Ready to see an aged Lapulapu? Historians say warrior hero was ‘very old’ at Battle of Mactan

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 09 2020 10:04 PM

MANILA--The National Historical Commission of the Philippines on Thursday released a "photo-realistic" painting of Lapulapu to celebrate the 499th anniversary of the Battle of Mactan.

Lapulapu is shown with several tattoos, "loosely patterned after an illustration to Visayan people", according to the National Quincentennial Committee (NQC).

"These tattoos were not merely decorative, as these indicate the bearer’s experiences, achievements and triumphs in battles and sea encounters. To signify his dignity as a warrior-leader, Lapulapu is shown holding a kampilan (a noted Visayan bladed weapon) and wearing a regal red vest and pants. He is also adorned with gold ornaments, also patterned after those illustrated in the Boxer Codex and excavated in various parts of the Philippines in the collections of the Ayala Museum and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Museum," the committee said in a statement.

Behind Lapulapu in the painting is a beach depicting Mactan, where he and other warriors fought and killed Magellan and company on April 27, 1521.

Ready to see an aged Lapulapu? Historians say warrior hero was ‘very old’ at Battle of Mactan 1
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines released a "photo-realistic" painting of Lapulapu for the 499th anniversary of the Battle of Mactan. The portrait was made by Bulacan artist Carlo Caacbay. Courtesy of the Historic Sites and Education Division of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines via website of National Quincentennial Committee

The NQC said the portrait, rendered by Bulacan artist Carlo Caacbay, was released to join the virtual one-year countdown to the 2021 Quincentennial Commemorations in the Philippines.

"Lapulapu’s portrait is part of a series of paintings commissioned by the NHCP for display in various public schools and government offices," it said.

The NQC explained that the painting's difference with previous depictions of Lapulapu was "the honoree’s aged appearance."

"The NHCP subscribed to the recent findings of historian Danilo Gerona about the possible age of Lapulapu. According to his book, 'Ferdinand Magellan: The Armada de Maluco and the European Discovery of the Philippines' (2016), Gerona consulted the 1563 book of Portuguese historian Gaspar Correa titled 'Lendas da India'. The said publication claims Lapulapu was very old," the committee said.

"Gerona further said that Correa probably got the information from one of the survivors of the Magellan-Elcano expedition he interviewed."

Through the painting, Filipinos can visualize early Philippine history that is grounded on historical, cultural, and archeological research, the NQC said.

The NHCP is the main government agency responsible for preserving Philippine history and heritage through its administration of national shrines, museums, research and publication, conservation, and marking of historic sites and structures. 

It is the permanent administrative office for the NQC.