This brief guide to Lapu-Lapu City will help you plan your trip. It contains information on what to do, eat, and drink as well as the must-see spots and the best hotels.
A highly organized city in the province of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu is located on Mactan Island along with the municipality of Cordova. It is known for its significant role in Philippine history being the site for Battle of Mactan where Lapu-Lapu, the then chieftain on the island and whom the city was named after, defeated Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. This resulted in the delay of Spanish occupation of the islands by over forty years.
A shrine stands to commemorate such an event and is one of the tourist attractions in the city. Apart from its historic significance, Lapu-lapu City attracts tourists with its beaches, various water activities, and resorts – from budget-friendly to luxury ones. Mactan-Cebu International Airport, the busiest airport in the Philippines outside Manila, is also located in Lapu-Lapu City.
Best Time to Visit
It’s best to visit the Philippines during the dry season. Dry season in the Philippines spans from November through April. These are the summer months in this country.
Be aware that temperatures and humidity levels are particularly high in April and May.
The best time to be a beach bum and explore the islands is from March to May.
TIP: This guide recommends that booking for Lapu-Lapu City summer trips should be done as early as possible, at least a month before your travel dates, since resorts get fully booked early.
The period from June to October is the rainy (wet) season and is best avoided due to the high possibility of typhoons. The typhoons can not only be destructive, but most tours and activities are cancelled under such circumstances. Transportation via plane and boat is also seriously impacted as well. This happens frequently so beware!
This guide recommends traveling to Lapu-Lapu City in April-May or in November-December, just before and just after the rainy season. This will likely bring fewer crowds, yet pleasant weather, and is also a great time to score a travel deal.
Plug commonly used is Type A but Types B and C are used as well. Bring A to B adapter(s).
There are many ways to get here depending on your starting point. This guide recommends using the following online tools to identify all the available options and cost for each while in Lapu-Lapu City: Rome2Rio and PHBUS. The following are the major ports of entry for this destination.
The following are the modes of transportation available in Lapu-Lapu City …
SEE & DO
The following is your guide to places to see and activities to enjoy while in Lapu-Lapu City.
1 | Go on a heritage tour
The Mactan Shrine found on the island commemorates the Battle of Mactan in 1521 when Lapu-Lapu, the country’s first hero, killed Ferdinand Magellan, Portuguese explorer and leader of the Spanish invaders. The shrine displays paintings and plaques about the battle, the towering statue of Lapu-Lapu, and Magellan Monument.
2 | Go on island-hopping tour
Island-hopping is one of the most popular activities to do in the city, and Mactan Island in general. The tour includes visits to several islands, particularly the Olango Island Group which is composed of six islets and a marine sanctuary which is considered the most extensive in the region.
3 | Try snorkeling or scuba diving
If island-hopping isn’t enough adventure for you, try snorkeling or scuba diving. Marigondon Cave is recommended for advanced and deep divers. Its entrance is located 30 meters below while the floor is around 37 meters. Its diameter is around 10 meters and the length of the cave is 40 meters. Various levels of divers, including beginners, may want to try Kontiki House Reef, Hilutungan Island Marine Sanctuary, and Nalusuan Island Marine Sanctuary.
4 | Check in at a resort in the city
Several resorts are found all over the city from budget-friendly to luxury ones such as Dusit Thani, Plantation Bay Resort and Spa, Crimson Resort and Spa, Solea Mactan Cebu Resort, and Bluewater Maribago. Several of these resorts have access to whitesand beaches and provide a variety of water activities such as banana boat ride, parasailing, and diving.
5 | Enjoy the public beaches
Beaches in Lapu-Lapu can be accessed not only through resorts. There are also public beaches for everyone to enjoy. Marigondon Public Beach in Barangay Marigondon is blessed with fine white sand and pristine waters. Its close proximity to a spot where there is a thriving aquatic flora and fauna makes it a favorite among divers. Tonggo Beach, also in Barangay Marigondon, has low-hanging cliffs that provide shelter from the sun while swimming in the water. Baliwis Beach may be rocky but it’s worth a visit to see its unspoilt beauty.
