Lapu Lapu is a city on Mactan Island, Cebu Province, in Central Visayas. It is part of Cebu, and it has a special place in the Philippines’ history:
It’s where the chief of the local clan repelled the Spanish invaders in 1521 and, in the process, killed the explorer Magellan – the first recorded time a western invader had been repelled from any part of the Philippines.
Mactan Island is connected to Cebu Island by two road bridges and hosts Cebu International Airport and a number of upscale resorts.
This shows Mactan Island in relation to Cebu Island:
And this looks more closely at Mactan Island with the location of the Lapu Lapu monument (discussed below with pictures) and the resorts:
Today Cebu is the Philippines’ second city and home to many multinational companies, focused on the shipping, call centre and IT industries.
It is, however, the Philippines’ oldest city and, as I wrote above, one that holds an important place in the country’s history.
It sits on the coast below a range of mountains that run down the centre of Cebu Island.
As you drive up into the mountains you pass homes, hotels and restaurants, all of which have great views of the city.
But for the best view, you need to drive up to Tops which, as its name implies, is on the crest:
Cebu City is connected to Mactan Island by two bridges, both of which experience extremely heavy traffic and long delays, particularly at peak times.
As a result, people who work on Mactan Island tend to live there, and those who work in Cebu usually live there, despite the fact that Mactan is a nice place to live.
Cebu is generally cleaner and less polluted than Manila because the primary industries are call centre and IT and, on Mactan, tourism.
It offers a wide range of attractions, and the Spanish influence is evident in the many churches and historic buildings that exist both in Cebu City and elsewhere on the island.
It also has many natural attractions and, in another article, I wrote about my trip to the Kawasan falls at Badian, Cebu.
Mactan Island and Lapu Lapu
Mactan Island is a coral island and offers some wonderful beaches and diving locations.
It boasts a lot of high-end resorts along its eastern coastline, making tourism an important industry.
At the northern end of the island is the Lapu Lapu monument, commemorating the heroics of Chief Lapu Lapu. It is located in a beautifully kept park:
This is the statue of the chief Lapu Lapu, who slew Magellan:
And here is the monument itself:
Within the park is a pavilion with a commemorative plaque to the Battle of Mactan, in 1521:
. . . and here is a painting of the battle:
Resorts on Mactan Island, Cebu
As I said above, Lapu Lapu is on Mactan Island, which is clean and well maintained because of the importance of the tourist industry.
It’s a nice place to live, and I recently bought a plot of land there with my Filipino partner, on which we will build a house.
It hosts the International Airport, and, as I wrote earlier, there’s an array of resorts on its east coast.
- Shangri-La Mactan Resort (I’ve stayed there a couple of times – it’s very nice)
- Movenpick Hotel, Mactan
- Bluewater Maribago
- Cebu White Sands
- Plantation Bay
- Chateau by the Sea
- JPark Resort and Waterpark
- Be Resorts
- Solea Mactan Resort
- EGI Resort
If you fly to Cebu, the proximity of the airport to the resorts makes for a quick transfer.
And yet you’re not troubled by overflying aircraft because the runway and flight path run parallel to the east coast, and well to the west of the resorts.
You have some options for getting to Cebu and Mactan, depending on whether you’re already in the Philippines or visiting from abroad:
- From within the Philippines you can fly to Cebu (Mactan International airport) or take a ferry
- If you’re visiting from abroad you will need to fly. There are a number of Asian locations from which you can fly direct to Cebu, but from outside of Asia you will need to fly to Manila and then connect to Cebu
Have you visited Cebu, Lapu Lapu or one of the resorts there? I do recommend it (but then I am biased!) Let us know in the comments!
The Expat Traveller