Lapu-Lapu’s twenty-foot bronze statue rise gracefully above the gumamela thicket circling Cebu’s famous shrine like the hero that Filipinos revere him to be. It was the first day of my jaunt to Lanao del Norte through Cebu and I thought about visiting a few of the city’s landmarks before continuing my journey to Mindanao that night.
The Lapu-Lapu shrine at Lapu-Lapu City is erected to commemorate the famous 1521 Battle of Mactan where Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan is slain by the island’s chieftain, Datu Lapu-Lapu. The shrine is erected in the coastal area of Punta Engaño where the actual conflict is believed to have occurred.
A thirty-meter high stone obelisk pylon stands at the center of the park where Magellan is said to be slain by the local chieftain. Inscribed on one side is his Portuguese name A Hernande de Magallanes and on the other side, the then Queen of Spain, Reinando Ysabel II.
Besides those two monuments, there’s really nothing much to see in the small park. There’s a faded mural depicting the battle, some historical markers and that’s it. The place, although frequented by tourists, is probably a favorite hangout for locals and students in the area after their classroom bells has rung.
I was walking along the edges of the park facing the Camotes Sea when I noticed the mangroves near the shoreline. The tide was at its lowest and I saw a few kids walking along the exposed whitish sand along the Punta Engaño Road. The sand looked firm enough to hold my weight, I went down the shore.
The mangrove was some meters away from the Lapu-Lapu Shrine and the area is probably submerged underwater during high tide. I was able to get as far as the edge of the trees where the seawater starts to come in. I was wearing shoes so I wasn’t able to proceed further.
From the break in the trees, I can see locals harvesting something from the shallow waters. I asked the kids nearby what they’re getting; they said a few unintelligible syllables and went giggling away. Hmm.
While walking through the beach, I saw multitudes of small fiddler crabs littering the sand. Walking towards them makes them all nervous and they burrow in the sand. But wait a few seconds without moving and out they come again. The crabs are colorful and look really cute with their single oversized claw.
With nowhere left to go, I headed back to the Lapu-Lapu Shrine and checked out the souvenir shops that line one of its sides. There were the usual knick-knacks that cater to the tourists frequenting the park; t-shirts, ref magnets, key chains and the likes. I bought the prerequisite guitar-shaped ref magnets, saluted Lapu-Lapu on my mind and proceeded on my journey.
Mactan’s Lapu-Lapu Shrine
Address: Punta Engaño Road, Brgy. Punta Engaño, Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu
Entrance Fee: None
GPS Coordinates: +10° 18' 39.08", +124° 0' 54.80"
View Location on Google Maps: Click Here