Mactan Shrine, Lapu Lapu City Cebu
Mactan Island is an island of Cebu in Philippines. It is located a few kilometers off the coast of Cebu and is connected to the mainland with the Mactan Mandaue Bridge and a second bridge Marcelo Fernan.
Mactan is known for some of its tourist attractions and some commercial resorts that are situated around its shores. These are favored by most locals and tourists since they can be visited a few minutes from within the island and are a few hours drive from Cebu City. The airport of the province is also located in the island.
Mactan is a small but progressing island. Before it came to be what it is now. It has a story to share. So before you visit elsewhere, don’t forget to drop by its historical site, the Mactan Shrine.
The Shrine is located northeast of the island along National Highway Punta Engano in Lapu Lapu City, Cebu.
It is free for anyone who wishes to visit.
Mactan Shrine preserves the earliest history of the Philippines. For over 300 years, Spain colonized and ruled the Philippine Islands. They first came in 1521. So it isn’t a surprise to see Hispanics traces in the country. One of which is this monument built in memory of the Portugese Navigator Captain and General Ferdinand Magellan which welcomes you at the center of the shrine.
In 1866, the Spanish Colonial Rulers of the Philippines built the 30 meters high obelisk. It was made out of coral. Magellan’s name is written on one side in spanish “Hernando de Magallanes,” on a second side, “Glorias Espanolas,” which means Spanish glory, on the third side “Siendo Gobernador Don Miguel Creus,” the Philippine Spanish Governor during that time. On the fourth side of the structure “Reinando Ysabel II” can be read which means Reign of Ysabel II, the Queen of Spain at the time.
The Spanish built the monument in memory of the man who led the discovery of the Philippines islands.
Here is a brief history:
King Charles I of Spain sent an Expedition to find a western sea route to reach Asia, in search of the Spice Islands which was known to produce spices. These ingredients were needed to add flavor and preserve food. Ferdinand Magellan led the Expedition. The portugese navigator commanded a Spanish Fleet in the name of Spain and during their voyage they landed in the islands of Central Visayas, Philippines. In March 16, 1921, they first anchored in the shores of Humonhon Island in Samar Leyte and later came to Cebu Island. They had successfully persuaded the Chief of Cebu and their neighboring chiefs to be converted into Christians and pledged their allegiance to the King of Spain. But there is one chief who refused to pay tribute to the King of Spain, a chief of Mactan. The other chief from the said island named Zula had already paid tribute. Ferdinand Magellan sailed to Mactan to meet this Chief who refused to accept Spain’s Rule. The latter still stood his ground. Magellan anchored far from the shore and was unable to bring his powerhouse ships near land. Magellan along his men set foot on the northeastern shores of Mactan Island and battled the natives. The Captain-General met his unfortunate fate and was slain by the Chief’s men.
Under an open shade, There is a panoramic painting that displays the said Battle.
A stone marks the exact said site where the general had fallen. It was erected in 1941 by the National Historical Institute.
The plaque reads
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 repulsed European Aggresseion.”
“Ferdinand Magellan’s Death.
On this spot, Ferdinand Magellan died on April 27, 1521 wounded in an encounter with the soldiers of Lapu Lapu, Chief of Mactan Island. One of Magellan’s ships, The Victoria, under the command of Juan Sebastian Elcano, sailed from Cebu on May 1, 1521 and anchored at San Lucar de Barrameda on September 6, 1522. Thus, completing the first circumnavigation of the earth.
The Captain-General failed to return home but one of his ship, the Victoria, under the new command of Juan Sebastian Elcano accompanied by 18 of the remainder of Magellan’s men were able to continue with the voyage and finish the Expedition. They completed the discovery of the western sea route to Asia and collected spices from the Spice Island known as the Muloccas in Indonesia which is located south of the Philippines.
From the Moluccas they crossed the Indian Ocean, then round the Cape of Good Hope heading north along the west coast of Africa, reached Santiago, Cape Verde and arrived at the Spanish port of Sanlucar de Barrameda completing the first documented circumnavigation of the Earth.
These events were accounted in Antonio Pigafetta’s journal. He was an Italian scholar who accompanied Magellan in his voyage. It is in his journal where we can find Philippine’s early history being first recorded.
To the Filipinos, Magallen wasn’t the first man to discover the Philippines but he was the first European who set foot on the islands and have claimed it for Spain. Magellan is also remembered for introducing the Chrisitan faith to Filipinos.
Further into the park nearing the shore, we get to meet the brave Chief who refused to bow down to a new ruler, Chieftain Lapu Lapu himself.
He is standing very protective of his land with his shield in one hand and a sword in another and is facing the rest of the shore where the known Battle of Mactan has taken place. The brave Chief Lapu Lapu is hailed as the first Filipino hero having been the first Filipino native to refuse the sovereignty of a foreign ruler.
At present, the Battle of Mactan is portrayed and celebrated each year in the same shores. It is almost unimaginable how this once battleground have now become a serene landmark for people to visit. The monuments are preserved well. The surrounding grounds are filled with soft green grass and with some coconuts planted. The shrine is adorned with various flowers and orchids. During a nice sunny weather, the fresh cool breeze greet the guests.
- If one walks towards the beach, there are tiny crabs that poke through the holes and snails lazily crawl on the moist sands. Mangroves also grew on the coast. During a low tide, the shores are stretched and the waters are far away from the shrine. At sunset, the view is scenic.
This is one place you shouldn’t miss visiting.
Mactan Shrine is a peaceful mini haven that retells the tale of brave and great men who made a history in this small island