The history of Lapu-lapu City influences the cultural involvement of its residents.Many celebrations showcase the exchange of cultural interests, Spanish reflections, ancestral legacy and modern trends.
Lapu-Lapu is considered one of the greatest figures of ancient Philippine history. Although the first thing that usually comes to mind when the name of Lapu-Lapu is mentioned is the fact that his battle with Magellan led to Magellan's death, Lapu-Lapu was not honored because of that. Rather, he is honored because he was among the first to reject submission to a foreign power even though Raja Humabon, ruler of the neighboring island of Cebu, and other chiefs recognized the king of Spain as their ruler and agreed to pay tribute.
Chief Lapu-Lapu's (1491-1542) other name is Kolipulako. The hero of Mactan and conqueror of Magellan, is described as stern, proud, intelligent, unyielding. He waged continuous war against the powerful ruler of Cebu, then a very much greater kingdom than his little island of Maktang.
History has it that Mactan Island although small was a thriving community when the great Magellan was in Cebu. The brave Spanish navigator and soldier, upon learning that some inhabitants on this tiny island across Cebu refused to recognize the King of Spain, burned one of the villages. Lapu-Lapu was one of the native leaders who refused to acknowledge the sovereignty of Spain over the Islands.
When Magellan, with three boatloads of Spaniards and twenty boatloads of Cebuanos, went to Mactan to help a friendly chief, Lapu-Lapu and his men armed with native fighting elements, wooden shields, bows and arrows, lances, met them. The invading Spaniards and Cebuanos were driven back to their boats, but their brace leader, Magellan, met death in the hands of Lapu-Lapu. On what is believed to be the exact spot where Magellan fell and died now stands an imposing monument in honor of the gallant explorer.
The battle between Mactan Island Chieftain Lapu-Lapu and the foreign aggressor Ferdinand Magellan occurred in April 27, 1521. It depicts the hero holding a bolo in one hand and a pestle on the other. Said weapons were believed to have been used during his combat with Magellan. This monument stands as a reminder of Filipino bravery.
The Lapu-Lapu shrine is a 20-meter bronze statue in Punta Engaño, Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippines, erected in honor of Datu Lapu-Lapu, a Muslim king who defeated Spanish soldiers and killed Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in the Battle of Mactan on 1521.
Battle of Mactan
Kadaugan sa Mactan is an annual reenactment of The Battle of Mactan at its site on the beach of barangay Mactan which features Lapulapu's victory on April 27. The events include a fluvial procession of decorated bancas (canoes) representing magellan's three ships, the planting of the Cross of Magellan, the baptism of the natives followed by the battle. Kadaugan sa Mactan literally means "Victory at Mactan" used to be called Bahugbahug sa Mactan.
Some natives believe that in his final years, Lapu-Lapu did not die, and has been turned into a stone, and is forever guarding the seas of Mactan. Fishermen in the island city throw coins at a stone shaped like a man as a way of asking for permission to fish in the chieftain’s territory.
Another story passed on by the natives of the land says Lapu-Lapu became the statue placed on a pedestal at the center of the plaza. The statue faces the old city hall building where the mayors used to hold office and once held a crossbow in the immortal stance of someone about to shoot an arrow at an enemy. The people of the city decided to change this crossbow with a bolo after a succession of three mayors died due to a heart attack.