Mactan is a sun-drenched island surrounded by sandy beaches and world-class dive sites. Luxury, all-inclusive resorts make Mactan popular with well-heeled travellers. Island-hop around the Cebu Strait, learn about the rich cultural heritage or simply sunbathe and sip cocktails by the pool.
Things to do in Mactan
Mactan is a launchpad for island-hopping tours in the Cebu Strait. The strait is studded with mini archipelagos like the Olango Group. Bask on white-sand beaches, swim in crystalline water and snorkel with colourful fish. Boat tours often include a lunch of BBQ chicken and fresh fruit.
Mactan Shrine recalls the island’s turbulent past. It marks the site where Portuguese explorer and colonist Ferdinand Magellan was killed by Filipino chief, Lapu-Lapu. The stone shrine is topped by a larger-than-life statue of Lapu-Lapu.
The waters surrounding Mactan Island are teeming with marine life. Local scuba schools will teach you to dive at world-class sites like Kontiki Reef and the Hilutungan Channel. Expect to see rainbow-hued corals, colourful sea sponges, enormous groupers and seahorses. Experienced divers can explore underwater caves and wrecks. If you’re lucky, you might spot manta rays and whale sharks.
From waterfront seafood grills to Asian fusion bistros, there are restaurants for every occasion on Mactan Island. For a taste of local cuisine, venture outside the resort zone to residential neighbourhoods. Try sisig, a Filipino specialty made with minced pork, chicken liver and a spicy dressing. Spend your sunsets sipping San Miguel at Mediterranean-inspired beach clubs.
Getting around Mactan
Depending on where you stay, Mactan can be easy to get around on foot. Taxis are a fast and affordable way to get around or you can ride local minibuses known as jeepneys. Two bridges connect Mactan with the neighbouring island of Cebu. Cebu City is a one to two hour drive away, depending on traffic. Mactan-Cebu International Airport is located on the island.