Chief Lapu-Lapu - Warrior and Hero of the Philippines

Chief Lapu-Lapu - Warrior and Hero of the Philippines

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In the early 16 th century, Spain was becoming a global superpower due to innovations in navigation and seafaring. At the end of the previous century, Christopher Columbus, whose voyage had been funded by the Spanish Crown, arrived in the New World, ushering in a period of Spanish colonization in the Americas.

About 30 years after Columbus’ voyage, another navigator serving the Spanish Crown, Ferdinand Magellan, would discover a passage at the southern tip of the Americas leading to Asia. During this expedition, Magellan would reach the Philippines, and claim it for the Spanish Crown. Although his arrival was welcomed by some of the island’s rulers, Magellan made enemies too, one of whom was a local chief named Lapu-Lapu.

The bronze statue of Lapu-Lapu in Mactan. Wikimedia Commons

When Magellan arrived in the Philippines in 1521, he got involved in the rivalries of the local rulers, and managed to secure the allegiance of some of these men. One of the most important of these chiefs was the Rajah of Cebu, Rajah Humabon.

Near the island of Cebu was the island of Mactan, which was home to two rival chiefs, Zula and Lapu-Lapu. The former submitted to the Spanish and agreed to pay tribute, while the latter refused to submit to either the Spanish or Rajah Humabon. The defiance of Lapu-Lapu seemed to have made it impossible for Zula to send tribute to Magellan, causing him to request Spanish aid to defeat his rival. This resulted in the Battle of Mactan, in which the Spanish were defeated by Lapu-Lapu and his warriors, and Magellan himself lost his life.


An anonymous portrait of Ferdinand Magellan, 16th or 17th century.

As a historical figure, not much is known about Lapu-Lapu, as the only written source for him is found in the journal of Antonio Pigafetta, a Venetian explorer and scholar who accompanied Magellan on his voyage to the Philippines. It is through Pigafetta that we learn about Lapu-Lapu and his rival Zula, as well as the Battle of Mactan, the Spanish defeat and the death of Magellan. Although there are no known written accounts on the Philippine side, there are numerous folk stories about Lapu-Lapu.

According to folk tradition, the story of Lapu-Lapu may be divided into two sections. The first part of Lapu-Lapu’s story concerns the petrification of Datu Mangal, a chief of Mactan Island, said variously to be Lapu-Lapu’s father, uncle, or friend and right-hand man.

In the folk stories, Datu Mangal is said to possess supernatural powers and magical talismans. On one occasion, Datu Mangal lent a talisman to his friend, Capitan Silyo, who promised that he would return it after he had used it. Capitan Silyo, however, reneged on his promise, and did not return the talisman to Datu Mangal. As a result, Datu Mangal is said to have placed a curse on Capitan Silyo which turned him into stone. Before being turned completely into stone, legend has it that Capitan Silyo was able to place a counter curse on Datu Mangal, turning him into stone as well. As he was being petrified gradually, Datu Mangal had a vision of the arrival of the Spanish, and sent for Lapu-Lapu at once. Datu Mangal warned Lapu-Lapu about the impending danger, urged him to resist the invaders, and gave him other instructions.

Depictions of the tattooed indigenous people the Spanish encountered in the Philippines. “Pintados of the Visayas” Boxer Codex (c. 1595)

The second part of the story deals with the Battle of Mactan. In some versions, it is said that Lapu-Lapu and his men defeat the Spanish, and the chief personally kills Magellan. In other, more elaborate versions, various sea creatures attack the legs of the Spanish as they wade across the shallow sea, leaving them vulnerable to Lapu-Lapu and the islanders. Thus exposed, the Spanish were easily defeated by Lapu-Lapu, and the story comes to an end.

Pigafetta’s version of the Battle of Mactan agrees that the Spanish had to wade in shallow water, as the boats could not land on the beach due to the rocks protruding from the seabed. Pigafetta also provides more information about the battle. For instance, he mentions that the ranged weapons of the Europeans were also said to be ineffective against the islanders, and that Lapu-Lapu had 1,500 warriors, while the Spanish force consisted only of 60 men, 49 of whom participated in the battle, while the rest remained behind, guarding the boats.

