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The Significance of the Battle of Mactan

By Ernesto G. Banawis

TODAY, April 27, is Lapu- Lapu Day. a special national holiday in honor of our country’s first national hero.

It was on this fateful day, 500 years ago, that Lapu Lapu and his constituents repulsed an invading force of 49 Spaniards led by Ferdinand Magellan who was killed in this historic event which became known as the Battle of Mactan.

But it was the ill-fated yet successful expedition of Magellan which prompted Spain to send three more expeditions to our archipelago. It was the last one, led by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, which established Spain’s colonization of the over 7,000 islands. Legaspi first landed in Gamay, a village in Samar, in March 1561. The colony was named as the Philippines in honor of King Philip II of Spain.

Over a hundred revolts were staged by our leaders all over the country but were brought down by the colonial government. It was only on June 12, 1898 that the Philippines gained its freedom from Spain and proclaimed itself as Republic of the Philippines. For 333 years, we suffered economic and political slavery and religious bigotry under Spain.

Our independence did not last long. The United States of America bought us from Spain for only $20 million and made our country as its diplomatic and secujrity outpost in the Far East until 1946 when she gave us back our independence.

Today, we are again being treated ;as a surrogate by another big power which seeks to dominate the world.

Perhaps, we should commemorate Lapu-Lapu Day by pledging to ourselves to defend our freedom and independence against any other country at any cost.

Let us always remember that Magellan did not discover our country. Were he equipped with more precise navigational instruments, he would have hit the Spice Island which was his original target instead of landing at Homonhon Island in Samar.

The United States made us a colony allegedly to teach us how to run a democratic and republican government. The Malolos Consitution contains loftier pr inciples than the Constitution of the USA. Dr. Jose Rizal, Apolinario Mabini and Marcelo H. Del Pilar were more gifted writers and ideologues than Tomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.

The Japanese waned to include us under its grand East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere but the atom bomb ended their dreams.

Now a new superpower is treating us with humiliation and contempt. China will not listen to our complaints, rantings, and whimperings over the presence of some 220 vessels at our territorial waters. As far as China is concerned, she owns the entire South China Sea.

Her ships and military installaions are within its own marine territory. ;Even the 7th Fleet could not drive them away. The protests of other counries, like our own, is futile. They are all sound and fury, signifying silent anger and lament.

Xi Jinping, the undisputed leader of China and the world today holds in his palm the fate and destiny of over 100 million Filipinos and our country.

A thorough reading of his background, achievements, and character will indicae that Xi jinping is a gifted, self-possessed, and sensible man. He will not risk the lives of over 1.4 billion of his own people by going to war just to prove he is the most powerful leader of the world.

Let us hope Xi Jinping will opt to be revered than just being remembered as one of the greatest leaders of the world.


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