Sunday, November 05, 2006


This is a story about two men. One whose love for freedom destined him to a life of greatness, while the other allowed hubris and megalomania to destroy him and everyone under his command. In Metro Manila, the former was honored with a towering monument built on a prime spot at Rizal Park facing Manila Bay; the latter got a gated community in Makati named after him that gets flooded even during minor rainstorms.

The protagonist:

His name was Lapulapu; the son of Kusgano and Inday Puti; and grandson of a legendary powerful barangay queen, Matang Mantaunas, from which the name of the island of Mactan originated from. Lapulapu’s wife Bulakana, was a beautiful princess, the daughter of Datu Sabtano. Their union produced a son, Sawili. As one of Mactan’s chieftains, Lapulapu’s altruistic benevolence earned him much respect and loyalty from those under his rule. His main goal as their leader was to assure his people a life of continued peace, abundance, and freedom. Their idyllic existence was threatened upon the arrival of large ships from Spain commandeered by a man with insidious intentions.

The antagonist:

The fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the rise of the Ottoman Turks closed the former trade routes to the East. Henceforth, Portugal and Spain produced intrepid explorers to blaze new routes across the seas. Ferdinand Magellan, a master navigator and seaman, renounced his Portuguese citizenship and went to Spain when snubbed by the Portuguese royalty. With the help of his father-in-law and some influential friends, Magellan gained an appointment at the royal court of King Charles I to unveil his bold venture to find a new route to the Moluccas. The King of Spain, impressed by Magellan’s pioneering vision — which promised immense profit for Spain if successful — approved and agreed to fund what would turn out to be a voyage of great historical significance.

The conflict:

On March 16, 1521, three big ships under the command of Magellan reached the coast of Samar after sailing westward across the Pacific. The next day, Magellan dropped anchor at the flourishing port of Cebu, impressing its ruler, Rajah Humabon, with their huge sailing vessels and armaments. Humabon offered them bananas and fish; Magellan, in reciprocity, gave them a large wooden cross, converted them to Christianity, and took possession of their land in the name of Spain.

The natives’ willingness to comply must’ve caught Magellan by surprise; making him think he was, indeed, another Hernan Cortes who easily conquered Mexico when the natives mistook him and his men as “white gods.” Humabon, an important chieftain of Cebu even helped convince the other datus to do the same. But for the recalcitrant Lapulapu, Humabon sent an emissary, Zula (the other datu of Mactan) to do the talking for him. Unlike most other chieftains, Lapulapu used his intelligence well and was not so gullible as to readily concede with Humabon at all times.

Lapulapu must’ve been perplexed and asked himself why he would give up a life of freedom and abundance just to appease the audacious demand of this windswept, sun-burnt foreigner. He refused to engage in any concession with this white man. Unbeknownst to others, Lapulapu summoned his son Sawili to go to Cebu and spy on these foreign intruders. On April 26th of 1521, Zula also summoned one of his sons, but it was for the purpose of presenting Magellan with two goats and the bad news that Lapulapu refused to recognize Spanish sovereignty. Magellan was astonished, not by the two goats, but by Lapulapu’s defiance and disrespect. With his ego badly bruised by a half-naked native, Magellan swore to teach this datu of Mactan a lesson.

The battle:

On April 27th of 1521, at dawn, with an army of no more than 50 armor-clad Spaniards and about a thousand Cebuano warriors, Magellan, before ordering an invasion of Mactan, sent Lapulapu one final message, “Submit to the King of Spain, accept Humabon as the Christian King, and pay tribute, or else face death through our guns, swords and cannons.”

“Bring them on, fool!” Lapulapu must’ve roared back in response, which could’ve only further incensed Magellan. Intoxicated by excessive pride, Magellan told Humabon and the Cebuano warriors to stay in their boats and just watch how white men fight. Unfortunately for Magellan, the tide was against them which prevented their boats from getting closer to the shore; hence, the enemy territory was out of range of their cannons. Nonetheless, Magellan was determined to confront Lapulapu and his men even if only with their handheld weapons.

