BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
A delicate balance between modernity and
culture gives Lapu-Lapu a unique advantage
as the country’s “Historic Resort City”
BY JOHN LEE CANDELARIA
INTERVIEW BY DANIEL MARCO NICANOR
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE CITY TOURISM
OFFICE OF LAPU-LAPU
Imagine living in a city with a deep connection to its past as a site of an epic historic event. It would be great to be able to relive these moments, in a place where our ancestors bravely fought encroachers to their land. Now, how about living in a modern city with a world-class airport, luxurious five-star hotels and resorts, a bustling industrial center, and top-notch technological centers and development hubs?
You do not have to go far to experience both, because in the City of Lapu-Lapu, the best of both worlds is a reality.
Lapu-Lapu was formerly a municipality called Opon, established by Augustinian friars in 1730. It was renamed in 1961 through Republic Act 3134, also known as the City Charter of Lapu-Lapu. The city chose to honor a Filipino chieftain of Mactan Island, whose troops defeated the Spaniards led by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. The site of the Battle of Mactan in 1521 is located in the city, declared a national shrine in 1973. Today, the people of Lapu-Lapu refer to themselves as “Oponganons,” as an homage to their original name.
Composed of 19 barangays in the mainland and 11 barangays in Olango Island, Lapu-Lapu is separated from the province of Cebu by the Mactan Channel. Two bridges, the First MandaueMactan Bridge and Marcelo H. Fernan Bridge, facilitate transportation to and from the province. Lapu-Lapu’s proximity to Cebu City, another major city in the region, creates a mutually beneficial relationship for further growth and development.
The city is also the seat of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, the second busiest airport in
thecountry. In 2016 alone, it serviced 8.8 million passengers, and might even go past 10 million in 2017 as arrivals increase every year.
A TOURIST DESTINATION IN AN INDUSTRIAL HUB
Under the leadership of Mayor Paz Radaza, the city branded itself the “Historic Resort City” in 2014
to highlight its two prominent features—as the site of the historic Battle of Mactan, and a major tourist
destination in Cebu because of its pristine sandy shores and white beaches. The city’s tourism tagline,
“Free Yourself,” is also telling of the amazing recreational experience one could have in the city, as well as the national importance of the history of the island of Mactan as Lapu-Lapu is believed to be the country’s first freedom fighter.
Tourists are treated to a host of destinations to choose from in LapuLapu itself. They can regale in the
tradition of pride and freedom in the Lapu-Lapu Shrine in Punta Engaño, where a towering statue of the
Filipino hero can be found, as well as the “Liberty Shrine,” formerly known as Magellan Shrine.