Datu Lapu Lapu

On April 7, 1521 chief of Limasawa, Rajah Kolambu had guided Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan to Cebu claiming it the best port for trade provisions. It was necessary for tributes to be paid as this was the custom of the Filipino people however Magellan refused to pay tribute to any ruler in the world, instead offering to exchange gifts in return for their services. Rajah Humabon ruler of Cebu became a close ally to Magellan and as a sign of their friendship exchanged a blood pact between them. A promise had been made by Magellan to remove Rajah Humabon’s enemies and offer him the title of King over other chiefs of the land as long as Rajah Humabon converted to Christianity and accepted the King of Spain as his own. Rajah Humabon and his wife were baptized as Carlos and Juana after Spanish royalty. Other Filipino chiefs were then pressured to accept Rajah Humabon’s kingship. 


Datu Lapu Lapu ruler of Mactan island was both a relative and enemy to Rajah Humabon and was not pleased with the terms of the request. To fulfill the promise made by Magellan to Rajah Humabon, 60 armed soldiers with Magellan leading the way set sail at midnight to conquer and defeat Datu Lapu Lapu on Mactan island. They arrived a few hours before daylight and sent notice to Datu Lapu Lapu that if he would obey the King of Spain, become Christian, and give tribute they would move in peace, or else, the Filipinos would be at the mercy of their lances. Datu Lapu Lapu was not willing to bow down to the Spainish men responding that his warriors had bamboo lances and stakes hardened in the fire and were ready to fight. Magellan waited until the morning of April 27, 1521 before 49 soldiers leaped into the water for battle. Before reaching the harbour the soldiers engaged in two crossbow fights while 11 soldiers guarded the Spanish galleons. Once Magellan’s men reached land they were greeted by over 1,050 of Datu Lapu Lapu’s men who fought with arrows, bamboo tipped with iron, pointed stakes hardened by fire, and stones. Magellan sent some men to burn houses in order to frighten Datu Lapu Lapu. However that did nothing but infuriate Datu Lapu Lapu who continued to pursue them further sending a poisoned arrow into the leg and arm of Magellan and many more to his men. One of Datu Lapu Lapu’s men discovered Magellan was the Captain and so a number of warriors threw themselves at Magellan wounding him with a javelin to his left leg and finally defeating him with iron and bamboo.