Lhuillier.

Its local economy is propelled by its noted shoe making industry, wood craft, and as we;; as native delicacies like their famous chicharon (pork crackling), ampao (sweetened rice crispies) and bucarillo (colored coconut strips) which have found their way into the international market.

Mayor Nicepuro Apura said that Carcar city hopes to cash in on the influx of tourists brought about by its proclamation as a Heritage City and its award-winning Kabkad Festival which won honors in the province-wide Pasigarbo Festival.

Because of its location as a convergence point in southern Cebu, Carcar is constructing a diversion road which will bypass the busy city center. Apura added that once completed, the road project will further spur economic activities in the barangays outside the poblacion.