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Lapu Lapu Day 2023: Date, History, Facts about Lapu Lapu

In the 16th century, when the Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in Cebu, the tiny island of Mactan was a flourishing community prior to Spanish colonisation.

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Lapu-Lapu Day, which is celebrated on April 27, was established by Philippine President Duterte. It is a special non-working public holiday in Lapu-Lapu City and a special working public holiday everywhere else in the country. On April 27, 1521, Lapu-Lapu and his Filipino warriors defeated Spanish invaders commanded by Ferdinand Magellan, prompting the declaration of this holiday. On the day of this combat, Lapu-Lapu led a group of warriors that successfully repelled an invading force of 49 Spaniards led by Magellan, who was killed in the conflict. The event is referred to as the Battle of Mactan. Some contend that Lapu-Lapu was the earliest known indigenous Visayan Muslim chieftain from the island and that he was a native of Mactan.

The background of Lapu Lapu Day

In the 16th century, when the Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in Cebu, the tiny island of Mactan was a flourishing community prior to Spanish colonisation. The courageous Spanish navigator, upon learning that the inhabitants of Mactan refused to recognise the King of Spain, set one of its villages ablaze. The renowned warrior Lapu-Lapu was one of the native leaders who refused to recognise Spain’s sovereignty over the Philippines.

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Magellan then led a group of fellow Spaniards (about three boatloads of them) and an even larger number of Cebuanos (indigenous inhabitants of Cebu, who form a major ethnic group in the Philippines today) on a visit to Mactan to assist a chief who had apparently recognised the sovereignty of the King of Spain and therefore had the Spanish’s favour. The entourage was ambushed during this visit by Lapu-Lapu and his men, who were equipped with wooden shields, bows and arrows, and lances. Lapu-Lapu’s men eventually drove the invading Spaniards and Cebuanos back to their ships, but their commander, Ferdinand Magellan, was killed by Lapu-Lapu. He remained to combat Lapu-Lapu and his men, but was ultimately overpowered and killed by Lapu-Lapu.

This occurrence occurred on April 27, 1521. In recognition of his valour, a monument of Ferdinand Magellan was erected on the approximate location where he fell and died. In 1730, an Augustinian friar founded the original town of Opon, which was renamed ‘Datu Lapu-Lapu’ in 1961 in honour of the warrior who defeated Magellan and his forces in 1521. At the Lapu-Lapu monument in Punta Engao, this battle is commemorated.


According to some historians, Lapu-Lapu was the earliest-known Visayan Muslim chief of Mactan and a Muslim.

Actually, Lapu-Lapu’s name was documented as Cilapulapu, and he was also known as Si Lapulapu and Salip Pulaka.

It is documented that he arrived from Borneo and searched for a location to settle before settling in Mactan.

Lapu-Lapu was extremely loyal to his people and refused to recognise the Spanish monarch’s authority.

When Lapu-Lapu became a city in 1961, it was renamed after Lapu-Lapu in honour of his struggle against Ferdinand Magellan. Originally founded in 1730 as the town of Opon, Lapu-Lapu was renamed after him in 1961.


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Arshiya Khan
Arshiya Khan
Arshiya Khan is a Commerce graduate who loves to write on general and trending topics.

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