The three-day Battle of Mat-an (Mactan)
CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal (The Freeman) - October 7, 2019 - 12:00am

Part 3

Professor Lina Quimat in her book “Glimpses in History of Early Cebu” (published in 1980) narrates of the events before the battle: “when Lapulapu heard about the armed attacked plans of Magalhaes and his men, he (Lapulapu) barked: “ang mga tabunon wa maka-ilag agaong langyaw ug dili bisan hangtud kanus-ah” (meaning “the brown race people do not recognize any foreign master and never will.”).

“The white intruders took their ships to Mat-an on the evening of April 26, 1521 to fight King Lapulapu and his men the next day. Magalhaes was given some natives from the men of king Humabon who did do much good to the intruders-they fought the Spaniards within the ranks. These natives were the first known underground forces of the Cebuanos at war.”

Quimat continues: “While Magellan was planning to fight Lapulapu on the island of Mat-an, the natives of Mat-an were busy preparing for a big merry-making. For almost a week, the natives in the island were in backbreaking preparation for the birthday of their leader Laplapu. Piles of firewood were placed all around the balangay of Mat-an by the men of Lapulapu. Men pounded rice and ground corn; women winnowed. During that day the whole community of Hari Mangal were to be there to witness and to participate in a whole day affair of eating, drinking, folkdancing, reciting ballads and dupplo, dancing the coradang and the balitao, to observe King Lapulapu’s birthday.”

On the eve of the battle: “Before sundown of April 26, King Lapulapu was informed of something to befall on them the next day. He was really Mat-an (with eyes). He sent all womenfolk, the children and the aged to a shallow rocky swamp by the seashore of Gabi which was his artillery shop so that they would not be easily reached by any intruder through the sea.

“The younger menfolk took turns in the preparations and many of them were wide awake in the evening as they were already informed of what Magalhaes was doing at the port of Sugbu. It was necessary that Magalhaes must subdue King Lapulapu, or he would be driven away from the Western Islands. And so Magalhaes was set to fight Lapulapu. He took his three galleons to Mactan accompanied by some armed natives whom he had asked from King Humabon for guide. Relatives of the guides did not allow time to go without doing something for the natives in Mat-an. Soon most of them were in their ‘subirans’ and sailed for Mat-an to inform the natives that Magellan would attack the next day.”

On the day of the battle: “At dawn of April 27, 1521, Magalhaes bombarded the island of Mat-an. Part of the village was hit and burned and this made the natives angrier.” (To be continued)

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