Apart from being popular for its luxury hotels and resorts (i.e., Shangri-La, Plantation Bay), island getaways (i.e., Pandanon, Olango), and water sport activities (free diving, scuba diving, wakeboarding), Mactan Island of Cebu also makes a good layover excursion for travellers who have less to one day opportunity.
Below is a do-it-yourself (DIY) guide with a sample budget for a well-organized layover activity while in Mactan. The order of activity kicks off with the nearest place from Mactan airport.
Tip: You can leave your luggage at the airport luggage depository for a certain fee.
Here is a map to give you a glimpse of the places we will cover. You may skip some depending on the schedule of your next flight.
1st stop: Cebu Yacht Club
- Description: The premier yacht club of Cebu is home to a few restaurants like Bucket Shrimps, Giardino de Mare, Vue Dine and Drink and the 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 a romance aficionado.
- Operating Hours: 8:00AM to 6:00PM
- 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 (Mactan) Shrine
- 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 in its opposite side, an octagonal-based obelisk is dedicated to Ferdinand Magellan.
- Entrance Fee: none
- Location: Punta Engaño, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu
- To get there: From the 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 you off at the shrine. Fare is P10 and travel time is 20 minutes.
- Rating: 2/5
3rd stop: Alegre Guitar Factory
- Description: Locally, Cebu is known for handmade guitars and top in the list of famous guitar makers is Alegre Guitar Factory. Owned and operated by a professional musician, the guitars at the factory goes 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 guitar factories. Alegre sells the finest guitars, thus becoming the most expensive compared to the rest. Feel free to visit other factories like Susing if you wish to buy cheaper ones.
- Operating Hours: Everyday, 7:30AM to 5:30PM
- Location: Pajac Abuno, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu
- 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 motorycyle 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
4th spot: Cebu Happy World Museum
- Description: Seventy paintings that seem to jump out of the frames – that pretty much summarizes what Happy World museum is about. The paintings which use optical illusion and creative perspective, are divided into six sections, each with a unique offering to visitors. There is the Philippine pride section, Jurassic, Religious Beliefs, World Famous Art, Ocean and Ending section.
- Operating Hours: Everyday, 10:00AM to 10:00PM (admission is until 9:00PM)
- Entrance Fee: P400 for older than 18 years old, P300 for younger
- Location: Brgy. Gabi, Cordova, Cebu
- To get there: From Alegre Factory in Abuno, take a tricycle to the main road, then a multi-cab that goes to Cordova. Fare is around P10. Ask the driver to disembark at the crossing. Take a tricycle that goes to brgy. Gabi and drop off at the museum. Fare is 8. Travel time is 20 minutes.
- Rating: —
5th stop: 10, 000 Roses
- 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, 11:00AM to 11:00PM
- Entrance fee: P20
- Location: Day-as Barangay Rd, Cordova, Cebu
- To get there: From the museum, 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
From here, you may go back to the airport, or if time still allows, visit additional attractions in Mactan or venture to a Cebu City tour for a half-day:
Going back to the airport
From the roses, ride a trisikad (rickshaw) to take you to the main road. Ride 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.
|Transportation from Mactan Airport to Cebu Yacht Club||Php60.00|
|Transportation from Yacht to Mactan Shrine||Php10.00|
|Transportation from Shrine to Alegre Guitar||Php28.00|
|Transportation from Alegre to Happy World Museum (with entrance fee)||Php438.00|
|Transportation from Museum to 10,000 Roses||Php50.00|
Marcelo Fernan Bridge (and Millennium Park)
Description: Constructed back in 1999, the cable-stayed bridge which prides of its fine engineering connects the southern part of Cebu and the northern coast of Mactan Island. Below the bridge is the Millennium park where kids can play and adults can stay and chitchat. The small park is a favorite among locals. It’s a good place to watch the sunset with the picturesque Mactan channel and the bridge in view.
Entrance Fee: none
Location: Old Patiller Road, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu
To get there: (To Millennium Park) From the airport, hail a cab that will take you to Marina mall. Take a multi-cab which has a “Punta Engaño” sign that goes to Opon (Lapu-Lapu) Public market. Drop off near the foot of the bridge and walk to the park. It will take for about 15 minutes.
Olango Wildlife Sanctuary
An egret at the mangrove area of the sanctuary.
- Description: Olango is a nearby island from Mactan. It’s 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 around near 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, 9:00AM to 5:00PM
- Entrance Fee: P20 for adults, P10 for children, P100 for foreigners
- Telephoto lense fee: P300
- 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 a bit bumpy but manageable so prepare ahead.
- Note: Food will not be available at the sanctuary. Be sure to pack enough for you upon going.
- Rating: 3.5/5
For Cebu city tour, click the links below:
Tips for Travellers:
- This is a layover. Be conservative with your plan. Don’t bite off more than what you can chew.
- Be wary of tricycle drivers who overprice their fares. Agree with the price before hoping on.
- Taxis are readily available in most of the areas. If time constraints, resort to taking one to save time.
- Be sure to be back at the airport two hours (if it’s domestic) or 3 hours (if it’s international) before your flight.
- If you want the best sunset view, go to these places during sundown: 10,000 roses, Marcelo Fernan bridge, Cebu Yacht club and Olango Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Observe the Leave No Trace ethics.
- Enjoy. Have a moment. Don’t just do it for Instagram.
BE A RESPONSIBLE TRAVELER
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