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Lapu-lapu is considered one of the greatest figures of ancient Philippine history. Although the first thing that usually comes to mind when the name of Lapu-lapu is mentioned is the fact that his battle with Magellan led to Magellan's death, Lapu-lapu was not honored because of that. Rather, he is honored because he was among the first to reject submission to a foreign power even though Raja Humabon, ruler of the neighboring island of Cebu, and other chiefs recognized the king of Spain as their ruler and agreed to pay tribute.

On April 28, 1521, Magellan and some sixty of his men battled with the forces of Lapu-lapu on the shores of Mactan Island. During the battle, Magellan was wounded in the leg. Seeing this, several members of Lapu-lapu's forces rushed at Magellan and killed him with their spears. With the death of Magellan, the Spaniards retreated to their ships and left. Lapu-lapu's victory is celebrated annually with a re-enactment of the battle at the site where the original battle is believed to have occurred.

Little is known regarding Lapu-lapu's life. However, he figures in several legends. One of which is the legend of the Origin of the Coconut. He also indirectly figures in a 20th-century legend, the legend of the Bow and Arrow.

Lapu-Lapu was the datu of Mactan, an island in the Visayas, Philippines, who is known as the first native of the archipelago to have resisted Spanish colonization. He is now regarded as the first Filipino hero.

On the morning of April 27, 1521, Lapu-Lapu and the men of Mactan, armed with spears, kampilan, and kalasag, faced Spanish soldiers led by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. In what would later be known as the Battle of Mactan, Magellan and several of his men were killed.

According to Sulu oral tradition, Lapu-Lapu was a Muslim chieftain, and was also known as "Kaliph Pulaka". The people of Bangsamoro, the Islamic homeland in the southern Philippine Islands, consider him to be a Muslim and a member of the Tausug ethnic group. A variant of the name, as written by Carlos Calao, a 17th century Chinese-Spanish poet in his poem "Que Dios Le Perdone" (Spanish, "That God May Forgive Him") is "Cali Pulacu".

In the 19th century, the Propagandist Mariano Ponce used a variant name, "Kalipulako", as one of his pseudonyms. The 1898 Philippine Declaration of Independence refers to Lapu-Lapu as "King Kalipulako de Maktan".

(c. 16th century)

Chief of Mactan who led the first successful Filipino armed resistance against Spanish aggression. He fought and killed Magellan in a battle in Mactan, on April 27, 1521.

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