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4 Best Things to Do in Mactan Island

What is Mactan Island Most Famous For?

The best things to do in Mactan Island take full advantage of the tiny island’s large place in world history. Magellan’s Marker and the Lapu-Lapu Shrine are among the most important historical monuments in the country, commemorating the first fateful encounter between the local people and European explorers. Hundreds of years later, the event is still remembered to this day.

What about more modern attractions? This island just south of Metro Cebu and is a great place for a holiday in a tropical paradise, with beautiful beaches and plenty of snorkelling and diving sites. That being the case, the main thing to do in Mactan Island is just chill.

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Bluewater Gallery

There are a number of art galleries in Mactan, but the most convenient place to see creative works by Philippine artists is probably the Bluewater Gallery. It’s located inside the Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort, but you don’t have to be a guest to get in. They usually have a good number of local artists displaying their works.

  • Location: Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort, Maribago, 6015 Lapu-Lapu City, Philippines
  • Tel: +63 (0)32 402 4100
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Lapu-Lapu Shrine

The Lapu-Lapu Shrine was built to honour the chief of Mactan Island, after whom the city and the monument are named. Lapu-Lapu was the country’s very first hero for killing Portuguese-born explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 and driving away his men. Understandably, this popular monument is close to the Magellan Shrine.

The 20-metre-tall bronze statue of the man himself was erected in 1951. A plaque recounts the heroic tale, saying: “Here on April 27, 1521 Lapu-Lapu and his men repulsed the Spanish invaders, killing their leader, Ferdinand Magellan. Thus Lapu-Lapu became the first Filipino to repel European aggression.”

  • Location: 6015 Punta Engaño Rd, Lapu-Lapu City, 6015 Cebu, Philippines
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Magellan's Marker

Magellan’s Marker was built in 1866 and is located on the battleground where Mactan chief Lapu-Lapu killed the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. It's sometimes also known as Magellan's Shrine. Closer to the coast is a monument to the chief – the Lapu-Lapu Shrine.

If you’re on Mactan Island in April, be sure to visit the park. There’s a big anniversary event with lots of entertainment. Even on normal days, throughout the year, there are some shops and vendors selling souvenirs in the area.

  • Location: 6015 Punta Engaño Rd, Lapu-Lapu City, 6015 Cebu, Philippines
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Philippines Cultural Shows

You should never miss a chance to see a cultural show in the Philippines. With the nation’s remarkable gift for song and dance, it’s almost always a splendid experience, especially when the Filipinas wear their colourful costumes.

Some of their folk dances are Spanish influenced while many are based on the everyday life of the local people. The dances also differ depending on which region they are from. Props using in the cultural dances include hats, fans, flowers, coconuts and baskets. Many Mactan hotels host cultural shows quite regularly – particularly the luxurious 5-star places.

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