- Lapu-Lapu City Travel Requirements & Guidelines | COVID-19 New Normal
- 1. Who are allowed to go to Lapu-Lapu City and what are the requirements?
- 2. What are the entry points in Lapu-Lapu City?
- 3. What are the guidelines and protocols to follow when you're in Lapu-Lapu City?
- 4. What activities can you do in Lapu-Lapu City during quarantine?
- Best Time to Go to Mactan
- Dry and Summer Season | December to May
- Sinulog Festival | January
- Kadaugan sa Mactan | April
- Climate and Weather
- What to Wear
- How to Get to Mactan
- By Flights
- By Ferry
- From Cebu City
- Getting Around Mactan
- Where to Stay in Mactan
- Types of Accommodations
- Neighborhoods and Areas
- Accommodation Highlights in Mactan
- What to See and Do in Mactan
- Lounge in Mactan's Resort Beaches
- Visit Mactan's Public Beaches
- Go Island-Hopping
- Explore the Marine Life
- Discover Mactan’s Cultural Heritage
- What to Eat and Drink in Mactan
- Local Cuisine
- Recommended Best Restaurants and Bars
- Practical Information and Tips
- Sample Itinerary in Mactan
- Day 1: Arrival + Historical Sightseeing + Beaches
- Day 2: Island Hopping
- Day 3: Cebu City Tour + Shopping
- Day 4: Check Out
Explore and unwind in Mactan Island, the gateway to Cebu destinations. Learn about the top tourist spots to visit, where to stay, what to eat, and how to plan your itinerary with this guide.
Mactan Island in Cebu is a tourist destination you shouldn’t miss out on. From natural attractions, culinary adventures, handcrafted treasures, to historical spots; Mactan has a lot to offer for travelers.
- Explore Mactan and its tourist spots by booking Cebu tours
Mactan Island is located a few kilometers from the main island of Cebu. It is separated from Cebu by the Mactan Channel and connected to the province mainland by the Marcelo Fernan Bridge and the Mactan-Mandaue Bridge.
The island is divided into Lapu-Lapu City and the Municipality of Cordova. Lapu-Lapu City takes up most of the land area of Mactan Island, while a relatively small portion at the southern part of the Island falls under Cordova jurisdiction.
Lapu-Lapu city was formerly called Opon. While to this day, locals still occasionally refer to the city using its old name, Oponganons are proud to tell the story behind the renaming. The town was renamed Lapu-Lapu to honor its first hero, Datu Lapu-Lapu. Here’s a short history lesson that will entice you to visit Mactan even more.
On April 27, 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan reached the shores of Mactan. Magellan attempted to invade the island, subject the native settlers to the rule of Spain, and convert them to Christianity. Datu Lapu-Lapu, the chieftain of the local settlement, would not allow it. A bloody battle ensued and led to the defeat of the colonizer.
Thus in 1866, the Mactan Shrine was erected on Barangay Punta Engaño, believed to be the site of the battle, to commemorate the Filipinos’ first act of resistance towards remote control. More notably, Lapu-Lapu is now remembered as the first Filipino hero. Today Mactan Shrine is also a popular tourist spot.
Mactan Island is home to world-class hotels and Philippines luxury resorts, top diving sites, nationally renowned guitar makers, and rich cultural heritage. On top of that, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport is an award-winning airport. So, if you’re flying to Mactan, you can expect to be greeted by excellent service and facilities the moment you land.
Read this travel guide to learn more about Mactan for your ultimate getaway.
Lapu-Lapu City Travel Requirements & Guidelines | COVID-19 New Normal
Travelers from the Philippines can once again discover Cebu’s Lapu-Lapu City and see its heritage and cultural sites, beaches, and scenic attractions. With the threat of COVID-19 pandemic, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and the Local Government Unit (LGU) has announced a set of guidelines and tourist requirements to follow before you make your way to this beautiful city in the Philippines.