Backed by at least 1,000 warriors, Lapulapu overwhelmingly outnumbered Magellan and his men. In addition, Lapulapu’s son Sawili, returned beforehand from his intelligence-gathering mission in Cebu with pertinent information — certain weak spots in the Spaniards’ armor plates, especially at the joints of the armplates. Sawili also told his father that the Spaniards were most vulnerable in the legs, which were unprotected. Armed with this information and facing imminent invasion by the Spaniards, Lapulapu’s foresight guided him to devise appropriate tactical strategies.

And so on that fateful morning of April 27th, while Magellan and his men waded across the shallow waters filled with brittle corals and mangrove roots, Lapulapu and his warriors waited patiently. When two Spaniards reached the beach and ran straight to set fire on the native huts, the defenders yelled their furious cries and charged. Arrows and spears rained on the legs of the invaders. When an arrow hit Magellan’s right leg, he ordered a retreat. The Spaniards were not about to argue; they raced back to their boats. Those busily engaged in combat and overwhelmed by the sheer number of the defenders were unable to flee.

Lapulapu finally recognized the conceited captain amongst the handful of invaders left behind and approached him. He knocked his helmet off as a native warrior lunged to hurl a spear into Magellan’s face, but Magellan quickly ducked and plunged his lance into the attacking native. And as he withdrew his weapon off the dead body, Lapulapu hacked his leg causing him to fall facedown. Many natives then rushed upon Magellan with swords and bamboo spears; piercing his body with ferocious intensity.

An eerie silence then engulfed the battle scene. It was all over. Humabon and his warriors were awed and dumbstruck with what they had just witnessed — a native datu and his men successfully defending their land against foreign invaders; preserving the freedom passed on to them by their honorable ancestors. Just before sailing back to Cebu, Humabon sent word to Lapulapu requesting for Magellan’s cadaver, but Lapulapu’s immediate response was, “We will not give away the captain’s body for all the riches in the world, because his body is the trophy of our victory against white invaders of our shore!”

Lapulapu was to live the rest of his life as a free man. All the other chieftains including Humabon paid him with utmost respect since then. And as for the large cross which was given as a gift of Magellan to the Cebuanos, it was eventually chopped as firewood.

The letter of apology:

Towards the end of that same year, 1521, the King of Cebu received a letter from Hernan Cortes, which should have been addressed to Lapulapu instead. Ambeth Ocampo summed it up as an admission by Cortes that Magellan had, indeed, went beyond his orders and deserved his fate; blaming it on the man’s egocentricity and overzealousness.

Cortes also offered a ransom to any Spanish held captive from that battle. He wrote, “And in order that you and all the other kings and signors of those districts to give you satisfaction for it, the emperor, our Lord, will be much pleased if you will deliver to the captain any of the Spaniards who are still alive in your prison. If you wish a ransom for it, he shall give it to you at your pleasure and to your satisfaction; and in addition you will receive favors from me …”

Regrettably, there were no Spanish survivors left; Lapulapu and his men sold them off as slaves to the Chinese traders.

By Sonia M. Zaide
All-Nation Publishing Co., Inc.
By Ambeth Ocampo
Anvil Publishing
Inspiring Lives of 101 Great Filipinos
By Fernando A. Bernardo
Anvil Publishing

posted by Señor Enrique at 11:22 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a very entertaining recollection of that one fateful day in our history. Only if a high-crafted movie director could do this retelling on the movie screen once again, it would be such a pleasure. I think the last Lapu-Lapu movie wasn't as popular or as well-patronized.

November 05, 2006 1:06 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The battle scene reminds me of The Iliad especially the part where Lapu-lapu won't surrender Magellan's body. Remember Achilles and Hector?

I was also going to say that this would make a great movie, just like Troy.

November 05, 2006 1:23 PM  

Blogger PhilippinesPhil said...

Too bad there weren't a host of men like Lapulapu to continue to fight off the bastards. Did the Spanish do any good during the 300 plus years they used this place? It doesn't seem like it.

Ever read how the Hawaiians dispatched Captain Cook? Very similar battle at the water's edge. The Hawaiians DID fork over Cook, but it is said that the biggest piece of him left to bury was one complete bloody femur. He was pretty much chopped up into giblets.

November 05, 2006 10:53 PM  

Blogger -= dave =- said...