6 | Tour the guitar makers and shops
Guitar is one of the popular products of Cebu, particularly the island of Mactan. If you are planning to buy a guitar or to see how guitars are being made, you can tour the guitar makers and shops such as Inday Celia’s, Susing’s Guitars, and Alegre Guitars. They are already established guitar makers but you can also check out smaller manufacturers like Abuno Jerry’s Guitars.
7 | Experience Cebu nightlife
Although the nightlife is not as alive as that of Cebu mainland, Lapu-Lapu is where bars, karaokes, discos, and other night spots are located. Several resorts, particularly the luxury ones, have their own bars with an extensive selection of drinks. Entertainment such as live band and performances are also provided for total enjoyment. Places you may want to party are Azure Beach Club, Ibiza Beach Club, and Shangri-La’s Breeze.
8 | Nearby Attractions
Olango Island is approximately five kilometers away from the coast of Lapu-Lapu. The island is home to Olango Bird Sanctuary, one of the seven best-known flyways in the world for migratory birds.
NOTE: The Sinulog Festival occurs annually in the nearby Cebu City every 3rd Sunday of January.
EAT & DRINK
The following is your guide to the flavorful food to enjoy and restaurants to try while in Lapu-Lapu City.
1 | Ibiza Beach Club
Movenpick Hotel’s Ibiza Beach Club is the top restaurant on the island. It is a fine dining restaurant that serves Asian and Mediterranean cuisine including tapas and churrasco. Aside from being a great dining spot, it is also a top destination to enjoy the night away as it offers a great selection of drinks and provides entertainment including dance performances, show bands, and others.
2 | Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa
Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa has four restaurants to accommodate guests with various culinary preferences. Acqua, located by the pool, serves Italian cuisine and is a great place to start your day with baked goods, fresh juices, milk, and cereal for breakfast. The restaurant also serves lunch and dinner. Their must-try dishes include fettuccine garlic cream and lemon seafood risotto.
Cowrie Cove, on the other hand, is perfect for romantic dining under the starry night. While it’s a good spot for seafood curry, breads, and ribs, their best dishes are Cowrie coconut soup, grilled seafood platter, and kilawin tangigue.
The other restaurants are Tea of Spring and Tides which are both located in the garden level. Tea of Spring features contemporary Chinese and Asian while Tides is an open kitchen serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideal for families even with kids.
3 | Abaca Restaurant
Abaca Restaurant is located at Abaca Boutique Resort, an exclusive resort with deluxe suites and villas. The restaurant, with its romantic ambience, serves Mediterranean cuisine and takes pride in using fresh seafood and organic herbs and vegetables from their own garden along with other imported ingredients. Don’t miss their prawn and scallops handmade spaghetti and their flat breads.
4 | Azure Beach Club
For romantic ambience or scenic views of the sea, one of the best spots in the city is Azure Beach Club of the Crimson Resort. It has an open kitchen concept serving gastronomic delights from lunch to dinner. It also has a great selection of cocktails and other drinks to enjoy while being entertained by different performances.
5 | Giuseppe Pizzeria & Sicilian Roast
Satisfy your Italian food cravings at Giuseppe Pizzeria & Sicilian Roast. Founded by an Italian chef, the restaurant boasts of using high quality ingredients and traditional recipes to achieve authentic Italian flavor. Try their Spaghetti Marinara and Parma Ham Pizza along with popular Italian beers such as Birra Moretti and Peroni.
6 | AA BBQ
With nine other branches all over Cebu, AA BBQ is ideal for casual dining with large group of friends and family. It has an open-air setting and customers can choose from the glass display which meat or seafood to be grilled. Their specialty include chorizo, crispy pata, lechon kawali, native chicken lechon, and pork barbecue.
KNOWN FOR: Lechon
WHERE TO STAY
There are many different types of accommodations available in this destination ranging from hostels to luxurious resorts. The following is your guide to our top choices for each range in Lapu-Lapu City.
