What to Do in Mactan Island

Mactan Island Attractions

Mactan is a perfect place for those who long for a holiday on a tropical island with beautiful beaches, great diving spots and plenty of snorkeling and diving sites. Mactan is part of Cebu Province where the Spanish first arrived and colonized the Philippines.

Besides being a paradise island with a modern living style, this island is home to two of the most important historical sites in the country; Magellan’s Marker and Lapu Lapu’s Shrine (also referred to as the Liberty Shrine).


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Art Gallery

There are a number of art galleries in Mactan but not many promote themselves to the tourist market. The most convenient one to view creative works by Philippine artists is at the Bluewater Gallery located inside the Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort. They usually have a good number of local artists displaying their works. Call to check the schedule.

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Lapu Lapu Shrine (aka Liberty Shrine)

The shrine was built to honour the Chief of Mactan Island Lapu Lapu, the country’s very first hero for killing Portuguese-born explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 and driving away his men. An official marker was installed in 1951 on this shrine which reads “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.”

This popular monument is situated not far from Magellan’s Shrine. The area is known as one of Mactan’s tourist top landmark. No entrance fee.

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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. There are some shops and vendors selling souvenirs in the same area. Every year in April, there is a big anniversary with lots of entertainment at this park. No entrance fee.

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Philippines Cultural Shows

Many people say Filipinos are born with special gift. It seems all of them can sing and dance naturally. A chance to view the Philippines’s cultural shows is truly a splendid experience for visitors, especially when the Filipinas wear their colourful costumes.

Some of their folk dances are Spanish influenced while many are based on their everyday life in farming. 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 such as Shangri-La's Mactan host cultural shows quite regularly. Call to check their schedules.

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