Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lapu-Lapu on Stamps

Lapu-Lapu (1491–1542) was the datu of Mactan, an island in the Visayas in the 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.

On the morning of April 27, 1521, Lapu-Lapu led approximately 1,500 Mactan warriors armed with spears, kampilan and kalasag, in a battle against 49 Christian 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.

According to Sulu oral tradition, Lapu-Lapu was a Muslim chieftain, and was also known as "Kaliph Pulaka". Other Moros also recognize him as a Muslim and as a Tausūg. A variant of the name, as written by Carlos Calao, a 17th century Chinese-Spanish poet in his poem "Que Dios Le Perdone" (Spanish, "That God May Forgive Him") is "Cali Pulacu". In the 19th century, the propagandist Mariano Ponce used a variant name, "Kalipulako", as one of his pseudonyms. The 1898 Philippine Declaration of Independence refers to Lapu-Lapu as "King Kalipulako de Maktan".

The Cebuano people have erected a statue in his honor on Mactan Island and renamed the town of Opon in Cebu to Lapu-Lapu City. A more recent statue was given as a gift to the Philippines by South Korea in 2005. It stands in Rizal Park in the national capital of Manila.

Lapu-Lapu appears as a central figure in the official seal of the Philippine National Police and as the main design on the defunct 1-centavo coin circulated in the Philippines from 1967-1974.

During the First Regular Session of the 14th Congress of the Philippines, Senator Richard Gordon introduced a bill proposing to declare April 27 as an official Philippine national holiday to be known as Adlaw ni Lapu-Lapu, (Cebuano, "Day of Lapu-Lapu").

Two Filipino films, both called "Lapu-Lapu", have been made about the figure—the first in 1955 and the second in 2002. The latter stars actor-turned-politician Lito Lapid and Joyce Jimenez.

A street in the South of Market neighborhood of San Francisco, California is named after Lapu-Lapu.

Date of Issue: October20, 1963