Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Tour of Mactan, Cebu In Just 4 Hours?

Looking back, a four-hour tour of Cebu City was certainly not enough. But since we didn't have the luxury to explore everything listed on the itinerary, we settled for an express tour crafted by our super friendly tour guide/driver. It was a whirlwind trip, just like our Bohol Countryside Tour, wherein we managed to visit 10 sites and even sneaked in some time for souvenir shopping, all in roughly 6 hours.

To some degree, the four-hour Cebu tour gave us a glimpse of Cebu's historical past; but, it could have been so much better if we got a taste of its bustling culture as well via two well-known spots: Zubuchon which drove even Anthony Bourdain to call it as "the best pig...ever!" plus Kenneth Cobonpue's world-class showroom. 


Driving around Cebu

Allow me to share with you the five major tourist destinations that we managed to squeeze in during our four-hour tour of Mactan Island in Cebu.

1. Lapu-Lapu Shrine

Through several talks/seminars on Philippine History conducted at Crossroad 77, I've begun to see our national heroes in a different light. For the longest time, they were robbed of their honor for some writers have twisted the truth to make it appear that our ancestors were primitive, barbaric and devoid of any cultural tradition. Let's take for instance the case of Lapu-Lapu whose real name may have been Kalipulaku, if only, the Italian scholar Antonio Pigafetta spelled the name right.

Contrary to popular belief, Datu Kalipulaku was then a brave and honorable native chief of Mactan when the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his men first stepped foot on Zubu (Pigafetta's spelling for Cebu). Several history books have been terribly unkind to Lapu-Lapu when he was portayed as a war freak who killed the Spaniard out of sheer boredom. 

What actually happened was that Magellan and his 27 Spanish commanders and crew of the galleons Trinidad, Concepcion and Victoria raped the 50 virgins of Cebu! That repulsive act provoked the Datu to kill the Spaniard and his men during a banquet on April 27, 1521. It was actually an acrimonious cry for retribution on how these foreigners trampled on our women's honor; and, most certainly not just as a random killing spree for cultural domination.

Lapu-Lapu Shrine in Mactan, Cebu

Truly, a hero of this magnitude deserves a memorial that transcends time and generations. But when I saw the statue up close, my heart was torn into pieces. I saw several traces of cracked stones and chipped paint which confirmed circulating reports that the bronze used in the sculpture was not first-rate. I can't help but compare how we Pinoys take our monuments for granted when our Japanese counterparts spend millions in restoring their temples, just like in the case of the Kiyomizudera (Kiyomizu Temple) in Kyoto.


Lapu-Lapu Shrine in Mactan, Cebu

Although the Lapu-Lapu Shrine has been featured in a number of TV programs and blogs, what the public usually fails to see is the land surrounding the famed monument. The undeveloped area around the shrine can't help but add a sour note to its already depressing state. 


Undeveloped area creates an even depressing tone to the Lapu-Lapu Shrine

Lapu-Lapu Shrine
Inside Mactan Shrine Park
Punta Engaño Road, Lapu-Lapu City
Mactan Island, Cebu

2. Magellan Shrine

Just a few meters away from the Lapu-Lapu Shrine is the Magellan Monument. For me, it's deeply ironic that despite Magellan's crimes, for some reason, a large memorial tower was still put up to honor him.


Magellan Shrine inside Mactan Shrine in Cebu

Magellan Shrine
Inside Mactan Shrine Park
Punta Engaño Road, Lapu-Lapu City
Mactan Island, Cebu

3. Fort San Pedro


Otherwise known as Fuerza de San Pedro, Fort San Pedro was considered an important military bastion during the Spanish regime. Spanish as well as indigenous Cebuano laborers were tapped by Miguel López de Legazpi and the Spanish Government in Cebu to build it at the time.  

Today, with just a Php 10 entrance pass, anyone can enter this once mighty fortress. It's surprising to know that despite its meager fees, last year alone, according to Sun Star Cebu, the fort was able to generate Php 9 million worth in revenues.

The site though beautiful, badly needed some form of restoration. It's a good thing that Fort San Pedro Executive Director Erwin dela Cerna "is pushing for a P10-million facelift for the 275-year-old facility," Sun Star Cebu writes.

Fort San Pedro in Cebu

Front Entrance of the Fort San Pedro in Cebu


Fort San Pedro in Cebu


Cuerpo de Guardia: Main Building at the Fort San Pedro in Cebu

Inside the museum at Fort San Pedro

Paraphernalia inside the Fort San Pedro Museum in Cebu

Cobbled pavement at Fort San Pedro in Cebu


Fort San Pedro in Cebu


Fort San Pedro
Pier Area, Cebu City
Entrance Fee: Php 10.00

4. Magellan's Cross

Placed inside a chapel on the busy Magallanes Street, Magellan's Cross was flocked by a sturdy flow of visitors from the time of our arrival. There were those busy snapping photos while a handful prayed intently in front of the cross. Although quite imposing in photos, I was rather surprised to see that the cross itself wasn't as huge as I expected it to be.

It turned out that the actual cross used by Magellan was encased inside the wooden one as shown right here. This was done to protect it from being vandalized by eager visitors waiting for a chance to chip off some parts as souvenirs.



Magellan's Cross in Cebu

Historians say that Magellan's Cross marks the entry of Catholicism in the Philippines because of the arrival of the Portuguese explorer in Cebu. Even "the King Humabon of Cebu and his queen, son and daughters with some 800 of their subjects were baptized into the Catholic faith by Father Pedro Valderrama."

Engraved Writing About the Cross of Magellan

Magellan's Cross
Inside a chapel beside the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino
Magallanes Street, Cebu City

5. Tabo-an Public Market

To cap our  four-hour tour, we decided to buy some pasalubong (gifts/treats) at the popular Tabo-an Public Market. An array of dried fish welcomed us and our senses feasted on this one-of-a-kind food fest set before us. The market featured a series of stores that you can choose from depending on the type of pasalubong you're looking for.

Taboan Market in Cebu

Heaps of dried fish at Taboan Market in Cebu

Cebuano and Boholano Delicacies and other Pasalubong at Taboan Market

My Pasalubong Choices at Taboan Market


Taboan Public Market
B. Aranas St.
Cebu City



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