Mactan Island

Mactan Island is an island located Southeast of Cebu City. Politically, the island is being shared by Lapu-Lapu City and the municipality of Cordova. The island is the place where the Mactan Cebu International Airport is located. It is connected to the island of Cebu by two bridges.

The island of Mactan is famous for being the homeland of Lapu-Lapu. He is the chieftain who slew Magellan and his Spanish crew on a battle on the beach of Mactan Island. A shrine was built to commemorate Lapu-Lapu's victory against the Spaniards.

Places to See in Mactan

Lapu-Lapu Shrine

Mactan Island is famous because of Lapu-Lapu. Because of this, the well-known tourist spot on this island is the Mactan Shrine or also known as Lapu-Lapu Shrine. Local and foreign tourists visit Mactan Shrine to see the place where Magellan and his crew were defeated by Lapu-Lapu and his hordes. Read more about Mactan Shrine are on the third part of this blog post.
Mactan Church

Another place to visit is the Birhen sa Regla Church, which is also known as the Opon Church. This church is the largest in Mactan Island. Anyone, especially the Catholics, who want to join the Holy Mass can freely enter the church. Be reminded though that the mass in this church is in Cebuano so it is better that you read the day’s readings in a lectionary before you go here. From Cebu – Mactan Airport, the Mactan Church could be reached by taxi or jeepney. The cheapest option is to ride a jeepney from the airport with the signboard that says “Mercado, Simbahan” (Church).

Birhen sa Regla Church is a nice church but not as big and grand as the Cebu Cathedral.

Downtown Lapu-Lapu City is another place to visit when obtaining various necessities. The place has banks, grocery shops, bakery, and a market. This a good place to buy your pasalubongs if you do not want to go to Cebu City. Downtown Lapu-Lapu City could be reached by riding a jeepney with a signboard saying “Mercado” from the Cebu – Mactan Airport.

Where to Sleep in Mactan Island?

There are various hotels and pension houses on Mactan Island. Some of these hotels are located near the Cebu – Mactan Airport and others are located along the highway going to downtown Lapu-Lapu City. Be aware though that hotels on this island are quite expensive and the average rate of rooms per day is about 1,000 pesos (about 50 US dollars).

You could also try some of the “rooms for rent” that are located on the fringe of Lapu-Lapu City. However, be sure to check the rooms or apartments before striking a deal with the house owners.

More details about hotels and pension houses in Mactan Island could be found on the second part of this blog series, entitled "Looking for Mactan Hotel."

Going Around Mactan Island

Mactan Island is just a small island and there are many ways to go to any places on it. The major means of transportation for commuters is by riding the jeepneys, which are locally known as multicabs. There are jeepneys for every major destination on Mactan Island. It is just a matter of knowing what jeepney to ride when going to your destination.

The island has a terminal for jeepneys that goes directly to Cebu City and Mandaue City. This terminal is in the vicinity of downtown Lapu-Lapu City. There is also a jeepney route that goes directly to the Cebu – Mactan Airport. These jeepneys ply the Airport to Mercado route. Tourists on tight budget can ride a jeepney inside the airport to go to downtown Lapu-Lapu City.

There are also public tricycles that are useful if you are going to places that are outside the routes of jeepneys. One tricycle can carry up to six passengers. You could hire a tricycle for “special trips” but the tricycle driver charges a minimum of 50 pesos for such services.

Taxi and vehicle-for-hire are also available but they are usually found in the vicinity of the Cebu – Mactan Airport. You could also rent a motorcycle from the locals in the island. However, their minimum rate is 1,000 pesos per day, exclusive of the fuel for the motorcycle.

Places to Eat in Mactan

Finding a good place to eat in Mactan Island is not a problem, especially if you are in Lapu-Lapu City. McDonalds, Jollibee, Greenwich Pizza and other fast food restaurants are available. The city also has the Gaisano Mall and grocery shops wherein you could buy some supplies. Fresh foods and fruits are available at the market in downtown Lapu-Lapu City.