1. Who are allowed to go to Lapu-Lapu City and what are the requirements?
Tourists are now allowed to enter Lapu-Lapu. No requirements are needed, as long as the traveler does not exhibit any symptoms and passes the screening at the entry and exit points of Lapu-Lapu City.
2. What are the entry points in Lapu-Lapu City?
Tourists can enter Lapu-Lapu City via Mactan-Lapu-Lapu International Airport and other major checkpoints in the city.
3. What are the guidelines and protocols to follow when you're in Lapu-Lapu City?
Once you're in Lapu-Lapu City, make sure you follow these safety protocols:
Minimum health standards
Everyone, whether tourists or residents, are required to wear a face mask when in indoor public places, sanitize hands regularly, and observe social distancing.
Both drivers and passengers must follow the “no mask, no ride” policy, This includes public transportation in Lapu-Lapu City like jeepneys, tricycles, boats, and many more.
There are restaurants in Lapu-Lapu City that offer dine-in facilities. Food establishments must follow the health and safety regulations, while guests must abide by the health and safety protocols like wearing face masks and practicing social distancing to help stop the spread of COVID-19 disease.
Island hopping and diving protocols
Island hopping tour operators and dive shops must be registered and accredited by the Tourism, Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission (TCHAC) to operate. Likewise, guests must pre-book their tours online.
During the boat trip, each pumpboat should only operate at 50% capacity. The passengers on the boat must also follow basic safety protocols like wearing masks, sanitizing their hands, and more.
4. What activities can you do in Lapu-Lapu City during quarantine?
Don't miss the chance to enjoy the best of Lapu-Lapu City’s attractions.
Day Tours, Island Hopping, and Diving activities
Guests can join day tours to water parks, museums, cultural centers, island-hopping in the Philippines, and diving activities as long as they pre-book online with accredited operators.
Best Time to Go to Mactan
In planning your trip to Mactan, it's essential to take note of the season, climate and weather to have a hassle-free adventure. To avoid canceled trips that might occur at any time of day. It is also essential when packing your things, as it'd serve as a guideline on what you have to bring and wear during your trip to Mactan.
Dry and Summer Season | December to May
When going to Mactan, it's best to plan your visit from the months of December to May. A lot of important events happen during this time as well, and there is less humidity compared to other months.This is also the dry season, so you can get to enjoy the outdoor activities fully and water adventures that Mactan has in store for you.
Sinulog Festival | January
Cebu celebrates big vibrant festivals. From Mactan, you can easily head to Cebu City to witness the colorful Sinulog Festival usually held on the third Sunday of January. It is to celebrate and honor the patron saint of Cebu, Santo Niño.
First celebrated during the 1980s, this annual parade is one of the most popular festivals in the country, with locals and internationals attending street parties that happen before and after the celebration. A lot of local celebrities also go to Cebu to join the annual festivities.
Kadaugan sa Mactan | April
During April, you can celebrate the Kadaugan sa Mactan in Lapu-Lapu City with the Oponganons. It depicts the fall of Magellan against Lapu Lapu, the first native who resisted against the colonization of the Spaniards.
Famous local celebrities do the roleplay of Datu Lapu Lapu, Reyna Bulakna, and Ferdinand Magellan. It’s a way to respect the history of Mactan and to let other people know how valuable this monumental event is in shaping their history.
Climate and Weather
While in Mactan, make sure to check weather updates to avoid any problems during your trip. It is to prevent canceled plans due to climate and weather.
The hottest month in Mactan is during May, with an average of 29 °C. Wettest month is during September, which is similar to other Cebu cities. The coldest month in Mactan is during January, with an average of 27 °C. Here's an overview of the average monthly temperature in Mactan:
What to Wear
During the summer season, it's best to wear light, comfortable clothes as the weather can get hot and humid. From June to November, the rainy season, it's best to bring an umbrella or jacket with you so you can still explore the areas during light showers.
