Cebu City is located on the central eastern part of Cebu Province, an island at the center of the Visayas in Southern Philippines. As defined by the Bureau of Land Location Monument (BLLM) No. 1, Cebu Cadastral Survey, it is 10 degrees 17 minutes North Latitude and 123 degrees 54 minutes East Longitude. It is bounded by Mandaue City in the North and the City of Talisay in the South. On the East is Mactan Channel and on its West are the Municipality of Balamban and the City of Toledo.

TOPOGRAPHY and slope

The topography of Cebu City is rugged and mountainous with elevation reaching up to 900 meters above mean sea level. Flat lands are found only along the shorelines that extend a few kilometers inland. Cebu City’s flat land occupies about 23 square kilometers, representing eight (8%) percent of its total land area but it contains over 40 barangays and about two thirds of its population. (see Topographic Map)

Any land surface with steeply inclined slopes under climatic condition where rainfall exceeds the water absorption capacity of the soil would suffer from soil erosion. This applies to Cebu City, a larger part of which is subjected to severe erosion. This includes the critical watershed areas that are mostly above 50 percent in slope. (see Slope Map)


The increasing urbanization of the city now leads to the increasing use of its land for housing, commercial, industrial, institutional and other related activities. Farmlands remained only in the upland or hilly land areas of Cebu City. Presently the city’s upland areas and watersheds are mostly covered with grass and shrubs with patches of corn, coconuts, bananas, cassava and vegetables. Fruit trees are also planted, notably the exotic mango, which is an export product of Cebu. Very little (9.6%) of the natural forest are left in the upland areas of the city. Even the city’s watersheds are lacking in trees that are necessary for their protection. (see Existing Land Use Map and Land Forms Map)


Cebu City is made up of structurally complex sedimentary and volcanic rocks that have undergone various degrees of metamorphism. There are seven rock formations or geological units in the city. Sedimentary rocks constitute 60 percent of the city that include the Cebu Coal Measure, Malubog Formation, Barili Limestone, Carcar Limestone and the Recent Alluvium. (see Geologic Map)


The lowlands are generally located within elevations below 100 meters while upland areas are in elevation between 100 and 900 meters above sea level. (see Elevation Map)


In the Philippines only lands with 18 % slope or less are generally declared as alienable and disposable, where human settlements and cultivation of land are  allowed. Higher sloping lands are to remain as forest or other special uses. But while only 28 % of Cebu City is within the 18 % slope or less range, about 64 % of the city’s lands are classified by the national government as alienable and disposable (see Land Classification Map). The rest are classified as forest or timberland. Lands classified as timberland include areas that are within the critical watersheds and other protected areas of the city.

Cebu City has 76.3 % of its land covered under the NIPAS or Nationally Integrated Protected Areas System. These include the Mananga, Kotkot and Lusaran  watersheds, the Central Cebu National Park, Sudlon National Park and Cebu Watershed Reservation (Buhisan). The four watersheds are considered important source of water for Cebu City and the rest of Metro Cebu. Twenty-three of the city’s 80 barangays are totally or partially located in the four watershed areas, now declared as Central Cebu Protected Landscape (CCPL). (see Protected Area Management Zone Map)

(Text from the Cebu City, Philippines Profile published by the City Planning and Development Office © 2007. All maps provided by the Cebu City Government GIS Center © 2010.)