This page is in tribute to Professor Alex Fabros who corrupted my way of thinking with this joke "Magellen was the first Western Tourist to get mugged in the Philippines".


Magellen was Mugged

When I was in elementary school in California we learned about how the great Ferdinand Maggellen attempted to circumnavigate the Earth. My elementary teacher told us he was struck with an illness and died before completing his journey. She didn't say anything about the Philippines or how Magellen really died. I never heard anything about Lapu Lapu and the battle of Mactan island. Seems like Magellen got struck by the Lapu Lapu illness.

The impression I was given of Lapu-lapu when I was a kid was that of a savage barbarian jumping up and down on the beach chanting “I’m going to cut your head off!” I remember being told that pre-Hispanic Filipinos were a bunch of uncivilized barbarian head hunters.

Did I really come from a primitive culture? So of the curious mind I had to find out how they evolved as a people. Hoping for the best and apprehensive of the worse I had to find out for myself.

Since most documented history was written through the eyes of the western colonizers I often wondered what first contact was really like between the Spanish and the indigenous people of the Philippines. The Spanish encountered the Visayans first.

Rajah Humabon of Cebu welcomed the Spanish with hospitality and was easily converted to Christianity and without bloodshed pledged allegiance to the king of Spain. His real motive was to gain a powerful ally to help over throw the neighboring cheiftan Lapu Lapu of Mactan Island.

Table of Contents
Off the Record

If you research the battle of Mactan you'll probably run across stories being told that there were 1500 warriors against Magellen and his 49 soldiers. Remember that the event was documented by the Spanish and I'm sure the numbers were exagerrated.

For the Record

There really isn't enough evidence that Datu Lapu Lapu actually killed Magellen, it could have been any of the warriors. Magellen's head was indeed decapitated as it is custom for the conquering warriors to keep a war trophy and since Lapu Lapu was chief then it may have been bestowed on him to do the honors. The remains of Ferdinand Magellen were never recovered.

Lapu Lapu rejected colonial rule and decided to fight against the Spanish. He was Muslim by faith and we all know that the Muslims were never conquered by the Spanish.