Regardless of the way the Battle of Mactan actually played out, Lapu-Lapu is remembered as a hero who resisted and defeated the Spanish who invaded his land. Indeed, as the defeat of the Spanish at the Battle of Mactan is viewed as a significant event, the transformation of Lapu-Lapu into a folk hero, and subsequently a national hero, was almost guaranteed. As of today, Lapu-Lapu is still a major hero in the Philippines. Among other things, Lapu-Lapu is commemorated in two films about his life and a giant bronze statue of him on the island of Mactan.

Featured image: A depiction of the Battle of Mactan ( Nmcast at en.wikipedia)


Angeles, J. A., 2007. The Battle of Mactan and the Indigenous Discourse on War. Philippine Studies, 55(1), pp. 3-52.

Gloria, H. K., 1973. The Legend of LapuLapu: An Interpretation. Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society, 1(3), pp. 200-208.

Mojares, R. B., 1979. LapuLapu in Folk Tradition. Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society, 7(1/2), pp. 59-68.

Pigafetta, A., The First Voyage Round the World, by Magellan [Online]
[Lord Stanley of Alderley (trans.), 1874. Pigafetta’s The First Voyage Round the World, by Magellan.] Available at:

Sabornido, L. R., 2014. 14 Things You should Know about Lapu-Lapu and the Battle of Mactan. [Online]
Available at:, 2015. Mactan Island. [Online]
Available at:

By Ḏḥwty



The Chief Lapu Lapu is a delicious cocktail that has been admired by Tiki loyalists for decades and has lately become increasingly popular on menus across the globe. The cocktail which ironically is very easy to make despite having a complex and rich flavor profile, did not garner the immediate fame like its cousins, the Zombie and the Mai Tai. Only in recent years with the re-emergence of the Tiki culture has the Chief Lapu Lapu started growing in popularity. But an underlying growing theme to the Chief Lapu Lapu is that it celebrates multiculturism, as the cocktail’s name pays homage to a famous warrior chief and very likely was invented centuries later by a bartender from the same heritage.

Interesting facts about the Philippines’ first hero and the battle that he led to victory

The Battle of Mactan on April 27, 1521 was a very significant event in the country.

In our history classes, we learned that it was this day that Filipinos fought and won against Spanish invaders led by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

The man who led the Filipinos to victory is native chieftain of Mactan Island, Datu Lapulapu.

Most historical accounts of Datu Lapulapu state that he is from the neighboring island of Borneo and has reached the shores of Sugbo (Cebu) where Rajah Humabon ruled and was recognized as King.

Aside from being a Filipino hero and symbol of bravery, there are still many facts about Datu Lapulapu and the Battle of Mactan known through extensive research which are worth noting.

He was from Borneo

According to a folk epic taken from the oral histories of the region called the Aginid, Bayok sa atong Tawarik, when Lapulapu arrived from Borneo (Sabah), he asked Rajah Humabon for an area he and his people could settle in.

Humabon then offered them a place to stay in Mandawili (Mandaue), which included the island known as Opong (Opon).

Lapulapu soon after became the chief of the region’s people and was called Datu for his brave battles with pirates.

Later on, Lapulapu’s people helped enhance the trade of Sugbo when they cultivated the land in his region.

After the Battle of Mactan, the Aginid says that Lapulapu decided to return to Borneo with all his children, wives, and some of his men.

Lapulapu’s real name

Datu Lapulapu is also known for many names like Çilapulapu, Si Lapulapu, Cali Pulaco, Lapulapu Dimantag and as a Muslim Iranun Chieftain also known as Kaliph (Salip) Pulaka.

According to one account, there are various names for Lapulapu because of wrong translations by different writers.

In Antonio Pigafetta’s written accounts, the Italian scholar who joined Magellan’s conquest, he referred to Data Lapulapu as Çilapulapu.

