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There’s little evidence of stagnation in the bustling city of Mandaue. Its location is strategic as it connects two other key cities, Cebu and Lapu-Lapu – the three highly urbanized centers make up the core of Metropolitan Cebu.

Mandaue City marker

Linked to Mactan Island and Cebu’s international airport by two modern bridges, Mandaue also sits close to the Cebu International Port, among the country’s busiest. Since Mandaue became a chartered city in 1969, the city government has nurtured the spirit of entrepreneurship, putting forth sound local fiscal policies and attractive tax incentives which make it a preferred investment destination. This business-friendly environment has enticed not only the homegrown brands but also major industrial and commercial companies to operate in the city as well. Large manufacturing plants such as the San Miguel Corporation Brewery have long found a home here, as have the majority of the furniture makers and exporters.

Sotero Cabahug statue

Cebu has been the envy of many provinces across the country for its vibrant economy which has grown at an average of 9% over the past 5 years, faster than the entire country’s. Mandaue City has contributed hugely to Cebu’s being a top performer. These days, real estate developers are busy breaking ground in a scramble to meet the rising demand for residential and commercial spaces in Cebu’s second biggest city. Over 180 hectares of land has been reclaimed, the North Reclamation Area, in the city’s southernmost area that faces the Mactan Channel. Mandani Bay, a master-planned waterfront project along the famed channel, is a 20-hectare mixed-use development that promises to transform Mandaue into a premier lifestyle destination. Mandaue is also poised to be the next hotspot for BPO (business process outsourcing) firms. When Magellan sailed into Cebu in 1521, he sighted a beautiful cove there. Almost five decades later, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi built the country’s first dry docking facility to service galleon ships on that very cove – that place today is Tipolo, Mandaue. The facility can be seen as a precursor to Mandaue’s emergence as a manufacturing hub.

Bantayan sa Hari

An acknowledged industrial powerhouse known largely for its investor welcoming culture, accessibility to both air and sea ports, and an economy that is constantly throbbing, Mandaue also has a softer and more festive side. The energetic business center winds down for its biggest citywide party on May 8th – the Mandaue Fiesta – when most homes are open for a time of great feasting. The city also celebrates the Panagtagbo Festival, a salute to the history, culture and positive values of the Mandauehanons. 

Mercado sa Mandaue

Visitors shouldn’t miss the National Shrine of St. Joseph where a main attraction are the life-size statues of the Last Supper of Christ with the 12 apostles, carved during the Spanish times. Stalls across the street sell the city’s delicacies such as the sweet treat of finely-ground peanuts called masareal and the Mandaue specialty rice cake, bibingkaBantayan sa Hari (watchtower of the king), like other Spanish-era watchtowers, was built on the coast to alert the townspeople of impending attacks by marauding Moro pirates. Located below the Mandaue-Mactan Bridge, the cylindrical tower still stands today. However, expert advice on heritage conservation was painfully absent when extreme but well-intentioned measures were undertaken in the past to safeguard the endangered structure. The City of Mandaue bears this significant landmark on its official seal as a symbol of its heritage and its vital role in the city’s history.

Check out the other things you can do or visit in Mandaue City:

CITY MARKER. The Mandaue City marker welcomes visitors to the plaza of the progressive industrial city.

SOTERO CABAHUG STATUE. A statue of Sotero Cabahug, considered Mandaue’s greatest son, stands prominently near the Mandaue Presidencia. Cabahug was governor of Cebu from 1934-1937, and later served as Secretary of Public Works and Communications, Secretary of National Defense and Associate Justice of Court of Appeals.

BANTAYAN SA HARI. Bantayan sa Hari is a Spanish-period look-out tower that was used to warn the villagers of incoming pirates. The historic structure is located under the Mandaue-Mactan Bridge in Barangay Looc.

TRANSLACION. Translacion is a religious procession held a day before the Sinulog fluvial parade where the images of Sto. Niño and Our Lady of Guadalupe are transferred to the National Shrine of St. Joseph for a symbolic gathering of the Holy Family: a tableau with life-size statues depicting the Last Supper continues to be a church attraction.

MANDAUE MARKET. The market in Mandaue, or its mercado, has roadside stalls that sell the city’s popular delicacies which include tagaktak, a crunchy and crumbly rice fritter, Mandaue bibingka, a native glutinous rice cake baked in banana leaves, and masareal, a sweet treat made of finely ground peanuts.

INDUSTRIAL HUB. Large manufacturing plants such as the San Miguel Brewery have made a home in Mandaue City for decades; World-class furniture is manufactured in Mandaue and exported globally

URBAN RESORT. The Mandani Bay Show Gallery presents the premier mixed-use 20-hectare development that will rise along Mactan Channel. The master-planned waterfront project, the first of its kind in Cebu, will transform Mandaue’s skyline as it opens in phases in the next 15 years.

The author: Megan Ouano

Megan enjoys reading fiction novels, playing with her dogs, and browsing through the latest fashion trends. These days, you can find her tinkering on a digital camera that she is still (hopelessly) trying to figure out.
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