There's a recent movie about Lapulapu starring Lito Lapid (LL, like Lapulapu), but it was full of inaccuracies and was panned by the critics. The moviegoers didn't like it too; thus, you guys don't remember such a movie existed.

For the death of Magellan, this post the account in the journals of Pigafetta, the Spanish fleet chronologer. Obviously he had it romanticized, full of flowery words and strong emotions for their fallen leader. Magellan was portrayed as selfless for fighting on to let his men retreat in safety. Pathetic. If I'm not mistaken, Pigafetta was in the battle himself.

The Lapulapu statue in Rizal Park generated controversy. "Experts" say the Visayan datu was out of place, and it was better that his statue be moved to Cebu. More than that, they pointed out that a muscular Lapulapu was inaccurate. Rather, the datu was more on the heavy side.

I see that Zaide was cited in this post. That "historian" has been repeatedly discredited, like in this blog. Better if Ambeth Ocampo's works were used more. The more accurate take on this event was that Lapulapu and Humabon had a long-running feud. Magellan's blunder was that he intervened in local politics. And he broke every tenet of naval warfare. The arrogant fool belatedly learned that Philippine politics is bad for the body and soul. (It's true even in the present times.)

So it's not so much about freedom since Magellan really wasn't thinking about invasion, but mereley to impress a new ally (vassal). Lastly, a one-on-one between the datu and the captain, although cinematic, is highly unlikely.

November 05, 2006 11:22 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

senor enrique,

it is quite interesting to note that the portuguese maritime museum in lisbon (according to a friend & the brochure he showed me), attributes magallanes' death to a mutiny.
a contrast to pigafetta's account of "batalla de mactan".
thanks for sharing a deeper info on kalipulaku.



November 05, 2006 11:44 PM  

Blogger Amadeo said...

Never realized there are so much graphic details written about that historic deadly encounter. Or maybe I was not curious enough to find out earlier? Anyway, your post made it moot.

As part-Cebuano and one who spent part of his youth in Cebu, we of course were quite familiar with the history of that little island called by the locals as Opon since some relatives used to live there. And some family members would be invited to go visit. And during those times, we did not have the two bridges now extant connecting the island with the mainland.

And we kinda accepted the wading part to battle on both sides as part of the locale. After all the locals' name for Cebu is Sugbu which in the dialect means to wade through. You see, many parts of the entire island, which is long and lean, are lined with shallow shores making vessels unable to touch shore.

Thus, as kids we were amused looking at pictures showing Magellan and his contingent in almost waist-deep water jousting with the half-naked warriors of Lapulapu. Now why would an educated white man wear those heavy armor plates knowing the terrain for the upcoming encounter? Was the leader that arrogant and clueless at the same time? Or too self-absorbed to realize the realities? Questions to be answered, indeed.

Thus, we may in fact have to search deeper to find out which is fact, and as Dave pointed out, which is cinematic license.

Discovery Channel has those astounding series where they show fresh retelling of old wars, bringing in modern sciences and technologies to assist in discovering truth. Battles as old as the one in Thermopylae where Leonidas and his 300 figured in the fighting.

November 06, 2006 3:31 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a very entertaining piece of information.

We, Filipinos should really study our roots, our culture and history. We have so many beautiful and inspiring stories which most of us Filipinos do not appreciate, ignore or simply do not know.

Thank you.

November 06, 2006 1:09 PM  

Blogger Sidney said...

Hi Eric,
Congratulations for your new D80. In fact this is my dream upgrade. It seems the D80 is much better than the D70.
Just wondering how you can make better pictures. Your pictures are always excellent.
But of course you know have a tool to go into serious business.

I see you were very productive during my vacations and I will need some time to catch up and read all your entries.

For me Magellan & Lapulapu are almost mythical figures.

November 06, 2006 1:12 PM  

Blogger RAV Jr said...

Wow! Such graphic and crisp retelling of the Mactan battle. Im so proud and glad to be a Filipino.

I always leave your blog loaded with information.


November 06, 2006 2:06 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

one comment...

congrats on your new baby! hehehe. enjoy your new nikki. :P

November 06, 2006 2:08 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A glorious story of courage and honor to his own country. It's awesome to read the Lapulapu was so great in defending his homeland. Man, he's a total hero!