While historians and writers seem to have different versions of his name, Lapulapu was described as a brave warrior and intelligent leader.

Did Lapulapu kill Magellan himself?

Datu Lapulapu was known to be the leader the group of men that won in the Battle of Mactan against the Spaniards.

But many writers and historians still debate whether the Chieftain himself killed Magellan in the battle.

According to research, it is impossible to tell whether Magellan lost his life in the hands of the Datu, and until this day, there is no evidence to support that.

Research also suggested that during the battle, Magellan was also very strong at 41 years old against Lapulapu, who was said to be 70 years old at that time.

How and when did Lapulapu die?

According to historical records, Lapulapu was born in 1491 but there are no exact dates recorded.

Some research suggests that he was already horseback riding at 6 years old, and was able to write and read a year after and then learned to be an excellent fighter.

Aside from swimming, he was also good at other sports.

When he was around 70 years old during the Battle of Mactan, some historian claim that he did leave Mactan and went back to Borneo but there are no more accounts as to how he died.

While others say that he died in Mactan a year after the battle, some locals believe that in his last years, Lapulapu turned into a stone in the ocean and vowed to guard the seas of Mactan forever.

During the battle, the tide was on Lapulapu’s side

According to Antonio Pigafetta’s document of events, the Spaniard’s boats were forced to anchor their ships “two crossbow flights” away from the shore.

So the soldiers had to disembark the boat and walk into a hand-to-hand combat with the locals.

Still, according to his accounts, Magellan only had 50 troop members during the battle, against Lapulapu, who had his 1,500 warriors.

Underestimating his enemy, Magellan did not decide to call more soldiers.

Pigafetta also wrote that Lapulapu and his army aimed their fire-hardened bamboo spears and poisoned arrows at the legs of the Spanish soldiers.

With Magellan being killed, the other soldiers that survived came rushing back to the ship and left defeated.

A 2018 photo of the reenactment of the Kadaugan sa Mactan at the Lapulapu shrine.

Historical records also state that the Battle of Mactan was never an official plan of Magellan’s mission.

When he arrived in the country, Magellan took efforts to convert all indigenous people to Christianity.

He baptized King Humabon of Cebu along with thousands of other natives.

But Magellan threatened to kill those chieftains who were against the conversion.

Lapulapu remains to be a symbol of courage and great leadership for leading his troops to victory and protecting his people from the foreign explorers.

The Battle of Mactan is celebrated every year on April 27 to remember the bravery and victory of the first Filipino hero.

Share your thoughts about Datu Lapulapu in the comments section of this video. We’d love to hear them!

Lapu Lapu nothing like the ‘inutile’ commander-in-chief

As the nation commemorates the 500-year anniversary of the Battle of Mactan, Malacañan spokesman Harry Roque once again expressed his veneration for the Philippine commander-in-chief by saying: He is my “modern-day Lapu Lapu!” The world wonders who believes him anyway. But Roque’s pronouncement pains the Filipino heart because Lapu Lapu is nothing like the “inutile” commander-in-chief.

Lapu Lapu was the Mactan chief who symbolized the bravery running in the veins of every Filipino. As an authentic leader of his people, he stood his ground, ready to spill his blood, and fought back the invading aliens.

Au contraire mon frère, just a couple of weeks ago, the Filipino and Chinese officials have engaged themselves in a verbal tussle over a hundred Chinese ships surrounding Julian Felipe Reef. China was definitely encroaching on the waters, which the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in said in a historic ruling belong to the Philippines. And what did the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Lapu Lapu of yore would be gravely offended. If ever, the courageous hero of Mactan would tell Roque: Don’t you remember that last year, by his own admission, your commander-in-chief said repeatedly: On this matter, talagang inutil ako d’yan, walang magawa (“I am inutile and cannot do anything…”)? He who is a bully to his own people is nothing but a meek lamb to China.

