MACTAN ISLAND: A PRACTICAL LAYOVER TRAVEL GUIDE FOR DIY & BUDGET TRAVELERS [UPDATED as of 2021]

Note: As a precautionary measure in this time of COVID-19 pandemic, it is best to check with the authorities the updated travel requirements and possible restrictions that might affect your travel plan. Contact Lapu-Lapu Tourism office at lapulaputourismoffice@gmail.com or Cebu Tourism office at cebuprovincialtourism@gmail.com or at (032) 888 2328 to know the latest update.

Remember to always follow the health and safety protocols imposed from your travel origin to your destination. I wish you a safe trip ahead!

Planning a Cebu layover trip or to tour around Mactan Island for the first time? This detailed DIY travel guide is exactly what you need. Scroll down and take note of the outlined information from sample itinerary and budget, best places to visit, top things to do, recommended transports, budget-friendly accommodations, and other travel tips. Have a fun and enjoyable trip ahead!

START HERE!

MACTAN ISLAND AT A GLANCE

Apart from being popular for its luxury hotels and resorts, island getaways and water sport activities – Mactan Island also makes for a good layover excursion for travelers who have less-to-one day opportunity.

Below is a DIY guide with a sample budget for an organized layover activity around Mactan, Cebu. The order of activities starts with the nearest place from Mactan airport.

Note: Because this is a stopover guide, the itinerary is created on a DIY rather than on an arranged tour package.

1st stop: CEBU YACHT CLUB

Cebu Yacht club during sunset.
  • Description: The premier yacht club of Cebu is home to a few restaurants like Bucket Shrimps, Giardino de Mare, Vue Dine and Drink and Clove on the Quay. It also offers a cruise experience, and is one of the places perfect for sunset viewing making it a good hideout for romance aficionados.
  • Operating Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Entrance Fee: none
  • Location: F. Martir St, Lapu-Lapu City
  • To get there: From the airport, grab a taxi and drop off at Marina mall (or go directly to Cebu Yacht club. It’s only 6 minutes away from Marina mall.) Fare is P60. If you opt walking, from Marina mall, walk across the main road and proceed to the corner beside Island mall. It will take 6 minutes by walking to get to the yacht.
  • Rating: 2.5/5

2nd stop: LAPU-LAPU (or MACTAN) SHRINE

The octagonal-based obelisk in honor of the Spanish invader Ferdinand Magellan.
  • Description: The shrine is dedicated to honor the Battle of Mactan where Lapu-Lapu, the first Filipino hero, defeated and presumably killed the Spanish invader Ferdinand Magellan in April 27, 1521. The very place is where the battle happened. At the shrine, a statue of Lapu-Lapu is installed to celebrate his bravery and honor, and on the opposite side is an octagonal-based obelisk dedicated to Ferdinand Magellan.
  • Entrance Fee: none
  • Location: Punta Engaño, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu
Lapu-Lapu on his armor and sword facing the old city hall of Lapu-Lapu city.
  • To get there: From Cebu Yacht club, walk back to the main road and hail a multi-cab at Marina Mall that has a Punta Engaño sign. Tell the driver to drop off at the shrine. Fare is P10 and travel time is 20 minutes.
  • Rating: 2/5

3rd stop: ALEGRE GUITAR FACTORY

Alegre Guitar Factory
  • Description: Locally, Cebu is known for handmade guitars and topping in the list of famous guitar makers is Alegre Guitar Factory. Owned and operated by a professional musician, the guitars at the factory go in different size, color and type to meet the varying tastes of its buying enthusiasts. Visitors are welcomed to observe the production process in an open space outside their showroom where a few of their employees make guitars from scratch to finish. The factory is located in Abuno which has a neighborhood of other guitar factories. Alegre sells the finest guitars, thus becoming the most expensive compared to the rest. If you wish to buy cheaper ones, feel free to visit other factories like Susing.
  • Operating Hours: Everyday, 7:30 a.m to 5:30 p.m.
  • Location: Pajac Abuno, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu
An employee showing an almost finished guitar.
  • To get there: From Mactan Shrine, walk to the nearest road and hail a multi-cab that has a “Maribago” sign on it. Fare is P8 and travel time is 20 minutes. Get off at Pajac (pronounced as Pahak) where tricycles (a motorcycle with a side car) for Abuno are lined up. Get one to take you to Alegre Guitar Factory. Travel time is 15 minutes and fare is P20. Please note that you will navigate through inner roads so it’s best to seek guide from the locals if unsure.
  • Rating: 2.5/5
Guitars hanging at an open space outside the showroom where employees stand by and play a guitar.

4th stop: 10,000 ROSES

At the aisle on the way to the 10,000 roses cafe.
  • Description: A picturesque scene of roses amassed outside a café – 10, 000 roses which has become a staple attraction in Mactan draws thousands of visitors for its luminescent, LED-powered glow of light. Visitors flock to the place from late afternoon to sundown to witness a fine view of the sunset, and later on, the bright glow of the place.
  • Note: Food in the café is a bit pricey. You may opt to eat at Lantaw restaurant located few steps outside the café for a more price-is-right, Filipino food experience.
  • Operating Hours: Everyday, 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
  • Entrance fee: P20
  • Location: Day-as Barangay Rd, Cordova, Cebu
  • To get there: From the main road, take a tricycle that goes to 10,000 roses. Or if the tricycle will not take you there directly, drop off at the highway and ride a trisikad (cycle rickshaw) that leads to the roses.
  • Rating: 3/5
The roses all aglow at sundown.

