Regarded as the first Philippine hero; however, surprisingly most of us knew very little about the life of Lapu-Lapu. In fact, most of us Pinoy don't know that every April 27 the nation celebrate Lapu-lapu day from a bill proposed by Sen. Richard Gordon during The 14th Congress. Perhaps, if you're from the island of Cebu, you knew this is a day celebrated with festivities. But that was all I know, and I feel ashamed, not knowing a great man who actually made the first victory for the Filipino natives against Spanish colonization...so I made some Googling (a new term for research) to find more about Lapu-Lapu after 2 days of the actual day of his heroic commemoration.
To begin, Lapu-Lapu was the one who killed the famous Portuguese conquistador Ferdinand Magellan in the Battle of Mactan, in what seems to be an impossible feat by the natives armed only with bolo, spears, kalasag, and kampilan against guns and cannon of the Spaniards.
So who is Lapu-Lapu and what really happen that day?
Some historian tried to trace the ancestral background of Lapu-Lapu and yet very little was known of him, except he became Datu of Mactan before the Spaniards came. He was also believed to be from the Tausug ethnic group.
He is known in the Visayas as Kaliph Pulako, Kolipulako or Lapu-Lapu (1491-1542) a ruler of Mactan, in Cebu.
It was said, that Ferdinand Magellan was demanding to all the people of Cebu that they should pay tribute to the Spaniards being the new sovereign rulers of the archipelago. But Chief Lapu-Lapu resisted to recognized the authority of Spain and even send message to Magellan that if he try to step on the shore of Mactan, he shall be dealt harshly.
Then, One morning on April 27, 1521 Magellan and 3 boatloads of his men arm with guns attack Mactan but was met with hundreds of Filipino warriors. During the battle, and here is very little known detail that might interest anyone...Lapu-Lapu using bow and arrow, hit the legs of Ferdinand Magellan who was trying to escape after realizing they have no chance of winning, and when the natives saw this they chase him before he can make an escape. Magellan was beheaded by one of Lapu-Lapu's man.
It was also told, that some time afterwards the Spanish government sent troop to retrieved the body of Magellan but Lapu-Lapu refuses and even display the head of Magellan as warning against any intrusion of the Spaniards in Mactan.