If you're joining the celebration of the Sinulog Festival in January, it's vital to wear comfortable clothes as there will be big crowds in the streets. Make sure to bring a compact bag as well during this time. There are a lot of custom-made Sinulog shirts too, walk around the various establishments and take your pick.
How to Get to Mactan
There are various ways to go to Mactan, depending on where you’re coming from. If you’re coming from anywhere in the Philippines, you have the option to travel by air or sea.
As for international travelers, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport services various international flights. Make sure to fix your itinerary first before you book your flights. It's to make the most out of your trip to the beautiful island of Mactan.
Traveling by air is the most convenient and hassle-free way to reach Mactan. Here are your travel options depending on where you’re coming from. Take note that it's essential to book beforehand as flights might be limited depending on where you're coming from.
From Luzon and Mindanao
The Mactan-Cebu International Airport is connected to 27 domestic destinations. Wherever you are in the Philippines, you won’t have trouble flying to Mactan. There are flights to the island from major cities in Luzon and Mindanao.
Major jump-offs include; Clark International Airport in Angeles City, Davao International Airport in Davao City, and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.
From International Airports
The Mactan-Cebu International Airport is now connected to 21 international destinations. So, if you’re coming from the North and Southeast Asia (Ex. Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong), you’ll have no problem finding direct flights to Mactan. There are even long-haul flights to and from Los Angeles and Dubai.
Other major jump-offs include; Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Dubai International Airport in the UAE, Incheon International Airport in Seoul, Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia, Narita International Airport in Japan, Changi Airport in Singapore, and Taoyuan International Airport in Taiwan.
From the airport, you can hop on a taxicab or hire Cebu airport transfers to your accommodations.
Traveling by sea to Mactan is also an option. Be reminded though that there no sea vessels that will take you directly to Mactan island. But some ferries will bring you to Cebu, and from there you can travel inland to Mactan.
From Cebu City
Mactan is about 1-2 hours away from Cebu City proper. If you’re adding Mactan in your Cebu itinerary, here are your options on how to go to Mactan. There are five major passenger ports in Cebu; Pier 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. These ports all connect to taxi, cab, jeepney, and MyBus.
Taxi or Car Booking App
Taking a taxi or using the Grab app from the port may cost you Php 180-300 depending on which Pier you’re from and where in Mactan you’re headed to. It's convenient for groups of four as it's much cheaper than, let's say, riding a bus and paying individually.
Off-peak hours might have lesser car options though, so make sure to have alternative plans in case you weren't able to book a taxi or grab.
You may also book a car rental in Cebu for a more convenient and private transportation. If you are traveling with a large group, another option is a Cebu van rental. These can pick you up from the airport and take you to your accommodation.
You can also book self-drive car rentals in the Philippines like budget car rental in the Philippines and SUV rental in the Philippines to drop you off back to the airport. It's a great option if you want to explore Cebu City and its other top destinations at your own pace.
The Cebu MyBus is alternative public transportation that regularly travels from Talisay City to Mactan Airport. The MyBus also stops at the Piers 1-5. So, whichever pier your ferry docked, you can get on a MyBus.
You can ride a MyBus from the Pier and get off at SM City Cebu where you can hop on another MyBus that goes to Mactan Airport. MyBus trips from SM City Cebu to Mactan Airport starts at 6 AM to 1:20 PM, every 20 minutes.
Riding a jeepney is one of the least expensive and convenient modes of transportation in Mactan. From Parkmall you have four jeepney routes to choose from depending on where you’re planning to reach.
Watch out for the four route codes which go to Opon PUJ terminal, Maribago, Punta Engaño, and Cordova. You can read more about these routes on the Getting Around section below.
MyBus + Jeepney
You can also opt to get on a MyBus from the Pier and be dropped off at Parkmall in Mandaue City. From there, you can get on a jeepney to take to specific parts of Mactan.
MyBus trips from Piers 1-5 to Parkmall start from 8 AM to 3 PM, every 20 minutes. Bring exact fare if you can for a faster transaction with the operator of the bus and jeepney.