1 | Eloisa Royal Suites (Budget)
2 | Goldberry Suites and Hotel (Mid-Range)
3 | Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan (Luxury | Resort)
This guide recommends using the following sites to conduct research online of where to stay in Lapu-Lapu City or for a specific destination:
Book your room with these trusted online booking sites. Booking online in the Philippines almost always guarantees the best price and a room when you arrive. We use these sites frequently to get the best prices and enjoy convenient bookings. Click each of the buttons below to find the best place for you at the lowest rates:
TIP: Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan is the best property to experience this destination.
Use the chart below to get an idea of how much to budget daily. Actual amounts will depend on YOUR travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages … some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less. Prices are in USD.
A bed in a hostel dorm costs from 350 PHP ($7 USD), but smaller dorms can cost from 500 PHP ($10 USD). For a private double, prices start around 700 PHP ($14 USD).
Most budget hotels begin at 700 PHP ($14 USD) per night for a double room and usually include free wifi and breakfast. For a three-star hotel, prices begin around 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) per night. AirBnB is also widespread throughout the country, with private rooms starting from as little as 500 PHP ($10 USD) per night. For entire apartments, expect to pay at least 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) per night.
Resorts and luxury accommodations vary greatly from 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) to 5,000+ PHP ($100+ USD). However, there are some really nice resorts and luxury accommodations which are surprisingly affordable.
Local food is extremely cheap, with street food costing under 50 PHP ($1USD). For an inexpensive meal at a local restaurant, prices start around 100 PHP ($2 USD). For a meal at a mid-range restaurant with drinks and table service, expect to pay from 200 PHP ($4 USD). Knowing that their target customers are primarily tourists, Western food venues can be pricey compared to Filipino food. Also, some of the ingredients need to be imported, which contributes to the higher cost. Western food (burgers, pizza, pasta, etc.) is much more expensive but is still relatively affordable at around 200 PHP ($4 USD) for a meal and drink.
Fast food like McDonalds will cost around 200 PHP ($4 USD). A beer at the bar will cost around 50-100 PHP ($1–2 USD).
A week’s worth of groceries will cost between 300-600 PHP ($6-12 USD) per person. However, food in this country is so inexpensive, and kitchens & refrigerators are hard to come by, I don’t recommend cooking your meals here since there is plenty of delicious street food to eat at very cheap prices. You won’t make it as good as they do and the food is too delicious to miss!
There are many modes of transportation available in the Philippines and each varies greatly.
Public Transportation is cheap. Bus services on the islands are inexpensive. Local buses (called jeepneys) are the most common type of transportation in towns and cities. The fare is usually between 7-25 PHP ($.20–.50 USD).
On islands without a bus system, a taxi or tricycle is the only form of transport with fares starting at 50-500 PHP ($1-$10) USD for short trips.
Taxis are everywhere, and they’re very cheap. Most fares shouldn’t cost you more than 500 PHP ($10 USD) around town.
To get between islands, you’ll need to take a boat or to fly. There are ferries that connect the island together since they aren’t too far apart but, generally speaking, flights are the most realistic option.
Flights between islands usually cost about 2,000-3500 PHP ($40-70 USD). However, this isn’t the cheapest way to travel. It’s only recommended if you have limited time.
Attractions & Activities
Most attractions and activities in the Philippines are pretty cheap. Most attractions throughout the area are FREE to enter, though some of the more well known and popular ones cost 5-100 PHP ($.10-$2 USD) to enter.
Depending on the activity, most day tours only cost around 1,000-1,500 PHP ($20-30 USD), oftentimes less. You have more bargaining power if you go with a group. If you are expecting to do some climbing, remember to pack some warm layers. It gets cold at the top!
Other activities such as Island Hopping, scuba diving, helmet diving, swimming with whale sharks, jungle trekking, canyoning, ATVs, jet skis, wakeboarding, cruises, parasailing, horseback riding, cultural experiences, and tours can cost as much as 1,250-5,000+ PHP ($25-100+ USD).
The Philippines is one of the least expensive places to learn how to scuba dive. Learning to scuba dive usually costs about 15,000-20,000 PHP ($300-400 USD), but often includes FREE accommodation for the duration of the course, which lasts three or four days.
