Mactan. Island in Cebu, Philippines

Mactan

Island in Cebu, Philippines

Mövenpick Hotel Mactan Photo © Leslie

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Mactan

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Coral Reef,
	Cebu, Philippines - Mactan
Coral Reef, Cebu, Philippines - Mactan. Photo by Patrick Tumalad
The island of Mactan is the Philippines most densely populated island and is located just a few kilometers from Cebu City, across the Mactan Channel (Wikipedia
	Article). The island is connected to Cebu by two bridges, namely the Mactan-Mandaue Bridge and the Marcelo Fernan Bridge. Mactan Island is popular for being a major tourist destination in the Philippines due to its great diving spots, beautiful white sand beaches, and a diverse collection of corals and aquatic wildlife.
Mactan Island is also the primary gateway to Cebu City. All flights going in and out of Cebu City are catered at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, which is situated on the island.

History

The capital city of Mactan Island was named after Datu Lapu-Lapu (Wikipedia Article). He is often regarded as the hero of Mactan and the vanquisher of Magellan.
Before the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in Cebu, the island of Mactan was already thriving under the leadership of the Datus (tribal leaders). Magellan met his demise at the hands of Datu Lapu-Lapu in 1521 during the “Battle of Mactan”. According to the history books, the feud between Magellan and Lapu-Lapu started when the tribal leaders of Mactan refused to acknowledge the sovereignty of the King of Spain over the islands of Cebu.

Mactan_Sunrise - Mactan
Mactan_Sunrise. Photo by Muddycrab

Landmarks and Attractions



Lapu-Lapu Shrine

Also known as ‘Liberty Shrine’, this monument was built to honor the heroism and bravery of Datu Lapu-Lapu. The popular Mactan landmark is just a stone's throw away from Magellan’s shrine, and there is no entrance fee when visiting.

Magellan’s Marker

It was built in 1866 as a shrine that indicates the location of the “Battle of Mactan”. Souvenirs can be purchased from vendors and shops around the park, there is also no entrance fee when visiting the premises.

Mactan Island Aquarium

It is the only public aquarium and the first of its kind in the Visayas region. It is located in Maribago, and houses over 30 exhibits of Cebu’s diverse aquatic life.
Aside from its historical landmarks, most of the attention the island is receiving comes from the several white sand beaches and luxurious hotel resorts it offers.

Shopping

Shangrila Resort Ocean Gazebo - Mactan
Shangrila Resort Ocean Gazebo - Mactan. Photo by Chad M
Since Mactan Island is just a few minutes away from Cebu City, most of the major shopping opportunities are available by visiting the city. However, some budget shopping malls can also be found in the island but not as popular or as big as the ones in downtown. These shopping centers are the Gaisano Mall and the Mactan Marina Mall.

Tourists can find local handmade acoustic guitars by visiting the Buaya Road in Mactan. Aside from guitars; banjos and ukuleles are also widely available in this area.

Dining

The island of Mactan offers a wide variety of dining options including Mediterranean flavors and local seafood cuisines. Tourists can also find several Japanese and Korean restaurants around the island. Here is a list of several top-rated restaurants in the area:
  • Lantaw Floating Native Restaurant – The most recommended restaurant in the island of Mactan and a must-try dining experience for every tourist. Not only do they serve fresh seafood and authentic Filipino dishes, the view of the city from their outdoor dining area is spectacular and breath-taking.
  • Nonki – An authentic Japanese restaurants where diners eat on low tables while sitting down on tatami mats. The sushi and sashimi selections are very fresh and tasty.
  • Abaca – Situated just a few blocks from the Shangri-La Mactan, Abaca attracts its very own crowd by serving delicious Mediterranean cuisines, imported meat, gourmet cheeses, and fresh seafood.

Hotels and Resorts

Mactan Island has over a hundred accommodation options including luxury resort hotels, bed and breakfasts, pension houses, and surprisingly well-kept inns. The top luxurious places to stay in the island are: Crimson Beach Resort, JPark Island Resort and Waterpark (formerly Imperial Palace), Plantation Bay Resort & Spa, and the 5-star Shangri-La Mactan.

The Movenpick Cebu (formerly Hilton Cebu) is also one of the nicest resorts to stay in. The Maribago Bluewater has some nicest amenities including different kinds of water-sports activities.

Budget



Comfortable



Splurge/Resorts

Transportation

The most practical and convenient way of getting around the island is by renting a taxi. The flag-down rate on the metered taxis are only ₱40 ($0.88), an additional ₱4 ($0.08) is added for every 984 feet traveled. Tourists can also commute by riding a jeepney or a multicab. ₱8 ($0.17) is the current minimum fare for public transportation like jeepneys. If you are travelling from the island to downtown Cebu, the fare is around ₱10 ($0.22).

Travel Tips

  • Visit Lantaw Floating Native Restaurant at night and see the beautiful Cebu City skyline and its glimmering lights.
  • If you decide to commute by jeepney (or any public transportation aside from taxis), it is a lot safer if you bring a guide with you.
  • Never deal with street vendors or locals when they offer you a private tour around the island, make sure you book at certified travel agencies or at your hotel.


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Author: radiantan. Last updated: Oct 21, 2014

Pictures of Mactan

Shangri-la Mactan, Cebu, Philippines - Mactan
Shangri-la Mactan, Cebu, Philippines - Photo by nucksfan604

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