‘Little Merman’ takes 17½ hours to swim around Mactan Island

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LAPU-LAPU City resident Cleevan Alegres completed the circumnavigation of Mactan Island in 17 hours and 37 minutes.

The 25-year-old Alegres, dubbed Cebu’s “Little Merman,” left the beach at Liberty Shrine in Barangay Mactan at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 25, 2021, and returned to the same spot at 10:37 a.m. Monday, April 26.

He swam a total of 44 kilometers.

Initially, his aim was to finish the feat in 20 hours. But with conditions favoring him, he ended up shaving three hours from his target.

Alegres is the first native of Lapu-Lapu City to swim around the Mactan Island.

He dedicated his achievement to the quincentennial celebration of Lapulapu’s victory over Ferdinand Magellan at the Battle of Mactan on Tuesday, April 27.

Alegres also wanted to send a message to the public about the importance of protecting the environment, especially the oceans.

He said everything went as planned until he encountered some problems off the coast of Cordova town. He said it was low tide and he ended up hurting himself on sea urchins.

“Niana ra gyud ko sa ako kaugalingon nga mahuman ra gyud ni. Nahiwa ni akoa kamot tungod sa kahunas. Kaon rako og duha Snickers ug usa ka Powerbar,” matod ni Alegres.

(I told myself that my ordeal would end eventually. I cut my hand on sea urchins because of the low tide. I just ate two Snickers bars and one Powerbar.)

For his accomplishment, Alegres received P42,000 from the Mactan Electric Company.

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan, who was on shore to greet a weary, but happy Alegres, said the City Council will pass a resolution giving Alegres P100,000.

“Dako kaayong history ang nahitabo karong adlawa. Garbo ug dungog namo kaming mga Oponganon, kaming mga anak ug apo ni Lapulapu nga aduna gyud mi dugo ni Lapulapu nga taga Barangay Maribago nga nagmalampuson siya nga ni-circumnavigate sa island of Mactan. This is already a history of the Oponganon,” Chan said.

(What happened today is a historic moment. It’s a proud moment for us, Oponganons, that one of Lapulapu’s descendants from Barangay Maribago successfully swam around Mactan Island.)

Alegres’ next plan is to swim around the whole province of Cebu. (GCM / PJB)