Of the many bakeries in Lapu-Lapu City, the most notable is Mang Tinong’s Bakery which is located almost everywhere. I recommend their Elorde Bread, which you should buy when still hot. Their ensaymada is too sweet.

Sinugba and Puso
Sinugba with puso.

Cebu is famous for its barbecues which are known locally as sinugba. There are barbecued pork meat, chicken, and even hotdogs that are all affordable. These are partnered with their “puso,” which is cooked rice wrapped in palm leaves. You could taste the delicious sinugba in barbecue stalls in the market in downtown Lapu-Lapu City. In less than 100 pesos, you can have a one full meal. Just be warned that the barbecue may be half-cooked or too burnt so you should prepare your stomach.

Mactan Island is quite a nice place to stay because it is urbanized enough like in Metro Manila. Restaurants and stores could be reached easily. Though it is urbanized, the place is not as polluted as Metro Manila. However, with just one historical spot, this island is obscured by Cebu City.

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  1. Im planning to have a holiday in mactan island. Is it easy to go from mactan to cebu and back in the evening to wee hours? Also how is the clubbing scene in cebu city? Any good?

    1. In daytime, there are many ways to reach cebu city from mactan island. I am not sure though during the night and early morning. The jeepneys are few during the night. Though there still taxis. I believe that they can only be found at the airport. But if you are coming from Cebu City, I believe that there are still taxi cab to take you to Mactan Island. Be warned though that taxi drivers may demand a rate higher than the normal fare.

      I have no idea about the clubbing activities in cebu city because i did not went to any club there. However, if you will be staying at Waterfront Front Hotel at the airport, you could go to the KTV bar there. My friends said that the place was good.

  2. oohh, we went to the same places when i visited Cebu 3 years ago.. it really is a beautiful place.. we stayed at Shangri-La when we were there.. the sand, the beach, the tourist sites, all are great places to visit! too bad i wasn't able to eat Sinugba with puso, though..

    1. Ah...sayang you did notr tasted the puso. :-) But that's ok. It is just the regular kanin.

      I envy you because you stayed at Shang. My budget constrained me to stay at GV Hotel with 450 pesos per day rate. But, as a place to sleep, GV is good.

  3. How much will it cost for a fishing trip around Mactan Island, Philippines?

    1. I do not have the slightest information about a fishing trip around Mactan Island.

      My estimate is around 5,000 if you have to rent a boat (that is like a yacht?)

      I do not know, my estimate might be too far away from the real figure.

      Sorry if I am not of much help

  4. Nice scenes!

    Do you think Elorde Bread was named after the boxer, Flash Elorde? I heard he's from Cebu.

    Mouth-watering Sinugba. Hmm. And I thought the rice was mixed with puso ng saging hence Puso. Plain lang pala. :)) I wonder why they call it like that.

    1. Well, we have the same guess and as far as I know, only Flash Elorde is the popular Elorde in the Phils.

      I think that they call the rice as puso because it is shape like a heart.

  5. We were able to visit Mactan and I was so thrilled!

  6. @CDO News:

    Hmmmm...seems like you enjoy your visit to Mactan.

    That is good for you. :-)

  7. "Puso" it is called simply because of it's shape. It's not your perfect symmetrical heart-shaped but is called that, nevertheless. It has nothing to do with the banana heart, which is considered a vegetable. It is wrapped in coconut or whatever available palm leaves there are, not rattan wrappings as the description said. I know, because I grew up there and it's one of the things that I miss.

  8. @Margie:

    Thanks for the clarification about the puso. I will be editing the blog post now so as to correct what I wrote.

    Thank you very much. :-D

    You lived in Mactan Island? Seems like you are living far away from that beautiful island.

  9. I love Cebu because there are lots of good looking guys:) and the places are so cool. Thanks for sharing this.

    Cagayan de Oro News

  10. You are welcome Kriza and thank you for visiting and commenting. :-)

  11. Mactan is becoming a popular place for residency and accommodations because Cebu has grown to become a business hub. I can say that Mactan is a place for peace quiet and nice beaches.


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