The Curious Case of A Foreign Pirate that Became a Filipino Hero: The Other Side of the Story of Lapu Lapu and Ferdinand Magellan!

Published Mayo 3, 2017 by jptan2012

Lapu Lapu is considered as the Philippine’s first hero. All Filipino children knows of the story on how Lapu Lapu as a native defended the country or at least Mactan against the Portuguese explorer who organized the Spanish Expedition, which lead him ‘discovering’ the Philippines. It is said that in the Battle of Mactan, Magellan and his men arrived with the intent of colonizing and claiming Mactan, but Lapu Lapu, who is now regarded as the first Filipino hero resisted it and in the process killed Magellan.

Then after the Battle of Mactan, we don’t know much anymore as to what happened to Lapu Lapu, only that he was regarded as the first Filipino to fight the Spanish conquistadors!

In my recent trip to Cebu, I heard another version of the story, something that is not entirely foreign to me because I have heard about it before and only this time I’m hearing it from the mouth of a tourism officer from the Department of Tourism. This person is also a historian.

It does make me wonder as to why we don’t know much about Lapu Lapu only that he killed Magellan and he refuse to show the body of Magellan so it was buried somewhere in the shore of Mactan.

Well, this is the other version of the story. Whether this is true or not, I leave it up to you to decide.

Lapu Lapu is not a Filipino; in fact, it is believed that he is a pirate from Borneo who ‘conquered’ Mactan. When Ferdinand Magellan he was truly an ambassador of goodwill, and this is why a Rajah (forgot the full name), yes Cebu was inhabited by Muslims and ruled by Rajahs, seeked Magellan’s intervention for Lapu Lapu was ruling the island with so much cruelty. The rajah was from the main island.

It is said that Ferdinand Magellan agreed to intervene and sent an emissary to see Lapu Lapu, and Lapu Lapu agreed to meet with him. So Magellan went off by boat with only a crew of 50 men on board, for it was a short trip from the main island to Mactan. When they got there they found out that the water was shallow and it was also low tide, so Magellan and his men went on foot. It was a long walk from where they have to leave their ship or boat. They need not worry about anything because it was a friendly visit and Lapu Lapu has send off word that they will be received in a amiable manner.

So 50 men including Magellan went off by foot, it was a long walk so they were tired by the time they reached the shore of Mactan, but little do they know that Lapu Lapu has send off approximately a thousand of his men (I personally think that this number could have been exaggerated) and ambushed Magellan and his men. It was said that Magellan requested his men to retreat, but they decided to stay with him. Naturally, tired and unfamiliar with the territory and caught by surprised, Magellan was killed together with his men.

So who killed Magellan? Some historians believe that it was not Lapu Lapu who killed Magellan, and that it was one of his right hand men who killed Magellan. Lapu Lapu simply took the credit by virtue of being the leader of the tribe. But he was the one who ordered that the body of Magellan be buried right away so that Magellan’s friends and people cannot claim his body. He then has a tattoo of Magellan printed on his body as a sign that he conquered a ‘warrior’.

So what happened to Lapu Lapu, while was their no more word about him after the Battle of Mactan? Some historians believes that after the Battle of Mactan, an uprising from the other Rajah’s brewed against Lapu Lapu, and so Lapu Lapu fearing for his life left Mactan and went back to Borneo. He brought with him all his family and his whole tribe. So to this day there is no trace of a descendant of Lapu Lapu in Mactan or anywhere else in the Philippines.

So why am I writing this because it has nothing to do with Feng Shui? It is because this serves a prelude to my next post about the statue of Lapu Lapu that might have caused some misfortune in the city of Lapu Lapu. But other than that, it does serves an interesting alternative story about why we don’t know much about the first Filipino hero, in fact, we seem to know more about Ferdinand Magellan the alleged conquistador.

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