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Mactan Shrine: Depicting the History of Filipinos' Bravery


The Mactan Shrine in Punta Engaño, Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippine was where the battle between the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and Mactan Island chieftain Lapu-Lapu happened.

Tourist visits the place to see the famous site of the "Battle of Mactan".

by Kheem Caparas on July 31, 2013
Mactan Shrine: Depicting the History of Filipinos

The Mactan Shrine in Punta Engaño, Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippine was where the battle between the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and Mactan Island chieftain Lapu-Lapu happened.

Tourist visits the place to see the famous site of the "Battle of Mactan".

Ferdinand Magellan had been successful in bringing the Christianity to the people of Cebu. From there, he also crossed the sea to reach Mactan Island in the hope to spread the Christian faith in the area. But before reaching the shore, Magellan was killed, along with his Christian Soldiers, by the Mactan Island chieftain Lapu-Lapu who led his men armed with spears, swords and shields for the battle of supremacy and freedom on April 27, 1521.  The battle was later recognized as the historic Battle of Mactan.

Magellan’s body was never recovered and in the year 1866, they built a monument in the spot where they believed he was slain, honoring Magellan as a great explorer. The marker is called the Magellan Marker or Magellan Shrine and is located inside the Mactan Shrine. The memorial tower made of coral stone is an obelisk approximately 30 meters high. The phrase "Glorias Españolas" was put there, which means "Glory to Spain". 

The Lapu Lapu monument is a 20-meter bronze statue. It was built to honor the native leader Datu Lapu-lapu.  Lapu-lapu is holding a shield and a "kampilan" or sword in his hand. In some written historical articles, Lapu-Lapu was known to be a Muslim and a Tausug, and was also named as "Kaliph Pulaka", "Cali Pulacu", "Kalipulako" and "King Kalipulako de Maktan".

 The Battle of Mactan mural painting can be found hanging on the wall across the Magellan Marker. It is a painting of Lapu-Lapu fighting against Magellan. There is an inscription stating, "Here, on 27 April 1521, Lapu-Lapu and his men repulsed the Spanish invaders, killing their leader Ferdinand Magellan, thus Lapu-Lapu became the first Filipino to have repelled European aggression".

Every year in April, during the anniversary of the Battle of Mactan, the park hosts the "Kadaugan sa Mactan," a reenactment of the epic battle.

Souvenirs shops can also be found also inside Mactan Shrine and some are located near the parking lot. The shops sell handmade bracelets, T-shirts with prints, accessories made from shells, guitars and many more. Beautiful gardens, fish ponds, different plants, a resting area made by bamboo, some statues, and tribal arts are the things you can see inside the shrine. The shrine has clean restrooms; you need to take off your shoes first before entering, but a pair of "bakya" or wooden slippers are available near the door. There are also fresh seafood restaurants near Mactan Shrine.

Mactan Shrine will always remind us about the Filipinos' bravery and it clearly depicts the history of the Philippines, specifically in the island of Mactan. Many foreign and local tourists visit the place to have a glimpse of our beautiful past. To some, Mactan Shrine has turned into a leisure park. The grounds are well-kept and the place is well-preserved. People usually visit the place in the afternoon when they can have a beautiful view of the sunset.

How to get to Mactan Shrine

By air

From Manila, there is a flight going to Cebu – Mactan Airport, which cost 1,600 – 2,500. From the airport, you can ride a taxi cab and ask the driver to bring you to Mactan Shrine. The other way to reach Mactan Shrine from the airport is to ride a jeep or multicab going to Save More grocery, outside the airport’s vicinity. At Save More, you need to first walk to the highway and wait/ride a multicab/jeepney that passing through Punta Engaño. Then, ask the driver to drop you at Mactan Shrine.

By land with car

Mactan Shrine is located at the northeastern part of the island. From Cebu, you can travel using the two connecting bridges. The easiest way is taking the Marcelo B. Fernan Bridge (New Bridge). Take the road going north (to Mactan Export Processing Zone 1) and just follow the main road. About 5 kilometers after, you will reach the Mactan Shrine. It is a well-known landmark and asking directions from the locals is very easy.

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