If you want to avoid land traffic once you arrive by ferry at the docks of Cebu, you can catch another ferry to bring you to Mactan. The Metro Ferry at Pier 3 has trips every 30 minutes or so depending on how quickly the ferry fills up with passengers.
Riding this ferry boat is a quicker alternative to getting from Cebu City to Lapu Lapu City. The ferry will drop you at the Mactan Ferry Boat Terminal/Muelle Osmeña Port. It is right in front of the Virgin of the Rule Shrine (Birhen dela Regla Shrine) and near the Opon Public Market. The trip may take 45 minutes to an hour.
Getting Around Mactan
Lapu-Lapu City in Mactan is highly urbanized. So, while getting around is easy thanks to highways and access to public transportation, it can also be a challenge because of inevitable traffic jams during rush hour.
If you travel during the lazy hours of 10-11 AM, 2-4 PM, and 9 PM onwards, you might avoid the notorious traffic of Lapu-Lapu significant roads.
There are three ways to get around Mactan; by jeepney, tricycle, and taxi. There are no public utility buses that ply Mactan, only private buses of hotel and resorts used to shuttle their guests around the island.
Take note of the route codes, stops, the landmarks or attractions along or near the route.
Route Code 23D or MI-23A Parkmall to Opon PUJ Terminal
Take this jeepney to go to the local wet market (Opon Public Market), a supermarket (La Nueva), or a mall (Metro Gaisano). You can also ride this jeepney from Mactan to get to Parkmall at Mandaue City, Cebu.
Route Code MI-02B Parkmall to Maribago
Take this jeepney if you want to explore Mactan beaches and Mactan resorts. You can also ride this jeepney from Mactan to get to Parkmall at Mandaue City, Cebu.
Route Code 23 Mandaue to Punta Engaño
This route will take you to the historic Mactan Shrine. You can stop by the Marina Mall and Savemore Mactan if you want to do a bit of grocery or souvenir shopping.
You can also ride this jeepney from Mactan to get to Parkmall at Mandaue City, Cebu. This jeepney is also a good option if you want to check out various Mactan beaches and Mactan resorts in the area.
Route Code MI-04A Parkmall to Tamiya (The Outlets at Pueblo Verde)
Take this jeepney to discover the entertainment hubs and retail shops at The Outlets at Pueblo Verde. There you’ll find various cafes, restaurants, food chains, KTV bars, clubs, groceries, and several retail outlets such as Puma, Adidas, Levis, and Nike.
There are also moneychangers and ATMs here. You can even ride this jeepney from Mactan to get to Parkmall and J Center Mall in Mandaue City.
Route Code MI-05A Mactan Ferry Boat Terminal/Muelle Osmeña Port to Mactan Airport
This will take you to the Ferry Boat Terminal to Mactan Cebu International Airport and vice versa. Aside from that, this is the jeepney you’ll be taking if you want to go to malls such as Marina Mall and Gaisano Mactan Mall.
Route Code MI-03B MEPZ 1 to Cordova
Take this jeepney to Cordova, where you can check out various resorts like Cordova Reef Village Resort, Solea Palms Resort, Happy Pebbles Club, and Isla Romantica.
Route Code MI-03A Opon Public Market to Cordova
If you’re coming from the Opon Public Market this is the jeep you should take to get to Cordova.
Tricycles ply the barangay roads all over Mactan; they go where the jeepneys can’t. Tricycles can’t pass by major roads, but you can hail one anywhere as long as you’re not on the highway. It's essential to take note that these tricycles can take you around Mactan.
You can also hire a private car or van with a driver for your trip to Mactan. It's more convenient, especially when you're traveling with a group. There are also car rentals in Cebu; you may opt to drive your own as you and your group explore the different tourist destinations on the island. If you want to indulge during your trip, you may book a luxury car rental in the Philippines.
Where to Stay in Mactan
Lapu-Lapu City in Mactan is dubbed as the “Historic Resort City.” And as you can guess, the city got the title for its rich historical background and its impressive array of beach resorts.