Always book your tours and activities when you arrive. Stick to travel agents who are selling on the ground. If a travel agent won’t negotiate with you, move on to the next until you find one that will. Booking tours online is almost always more expensive.
Typical Costs in Lapu-Lapu City in 2023:
- Hostel Dorm Bed: 250-350 PHP ($5–7 USD) night
- Budget Hotel: 700 PHP ($14 USD) night
- Mid-Range Hotel: 1500 PHP ($31 USD) night
- Street Food: 50-150 PHP ($1–3 USD) meal
- Restaurant Meals: 200-300 PHP ($4–6 USD) meal
- Local Beer: 50-100 PHP ($1–2 USD) bottle
- 1.5L Bottle of Water: 38 PHP ($.75 USD) bottle
- Jeepney Ride: 7-25 PHP ($.20–.50 USD) ride
- Tricycle Ride: 20-100 PHP ($.5-2 USD) ride
- Taxi: 75-500 PHP ($1.50-10 USD) ride – use GrabTaxi app
- Long-Distance Bus Ride: 400-500 PHP ($8–10 USD) ride
- Public Ferry Ride: 200-300 PHP ($4–6 USD) ride
- Domestic Flight: 2,000-3,500 PHP ($40–70 USD) flight
- Island-Hopping: 1,000-1,500 PHP ($20-30 USD) trip
BEST NO-FEE INTERNATIONAL DEBIT & CREDIT CARDS
The following is some of our best advice on traveling to Lapu-Lapu City. Learn what you need to know BEFORE you go!
Tips & Hacks
he following are our Top 10 Tips when visiting this destination in the Philippines:
- Be aware that a tourist VISA is only 30 days. You can extend it upon arrival, or within the first 30 days, for an additional 30 days for a fee of approximately 3,000 pesos.
- Don’t buy into the fear factor. The Philippines has an unjustified reputation of being a dangerous place. It’s true there are security guards everywhere, but that is to deter theft.
- Manila is NOT the Philippines. Get outside of the cities to see the real Philippines.
- Don’t over plan. Boats, buses, and even airplane schedules are notoriously unreliable. Be flexible.
- Check the weather. The weather varies greatly throughout the Philippines daily.
- Typhoons can have a huge impact on your plans. Account for this when planning your trip.
- It’s not cool to raise your voice or show outward frustration in public.
- Be polite at all times. Realize that your country’s sense of humor may be different from Filipino humor and take this into account when interacting with Filipinos and while in public places.
- Things move at a slower pace. Accept it … don’t get frustrated … but do account for it.
- Don’t drink the tap water… but stay hydrated! Save money by buying large bottles (6-10 liters) of water and using it to fill your water bottle or hydration bladder in your backpack.
For a complete list of our travel tips & hacks, check out the following guide and be sure to download a FREE copy for yourself.
The Philippines has its own currency called the Philippine Peso. Banks, ATMs, and money-changers can be found on the island. If you are exploring the neighboring islands or provinces, make sure to bring enough cash that will last until the next time you get to an ATM or bank since most tours, transportation, and budget accommodations only accept cash.
Health & Safety
While overall the Philippines is a safe country to visit, as is Lapu-Lapu City, you need to use common sense just as you would in any country, especially when traveling, and in a city, town, or area you are unfamiliar with.
Consult your hotel or resort front desk as they are more likely to give you reliable information than a random stranger on the street. Be careful when approaching strangers and selective about who you approach. Always pay attention to your gut feeling and follow it.
There are many things to consider when traveling in order to stay safe … things that we may not be accustomed to during our normal everyday lives. The following are articles about tips on how to stay safe while traveling in the Philippines:
- 6 Common Accidents to Avoid
- How to Beat the Heat in the Philippines
- Taxi Safety Tips: Dos and Don’ts
- Motorbike Safety Tips
- Beach & Ocean Safety Tips
- Sun Safety Tips
Staying fit & healthy can be challenging when traveling in the Philippines.
The tropical Philippines climate requires you to prepare for illnesses that you may not normally be accustomed to.
