Philippines celebrates Battle of Mactan quincentennial anniversary eve with new Lapulapu portrait

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Lapulapu portrait
A new artist rendering of Lapulapu’s portrait released by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines to celebrate Lapulapu Day. Credits from NHCP Museums Facebook.

A new portrait of Lapulapu was released to celebrate the eve of the quincentennial anniversary of the Battle of Mactan in the Philippines.

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) released the new artist rendering of Lapulapu on April 27, 2020, the day dedicated to the leader and hero of Mactan, Cebu.

“We join the National Quincentennial Committee and the whole nation in commemorating the 499th anniversary of the Battle of Mactan between the forces of Datu Lapulapu and Ferdinand Magellan today,” the NHCP said on its Facebook post that came with the photo of the Visayan hero.

The government agency commissioned the portrait of the Filipino hero in commemoration of the battle between the native warriors led by Datu Lapulapu and the Spanish armada under the command of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

“It is the first recorded victorious defense by Filipinos of their freedom against the West,” the NHCP added.

Lapulapu’s portrait in photo-realistic style was made by Bulacan artist Carlo Caacbay based on the written text claiming that the hero of Mactan was old during the advent of the Spanish colonialization.

In the book “Ferdinand Magellan: The Armada de Maluco and the European Discovery of the Philippines” by historian Danilo Gerona of Camarines Sur, the author discusses the possible age of Lapulapu when Magellan landed on Philippine soil. His claim was based on the book of Portuguese historian Gaspar Correa titled “Lendas da India” published in 1563. It is speculated that Correa probably got the description and appearance of Lapulapu from the survivors of the Magellan-Elcano expedition.

The hero’s image also bears tattoos, said to be based on the illustrations of Visayan people during the1500s found in the Boxer Codex. He is also wearing red pants adorned with gold ornaments while holding his weapon, the kampilan.

Datu Lapulapu’s portrait will be reproduced and displayed in public schools and government offices in accordance with Memorandum Circular No. 25, s. 2017 which instructs government offices to display portraits of illustrious historical figures.

As the country gets closer to the Philippine quincentennial celebrations in the year 2021, several artists have rendered their talents to give tribute to pre-colonial Filipinos and to inspire modern Pinoys with this historical milestone.

Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray’s national costume LuzViMinda was first displayed in various museums in the country as it conveys Filipino art, cultures, and traditions all the way from the pre-colonial period.

Indie artist/singer-songwriter Kian Dionisio called on Filipinos to follow the heroism shown by the people in 1521 who fought off the Spanish invaders for freedom, identity, and sovereignty in the land with his song “Mactan”.

Anthony Castillo with his award-winning a capella group PINOPELA performed “Bagani”, the official theme of the Philippine Quincentennial celebrations in 2021.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to the Filipino people for having a new portrait of Lapulapu, the hero of the Battle of Mactan, and the main figure of the upcoming quincentennial celebrations!

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Lorenzo Cruz
Lorenzo Cruz believes that the power of beauty could help the Philippines to rise to the top. He is a travel and fashion enthusiast who loves to explore Filipino culture.