Review of the Life of Lapu-Lapu
I will present to you here my comprehensive review of the life of a Philippine hero: Lapu-Lapu
a.k.a. Caliph Pulaka
(1491 - 1542)
Lapu-Lapu was the king of Mactan, an island in the Visayas, Philippines, who is known as the first native of the archipelago to have resisted Spanish colonization. He is now regarded as the first Filipino hero.
Map of Mactan, Lapu-lapu in Cebu, Philippines
Little is known regarding Lapu-Lapu’s life. According to oral tradition, his parents were Kusgano and Inday Puti, He had an older brother, Mingming. It was said that the term Mactan derived from the name of his grandmother, Matang Mantaunas, who was a powerful queen during his times. Lapu-Lapu was a most honored Bagani, a traditional term of warrior. He was known for his courage and skill in warfare. He was married to a beautiful princess, Bulakna, daughter of Datu Sabtano, and bore a son named Sawili who grew up as a brave warrior like his father.
According to Sulu oral tradition, Lapu-Lapu was a Muslim chieftain, and was also known as "Kaliph Pulaka". The people of Bangsamoro, the Moro homeland in the Philippines, consider him to be a Muslim and a member of the Tausug ethnic group.
Lapu-Lapu was believed to be an extraordinary and admired leader. On the morning of April 27, 1521, Lapu-Lapu and the men of Mactan, armed with spears and kampilan, faced Spanish soldiers led by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. In what would later be known as the Battle of Mactan, Magellan and several of his men were killed. Lapu-Lapu’s utmost strength was tested during his fight against Magellan.
A Portuguese historian who interviewed one of the survivors and a soldier of Magellan in India, Gaspar Correa, admired Lapu-Lapu that he was a chieftain who encouraged and motivated his men to fight to a group of people who were more powerful than them. Nevertheless, Lapu-Lapu was already a powerful leader of an alliance composed of seven tribes in Mactan Island when Magellan came to colonize the island to serve as a crown offered to Spain.
The 1898 Philippine Declaration of Independence refers to Lapu-Lapu as "King Kalipulako de Maktan". In the 19th century, the reformist Mariano Ponce used a variant name, "Kalipulako", as one of his pseudonyms.
PSCYHOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE ON THE LIFE OF LAPU-LAPU
By Khen Salce
Because I found no writings or literary arts created personally by Lapu-lapu which could be used to study his life, I utilized some data from the researchers in the internet who shared valuable information about his life especially the story behind the "Battle of Mactan”.
This short review tries to frame the scattered psychological factors that led Lapu-lapu’s success in the Battle of Mactan. To start, I’ve set viewpoints to consider: to determine personal and environmental backgrounds of Lapu-Lapu that made him an extraordinary and admired leader; to find out the cognitive aspect or belief of Lapu-Lapu that made him undefeatable; and to mirror some implications of Lapu-Lapu’s behavior in the present society.
As we know, little is known about the life of Lapu-lapu. But I tried harder to gather more information about his life. This is it. Lapu-lapu was said to be a Muslim. In the Muslim culture, bravery and blood are twins. They are said to be bravest when they fight for a cause and when their blood spills. Male Muslims were already trained in warfare while they were in childhood. A grown-up Muslim and a descendant of a royal family might be a solid mixture of Lapu-lapu’s strength and bravery. This extraordinary personality was manifested during his fight with Magellan. Magellan’s soldiers were more powerful in terms of weapons and armory but these did not hinder the success of Lapu-Lapu to kill Magellan and his troops. Lapu-lapu’s personal and environmental background shaped him not what he wanted to be but what he needed to be – a fighter for freedom from colonialism.
Lapu-lapu’s belief system served a great part on his success in the Battle of Mactan and an outstanding model of word of honor and decisiveness. He had the thinking like other Philippine heroes, not to be slave of other culture but to be free of living his own culture. He had the vision that if he surrender himself to Magellan, something wrong will happen. His sense of achievement was very high due to his autonomous or independent thinking. According to Maslow, people who are independent thinkers are more likely to be high achievers. We can also reflect the ‘amor propio’(word of honor) of Lapu-lapu. When he promised not to give Magellan’s dead body to Humabon, he did it so, even Humabon also promised to give anything Lapu-lapu wanted (treasures, material things in the world). Lapu-lapu did not bargain his word of honor to any material things in the world. (Unlike some known leaders in our nation, they are easily convinced by money and wealth offered by other nations). Lapu-lapu kept Magellan’s dead body as a symbol of their victory. This could reinforce Lapu-lapu’s sense of achievement and success.
Lapu-lapu is indeed an extraordinary freedom fighter. He was a model of courage and bravery by the past and present heroes. The courage of Muslims nowadays is a reflection of Lapu-lapu’s personality. It’s a sad reality in the present that our kababayang Muslims especially the MILF and Abu Sayyaf continued to create havoc just to settle and take what they owned from the Philippine government. Like Lapu-lapu, they want liberation, freedom and to enjoy what their ancestors owned centuries ago. Could the reason be the repression of Lapu-lapu’s mentality to the mind of the modern Muslims? It might be.
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