During my most recent trip to Camotes, I found out that there was a public beach called Mactang Beach. It’s spelled just like Mactan, but with a G. The spelling isn’t the only similarity between the two places, however. Did you know that Mactang is also related to the Magellan expedition? You read that right. So how could two very similar places also have almost identical names? That got me confused as well.
Popular Beach in Poro
Mactang Beach is popular among locals and visitors alike because of its crystal clear water and pretty impressive beach. Located in the town of Esperanza, the ‘purok’ is only minutes away from the local high school and market (which were both close to where I stayed.)
Like our very own Mactan, Mactang is a crowd favorite, especially on weekends. The vast tree-lined beach is an ideal spot for late afternoon bonding sessions with family and friends or an early morning jog or stroll. Unlike our Mactan, however, this one is practically empty. You don’t see massive resorts and restaurants around. It’s basically just a row of tables and a few pop-up vendors that also disappear when the crowd is gone.
The Magellan Connection
You may have heard the ‘theory’ that the actual Battle of Mactan took place not in Lapu-Lapu City but here in Mactang in Poro, Camotes. A few years ago, this ‘story’ was all over Facebook and a lot of people thought that this was the truth. Renowned archeologist Jobers Bersales, however, has released an article debunking this ‘fake news.’ I will not elaborate because I’m no expert, but his main point was that the Battle of Mactan DID take place in Mactan.
Scouring the beach during my visit, I found out that there was a historical marker in the area.
And, as a matter of fact, it turned out that the place played a very big role in the Quincentennial Commemorations in the country in 2021.
The historical marker is simple and well-maintained. Standing in the middle of a concrete platform, it’s almost impossible to miss when you enter the public beach.
The front side of the historical marker shows a sculpture featuring the Spanish galleons and the locals. The word PORO can be seen below the sculpture.
Here is a closer look at the sculpture featuring the galleons and the natives playing local musical instruments.
At the back of the marker, the truth is revealed. The marker indicated that Poro, particularly Mactang, was part of Magellan’s expedition route.
According to the marker, from Leyte, the expedition traversed the islands of Poro on April 6, 1521. The group temporarily stopped in the waters of Poro to wait for the boats of the Rajah Colambu who was guiding the team to Cebu in order to trade for supplies. They intended to use these supplies for their further journey to Maluku.
Now that it’s all clear that the Battle of Mactan did not take place here, we can talk about other things. For example, we can talk about how gorgeous this beach was even if the tide was super low during my visit.
Or, we can talk about how nice it would be to explore the amazing mudflats of Mactang in the late afternoon.
Well, we didn’t have too much time. So, this pose along the road with this marker would have to do. I Love Mactang!
I’ll definitely come back for more, that’s for sure! See you!