Lapu-Lapu’s shores are lined with world-class resorts. To enjoy the white sand beach and their other amenities, you'll have to check-in or pay their respective day rates.
Don’t be bummed out! The resorts on the island are top-rated and all-inclusive establishments. They also range from luxury to budget-friendly; so, there are options for any traveler.
Types of Accommodations
Where you'll stay in Mactan depends on your preference, the number of people staying, and your budget. Here are some of the types of accommodation in Mactan.
Island and Beach Resorts
Mactan is technically an island, which is why you can find a lot of island and beach resorts here. Some offer complete facilities, i.e., spa and restaurant, while some provide basic amenities, such as an airconditioned room but with access to the beachfront. It solely depends on your preference.
Whether you're in Mactan for business or pleasure, there are a lot of hotels where you can stay that offers complete amenities. There are hotels near the airport, hotels in Mactan itself, and hotels near the city area. You have to find the right location that fits your itinerary.
While in Mactan, you can rent a private house. It is advantageous for large groups who want to save money but don't want to sacrifice essential amenities such as kitchen and laundry.
Some even offer indoor pools and gardens. Make sure to check the neighborhood of the vacation house first before you rent it as it might be far from the various tourist spots you plan on visiting.
If you're a solo traveler or a backpacker on a budget, then staying in a hostel is the solution. You can stay in a dorm-type room and still get standard amenities in a private room.
Some even offer breakfast for a small charge! Just make sure the place is near the tourist attractions on your itinerary to avoid spending on transportation.
Neighborhoods and Areas
It is a common misconception that Mactan is a lone island. It's divided into two local government units, Lapu-Lapu and Cordova.
Photo from Mactan-Cebu International Airport
Lapu-Lapu is a highly-urbanized city; it is composed of 30 barangays such as Maribago and Punta Engaño. It's also where Mactan-Cebu International Airport is located, as well as the main link to Mandaue City.
Even though it's a small town, Cordova's tourism is booming because of its precious natural resources. Some major barangays in the area include Alegria and Cogon. It also has jurisdiction over small islands such as Nalusuan and Tongo.
Accommodation Highlights in Mactan
Most accommodations in Mactan range from luxury, mid-range, and budget-friendly. Depending on your preference, here are some of the best accommodations in all budget types.
If you’re a thrifty traveler who prefers to allocate more of your budget on exploring your destination, then you can opt for these budget accommodations.
These are the best in Mactan because the neighborhoods are safe and near the city center. Make sure to book in advance instead of just a walk-in so you can get the best rooms.
Photo from Cebu Courtyard
Perfect for budget travelers, this is the place to stay if you don't mind sharing a bathroom with other backpackers. They offer basic amenities such as hot water and breakfast, but it usually depends on the room you're going to book. One of the best things about this budget hotel is its near establishments.
Mactan Backpackers Inn
If you're a solo backpacker, chances are you want to stay at an inn that accommodates the type of traveler you are — fun, vibrant and on a budget. This backpackers' inn serves that purpose. You can meet new people here! It’s also the right place as it’s near the city center.
Express Inn Lapu-Lapu
This accommodation has all the necessary room furnishings and basic amenities to keep your stays comfortable such as bed and hot water. You might get free breakfast too depending on the type of room you'll be choosing.
If you prefer somewhere cozier but still reasonably priced, mid-range hotels are perfect for you. It is if you want plusher beds and you have more leeway budget-wise. These mid-range accommodations can accommodate solo, couples, and groups.
Goldberry Suites & Hotel
Perfect for business and like-minded travelers, staying at this hotel is very convenient as they still offer a complete experience even within budget. They provide laundry services too, make sure to coordinate with them.
Alta Cebu Resort
Photo from Alta Cebu Resort
Considered as one of the best hotels for millennials, you'll surely get the right experience you need within the proper budget. They offer air-conditioned rooms with basic amenities such as a private bathroom and a flat-screen TV.
