Everyone flying to Cebu lands in Lapu-Lapu City, the gateway to Cebu Island and site of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport. Serving both passenger and cargo operations, the Cebu airport offers an attractive entry option into the country, bypassing Manila. The Philippines’ second busiest airport has direct daily connections to a number of international and key domestic destinations, making it a transport hub for the region.
Encompassing several islets including Olango and a huge part of the popular beach island of Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City is currently linked to Mandaue City (on the main island of Cebu) by two bridges. A third link is in the works to absorb the expected rise in visitor arrivals and commuters as the city quickly progresses. Traffic to and from the island should then be smoother, congestion lighter and heads much cooler when this added access comes up.
The highly urbanized city hosts many multi-national factories clustered around its tax-free Mactan Export Processing Zone and has a hard-working, efficient and English-speaking labor pool. Cebu is typically represented by pictures of Magellan’s Cross, luscious mangoes, and additionally, white sand beaches and guitars.
Opon was the town’s original name when Augustinian priests founded it in 1730. Becoming a city in 1961, it was renamed Lapu-Lapu after the brave native chieftain who waged war and decisively defeated Spain’s conquistador, Ferdinand Magellan, right on Mactan’s shores in 1521. The spot is marked by the Magellan Shrine, while the local warrior stands heroically larger than life nearby, immortalized with a 20-meter high bronze statue and a city that bears his name. The Philippine National Police also carries his image on its official seal. The historic battle is commemorated at the site every year by the week-long Kadaugan sa Mactan (Victory in Mactan), a crowd-drawing festival in April. Tourist Police visibly patrol the area of the historical landmarks where little stalls selling souvenirs have also set up shop.
A treasured tourist destination, Mactan Island offers accommodations ranging from luxurious resorts for the indulgent to comfortable rustic lodges. If you can drag yourself away from its white beaches, popular excursions around Lapu-Lapu and Mactan include full-day island-hopping on a motorized banca (outrigger canoe) with a hearty seafood barbecue lunch on one of the islands; and bird-watching or guided walking tours around the Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary.
Check out the other things you can do when visiting Lapu-Lapu City:
FILM SCHOOLS. One of two film schools in Cebu, the International Academy of Film & Television offers Certificate and Diploma programs in Filmmaking, Acting and 3D Animation. Small stalls around the Mactan Shrine attract tourists who delight at the variety of souvenir items. The white beaches of Mactan are enticing and less than an hour’s drive from Cebu City.
GUITAR MAKING. With three generations of experience, Mactan’s craftsmen have perfected the fine art of producing world-class quality acoustic guitars, handmade and using locally grown hardwood in Barangay Maribago. Having perfected the art, a skilled craftsman is usually responsible for completing the entire production process of a single guitar to ensure quality workmanship.
OUR LADY OF RULE. Devoted parishioners pray at Our Lady of the Rule Church, also called Nuestra Señora Virgen de la Regla.
MAGELLAN SHRINE. The Magellan Shrine was erected in 1866 in remembrance of Ferdinand Magellan who is credited for bringing Christianity to Cebu. It marks the very spot where the Spanish conquistador was defeated in battle by the local warrior, Lapu Lapu.
LAPU-LAPU MONUMENT. The Lapu Lapu Monument is a symbol of the boundless courage of the local warrior chieftain who stands larger than life, immortalized by a 20-meter high bronze statue situated inside the Mactan Shrine.