Monday, February 28, 2011

Mactan, Cebu Shrine: Lapu-Lapu’s Glory

Datu Lapu-Lapu, a local chieftain of Mactan Island is heralded in the Philippines as the first Filipino hero.

Lapu-Lapu dismissed Christianity and resisted the Spanish throne—good for him really but did you know that he was set up by the other Datu’s (chieftains) in Cebu? Rajah Humabon and Datu Zula who were recent converts to Christianity were Lapu-Lapu’s archenemies. They were able to convince the zealous Ferdinand Magellan to sail to Mactan Island to kill him. Unfortunately, the events turned against Magellan. This historical and critical decision to sail to Mactan lead to the fall of the Portuguese explorer and the unexpected glory of Lapu-Lapu.

To honour Lapu-Lapu, a shrine is erected in Mactan Island, right on the shores where the ‘Battle of Mactan’ took place almost 600 years ago—27 April, 1521. The Mactan or Lapu-Lapu Shrine is located just before entering Punta Engano peninsula (this is before Shangrila Resort).

Magellan’s death did not stop the Spaniards from further colonizing the country though. For some people, up until now, it’s a love and hate thing (and pointing fingers) with Spain and anything Spanish. As for me, I have moved on a looooong time ago.

I would encourage tourists and visitors to visit Mactan Shrine. This is where it all began! Take with you a bit of history when visiting Mactan and Cebu. It is also a nice and well maintained park, great place to unwind, stroll and let time pass by. It has a lovely waterfront, and for some diversion, there are stalls selling locally made Filipino products as well. You can easily combine this trip with a visit to Sutukil (for lunch or early dinner), which is just beside the park.

Let me quickly give you a tour of the park:

Lapu-Lapu is also a sort of grouper fish named after Datu Lapu-Lapu. The capital of Mactan Island is also named after him, Lapu-Lapu City (previously Opon).

Travel Period: October 2010

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