Cebu Lapu-Lapu Statue
"Mactan Shrine & The Hero Within Us"

Cebu Lapu-Lapu Statue & Mactan Shrine

Mactan Park is a historical spot where the famous Battle of Mactan was fought between Lapu-Lapu and Ferdinand Magellan's forces.

Being a significant place, Cebu government made this place special by establishing a park and erecting facilities and memorial items including Lapu-Lapu's statue and Magellan's arch.

You can easily stroll around the shrine through its concrete walkways. Tropical plants and flowers are some of the most obvious and beautiful sites you'll immediately observe.

Lapu-Lapu's Statue

The statue of this local hero is made of bronze standing on top of bricks and concrete pedestal.

The size of the statue is over-sized, which I believe to emphasize or express his greatness and bravery.

Lapu-Lapu's statue simply shows a figure wearing a native attire holding tight a 'kampilan' (a sword) on his right hand and a shield on his left.

The statue is surrounded with iron fences to fend off visitors from climbing up or anyone who might want to vandalize the structure. On the elevated garden that supports the pedestal of the statue, you can find colorful tropical plants and flowers giving a soft touch to the image right at the center and above it.

Most visitors or pilgrims of Lapu-Lapu love to take photos with a nice coconut tree in the background and blue skies and white clouds most of the time.

These are called Birds's Nest Fern, among other plants you can see at Mactan Shrine Park.

Who Is Lapu-Lapu

Lapu-Lapu was born in 1491 and reigned from c. 1510 to 1542. He was known under other names such as Si Lapulapu, Salip Pulako, Cali Pulaco and Lapulapu Dimantag.

Lapu-Lapu was the ruler of Mactan Island in the Visayas, Philippines. He was known to be the first native chieftain in the archipelago to resist a foreign intrusion on this Visayan Islands and regarded as the first Filipino hero.

It was during his reign as Datu (or king) of Mactan Island when the Spaniards first came to the Philippine Islands in the 16th century. The conquistadores arrived in Limazawa Island whose local chieftain readily embraced Christianity and got baptized.

Lapu-Lapu was a friend of Cebu's datu known as Rajah Humabon. Humabon himself was married to Lapu-Lapu's niece. However, their friendly turned sour when the Spaniards came led by Magellan. Later on, after the Battle of Mactan, the two became friends again but Lapu-Lapu decided to leave Mactan with his eleven children and some men for Borneo (wikipedia).

A painting depicting the famous Battle of Mactan than can be found within the shrine.

The Battle of Mactan

When Magellan and his Spanish soldiers tried to set foot on Mactan island, they were confronted by more than 1,000 warriors led by Lapu-Lapu.

Lapu-Lapu and his warriors only had spears, barong, kampilan, and other locally handmade knives and swords against Magellan's forces armed with guns and more sophisticated body armours. Magellan met his fate and most of his soldiers either perished or badly wounded.

Stories have it that many of Magellan's soldiers did not die during the battle but suffered and died due to their injuries. This famous battle is being reenacted every April 27 to commemorate this bloody confrontation between Lapu-Lapu and Magellan's soldiers.

Battle of Mactan Painting

The "Battle of Mactan" is a painting you can see in this shrine depicting the historic battle that was fought right on this spot. The painting is being protected and is under a roof where you can also find inscriptions for both Lapu-Lapu and Ferdinand Magellan describing briefly the time and events.

The Battle of Mactan painting is in itself not so attractive but the history itself is the interesting thing that one should need to know to fully appreciate the shrine.

The painting is only about 3 by 7 feet in diameter and it is encased with a hardwood frame and attached to the concrete wall facing towards the statue and the shore where the battle took place around 400 years ago.

TOP PHOTO (Lapu-Lapu's  Inscription)

Metal engravings inscribed with brief time and events for both Lapu-Lapu and Magellan, which are attached to the same and one marble slab.

BELOW PHOTO (Magellan's Inscription)

Lapu-Lapu Statues in the Philippines

To honor this Mactan Datu, the government erected this statue and renamed the town of Opon (in Cebu) into Lapu-Lapu City. Some politicians even proposed to change the island's international airport into Lapu Lapu International Airport but was faced with disagreement from other proponents due to some strategic reasons.

Lapu-Lapu's statue can be found anywhere in the country. Most probably, Filipinos took him as a symbol of freedom and courage, which later on was looked up to by later brave heroes including Bonifacio, Rizal, among other heroes.

You can also see another statue of this hero in Rizal Park, Manila, Philippines.

Lapu-Lapu Shrine Park

In this park, you can also enjoy the plants and flowers that give colors and life. After taking photos infront of the Lapu-Lapu's statue, you can stroll a bit on an elevated concrete walkway above the sea  which is an extension from the park itself.

Atop this walkway, you can enjoy the breeze, sailboats, sunset...

Ferdinand Magellan's Arch

Inside Mactan Shrine Park you can find an arch dedicated to Ferdinand Magellan. It is not a majestic compared to the Triumphal Arch in France, but it is a symbol of the Cebuano's who admire and respect Magellan's bravery and courage to lead his brave soldiers and bringing Christianity on the island.

There is nothing very special about the arch except that it looks towering and imposing its structure with inscriptions dedicated to the fallen explorer. He will be remembered not as an aggressor but as part of the very significant history not only for Mactan Island but also for the whole province.

Seals & Symbols of Lapu-Lapu

Being considered as the first Filipino hero, Lapu-Lapu's image and name can be seen in many places and items, including the...

  • official seal of the Philippine National Police
  • defunct 1-centavo coin circulated in the country in 1967-1974
  • type of grouper native to the Philippines known as "lapu-lapu" 
  • cocktail named Chief Lapu-Lapu, an alcoholic drink
  • street in the South of Market neighborhood of San Francisco, California, US
  • 30-foot bronze at the Teodoro F. Valencia Circle, Rizal Park, Manila
  • statue right infront of Cebu Capitol office

There were two Filipino films also made in honor of Lapu-Lapu, the first in 1955 and the second one in 2002.

A Souvenir Shops

If you want to purchase something, you can easily buy gifts as souvenirs about the place. Right below, you can see the photo decorated with various products produced by locals as their livelihood. You can purchase ceiling decors made of shells, bamboo fans, wooden bangles, straw bags, ukelele, guitars, etc.

Tip: Make sure to bargain and ask for more discounts...

Finding Mactan Shrine

To find this place, Lapu-Lapu's stature, Ferdinand Magellan's Arch, the garden and the whole park, you can take a taxi, motorbike, bus or any for hire transport you can get. My brother-in-law brought me there on his motorbike.

Punta Engano, Mactan Island is where you can find Mactan Shrine Park. It is a relaxation place for visitors who want spend quiet time with friends or family members.

By the way, there is an entrance fee that will be collected basically for maintenance purposes.

Thanks for visiting and reading through this page.Hope you'll drop by again and scan more interesting pages in this site.

Have a great day!

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