The beautiful Mactan Island is situated just off the southern coast of Cebu Philippines. Although it is heavily populated, with around 430,000 inhabitants, there are still a number of unspoilt areas, but what Mactan Island is well-known for is its tropical resorts. It is one of the biggest tourist regions in the country, and now attracts people from all over the world. The island is easy to get to as it has its own airport.
The first recognized inhabitants on the island were a small colony of Muslims, although it now appears that native tribes were already present. However,the Spanish took over in the 16th century, as they did with most of the Philippines. It wasn’t until 1730 that the first recognized town was established at Opon, now known as Lapu-Lapu.
Despite the fact that the island only covers 25 square miles (65 square kilometers), it has one of the most successful industrial areas in the country at the Mactan Export Processing Zone. This was opened up in 1979, and now consists of over 35 successful companies. The biggest slice of income though comes from the tourist industry.
One of the best tourist activities, not only on the island, but in the region, is the diving and snorkeling that it offer. Divers from all over the world come to Mactan Island to swim around the local reefs and wrecks. For those who do not like to get wet, there are a number of glass-bottomed boats available. The best area for these activities is the Hilungtungan Island Marine Park.
For those people who enjoy playing golf, there is the Mactan Island Golf Club, but the island has something for everyone. The island has some of the best beaches in the region, most of the resorts allow one day access, while the area is full of restaurants. The all you can eat buffets are very popular with both locals and tourists. For people who like to spend their time relaxing and being looked after, there are a number of spas available. If you are looking for more freedom, then car hire is available, as are the local tricycles, and motorbikes or the Mactan tour provider will take care of this for you.
If you are looking for somewhere that is an established holiday island, with beautiful white sandy beaches, plenty of places to eat, and many things to do, then a visit to Mactan Island in the Philippines is a must.