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Considered by Filipino folklore to be the first Pinoy hero, Lapulapu (some records call him Kolipulako) was chief of Maktang Island (now Mactan). He is credited by historians as having led the group of warriors that killed Ferdinand Magellan on April 27, 1521.

Local legends and illustrations portray him as engaging Magellan in single combat; in reality, Magellan was brought down with bamboo spears and hacked to death by several warriors, who may or may not have included their leader. Most schoolchildren are also taught that Lapulapu drove Magellan and his men off - in truth, Lapulapu's island was then waging a war against the more powerful kingdom of Cebu, who had already recruited the Spanish explorers as allies.

Due to the destruction of most native records, it is difficult to find details on his life. There is the Western misconception that before the Spanish came, natives were primitive grass-hut dwellers at the hunter-gatherer level. What records do exist show that by the 14th century, the Philippine islands were held by several small kingdoms and sultanates of legendary wealth that were trading and resupply bases for Chinese and Indian merchants. Islam was already making inroads (and in fact, had gained a foothold in the southern island of Mindanao). Thus, Lapulapu's people had a complex society with its own literature and arts comparable to those of the Incas or Aztecs.

Many historians regard Lapulapu as a gifted tactician. He is said to have been able to read and write at a young age, as well as having excelled at the martial arts of riding, boxing, swimming and wrestling. Some records claim that he had already fought successfully twice against pirates from Borneo before he reached the age of 20.

His face is engraved on the Philippine one-centavo coin, which are so rare nowadays that they are collector's items (since with inflation, not even five centavos can buy anything anymore).

Nobody knows how Lapulapu ended up - it is possible he lived to a ripe old age and died in his sleep, or he may have perished fighting against another tribe or a later Spanish incursion.

Most info from my own recollection, some info taken from http://www.fortunecity.com/meltingpot/redriver/1066/lapulapu.htm
(thing) by Langdon

Lapulapu is also the Tagalog name of a fish of the grouper family. Adult fish are usually one to one-and-a-half feet long. I don't think there is any relation to Lapulapu the hero, above, but it does give rise to some strange jokes.

Lapulapu is usually served steamed whole, with a mayonnaise topping sprinkled (for decoration) with diced carrots, green onion, and crumbled hard-boiled egg yolk.

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