Not only Lapu Lapu but all Filipino heroes are now turning in their graves. At 35, Dr. Jose Rizal offered his dear life without sabre-rattling and aggressive rhetoric (“jet-skiing” to face the enemies) for his love of country he bravely faced the firing squad armed with Remington rifles at the Luneta. Like Rizal, Andres Bonifacio at 33 offered himself on the altar of martyrdom and is likely now fuming mad with the commander-in-chief because of the latter’s “meek and humble” submission to China of the latter.

Graciano López Jaena and Marcelo H. Del Pilar must be extremely shocked by such admission of incompetence in protecting our territorial rights and sovereignty. Leaving his family, country and comfort zone in Bulacan, Del Pilar went to Spain, worked himself to death and, in the words of Leon Ma. Guerrero, “dragged himself to Barcelona to wait for a ship that would take him back home. He was so wretchedly sick that, like an animal, he had to climb on hands and knees up to the poor garret where he lived.”

The lack of winter clothes and the fangs of hunger took a heavy toll on the health of López Jaena and Del Pilar. Imagine how they kept themselves warm during cold days by picking up and smoking discarded cigarette butts that littered the streets. At the end, their lungs were racked with tuberculosis and their physical constitution was obviously damaged by years of hardships and malnourishment. Imagine the anguish and the loneliness felt by our heroes before dying in a strange land. Both were buried in borrowed grounds in 1896.

López Jaena and Del Pilar, Rizal and Bonifacio, Gabriel Silang and Tandang Sora, and a host of valiant Filipinos stood their ground, ready to make the ultimate sacrifice, and fought for Inang Bayan. The polar opposite of what they did is capitulation, meaning submission that shamefully implies an admission of defeat, a “ball-less” surrender, which the present Philippine commander-in-chief seems to manifest in front of China’s claim of the Philippine waters.

And what is the price of capitulation? Our fishermen are starving because more than 260 tons of fish are illegally appropriated on a daily basis by huge Chinese fishing vessels. It means we are losing more than 30 billion pesos annually in damaged marine life and lost income for the local fishing industry due to China’s fishing operations in our territorial waters and, according to the environmental group Homonhon Environmental Rescue Organization (Hero), it is “worse than invasion.”

Soldiers, from privates to generals buried at the Libingan ng mga (tunay na) Bayani, who served during World War II, paid the dear price of sacrifice for every square inch of the archipelago and the waters that surround it. “This land is mine. God gave this land to me (us)!”

Mon frère Harry Roque, with due respect, do not insult the hero of Mactan by comparing him to your boss. Nothing like Lapu Lapu, the present commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines is the opposite of the true meaning of patriotism, a disgrace among Filipino presidents who served the country with honor and courage, and an unrivaled valedictorian in the hall of shame.

Philippines celebrates Hero Lapu-lapu in � Bank Note

The Philippine commemorative 5,000-piso note released Jan. 17 features 1521 Filipino chief Lapu-Lapu, to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the “Victory at Mactan,” a facet of the country’s rich pre-colonial history. Image courtesy of the Philippine central bank.

Philippines celebrates role in Magellan’s voyage on bank note

Lapu-Lapu, on the Philippine 1-centavo coin obverse from 1967 to 1993, is now also the subject of a commemorative 5,000-piso bank note (convertible to $104), becoming the central figure on both the country’s lowest denomination and its highest.

Piso is the Philippine name for peso.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Philippine central bank, in cooperation with the National Quincentennial Committee (NQC), launched the note and a medal on Jan. 17 to kick off the 99-day countdown to the 500th anniversary of the “Victory at Mactan.” Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan was killed in this battle, leaving the surviving crew to complete the world’s first circumnavigation without him.

The NQC said “The BSP and NCQ have collaborated on this commemorative banknote and medal to celebrate the heroism of Lapu-Lapu and his warriors, and to familiarize the present generation with the country’s rich pre-colonial history.” That includes, it added, “The special part the Philippines played in the world’s circumnavigation” by Magellan’s 1521 expedition.

