Lapu-Lapu Day, observed on April 27, is a holiday that was created by Filipino President Duterte. It is a special working public holiday throughout the country and a special non-working holiday in Lapu-Lapu City. The holiday was declared in commemoration of the victory of Lapu-Lapu and his Filipino warriors against Spanish invaders, led by Ferdinand Magellan on April 27, 1521. On the day of this battle, Lapu-Lapu led a group of fighters who repelled an invading force of 49 Spaniards under the leadership of Magellan, who was killed in the fight. The historic event is known as the Battle of Mactan. Lapu-Lapu was a native of Mactan and some argue he is the earliest-known indigenous Visayan Muslim chieftain from the island.
History of Lapu Lapu Day
The little island of Mactan was a thriving community before Spanish colonization when the Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in Cebu in the 16th Century. The brave Spanish navigator heard that the inhabitants of Mactan refused to recognize the King of Spain, and in response set one of its villages on fire. The great warrior Lapu-Lapu was one of the native leaders on the island who refused to acknowledge the sovereignty of Spain over the Islands.
After the incident, Magellan then led a group of fellow Spaniards (about three boatloads of them) and an even larger number of Cebuanos (indigenous inhabitants of Cebu, who form a major ethnicity in the Philippines today) on a visit to Mactan, to help a chief who had apparently recognized the sovereignty of the King of Spain and therefore had the favor of the Spanish. On this visit, the entourage was ambushed by Lapu-Lapu and his men, armed with native fighting gear, including wooden shields, bows and arrows, and lances. The invading Spaniards and Cebuanos were ultimately driven back to their boats by Lapu-Lapu’s men, but their leader, Ferdinand Magellan, met his death at the hands of Lapu-Lapu. He stayed back to fight Lapu-Lapu and his men, but he was ultimately overwhelmed and killed by Lapu-Lapu himself.
This event took place on April 27, 1521. Today, there is a monument of Ferdinand Magellan which was mounted on the approximate spot on which he fell and died, to honor his bravery. The original town of Opon was founded by an Augustinian friar in 1730 before being renamed ‘Datu Lapu-Lapu’ in 1961 after it became a city in honor of the warrior who defeated Magellan and his troops in 1521. This battle is commemorated at the Lapu-Lapu shrine in Punta Engaño.
Lapu Lapu Day timeline
The great warrior from Cebu, Lapu-Lapu is born as Mactan.
Lapu-Lapu ambushes and kills the Spanish explorer and his invaders on April 27.
An Augustinian friar establishes the town of Opon where Lapu-Lapu originates from.
The town of Opon becomes a city and is renamed Lapu-Lapu City in honor of Lapu-Lapu’s victory against the Spanish invaders.
Lapu Lapu Day FAQs
What is Lapu-Lapu Day?
Lapu-Lapu Day is a holiday in the Philippines, created by Filipino president Duterte to celebrate the bravery of the warrior, Lapu-Lapu.
When is Lapu-Lapu Day?
Lapu-Lapu Day, created in 2021, is celebrated on April 27 every year.
Who was Lapu-Lapu?
Lapu-Lapu was a native leader on the island of Mactan, who is best known for defeating Spanish invaders on the island in 1521.
How to Observe Lapu Lapu Day
Brush up on Lapu-Lapu’s history
A good idea for celebrating Lapu-Lapu Day is to do some background reading. Learn all about the history of Lapu-Lapu.
Visit the Lapu-Lapu shrine
Why not see the sites related to this hero? If you can, you should definitely visit the Lapu-Lapu shrine in Punta Engaño!
Share on social media
Whether you’re visiting the Lapu-Lapu shrine or are putting on cosplay in commemoration of the holiday, be sure to share all about it on social media. Use the #LapuLapuDay hashtag.
5 Interesting Facts About Lapu-Lapu
The earliest-known Visayan Muslim chief
Some historians believe Lapu-Lapu was a Muslim and he was the earliest-known Visayan Muslim chief of Mactan.
He was known by other names
Lapu-Lapu actually had his name recorded as Cilapulapu and has been called other names such as Si Lapulapu and Salip Pulaka.
Lapu-Lapu migrated to Cebu
He is recorded to have arrived from Borneo and sought a place to settle, before eventually settling down in Mactan.
Lapu-Lapu was loyal to his people
Lapu-Lapu was very loyal to his people and he did not acknowledge the sovereignty of the King of Spain.
Inspiration for the city’s name
The city of Lapu-Lapu was initially a town called Opon, established in 1730, but upon becoming a city in 1961, it was renamed after Lapu-Lapu in honor of his fight against Ferdinand Magellan.
Why Lapu Lapu Day is Important
It celebrates bravery
Well, bravery is something we all aspire to. Lapu-Lapu Day celebrates exactly that!
It is a part of cultural history
Lapu-Lapu Day and the events surrounding its origin are part of the rich cultural heritage of the Filipino people. This is something worth celebrating.
It is a day to rest and relax
This is for people who live in the city of Lapu-Lapu. The day is a non-working holiday and therefore an opportunity to rest and relax.
Lapu Lapu Day dates