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Historian on Battle of Mactan 500th: 'Filipino frontliners show spirit of Lapu-Lapu's victory'

Kathleen A. Llemit (Philstar.com) - April 27, 2021 - 1:20pm

MANILA, Philippines —  The quincentennial commemoration of the Battle of Mactan in 1521 is a cause for celebration and reflection for Filipinos.

This year marks the quincentennial year of the battle on April 27 where the Filipino chieftain Lapulapu (also reffered to as Lapu-Lapu) was said to have defeated Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

Historians often cite the chronicles of Italian scholar and explorer Antonio Pigafetta, who was among the more than 200 crew of the expedition led by Magellan. He was also among the 18 who boarded the Victoria, the only remaining ship from a fleet of five that sailed to the Philippines and Moluccas (Spice Islands) and returned to Spain in 1522.

Filipino Public Historian Prof. Xiao Chua sits with Philstar.com in an exclusive interview and gives details on what transpired in that perilous journey that culminated in the first circumnavigation in history.

Related: Battle of Mactan 500th anniversary: Historian shares 10 facts

Prof. Chua believes that colonialism may have a negative connotation but Filipinos should still see it as a lesson so it would not be repeated.

Heroism and unity should be observed, he said, especially in these uncertain times. Filipino frontliners possess the spirit of Lapulapu and like him who is celebrated throughout the years, our modern-day heroes should also be a source of inspiration.

"We should be united. We should think of other people. Makipag-kapwa tao tayo. We should show compassion especially during this time of COVID-19 and pay tribute to those who like Lapulapu had the tenacity and bravery na harapin ang virus to cure people. These are our Filipino frontliners, medical or non-medical, who help us get through this nightmare," he said.

"Walang pinipiling lahi ang Pilipino. The humanity that we show to the world, the Filipino nurses, are being hailed around the world. This is the spirit of the victory of Lapulapu and the humanity of our ancestors. That for me is the meaning of the quincentennial commemorations in the Philippines."  — Video by Efigenio Toledo IV, Deejae Dumlao

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