The note’s face depicts a young Lapu-Lapu along with an image of the battle of Mactan, the QCP logo, and a karakoa, the large outrigger warship the Filipinos used.

The back shows a Philippine eagle, the manaol, symbol of clear vision, freedom, and strength, and of, the BSP says, the ancient regional belief that all living creatures originated from an eagle. A coconut tree represents food the islanders initially provided to Magellan and his crew and Mount Apo is where Magellan’s crew finally found directional clues to their intended destination, the Spice Islands (Maluku).

In 1521, Ferdinand Magellan accidentally landed on Homonhon Island (now called Samar) during his voyage to the Spice Islands in Indonesia. He formed an allegiance with local rulers, especially Rajah Humabon of Cebu, whom he convinced to be baptized into Catholicism with his wife. This is said to be the introduction of Christianity to the Philippines.

Magellan tried to introduce the religion to nearby islands like Mactan, ruled by two rival chiefs. While one, Zula, welcomed him and submitted, Lapu-Lapu opposed, leading to the Battle of Mactan.

According to Antonio Pigafetta, a Venetian scholar who joined the expedition and kept a journal, Magellan and 50 of his crew faced Lapu-Lapu and 1,500 warriors. Magellan’s army had European armor, but it was no match for the forces of Lapu-Lapu with fire-hardened bamboo spears and poisoned arrows, aimed at the legs of the Europeans. Magellan was killed. The survivors ran back to their ship and fled. Read more at Coin World

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

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Lapulapu gets spotlight in Philippines' quincentennial celebration

EARLY HERO. The Philippines wants to highlight Lapulapu in its commemoration of the first circumnavigation of the world.

MANILA, Philippines – What do you know about the year 1521?

Most Filipinos, indeed most people, likely recall this as the year Portugese explorer Ferdinand Magellan "discovered" a group of islands that would one day be called the Philippines.

This is exactly the history lens the Philippine government wants to change with the way it commemorates the quincentennial or 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the world.

Instead of highlighting this "euro-centric" view of history, the National Quincentennial Committee (NQC) formed by President Rodrigo Duterte, will highlight Lapulapu, ruler of Mactan Island in Cebu, who resisted the Spaniards.

"Lapulapu represents how gallantry and the spirit of freedom determined our destiny and history," said Karl Fajardo of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), a member of the committee.

He and other NQC members were presenting planned activities for the quincentennial celebration to stakeholders on Tuesday, September 10, in Makati City.

The NQC, through events it will hold from 2019 to 2021, want to tell the story of "one of the least appreciated, least studied heroes in our history," Fajardo added.

Thus, instead of focusing on Magellan's feat, the Philippines will highlight the Battle of Mactan on April 27, 1521, when Lapulapu's warriors fought the Spaniards and killed Magellan.

It will also highlight how early Filipinos cared for and fed the sickly and tired Spanish crew upon their arrival, which Fajardo said gave a preview of the hospitality and friendliness Filipinos would be known for.

What's the quincentennial all about? The quincentennial commemoration spans 2019 to 2021, corresponding to the years 1519 to 1521 when the Magellan-Elcano expedition was completed. This expedition, planned by Magellan but completed under the leadership of Juan Sebastian Elcano, Spanish captain of the ship Victoria, was the first to go around the world.

Because the Philippines was a part of the expedition, and was even where Magellan met his end, the Philippines is joining the commemoration.

But Lapulapu, not Magellan or Elcano, will be the hero of the Philippine commemorative events, said National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) chairman Rene Escalante.

The government also wants to highlight the Philippines' pre-colonial history, a time period riddled with blank pages because of the dirth of primary accounts about early settlers of the islands we now know as the Philippines.

"We want to reflect Filipino or Asian perspectives pursuant to the pronouncements of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to celebrate our ancestors and not colonialism," said Escalante.

As President, Duterte has sought to promote Lapulapu, saying many Filipinos are familiar with heroes from Luzon but not from the Visayas, where Duterte himself was born. Duterte declared April 27 as Lapulapu Day and created a set of awards named after the hero, the "Order of Lapulapu."

