Lapu Lapu Statue
Public Art : Lapu Lapu Statue (aka Lapu Lapu
Sculptor : Unknown
Date : Unknown
Description : 20 m high bronze statue of Philippine's
first national hero. Perched on a white brick pillar, Lapu Lapu, is dressed in his traditional Visayan dress
('bahag'-loin cloth) and holding a shield and an impressively large machete (bolo).
Commissioned By : Cebuano people
Location : Barangay Mactan, Mactan Island,
overlooking the ocean and also (ironically) Magellan's monument, Cebu, Philippines.
Lapu Lapu's Claim to Fame : Lapu Lapu was a Visayan
chieftan who was responsible for the death of the explorer, Ferdinard Magellan, on April 27th, 1521 on Mactan
Island, Cebu, Philippines.
Magellan was a Portugese explorer during the early 1500's. Whilst serving the Spanish Crown he
sailed westward in search of a route to the Spice Islands of Indonesia. Why the Spice Islands you ask ? Well in
those days exotic spices were extremely valuable and the Spice Islands had spices a plenty, including clove, nutmeg
and mace. So Magellan set off in an attempt to be the first "known" explorer to attempt to circumnavigate the globe
and to set up friendly trade relations with Asia . Unfortunately chief Lapu Lapu ended Magellan's quest
When Magellan arrived in the Philippines, he sought to convert the locals to Christianity. He had
some success with Rajah Humabon of Cebu and his queen, who befiended Magellan and his teachings. However, they
convinced Magellan to help rid them of their enemy, chief Lapu-Lapu. Whilst the Rajah wanted Lapu-Lapu dead,
Magellan had other ideas, he wanted to try and convert him to Christianity. Big mistake. The chief was ready for
battle, he had a group of 1500 warriors ready and waiting when Magellan, and his group of 48 armed men, arrived on
Magellan was set upon by angry tribe members, who killed him with bamboo spears and large swords.
Magellan's men retreated leaving his body on the shores of Mactan. Despite numerous attempts his body was never
Sad statistic; only 18 of the original 270 crew made it safely back to Spain.
Controversy : Evidently the Zugbu tribes, of which
Lapu Lapu belonged, were referred to as ‘pintados’ (tattooed ones), so the big question is why doesn't the statue
of Lapu Lapu doesn't have any tattoo's on the body ? He was the tattooed chief of Mactan.
The authorities that be, in the Philippines, have recently coated the statue with a resin that has
made the proud chieftan look like a plastic toy. The "Ken" and "Barbie" look has not gone down well with
some of the locals and tourists.