From here, you may go back to the airport, or if time allows, visit Olango Wildlife Sanctuary

OLANGO WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

A few steps to the viewing deck of the sanctuary.
  • Description: Olango is a nearby island from Mactan. Its wildlife sanctuary makes for a refuge of the largest concentration of migratory birds found so far in the Philippines. There are 97 species of birds in the island, 48 are migratory species, while the rest are resident birds. Birds are present all year round, but the highest concentration is during the months of October, November, January and early February. The best time to visit is during high tide going to low tide as birds tend to gather by the viewing deck. The sanctuary also has an immense seagrass bed which supports life for marine creatures and naturally-grown mangroves. Photography enthusiasts may have to prepare a telephoto camera to fully capture the birds at a distance. For sunset seekers, the sanctuary offers a perfect view of the sun as it settles down. Note: The Olango wildlife sanctuary tour will take half day including going to the island and back to Mactan.
  • Operating Hours: Everyday, 9:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m
  • Entrance Fee: P20 for adults, P10 for children, P100 for foreigners
  • Telephoto lense fee: P300
Few of the birds at the viewing area seen through a binocular.
  • Location: San Vicente, Olango, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu
  • To get there: Take a taxi or “Punta Engaño” jeep. Drop off at Hilton port located beside Movenpick resort (formerly Hilton hotel). At the port, take an outrigger boat bound to Santa Rosa which is about 15 minutes. Fare is P30. As you arrive at the pier, walk to the section where tricycle drivers line up. Take one. Round trip fare is P200. Negotiate with the driver to wait as public vehicles may not be available outside the sanctuary. The distance from Santa Rosa port to the sanctuary is around 5 kilometers. The road will be bumpy but manageable so prepare ahead.
  • Note: Food will not be available at the sanctuary. Be sure to pack some snacks as you go.
  • Rating: 3.5/5
An egret at the mangrove area of the sanctuary.

GOING BACK TO MACTAN AIRPORT

To get back to Mactan Airport from 10,000 Roses, ride a trisikad (rickshaw) to the main road, then a multi-cab which goes to Mepz 1. Drop off at Marina mall. From the mall, take a taxi back to the airport. Fare is around P60.

MACTAN CEBU LAYOVER ITINERARY & BUDGET

ActivityPrice
Transportation from Mactan Airport to Cebu Yacht ClubPhp60.00
Transportation from Yacht to Mactan ShrinePhp10.00
Transportation from Shrine to Alegre GuitarPhp28.00
Transportation from Alegre Guitar to 10,000 RosesPhp100.00
TotalPhp198.00

USEFUL PHRASES

Like in any parts of the Philippines, the locals in Mactan, Cebu can speak and understand English. However, here are some good phrases that might prove useful when you find yourself endearing with them.

English to Cebuano (the prevalent language among the locals in Mactan, Cebu)
Thank you – Salamat
Good morning – Maayong buntag
Good afternoon – Maayong hapon
Good evening – Maayong gabii
How much is… – Pila ang…
Where is… – Asa ang…

TIPS FOR TRAVELERS

  1. This is a layover so be conservative with your plan. Don’t bite off more than what you can chew.
  2. If you charter a tricycle, agree with the price before taking the ride.
  3. Taxis are readily available in most of the areas. If time constraints, resort to taking one to save time, make sure it uses a meter.
  4. Be sure to be back at the airport two hours (if it’s domestic) or 3 hours (if it’s international) before your flight.
  5. If you want the best sunset view, go to these places during sundown: 10,000 roses, Cebu Yacht club and Olango Wildlife Sanctuary.

EXTEND YOUR TRIP

Here sample travel guide if you plan to extend your trip to Cebu.

For a hassle-free experience, KLOOK offers tour services including transport that are specific for Mactan and the rest of Cebu. Use the search box below:

Klook.com

WHERE TO STAY IN MACTAN CEBU

The best accommodations in Mactan are beach resorts to enjoy the waterfronts and water activities that Mactan Island can offer. Here are two of the beach resorts. Click the photo for more details.

CRIMSON RESORT & SPA
Rating: 8.4 | Price: 7,296 for a room good for 2 adults and 2 kids
MOVENPICK HOTEL MACTAN
Rating: 8.3 | Price: P4,080 for a superior king room good for 3 persons

You can also opt to stay at an accommodation near Mactan airport. Click the link for more details.

MEET THE BLOGGER

Leaning on our boat at Punta Sibaring 1. This photo was taken during a high tide.

Hey there! I’m Ker, The Fun-sized Traveller. Fun-size because I’m a short guy from the Philippines. Thanks for checking out this virtual block I have started building since my 30th birthday to document my 2nd quarter life. Yup, it’s more of a personal pursuit, but a part of me also wants to give back to the travel community that is why I make it a point to share travel articles out from my trips around Asia.

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