What events will be held? From 2018 to 2019, the NQC had been given some P17 million for its activities. Escalante said the NQC had so far spent some P10 million. For 2020, the Duterte administration is asking for some P100 million, an allocation which must still be approved by Congress.

Here's what the NQC is planning:

Quincentennial Songwriting Project - Songwriters can submit entries from which judges will choose 8 songs to comprise the "National Quincentennial Commemorations Playlist." Musicians will also compose a National Quincentennial theme song.

Lighting of landmarks on December 14, 2019 - 21 historic sites, monuments, and landmarks all over the country will be lit at 7 pm to begin the 500-day countdown to April 27, 2021, the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Mactan. The quincentennial theme song will be introduced to the public.

Balangay expedition - Also on December 14, recreated ancient balangays will sail from Butuan City, site of a precolonial kingdom, to visit different parts of the country until 2021.

Quincentennial Art Competition - This will run from February 2020 to May 2020

7th International Conference of the International Council on Historical and Cultural Cooperation-Southeast Asia - Southeast Asian historians will gather in Cebu to discuss 16th century Southeast Asia.

One-year countdown, launch of National Volunteerism Day - On April 27, 2020, countdowns will be held in 3 landmarks: Manila, Cebu City, and Davao City. Cleanup drives, medical-dental-optical services, tree planting, and other activities will be held to launch National Volunteerism Day.

Opening of Philippine Pavilion at 2020 Dubai World Expo - The pavilion, with the theme, "Reset the Filipino mindset," will showcase Filipino heritage, especially pre-colonial history. It will be open from October 2020 to April 2021.

Opening of Museum of Philippine Early History in Butuan City - The event marks the start of the 100-day countdown to April 27, 2021.

International Conference on the Philippine Part of the First Circumnavigation of the World - This conference, to be held from March 16 to 19, 2021, at the Philippine International Conference Center (PICC) will feature discussions on what transpired when Magellan and his crew arrived in the Philippines.

April 27, 2021 events - On D-day itself, there will be simultaneous flag-raising in various government buildings and public spaces dedicated to Phlippine heroes. The "Quincentennial National Park" will be inaugurated and a civic-military parade held. Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu is also thinking of staging a reenactment of the Battle of Mactan.

Chief Lapu-Lapu - Warrior and Hero of the Philippines - History

This file photo shows workers walking along a pathway in the deserted Rizal Park in Manila on 18 March, 2020, after the government imposed an enhanced community quarantine against the rising numbers of people infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus. (AFP Photo)

Yesterday, 12 June 2021 was the 123rd Independence Day of the Philippines. 12 June is one of the most important dates in the history of the Philippines for it marks the Declaration of Independence of the country from the clutches of Spanish colonial rule in 1898.

This is also the day when Filipinos celebrate and commemorate the courage, bravery, sacrifices, and heroism of Filipinos who fought for the freedom of the motherland from the colonisers. On this day, Filipinos commemorate not only the country’s hard-earned freedom and independence but its rich and colourful traditions and culture.

Likewise, on this day, the country’s sovereignty is much appreciated alongside the bravery of the martyrs and heroes of the revolution against Spain.

Indeed, the Independence Day of the Philippines was a monumental feat. It can be recalled that for more than 300 years, the Philippines was under the tutelage of Spain. It was a Spanish colony named after King Philip II of Spain. It was Ferdinand Magellan who discovered the Philippine archipelago in 1521, but it was during the expedition of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in 1565 that the Spaniards gained a foothold in the Philippines.

In retrospect, Magellan was killed by Lapu Lapu, a local hero in the Battle of Mactan, a fierce clash fought in the Philippines on 27 April, 1521 between the warriors of Lapu Lapu and that of Magellan in which the Spanish force was defeated.

As the Spaniards gained some footing in the Philippines, they built the city of Intramuros in 1571, which was later renamed Manila, and became the capital of the land. Then in time, the Spaniards ruled over the country and created a colony out of it.

