Victory in Mactan

VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Fe Perez (The Freeman) - April 27, 2021 - 12:00am

Today we celebrate 500 years after the Battle of Mactan. According to experts, it was the Filipinos’ first victory against the colonizers. It is true that Lapu-Lapu was able to beat Magellan in getting the whole of Mactan but the Spaniards were also successful in placing their cross on Philippine land. It is, until today, a historical feat.

Don’t get me wrong, Christianity has done a lot to change our culture and history but it also says a lot about what we are as a people. It could imply that we were gullible enough to believe what the foreigners gave us when they arrived. We believed so much that it changed our lives a hundred and eighty degrees. It has also embedded in our culture different aspects that we wish weren’t there.

For years it was inculcated in us that Lapu-Lapu exhibited the traits of a hero as he resisted the forces of Magellan. Some points of this story are unclear that even today we cannot debunk. But does it really matter? I talked to a lot of teenagers about their take on Lapu-Lapu’s victory. For them, it doesn’t matter anymore. What happened in the past does not affect what they are today or the current state that we are in.

The celebration today will be different as it was in the previous years. All eyes would be here as it is the center of the commemoration. But the question beyond their response to the pandemic is beyond the issue now as the focus is already with the thought to celebrating valor and humanity, five centuries after. I just hope the funds could have been allocated to better projects. Those that could help feed a family.

Going back to Lapu-Lapu, I don’t mind him being termed as a first hero. But I’m quite bothered why no one followed in his footsteps of resistance. Why were his fellow datus not able to replicate this? Were they too hospitable? Too kind, or too easy to convince? Maybe we would not have been in the prison of colonization that lasted for three centuries. That, it itself, would have changed the way we are today. We could have been like Thailand or Singapore. They are progressive today and their original identity has not been totally eradicated, unlike who we are today.

Fast forward 500 years later, we are still giving glory to the fight that Lapu-Lapu made in honor of this people. I wonder if we will be like this too when we are willing to give our all for the people. Maybe never if we are kept in this bubble and cycle of corruption. Or maybe when we have a full sense of who we are that we want to fight for it. We are now all full of maybes.

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