November 06, 2006 4:16 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Ambeth Ocampo had mentioned about an English or American made movie of Magellan in which Lapulapu was made out to be the bad guy, Major Tom. So it would be interesting to produce a well-crafted film to tell the story as it was -- that Magellan did, in fact, step out of bounds and did what he wasn't supposed to do.

Yes, Nicehart, this story does seem to project that mythical story, doesn't it?

Was that turned into a film, Mutinity on the Bounty, Phil? BTW, Magellan also experienced a bit of mutiny before arriving in the Philippines.

I think most paintings, murals and statues tend to depict a more idealized version, Dave. Lacson's monument over at Plaza Lacson, I fist mistook as MacArthur for he appeared incredibly tall.

As for Zenaide Zaide, I used her work to check the dates and certain accounts against Ocampo's, which tend to be the same.

There was indeed a mutiny, Datu Panot, but it occurred prior to their arrival in the archipelago. Thanks!

I had seen some of those episodes, Amadeo, and it would be exciting for a similar scientific investigation to be conducted on some battles in our local history.

Your welcome, Myepinoy. Of course, question is how accurate my depiction is; however, I've basically pinched the details from those sources.

Thanks, Sidney! Ivan was asking about you, but told him that I suspected you might be out of town.

I have many things to learn with my new gear, but it makes picture taking even more fun now :)

Many thanks, DOPS. And thank you as well for the special mention in your site :)

Thanks, Jep! I had given it a name that I gave to my last dog, Niko :)

Now I can try out some of those manul settings that you post with your pics!

Thanks, Kyels. Wish we had more heroes like him.

November 08, 2006 12:01 PM  

Blogger Ai Dihayco said...

Really amazing history...We used to sing a song of love of our city lapu-lapu & how lapu-lapu fought not to be invaded by magellan when I was in elementary..till now I love to sing it infront of my husband..and he love it..knowing about our history that european like him was killed by an islander like Lapu-lapu..and yet now, I married a european..heheh!
When I brought my european friends there to witness the reenactment..they were amazed how we Filipinos fought for freedom with just simple weapons..they had fun on that day.

Thanks for sharing this blog Senor..really exciting! but when i was in Manila, i was not able to visit that lapu-lapu monument. time :-)

May 02, 2007 1:29 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

We need to have a sense of our history within us so we won't ever get lost wherever we may travel in life.

It is a fascinating piece of history. Didn't realize that Magellan was such an egomaniac ... hehehe.

It's a huge monument on Rizal Park near Taft Avenue. Visit it next time you come home for a visit.

May 02, 2007 2:05 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think Hernan Cortes, the conquistador of Mexico, wrote to the King of Cebu about Magellan. Hernan Cortes was so busy taking over the Aztec Empire of Mexico and even went up to the Pacific coast of Baja, California. After this went back to Spain, to complain, because Francisco Vasquez de Coronado had the right to the place. After this he also went to Algiers for another expedition.

Maybe it was not Hernan Cortes who wrote the letter, but the SPANISH CORTES, which means the Spanish Parliament.

March 17, 2008 12:22 PM  

Blogger ka tony said...

Hola Senor Enrique,
Just like you, I'm a Pinoy living away from home. I miss & love our country, except for the country's politicians!!! I hope our history be written all over again. The problem with history, winners are the one who write and dictates what books shoul be read by the students. Let's start now and this time write the whole truth and nothing but the truth!!!

Here's my research about Magellan and Magellan's Page what, ENRIQUE...

March 15, 1521
Ferdinand Magellan “discovered” the Philippines

...or the Pilipinos discovered Magellan and suffered 400 years of cruelty under Spain’s colonization. Instead of losing to the revolution initiated both by Cuba and the Philippines, Spain sold her four remaining island colonies, including Guam and Puerto Rico for $20,000,000. to the Americans - in 1898 Treaty of Paris. Like Yoyoy Villame's simple/humorous song, the church and the colonial government of Spain, positioned and glued in our mind, that the reason for their colonization is to “save our soul.” A lot of people really don't know much about Magellan...he was a great explorer, "discovered the Philippines" he was Portuguese and the rest we don’t really know.