In the course of Spanish colonialism, feelings and a sense of nationalism were ignited leading to a rebellion that was fuelled by the written works of Dr Jose Rizal, the country’s national hero, and the author of two novels “El Filibusterismo” (The Filibusterer), and “Noli Me Tangere” (Touch Me Not).

These books stirred a sense of patriotism and nationalism among Filipinos like wildfire strewn across the country, leading to the founding of the “Katipunan” led by Andres Bonifacio. The revolution against Spain commenced in August 1896, which led to the proclamation and declaration of Independence from Spain on 12 June, 1898 under the command of General Emilio Aguinaldo.

It was on this day that the Philippine flag was first raised and its national anthem was sung and played for the first time.


The celebration and commemoration of Independence Day in the Philippines at this time of the pandemic has been quite out of the ordinary without much fanfare. There were no parades nationwide, with less physical participation on the part of citizens and even from the government. There were not many celebratory activities since many areas of the country are still under lockdown.

Also, many Filipinos are frustrated with the lack of independence and freedom from the restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, despite a sense of frustration and exasperation, Filipinos still celebrated Independence Day in their homes with their families and virtually with friends and relatives in the hope that the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic will be won.

The country also celebrated Independence Day by displaying the national flag in various historical places, in many public and private establishments nationwide. In Rizal Park and other national historical landmarks, national government officials together with the Armed Forces, the Philippine National Police, and the general public, sang the national anthem Lupang Hinirang (Chosen Land), while raising the national flag.

President Rodrigo Duterte led the 123rd Independence Day rites in Malolos, Bulacan and paid tribute to Filipino heroes Marcelo H Del Pilar and Gregorio Del Pilar. He also paid tribute to the country's health care workers and other front liners, referring to them as “modern-day heroes” who have been battling the coronavirus pandemic.

Indeed, like the rest of the world, the Philippines is fighting a different war against an unseen enemy. The country is fighting for its freedom and independence from the coronavirus disease with its medical and essential front liners akin to fierce and brave modern-day warriors battling against the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

These modern-day heroes and heroines continue to battle it out while remaining steadfast despite the enormous risk to their lives in ensuring the safety of all Filipinos.

Thus, in celebrating the 123rd Independence Day of the Philippines, Filipinos must similarly fight for their independence and freedom from the socio-economic mayhem brought about by the pandemic.

That means in the practical sense being vaccinated and following the minimum health standards of wearing a face mask and face shields to protect others staying at home as much as possible, and avoid going to crowded places as much as possible. These are potent tools and prescriptions readily available that can be used to end the COVID-19 pandemic.

Filipinos, in general, can be heroes and heroines in their own right and help to contain the surge in COVID-19 cases by exercising shared responsibility and being vigilant following the minimum health standards/protocols prescribed by the World Health Organization (WHO), and by participating in the government’s national vaccination program.

Similar to the spirit of unity shown by their forebears during the 1896-1898 revolution and struggle against the Spaniards, Filipinos should once again unite to win the fight against COVID-19 to ensure the safety of all Filipinos and the country in general.

“Filipinos can be heroes in their own right. Each of us has been called upon to be heroes in our own right in fighting for our survival and devoting ourselves to the common good just as our heroes did more than a century ago," said President Duterte in a taped message aired during ceremonies at Rizal Park in Manila yesterday in celebration of Independence Day.

Anna Rosario Malindog-Uy is Professor of Political Science, International Relations, Development Studies, European Studies, SEA and China Studies. She has worked with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and other local and international NGOs as a consultant. She is President of Techperformance Corp, an IT-based company in the Philippines.

NAME - The historical name of Lapu-Lapu is controversial. The earliest record of his name is from the Italian explorer Antonio Pigafetta who accompanied Magellan in the Philippines. He records the names of two chiefs of the island of "Matan", the chiefs "Zula" and "Çilapulapu" (note Ç).The honorific Çi or Si is a corruption of the Sanskrit title Sri.In an annotation of the 1890 edition of Antonio de Morga's Sucesos de las islas Filipinas, José Rizal spells this name as "Si Lapulapu".The Aginid chronicle identifies him "Lapulapu Dimantag".

