Lapu-Lapu – From An Expensive Delicious Fish To A National Hero
Make no mistake, Lapu-Lapu was already a national hero for many years but it seems his name is now better known as a name of a fish rather than the brave man himself. For many Filipinos, the Lapu-Lapu fish is a delicious and exquisite food for a higher price tag. For President Rodrigo Duterte, this is not a good way to honor him. He has long been vocal that Lapu-Lapu should be emulated as a national hero. It is therefore that on April 27, 2017, President Duterte signed Proclamation No. 200 to honor the great hero and chieftain of Mactan.
“On April 27, 1521, the Battle of Mactan was fought and won by Lapu-Lapu and his men to repulse the Spanish invaders,” the the proclamation read. “It is but fitting and proper that Lapu-Lapu be given the highest honor and that his legacy be remembered by all Filipinos through appropriate ceremonies,” it added.
According to Malacañang Palace, the proclamation noted that Lapu-Lapu was among the first Filipino forefathers to fight foreign invaders. His heroism has been recognized as a representation of the Filipino people’s love of freedom and capability to rise above adversity.
Lapu-Lapu left us a legacy of freedom through his leadership, extraordinary bravery, courage and love for his own land,” the proclamation read.
It was President Duterte who broke the news about declaring Lapu-Lapu a hero during an interview with reporters at the Palace on Thursday (April 27). The proclamation was released to the media more than an hour later.
The President has often taken pride of Lapu-Lapu in his public speeches, saying he should be given the proper tribute he rightfully deserves.
“It is but fitting and proper that Lapu-Lapu be given the highest honor and that his legacy be remembered by all Filipinos through appropriate ceremonies,” said the Philippine President.
Duterte, who refers to himself as a Bisaya because his father is from Cebu, spoke during campaign sorties in Visayas about the need for Lapu-Lapu to be recognized as a hero at par with heroes from Luzon like Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio.
Duterte said Lapu-Lapu stood for Filipinos against the Spanish colonizers but has not been given recognition by local historians. His memory has even been demoted to a fish, he lamented.
To elevate Lapu-Lapu’s status, Duterte signed an Executive Order creating the Order of Lapu-Lapu. This Order is to be awarded to officials, government personnel, and private citizens “in recognition of invaluable or extraordinary service in relation to a campaign or advocacy of the President.”
The Lapu-Lapu fish a a grouper that lives deep sea rocks which is why it is often called “isda sa bato”. It can grow large and weigh heavy. So enough of the fish talk, let us remember Lapu-Lapu as the first Filipino hero and not some delicious fish.
The story of Lapu-Lapu
If you want to know more about the history of Lapu-Lapu, watch the 28 minute video below taken I-Witness of GMA News as narrated by Jay Taruc.