While Spain considers Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan a hero, being the leader of the first voyage to circumnavigate the globe, the Philippines think of him otherwise. Many Filipinos know him as the voyager who fell to his death at the hands of a Filipino hero.
Magellan vs Lapu-Lapu
Ask any Filipino student or even a random Filipino stranger on the streets if they know Ferdinand Magellan or simply, Magellan. This is the response you’ll eventually get – he’s the explorer sent by Spain who failed to colonize the area ruled by Chief Lapu-Lapu. While not everyone will give the exact response, this will be the gist.
In school, history teachers would introduce the story of Lapu-Lapu and Magellan by stating how Magellan arrived in Homonhon (somewhere in Samar today) and befriended the chieftains of Limasawa. They then introduced Magellan to Rajah Humabon, the Rajah of Cebu, who was later baptized into Catholicism alongside his wife. In spite of the warm hospitality that Magellan received from the chieftains he met, Lapu-Lapu strongly opposed Humabon’s orders, resisted the religion being introduced, and was against Spanish hegemony.
This led to the battle between the two leaders. Magellan and his army fought against Lapu-Lapu and his native warriors. Most accounts say Lapu-Lapu killed Magellan during the battle while others say Magellan simply retreated and his Spanish captains killed him. But one thing’s for sure – Filipinos see Magellan as the villain and Lapu-Lapu is seen as one of the early heroes who bravely fought against Spanish conquest.
Today, Filipinos continue to look back and acknowledge Lapu-Lapu’s victory in defeating Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.
Reenactment of the Battle of Mactan
On April 27 of each year, the City Government of Cebu holds an event called Kadaugan sa Mactan (where kadaugan means free-for-all) to commemorate the victory at the Battle of Mactan by reenacting the battle between Magellan’s army and Lapu-Lapu’s tribe. According to historical accounts, the battle was held on April 27, 1521 – almost 497 years ago.
The City Government even invites popular Filipino celebrities to take part in the event and portray the characters. In fact, incumbent Senator and world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao was one of those who portrayed Lapu-Lapu in previous reenactments.
Kaplag and Magellan’s Cross
Apart from famous historical spots and white sand beaches of Cebu, tourists also head over to Queen City of the South to see the famous Magellan’s Cross – which Ferdinand Magellan ordered fellow explorers to establish upon their arrival in Cebu.
While Magellan may not be a hero among Filipinos, he is recognized for bringing Christianity in the country. During the annual celebration of Sinulog Festival, there’s always a reenactment of the event when Rajah Humabon and his wife Queen Juana were baptized as Catholics and the moment Ferdinand Magellan gave the Santo Niño image as a baptismal gift to them. This reenactment is called kaplag where students, actors, and actresses portray the roles.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.