The title Salip (and its variants Sarripada, Sipad, Paduka, Seri Paduka, and Salipada, etc.) is also frequently used as an honorific for Lapu-Lapu and other Visayan datus. Despite common misconception, it is not derived from the Islamic title Khalīfah (Caliph). Like the cognate Si, it was derived from the Sanskrit title Sri Paduka, denoting "His Highness". The title is still used today in Malaysia as Seri Paduka.

The 17th century mestizo de sangley poet Carlos Calao mentions Lapu-Lapu under the name of "Cali Pulaco" (perhaps a misreading of the Ç used in Pigafetta's spelling) in his poem Que Dios Le Perdone (That God May Forgive Him).The name, spelled "Kalipulako", was later adopted as one of the pseudonyms of the Philippine hero, Mariano Ponce, during the Philippine Revolution.The 1898 Philippine Declaration of Independence of Cavite II el Viejo, also mentions Lapu-Lapu under the name "Rey Kalipulako de Manktan [sic]" (King Kalipulako of Mactan).

RELIGION - The historical name of Lapu-Lapu is controversial. The earliest record of his name is from the Italian explorer Antonio Pigafetta who accompanied Magellan in the Philippines. He records the names of two chiefs of the island of "Matan", the chiefs "Zula" and "Çilapulapu". The honorific Çi or Si is a corruption of the Sanskrit title Sri.In an annotation of the 1890 edition of Antonio de Morga's Sucesos de las islas Filipinas, José Rizal spells this name as "Si Lapulapu".The Aginid chronicle identifies him "Lapulapu Dimantag".

The title Salip (and its variants Sarripada, Sipad, Paduka, Seri Paduka, and Salipada, etc.) is also frequently used as an honorific for Lapu-Lapu and other Visayan datus. Despite common misconception, it is not derived from the Islamic title Khalīfah (Caliph). Like the cognate Si, it was derived from the Sanskrit title Sri Paduka, denoting "His Highness". The title is still used today in Malaysia as Seri Paduka.

The 17th century mestizo de sangley poet Carlos Calao mentions Lapu-Lapu under the name of "Cali Pulaco" (perhaps a misreading of the Ç used in Pigafetta's spelling) in his poem Que Dios Le Perdone (That God May Forgive Him).The name, spelled "Kalipulako", was later adopted as one of the pseudonyms of the Philippine hero, Mariano Ponce, during the Philippine Revolution.[14] The 1898 Philippine Declaration of Independence of Cavite II el Viejo, also mentions Lapu-Lapu under the name "Rey Kalipulako de Manktan [sic]" (King Kalipulako of Mactan).

Indeed, the Visayans were noted for their resistance to conversion to Islam in the epic poem Diyandi of the Aginid chronicle. The name of the capital city of the island (Sugbo, "scorched earth")was derived from the method of defense used by the natives against Moro raiders from Mindanao, which was to burn their settlements to the ground to prevent looting. They referred to the raiders as Magalos ("destroyers of peace").As discussed in the previous section, the chronicle also records the founder of the Rajahnate of Cebu as Sri Lumay, who was the grandfather of Rajah Humabon, and a prince of the Indianized Chola dynasty.

While it is thus more likely that the Cebuanos, though closely related culturally to the southern Moros, were predominantly animist (not unlike the Mindanao Lumad) or Indianized (like the contemporary Kingdom of Butuan) on the arrival of the Spanish,there is still a possibility that Lapu-Lapu may have been Tausūg or Sama-Bajau and Muslim. Since he is recorded in the Aginid as being an orang laut ("man of the sea") and an outsider who settled in Cebu from "Borneo". The Tausūg name itself means "people of the current", and like the neighboring Sama-Bajau of the Sulu archipelago, they have a strongly maritime-oriented culture.

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Watch the video: History of the Philippines - Magellans Exploration (August 2022).