Mactan Shrine in Punta Engaño, Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippines is where the battle for supremacy and freedom took place between Ferdinand Magellan and Lapu-Lapu. Because of the success in Christianizing some native, Ferdinand Magellan a Portuguese explorer crossed the channel to Mactan Island in the hope to spread Christianity in the area. But even before reaching the shore, Magellan along with his 49 Christian soldiers were defeated by the chieftain of Mactan, Lapu-Lapu, along with his approximately 1,500 warriors armed with barong, spears, kampilan and kalasag on April 27,1521. Magellan and several other men were killed. This was later recognized as the historic Battle of Mactan.
The other soldiers were held prisoner. On May 1, 1521, one of Magellen’s ships, The Victoria, under the command of Juan Sebastian Elcano sailed from Cebu and anchored at San Lucar de Barrameda, Spain on September 6, 1522, thus completing the first circumnavigation of the earth.
Magellan’s body was never recovered and on 1866, a marker was raised on the spot where the great explorer died. The Magellan Marker or Magellan Shrine is located inside Mactan Shrine. It is a big memorial tower approximately 30 meters high, put up to commemorate the great Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan. The spot is purportedly where Magellan was killed.
Across the Magellan Marker is a covered area where a mural painting showing the Battle of Mactan is hanging on the wall. A commemorative marker can be found which gives people an insight that the spot is where Lapu-Lapu and his men repulsed the Spanish invaders killing Magellan during the Battle and thus making Lapu-Lapu the first Filipino to have repelled European aggression.
The Lapu-Lapu Monument can also be found inside Mactan Shrine. It is a 20-meter bronze statue of Lapu-Lapu holding a shield in one hand and “kampilan” sword on the other hand. The statue is on top of a base surrounded by low-level fence. It was built in honor of the brave Datu Lapu-Lapu who was a native chieftain of the island. In some written historical articles, Lapu-Lapu was Muslim and a Tausug and was also known as “Kaliph Pulaka”, “Cali Pulacu”, “Kalipulako” and “King Kalipulako de Maktan”.
Mactan Shrine hosts “Kadaugan sa Mactan”, a re-enactment of the heroic Battle of Mactan every year during the battle’s anniversary.
Distinctly, Mactan Shrine reminds bravery among Filipinos and clearly depicts the history of the Philippines specifically in the island of Mactan. Today, foreign and local tourists visit the place to have a glimpse of the so-called “history”. To some, Mactan Shrine has turned out to be a leisure park. The grounds are well kept and the place is well preserved. People would usually visit the place in the afternoon in which they can have a beautiful view of the sunset.
Mactan Shrine Souvenir Shops
Some souvenir shops are found inside Mactan Shrine and some are located outside near the parking lot. These shops sell printed t-shirts, handmade bracelets, guitars, accessories made purely from shells and a whole lot more. You could also have great seafood meals in one of the fish restaurants nearby.
How to get to Mactan Shrine
Mactan Shrine is located in the north-eastern part of the island. From Cebu, one can traverse using the 2 connecting bridges. The easiest 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 you will reach the Mactan Shrine. It’s a well-known landmark and asking directions from the locals would be easy.