07 August 2007

Lapu-Lapu Shrine in Mactan, Cebu

The Lapu-Lapu Shrine in Mactan, Cebu is testament to the Filipino courage and is monumental because it is the first ever massive opposition to foreign domination. Who would have thought that cannons and swords will be no match for the native's crude weaponry?

But while it is indeed such a heroic moment in the protection of the Mactan shores, one can't help but wonder about the underlying factors behind the event. Not far from Mactan is the island of Cebu where Rajah Humabon reigned supreme. He befriended the Spaniards and accepted Christianism. But in the end he encouraged the Spaniards to go to Mactan and overcome Lapu-Lapu, who was not exactly in speaking terms with Humabon. And so the battle ensued, resulting in the beheading of the famed Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. Poor Magellan caught in tribal politics.

Consider the irony. One day we were at Magellan's cross marvelling at the birth of Christianity in our country, and the next day we went to the Lapu-Lapu shrine to honor the bravery of those who thwarted the Spaniards.

I really think Philippine history ought to be taught in high school and college for the better appreciation of inquiring minds. Or is it already?

Be as it may, both events profoundly shaped our history. And there we were, walking the usual tourist route to appreciate our country's heritage.

The inscription reads:
Here on 27 April 1521, LapuLapu and his men repulsed the Spanish invaders, killing their leader Ferdinand Magellan. Thus LapuLapu became the first Filipino to have repelled European aggression.

Lapu-Lapu oversees the beach front of Mactan from invaders.

After the visit to the shrine, it's time for a quick "sutukil" (sugba, tula, kilaw), or put simply, three ways you can have your fish cooked. We ordered one big fish and had it "sutukilled".This is a very wide dining area overlooking the mangroves.

Still business as we had our lunch!

Additional interesting reading: University of the Philippines' "The Beauty Within Three Cities"


  1. I've taken many classes at a local college Wat, at least two in Philippine History. Unfortunately, I knew more about your history than the teachers did. I had an enormously hard time biting my tongue when they would misquote, mis-note or misinterpret events.

    Your history is very awkward to teach because there are so many "problems" with the realities of it. You touched on one with the Humabon vs Lapu Lapu issue.

    (In effect, Magellan got caught up in a intertribal squabble and paid for it with his life. Se la vie!)

    In many ways your history is a microcosm of what happens even today. So many contradictions to explain to young idealistic minds. Because of that some teachers and writers of history find themselves "glossing over" or just rewriting to suit modern nationalistic needs.

    Everyone wants to be proud of their forebears, but not everything in the past is something to proud of. To me, the cold hard description of what happened is what should be sacred, and if it can be construed to be embarrassing then so be it. As the saying goes, "The truth shall set you free!"

  2. Phil: If you hadn't been holding your tongue, I think the teachers would cancel the class everytime your name appears in the list. hahaha!

    I have a rather foggy memory of grade school philippine history (we took up world history in high school). Rediscovering our roots by actually visiting these places gives me a better appreciation of the past. Hmmm... I would love to hear your take on General Emilio Aguinaldo vs Andres Bonifacio. Or have you tackled that in your blog already?

  3. Masarap dyan sa sutukil. Tataba ka talaga pag pabalik-balik ka doon. Di mo na makokontrol ang kain mo sa sobrang sarap ng mga pagkain nila. Miss ko tuloy ang Cebu.

  4. Actually yeah Wat, I discussed Aguinaldo's "run-in" with Bonifacio in two posts. The most comprehensive one was where I compare Bonifacio's legacy with Rizal's. The second is where I also talk about visiting Aguinaldo's home in this one.

    And a lot of my teachers did not always appreciate it when I "challenged" them on topics. AFter awhile, I just didn't do it anymore... Better that way.

  5. Anonymous3:18 pm

    gusto ko ng sinugbang isda, yammy, lalo na kung fresh o bagong huli, wow talga.

    ngayon ko lang napansin ang header picture myo! ang lupeeeeeetttttt!

  6. Abaniko: I have been to Cebu many times before, but this trip was truly different because I had a better appreciation of the place. Cebu is really nice.

    Phil: What did the teachers do when you "challenged" them? Just curious. I'll read up on the links you provided. Thanks

    Iskoo: welcome baaack! Thanks!

  7. The profs are VERY uncomfortable when I do it (so I DON'T do it so much anymore), which stunned me at first. I have been taking college classes since '76 and I'd gotten used to questioning and opining in class.

    American teachers normally try to overwhelm cheeky students like me with lots of facts and figures and by firing provocative questions right back. Here, the teachers mostly just respond with a short answer and move on; basically, they are very dismissive. For some one like me its a very unsatisfying experience. There just isn't much debate or exchange of ideas at all. That sort of thing is not done here evidently. Only one "line" of rationale is encouraged, and that's it.

    Stateside, I've had teachers give students the "homework" of being able to come in next class and debate and defend a "position;" or, to just be able to discuss a topic. I've rarely seen that done here, perhaps because that kind of thing takes "preparation," the kind of work that most students just won't do. What usually happens is that NO students will speak up, having done nothing to prepare. Its unfortunate because thats what spawns actual thinking and insight.

  8. Anonymous5:50 pm

    kmusta naman si lapu-lapu? di napagod sa kakatayo dyan? parang sa luneta...

    gusto ko balikan yan. 2003 pa yata ako nakarating pangit pa mga pics di uso digicam :(

    for philippines phil, magellan was not really a good tactician. he was too friendly and paid for it dearly.

    i have many historical posts in my blog and many of them are not the usual spoon-fed history I got in school :(

  9. Phil: this topic has me itching to read Philippine history books! I have to admit, the only time we get to really discuss in the classroom is in "public speaking and debate". With this teaching method in our schools, I have always thought teachers to be superior. I also learned later on in high school that they can make mistakes too and questioned some of the things taught us. But still, not to the point of active discussion.

    Tutubi: I'll be making tambay in your blog!


  10. aba, ang lola mo, model na ng blog mo! hehehe...sino yung girl sa pictures sir nick? wwaahahahahah!

  11. Anonymous11:48 am

    ngayon lang ako nakakita ng isda na iba-iba ang kulay! db tilapia yan?? nyahahaha!

  12. Anonymous11:49 am

    yung may blue stripes ang sinasabi ko ha... hehehe!

  13. Anonymous6:30 pm

    like other said first tym ko dn nkakta ng colorful na fish.Msarap dn ba yan.?

  14. Nung nakita ko nga yung mga makukulay na isda, parang nanghinayang ako... pang-aquarium yata sya.


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