The following are our Top 10 Tips for Staying Healthy while Traveling in the Philippines:
- Maintain a Balanced Diet
- Stay Hydrated but Only Drink Bottled Water
- Get Plenty of Rest
- Allow Your Body Time to Adjust
- Keep Active
- Sanitize Often
- Be Aware of Food Safety Concerns
- Take Your Vitamins
- Practice Safe Sex
- Be Prepared Should You Get Sick
You need to have a local-based SIM card in order to stay connected when in the Philippines. Network giants such as Globe and Smart have SIM cards you can use to make calls, send text messages, and also to connect to the Internet. A SIM card costs around 50 PHP ($1 USD) and usually comes with a FREE load worth 50 PHP ($1 USD). You can buy a card containing a code you can enter on your phone to replenish your load or buy an electronic load that is available almost anywhere in the city.
While you may not have problems with signal strength when in the city, it is not always the case when on islands or in remote areas of a province. So when arranging for transportation pick up, say when renting a boat to take you to and pick you up from the island, it would be best that you make it clear what time you need to be picked up before the boatman leaves.
Recommended Travel Apps
Apps for smartphones and tablets can be useful both before you leave and while you’re traveling. Most are available for iPhones and Android phones.
- Grab (taxis/ride shares)
- Angkas (motorbike ride-hailing)
- WhatsApp (phone calls)
- Skyscanner (flights)
- Rome2Rio (transportation)
- Agoda (accomodations)
- Booking.com (accomodations)
- AirBnB (accomodations)
- Traveloka (flights, accomodations, activities)
- Klook (attractions & activities )
Be certain to download and set up apps BEFORE leaving on your trip to make certain each is installed and working properly.
For our complete list of travel apps that we use and recommend while traveling in the Philippines, checkout our checklist below. Download a FREE copy for yourself as a PDF.
Trying to decide what to do when traveling to a destination for the first time can be a bit overwhelming given your lack of familiarity with the place along with all of the available options.
We’ve created the following itinerary to help simplify the process and ensure that you get the most out of your trip. Although we provide a 7 day itinerary for this destination, it can always be adjusted to fit the length of your trip.
The secret to a successful and stress-free trip is to start by using a packing list. This will reduce anxiety from the start and ensure that nothing important is forgotten when packing. To make this process easy for you, we’ve created a detailed packing list. Click the link below to download it for FREE now.
Carrying your checklist with you during your travels can be useful when repacking, by helping to ensure that you do not leave anything behind.
Things to Remember
This guide recommends to take note of the following while traveling in Lapu-Lapu City or in the Philippines in general.
There is a nationwide ban which prohibits smoking in public places including indoors, the streets, on sidewalks, in restaurants , and on public transportation, requiring smokers to use designated smoking areas. Selling tobacco to and purchasing from or for minors is also prohibited. Violators are subject to fines (up to 5,000 PHP | $100 USD) and even 4 months in prison.
The minimum legal drinking age is 18. Alcohol such as beer and hard drinks can easily be bought in grocery and convenience stores. The most common alcoholic beverage is beer, generally served cold. Local alcoholic drinks include tuba (coconut wine which is usually very strong) and potent moonshine-like clear liquors made from sugar or fruit. Imported beer, wine, and name brand hard alcohol are available but expensive.
Drugs are illegal in the Philippines. Don’t use, buy, or sell any non-prescription drugs while in the Philippines … not even marijuana. It is considered an especially heinous crime to buy from, for, or sell drugs to children. The penalties are severe … up to and including death.
Public nudity is illegal in the Philippines and is not tolerated. Most locals consider it offensive. There are laws which prohibit provocative and erotic clothing and swimwear, therefore carefully consider your clothings and swimwear choices to make certain they are not too revealing.
Foreigners & Expats
If you are not a Filipino citizen, remember that you are a guest when visiting this country … be certain to act accordingly. Respect the people, their customs, and the environment and wlidlife. You can be deported and banned … so behave … but have fun and enjoy all that this wonderful destination has to offer.
Don’t Forget …
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