EGI Resort and Hotel
This cozy resort and hotel offer air-conditioned rooms too, but their en-suite bathrooms are what makes them great. Aside from their amenities such as food and hot shower.
If you like to travel in style and you have the resources to book premium accommodations, then you’ll love our list of luxury recommendations. These are the hotels you’ll get the VIP treatment you deserve. Most of them offer top-notch amenities not found in other hotels.
Shangri-la's Mactan Resort and Spa
Photo from Shangri-la's Mactan Resort and Spa
It's one of the most luxurious hotels in Mactan. Aside from having a scenic beachfront, this all-inclusive resort hotel offers world-class amenities such as a spa, different restaurants offering various cuisines, and stellar service.
Plantation Bay Resort
If you're looking to stay in a hotel that has a privately-owned lagoon, then Plantation Bay Resort is perfect for you. They have high-class amenities such as a spa, an outdoor pool, and many more. Rooms are subject to availability, so it’s better to book in advance.
JPark Island Resort and Waterpark
Famous among Koreans and other international travelers, this resort hotel not only offers excellent rooms with beach views; they also have their waterpark! If you have kids or you're a kid at heart, then you should consider staying in this resort.
Aside from lounging at the beach or enjoying your resort’s amenities, you should explore the top tourist spots in Mactan including diving attractions, guitar and ukulele shops, and beautiful neighboring islets.
Lounge in Mactan's Resort Beaches
Mactan does not run short on beach resorts. The best stretches of white sand beaches are inside the resorts. And since the resorts range from luxury to budget-friendly, there are options for any traveler.
Mactan beaches are well maintained, visitors have access to proper facilities such as showers, changing rooms, cottages, and even water sports equipment and amenities.
They also have access to exciting water activities like jet skis, banana boat rides, parasailing, aside from diving and island-hopping destinations.
Top beach resorts in Mactan with white sand beaches include:
One of the most acclaimed beach resorts in Mactan, Shangrila remains as a top hotel for both locals and internationals. It has hosted international events such as the ASEAN Leaders Summit and APEC Summit. Their private beach area is a must-visit when you're in Mactan.
Plantation Bay Resort
The main reason as to why this is a top beach resort in Mactan is because they own a private lagoon. They also offer various leisure activities, such as archery activities and wall-climbing amenities.
JPark Island Resort and WaterPark
You probably heard of this beach resort because most Chinese and Korean celebrities go here to relax and recover. It's because of their world-class amenities such as a private beach area and their very own waterpark. They also have their own kids' club, which is beneficial for prominent families.
Cebu White Sands Resort
This hotel also has its private beach area. Cebu White Sands is known for its two outdoor pools and two restaurants. Their rooms offer beach views too, which is enticing to their prospect customers.
Mactan Newtown Beach
Formerly known as Portofino Beach Resort, their unspoiled beach, and beautiful cottages are enticing for big groups. Mostly because of the way it has been set-up — family-friendly. You can enjoy swimming around or lounge within the area, there are a lot of lifeguards ready to assist you.
Visit Mactan's Public Beaches
Don’t dismiss Mactan’s public beaches just yet! There are only a handful of sandy public beaches in Mactan; the most popular is Vaño Beach in Marigondon. It may not be as impressive as the private beaches, but it still has white sand and clear waters.
It also exudes a different charm of its own. Because locals frequent these beaches more, you’ll get to interact with the community and get a better feel of the Mactan island life. Other public beaches in Mactan are by the cliffside such as:
Tonggo Beach in Marigondon
Its clear blue waters and powdery sand are enough for an exciting trip to this beach. Located in Marigondon, Tonggo aka "Ka-tero" is accessible via multicab. The entrance fee is cheap too.
Ikid-Ikid Beach In Maribago
A kid-friendly beach that stretches in Maribago, Ikid-Ikid is pristine and unspoiled. There are a few toilets here though, so its best not to stay too long here. The entrance fee is less expensive than the other public beaches.
