All past bar examinations in the Philippines were held in Manila. Numerous requests were submitted to the Supreme Court since 2002 to allow an additional venue for the bar exam to accommodate bar takers from Vizayas and Mindanao. The Supreme Court stated that Cebu is the new venue for Bar Exams in addition to Manila.
Last February 21, 2020, a survey was conducted by the Philippine Association of Law Schools and 89% of the respondents were in favor of a regional site for the next examinations, preferably in Cebu. To address this concern the Supreme Court passed a Resolution entitled Bar Matter 3490 (Regionalization of the Next Bar Exam) which amended Section 11, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. Bar Matter 3490 gave an option to incoming bar examinees from Visayas and Mindanao to either take the Bar Exam in Cebu or in Manila.
The Bar exams is a licensure examination for law graduates who wish to become lawyers. The exam is held once a year in Manila for four Sundays in a month. Law graduates usually stay in Manila for at least a month to make sure that they are present during all exams. Examinees all over the Philippines are required to pay for their own fare, lodging, food, and other expenses during the examination month. Examinees from Mindanao and Visayas need to pay more for their fare.
Cebu, as an additional bar exam venue, will probably lessen the costs for examinees from Visayas and Mindanao because the venue is closer to their homes.