History, culture, and religion, you will not find a shortage on Mactan Island. Mactan Island’s legendary battle involving the renowned Portuguese conquering explorer Ferdinand Magellan and the Philippine’s proclaimed hero Lapu-Lapu is but a small part of what this island truly offers. Written history started during Magellan’s exploration of the Philippines. It is said that in the year 1200 A.D. that Filipinos started migrating south and inhabiting most of its islands, but of this we cannot be certain. Most of the history before 1521 A.D. is from oral and/or archaeological data, therefore unreliable at best.Magellan found the Philippines while looking for a westward route to the Moluccus Islands, where he then ordered his ships to anchor on the shores of Homonhon Island. Magellan was then guided to Cebu where he claimed the Philippines as Spanish territory and ordered that the Philippines pay tribute to Spain’s ruler Infante Carlos, Count of Molina, or Charles V. Lapu-Lapu one of two Mactan Island tribal chiefs, opposed Spanish rule and refused to pay tribute to her king. Magellan took 49 men to Mactan Island. Unfortunately Mactan Island’s beautiful coral reefs which extended some 50 meters from shore would not allow Magellan to use their superior firepower on the estimated 1500 opposition. Magellan perished in the battle, and there is now a monument both celebrating Lapu-Lapu’s victory, and remembering Ferdinand Magellan demise.Attractions: Lapu-Lapu Shrine was built to honor Mactan Chieftain Lapu-Lapu’s Heroic efforts in resisting foreign oppression. Today he is considered one of the Philippine’s first national heroes. Others may call this the liberty shrine, and can be viewed for free as this is one of Mactan Island’s top tourist attractions.Magellan’s Marker is believed by some historians to be the exact location of Magellan’s death. It is located near Lapu-Lapu Shrine and can also be viewed at no cost. This landmark was built in 1866 to memorialize the Portuguese explorer.Philippine Culture Shows are regularly performed at many of the 12 resorts spanning the island. These shows depict tribal dancing and sometimes historical reenactments of the islands history. You can easily get information on this quality entertainment from most all establishments on the island.Open water diving and snorkeling is the islands main focus with a dozen or more ocean sanctuaries, 30-50 meter reef walls, and beautiful white sands make this past time very appealing. Every resort specializes in diving, and can offer you a quality experience. It is recommended if you plan to scuba dive that you acquire your basic water certification before you make the trip.Getting To Mactan Island:Once you arrive in Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines you would need to make it to the fast ferry. All drivers in Cebu City know where this is. You can take traditional travel or hail a cab to the ferry. Prices are very reasonable, but I do suggest you barter; foreigners seem to get an abnormally high starter price. Once you arrive in Mactan you can take a cab or traditional travel to any of the 12 resorts spanning the island.Lodging:Cebu Beach ClubCebu Hilton Resort and SpaCebu White SandsCordova Reef Village ResortCostabella Tropical Beach ResortDays Hotel CebuEGI Resort and HotelMaribago Bluewater ResortPlantation Bay MactanShangri-la’s Mactan Island ResortTambuli Beach Club East WingTambuli Beach Club West WingWaterfront Hotel MactanFood and Beverage:Food is one of the biggest disappointments, there is not much for traditional flavors, and most of the establishments reside in your resort. When the resort gets you they plan to keep you there. I would suggest heading to Cebu if you want to see a larger selection of restaurants and bars, it’s a ferry ride away, and some great fun and entertainment. Most of the time I would say trust your driver on where to go, he usually knows the best spots for your money and stomach.