5 Awesome Things You Can Do in Mactan Without Spending

People have this notion that Mactan island is nothing more than a tourist trap. Well, they’re actually right. Being Cebu’s gateway to the rest of the country, the island is home to luxury resorts, beautiful hotels, exclusive spas and restaurants that only tourists with A Really Big Budget can afford. Sometimes locals can’t even go to these “tourist spots” without shelling out a several hundred pesos, which kind of sucks. Good thing some concerned islander (aka me) came up with this list of 5 insanely fun and cheap things you can do while in Mactan. 

1. Jog at the Marcelo Fernan Bridge
Cost: zero
Look at that awesome sunrise! 

The Marcelo Fernan Bridge (more popularly known as the “new” bridge) is the second bridge that connects Mactan to the rest of mainland Cebu. It’s one of the longest bridges in the Philippines. The Marcelo Fernan Bridge is also the go-to place for locals who enjoy a nice, early morning jog. Come up here for a great view of Metro Cebu over the channel.  The best part? It costs absolutely nothing. Nothing.The amazing sunrise is also a bonus.

2. Eat your heart out at Lumpia ni Senyang
Cost: Around Php50/person
Lumpia ni Senyang is located at R. dela Serna St, Poblacion Lapu-Lapu City (it's right behind the church!)

Every town has their own legendary kind of pungko-pungko and Lumpia ni Senyang is the island’s very own. Senyang has been selling her famous lumpia since the 80’s —a testament that her food has been tried and tested for decades. Challenge yourself with their special extra spicy hot sauce that would surely make you cry for your mama. Don’t worry, Nang Sinyang also sells buko juice to stop you from snivelling. If you’re FC (feeling close) she could even throw you yema for free! 

3. Go crazy on ukay-ukay
Cost: Php 50-300 depending on your level of shopholicness/self-control
Got these authentic boat shoes for just P300. Srsly, where else can you get a bargain like that?

Downtown Opon is a secret treasure trove of clothes. You’ll find your next #OOTD in dozens of ukay-ukay shops that line downtown Poblacion. Every night, there is also a huge shoe sale where you can get great finds for only around Php300. What a steal!

4. Go on an adventure
Cost: Php 50 for your multicab and sikad fare
No one's looking! Light up the sky if you feel like it. :)

While most of the island is now being developed into residential areas and leisure spots, there are still a lot of relatively unexplored nooks and crannies that you can run off to. The municipality of Cordova is technically not part of the island, but it’s one of the area’s last frontiers. Go on an adventure and head out to the pier on a bike, or hire a sikad driver to take you there. There are some sari-sari stores around, but mostly the place is quiet and picturesque. Perfect for jumping off the dock or lighting up fireworks when no one is looking.

5. Head to the sea
Cost: Php100/person
(photo by: mike)
Well, this is obvious. Mactan’s beaches were very popular in the early 90s and over time, big names have taken over most of the island. You can’t get into a great beach without shelling out at least several hundred to a couple thousand pesos for day use in these facilities. Luckily, hope comes in the form of 2 words for people on a budget: island hopping. You can get a boat that can accommodate 30 people for just Php3500—-way cheaper than what you’d spend on a resort. Pack some grub and Urbandub on your speakers and you’re ready to go. The best place to go, personally, is the Gilutungan Fish Sanctuary. You’ll need to pay an additional Php200 (100 if you talk to the right people) for a swim.Easily one of the best snorkel experiences of my life. And imung ipag-Starbucks, i-snorkel nalang sa Mactan. You won’t regret it.

I hope you enjoy Mactan even on a limited budget! :)

This post can also be found on my Tumblr. :)

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