Ah, long weekends. The perfect opportunity for some rest and relaxation. Who doesn’t love them? We sure do! And with two long weekends this month, we’re more than excited to take advantage of them.
But first, where to go? North, South — whatever direction you choose, Cebu surely has something perfect for you. For those who don’t want to travel too far, then Mactan Island is just the right place!
Mactan Island is a popular leisure destination for locals and tourists alike. The island boasts a myriad of offerings, the most popular one being their different beach resorts that cater to different crowds. Mactan also serves as the jump-off point to the surrounding islands, perfect for island hopping.
On top of these, Mactan has a rich historical background. It is widely-known to have been the place where the historical 16th-century Battle of Mactan occurred. This was where the Spanish expedition, led by Ferdinand Magellan, were defeated by the valiant chieftain Lapu-Lapu and his men. Until today, this victory is celebrated by the locals of Mactan as the “Kadaugan sa Mactan” (“Victory in Mactan” in English) every 27th of April.
DAY ONE – SATURDAY
In the morning, head on over to the Mactan Shrine in Punta Engaño where you can see for yourself the monuments erected to commemorate the Battle of Mactan. There you can find the Magellan Shrine, a large memorial tower built by the Spaniards in honour of Ferdinand Magellan. The spot is believed to be where the Portuguese explorer was killed.
Adjoining Magellan’s Shrine is the Statue of Lapu-Lapu, also built to honour him. The native chieftain is hailed to be the first Filipino hero who defied foreign rule.
By the time you’ve taken your fill of history, you must be hungry. Perfect, just in time for lunch! Close to the Mactan Shrine are restaurants that offer Sutukil-style food. Sutukil is a combination of the words sugba, tuwa and kilaw which mean to grill, to stew and to eat seafood raw, respectively. Ingredients are laid out on tables for the customers to choose from. You may just tell the personnel how you want your food to be cooked.
Mactan is also popular for its guitars. The island is home to the Alegre Guitar Factory, one of the biggest guitar-making businesses in Cebu. You can check out the guitar-making process right after lunch, and even get yourself a sleek guitar while you’re in the area.
After walking out of Alegre Guitar Factory (and with a brand-new guitar in hand), make your way to Cordova, where you can visit the trendy 10,000 Roses Cafe. Take your fill of selfies and #instagrammable photos of the roses to your heart’s content. You can even have an afternoon coffee at their cafe, where its interiors are just as aesthetically pleasing as its exterior. The cafe is an ideal location to watch the afternoon sun sink down the horizon.
Before you know it, night has already fallen and you’re eager to have dinner. The iconic Lantaw Floating Native Restaurant is quite literally a stone’s throw away from the 10,000 Roses Cafe. Enjoy their scrumptious native Filipino cuisine as you stare across the dark waters and appreciate the view of mainland Cebu. We recommend their: Crispy Pata, Bibingka with Ice Cream.
DAY TWO – SUNDAY
Spend your second day in Mactan at the JPark Island Resort and Waterpark. Formerly known as the Imperial Palace Resort, this place is popular among Cebuanos and foreign tourists.
Fun meets luxury when you take a dip in their many pools or take a ride down their exciting waterslides. The resort also has a beach if you’re up for some saltwater activities. They offer diving, snorkelling and kayaking. What’s even more exciting is that they can take you parasailing over the blue waters. Just take your pick among the many activities available for you to choose from — you have a whole day, after all.
When it’s dinnertime, head over to Scape Skydeck located at the rooftop of the Azon Residences Condominium in Pusok. This restaurant boasts delicious meals paired with a breathtaking view of the islands of Mactan and Cebu. We recommend their: Scape Skydeck Hamburger, Beef Salpicado and Truffle Pasta. Cap off your night with one of their many drinks, perfect for finishing a sumptuous meal.
DAY THREE – MONDAY
On your third and final day vacationing in Mactan, go island hopping! The Philippines is an archipelagic country with 7,641 islands and Mactan Island is one of the perfect places to begin your island hopping adventure. You can easily rent a boat to go island hopping.
From Mactan Island, you can reach the neighbouring islands of Pandanon, Nalusuan, Hilutungan, Caohagan and the Olango Island Group.
Mactan sure has a lot of places to visit, don’t you think? Enjoy your long weekend in Mactan!