Baliwis Beach in Marigondon
Also located in Marigondon, Baliwis is where you can swim and relax while seeing a view of Olango island. Its turquoise waters are breathtaking, and it's cheap to stay here for a few hours.
Mactan’s rocky beaches are for the more adventurous for sure, but you get to enjoy the same beautiful waters, plus get treated to a unique view. The best part is, these hidden cliffside beaches rarely get any travelers, so the chances of having the place to your own are high!
A trip to Mactan will not be complete if you don’t experience Mactan’s marine and coastal treasures. Take your tropical vacation up a notch and go island-hopping.
- Check out Cebu island-hopping tours for your trip to Mactan
Cordova, the municipality at the southernmost part of Mactan, is a popular jump-off point for island-hopping to neighboring islets.
From Cordova, you can hop on an outrigger boat to check out Olango Island Group with an island-hopping tour composed of Nalusuan, Gilutongan and many more.
These islets are surrounded by clear blue waters teeming with marine life. More importantly, Olango Island is a declared wildlife sanctuary; it is blessed with a diverse coastal ecosystem, a flyway for migratory birds, and is part of island-hopping tours in Cebu.
Explore the Marine Life
Aside from island-hopping tours, you can go diving and snorkeling if you like exploring the beauty of destinations underwater. Resorts also offer diving and snorkeling services. Top diving and snorkeling sites in Mactan include:
This popular dive site is not a cave; it's more of a cavern as light is still amicable when you're inside. The bottom of this cavern is at 120 feet with around 34 feet as its diameter. Most advanced divers usually visit this diving spot.
Kontiki House Reef
Perfect for all types of divers, this reef is known for its bountiful corals, perfect for underwater photography. Night divers also visit this reef as the slope gets steeper up to 330 feet. You can see a lot of marine life, even in shallow waters.
Hilutungan Island Marine Sanctuary
It is also a perfect spot for all levels of divers. Hilutungan Island remains one of a kind, mostly because of how easy it is to snorkel around the area. It's also a top diving site for underwater photographers because of its vibrant marine life.
Nalusuan Island Marine Sanctuary
A part of the Olango Island group, Nalusuan Island is a breath of fresh air for novice and seasoned divers, mostly because of its pristine ambiance and colorful corals below the waters. Environmental awareness is also being promoted here on this island.
- Join Naluasuan Island tours to explore its marine life
Discover Mactan’s Cultural Heritage
Mactan's culture is something to behold. You’ve read about Mactan’s rich history. Now, learn and see it for yourself on a sightseeing tour. These are some of the top tourist spots visited by locals and international travelers when they’re on the island.
Mactan Shrine and Magellan's Monument
Marvel at Lapu-Lapu’s towering statue and Magellan’s Monument. At the shrine, you will also see a huge painting depicting the Battle of Mactan. Aside from the monuments, check out the various souvenir shops in the area.
Alegre Guitar Factory
Visayans are avid music lovers. Mactan is home to the Philippine’s best instrument craftsmen. Mactan-made guitars and ukulele are famed across the country due to their quality. If you're a music enthusiast, you shouldn’t pass the opportunity to check out the guitar and ukulele shops on Mactan.
- Visit Mactan guitar factories by joining a Mactan Cebu historic and cultural day tour
What to Eat and Drink in Mactan
If you’re craving seafood, you won’t be disappointed! You can expect the freshest seafood in Mactan. Aside from that, other unique dining experiences await you here. Here are some culinary adventures you shouldn’t miss while in Mactan.
SuTuKil is a quintessential dining experience in Mactan and the whole province of Cebu. The name SuTuKil is a combination of 3 Bisaya words, Sugba (Grill) + Tuwa(broth) +Kilaw (taw, similar to ceviche).
You can pick what seafood you want and have it grilled, cooked with broth, or prepared like ceviche. You can also choose from a variety of fresh seafood; from a wide selection of fish, shellfish, crabs, lobsters, and even seaweed. Eat these with their local puso, rice wrapped in palm leaves.