Just like Columbus’ past and remains which still a big unsolved mystery. Most history books stated that Columbus was born in the coastal town of Genoa, Italy. Some researchers now are saying that he was Catalan from Catalonia, Spain after a long investigation and research basing on his choice of words, style of writing in Spanish of the day to day accounts he wrote in his diary. Was he Italian, Spanish or Catalan? His remains is more mysterious than his origin, a lighthouse called “Faro a Colon” (Lighthouse of Columbus), in Hispaniola now the Island of Santo Domingo house a box said to contain his bones. Santo Domingo’s government claimed that this box came from Seville, Spain in 1542, was requested by Don Diego, son of Columbus who was the Governor during that time. There are also Columbus’ bones in a box inside a tomb made of ornate bronze, in Seville’s Cathedral, Spain, claiming his remains.

Why do most of these "great explorers" have questionable or little known past? Simple, most of them were mercenaries, criminals, ex-convicts, pirates, thieves or treasure hunters. By bringing looted goods, treasures and new colonies to their King, their past were forgiven or covered. Instead they were given titles and power by the King or Queen who sponsored their exploration. Sir Francis Drake was a pirate, his ship “The Golden Hind” was the second ship in history that sailed around the globe, looting Dutch, French cargos, Spanish galleons, even English ships. He and his crew were fugitive by The English Navy, until he brought gold from Spanish colonies and looted goods to the Throne of England, Sir Francis Drake was knighted.

Before Magellan, the China Sea functioned as a Mediterranean. The people along its littoral were long in contact with each other, which had of course, cultural consequences. It was possible that the Philippines was visited and traded with the famous Chinese-Muslim Admiral Zheng He, a great sailor historians credited that he was the first person to reach the Americas. The Philippines was one of the most important centers of Chinese commerce. Chinese chronicles and old maps refer to the country as MA-I ("The Three Islands") that may well refer to the three big islands. Pasig River was a long stretch highway used in trading between the Taga Ilog (Tagalog) and the Chinese. Arabs traded with the natives of Mindanao and shared their Muslim faith. The Hindus from India traded in southern Philippines and shared their titles “Raja” with us. All these exchanged of goods, faith, culture and ideology happened before the time of Magellan and none of these traders claimed they “Discovered the Philippines”

Magellan having lived in India and the Portuguese colony Malacca or Moluccas, must have heard or knew the Philippines from Hindu, Chinese and Malay traders. Magellan was in Cochin in 1512, participated in the attack on Goa, India, sailed as far as Moluccas in Malaya, where he purchased a 13 year old slave latter, named him ENRIQUE or “Enrique de Malacca.” Magellan is like a father to Enrique and Magellan was fond of his page. Magellan wrote in his will that when he dies, Enrique would be a freeman. Magellan and Enrique took part in fighting the Moors in Morocco, fighting English pirates at sea which made Enrique famous for his courage, pirates called him "BLACK HENRY" Enrique or HENRY in English, BLACK - because of his skin color. At the battle of Azamor, Magellan received wounds, slashes of sword left him scars on his face and a deadly cut in his knee that left him permanently lame. Afterwards, he entered the customary claim for a larger allowance from the king of Portugal. It was refused, with the imputation that Magellan was entirely cured. His honor was insulted; he not only left his country but published a formal renunciation of his Portuguese citizenship.
Took his page Enrique, his friend Ruy Faleiro, a geographer and astronomer of Lisbon, whom from him, Magellan learned his navigational skills all went to Spain in 1517 and became Spanish citizens. While in Seville Magellan married Beatriz Barbosa and fathered a son Rodrigo.