Recommended Best Restaurants and Bars
There are a lot of restaurants in Cebu, specifically in Mactan that serve Visayan cuisine. What sets these food establishments apart from the others is how popular it is with the locals. Marketing is mainly by word of mouth, spreading throughout the world, and reaching an international audience.
Netflix recently featured in Cebu Province for their "Street Food" TV series. Entoy's Bakasi (saltwater eel) in Buagsung, Cordova is of Mactan's top exotic offering. Entoy serves Bakasi fresh from Cordova waters.
Lantaw Floating Native Restaurant
For the best of Filipino cuisine and a stunning seaside ambiance, Lantaw Floating Native Restaurant in Cordova is the top pick. As the name suggests, it’s a floating restaurant with a beautiful view of the Mactan Channel and Cebu City from a distance.
It is a roasted pig with the most delicious crispy skin and juiciest meat flavored with a combination of local spices. Anyone who’s tasted it salivate just at the thought of Cebu’s best.
Practical Information and Tips
For a hassle-free and convenient trip to Mactan, it's essential to read these practical tips. These are useful, especially if it's your first time in Cebu. Don't fret; the island is quite safe; even for first-timers.
Both areas in Mactan (Lapu-Lapu and Cordova) accept payments in Philippine Peso (PHP). Money changers might be scarce in some areas, especially if you're staying in a local barangay, so make sure to bring enough cash with you. ATMs are available in most establishments, such as malls and convenience stores.
If you're in Cebu, and you want to address a local, expect an answer in either Cebuano, Tagalog, or English. Most locals understand English well, so don't be afraid to ask questions or directions. Say hi/hello first when approaching them to establish a friendly tone. Who knows? You might earn a new friend in the process.
Sample Itinerary in Mactan
With all the activities and attractions you can explore in Mactan, we suggest a 4-day trip for a complete tour. Here’s a sample itinerary to guide you in planning yours.
Day 1: Arrival + Historical Sightseeing + Beaches
9:00 AM - ETD from NAIA in Manila
10:00 AM - ETA at Mactan-Cebu International Airport
10:30 AM - Check-in at hotel
12:00 NN - Lunch
1:00 PM - Do a heritage and historic tour of Mactan
4:00 PM - Head to the beach of your choice for a chilly afternoon
6:00 PM Onwards - Dinner
Day 2: Island Hopping
7:00 AM - Breakfast
9:00 AM - Start of island-hopping tour
12:00 NN - Lunch
5:00 PM - Freshen up and relax at the hotel
6:00 PM Onwards - Dinner
Day 3: Cebu City Tour + Shopping
7:00 AM - Breakfast
12:00 PM - Lunch
4:00 PM - Explore the retail shops in The Outlets at Pueblo Verde
6:00 PM onwards - Dinner
Day 4: Check Out
7:00 PM - Breakfast
8:00 AM - Lounge at your hotel's beach
12:00 PM - Check out and lunch
4:00 PM - ETD to Manila
Pack Your Bags and Head to Mactan Island!
Mactan has all the charm of a tropical island paradise but with the convenience of the city within arm’s reach. More than just a gateway to Cebu Province, Mactan Island on its own is a must-visit!
The island is a hub for world-class resorts and top diving sites. Mactan’s underwater scenery will mesmerize you. On land, Mactan offers unique dining experiences, nationally renowned handcrafted musical instruments, and the warm welcome of its people.
Visiting Mactan and learning its rich history and cultural heritage will give you a deeper understanding of the Philippines. The rich civilizations already existed in the islands before the Spanish colonizers came.
Mactan became the historic battleground of the Filipinos’ first act of hostility towards Spain. Today, Mactan greets its multitude of visitors with warm hospitality.
Discover the attractions and history of Mactan Island! Start planning your trip by checking the best Mactan Cebu tours and activities to add to your itinerary.
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