With Magellan's experience in Malacca, courage, and his navigational skills, the king of Spain was impressed by Magellan's qualities and agreed in 1518 to supply him with men, supplies and 5 ships, Trinidad, Magellan’s flagship, San Antonio, Concepcion, Victoria and Santiago. In return, over half the profits from any products Magellan might bring back were reserved for the Crown. Juan de Cathergena – captain of San Antonio, Luis Mendoza – captain of Victoria, Gaspar Quesada – captain of Concepcion and Magellan’s Portuguese cousin, Joao Serrao – captain of Santiago. Luckily Magellan had a passenger, a civilian tourist, going along simply for the adventure of the trip. He was the 28 year old ANTONIO PIGAFFETA, a native of Vicenza, Italy. The only person who documented the trip, which the journal he wrote was the only basis of the first circumnavigation of the world of the ship "VICTORIA." August 10, 1519 the crewmen, all 270 or so assembled at dawn for a solemn Mass. Before reaching the Pacific, the smallest ship Santiago having been wrecked on a scouting mission. The ship San Antonio, sailed behind one of the islands in South America, turned back to Spain. The 3 remaining ships left South America on November 28, 1520, entered an unknown ocean to continue the voyage that answered the question "is the world round?" Discovered unknown countries, territories, straights, International Date Line and the world largest body of water the "Pacific Ocean".

After 3 months of sailing an endless but calm ocean, Magellan named it “Pacifico” meaning peaceful. Dying of hunger and thirst, the crew ate their last worm-filled biscuits and went hunting for rats. Luckily they came across a small island, where they landed get food and water. The natives of the island traded with the crew, but stole one of their life boat and goods. Magellan being mad with what happened, ordered his crew to burn the village and named the island “LADRONES” or Island of Thieves. March 6, 1521, ten days after leaving Ladrones, now Guam, Magellan landed in Limasawa held thanks giving mass. He named the place "San Lazaro", for it was St Lazarus day. The crew was amazed with Magellan's page ENRIQUE, the natives were able to communicate with him and acted as an interpreter.

Six weeks later, sailed to the island of Cebu, where they were welcomed by the natives lead by their king Raja Humabon. Being the first two Pilipino collaborator/balimbing in Philippine history, Raja Humabon and Datu Zula convinced Magellan joined them in battle with the neighboring island, Mactan ruled by Lapu Lapu. Magellan to show the power of “modern weapon and warfare” promised to lead the raid himself taking only 60 men. Being low tide during the time of the battle of Mactan, Magellan’s ships failed to be close to shore to be able to fire and reach Lapu Lapu’s village.
*from Pigaffeta’s diary…

“When morning came, forty-nine of us leaped into the water up to our thighs, and walked through water for more than two cross-bow flights before we could reach the shore. The boats could not approach nearer because of certain rocks in the water. The other eleven men remained behind to guard the boats. When we reached land, [the natives] had formed in three divisions to the number of more than one thousand five hundred people. When they saw us, they charged down upon us with exceeding loud cries... The musketeers and crossbow-men shot from a distance for about a half-hour, but uselessly... Recognizing the captain, so many turned upon him that they knocked his helmet off his head twice... A native hurled a bamboo spear into the captain's face, but the latter immediately killed him with his lance, which he left in the native's body. Then, trying to lay hand on sword, he could draw it out but halfway, because he had been wounded in the arm with a bamboo spear. When the natives saw that, they all hurled themselves upon him. One of them wounded him on the left leg with a large cutlass, which resembles a scimitar, only being larger. That caused the captain to fall face downward, when immediately they rushed upon him with iron and bamboo spears and with their cutlasses, until they killed our mirror, our light, our comfort, and our true guide. When they wounded him, he turned back many times to see whether we were all in the boats. Thereupon, beholding him dead, we, wounded, retreated, as best we could, to the boats, which were already pulling off.”

Magellan lost his life along with forty of his crew on April 27, 1521. After Enrique’s master, Magellan’s death, the remaining Spanish Captain refused to give Enrique his freedom. Enrique sought out the disillusioned Raja Humabon and Datu Zula, convinced the two “balimbing” about his plot to get the Spanish goods and kill the crew, which the two agreed. Enrique told the Spanish crew that Raja Humabon is giving them a farewell banquet and gift of jewels. Greedy, 29 officers came ashore for the party for food, wine and favors from Humabon’s women. Enrique’s vengeance was completed in the massacre that followed. The remaining crew, scared, confused and not knowing what to do, sail southward. Enrique was left behind by the 3 remaining ships; one of them was leaking and was destroyed.

The Victoria and Trinidad set out for Borneo. In November reached the Moluccas-Tadores. In December, they sailed southwest and separated. The Trinidad tried to recross the Pacific, but was forced back by headwinds to the Moluccas, where she was captured by a Portuguese squadron. Victoria with her valuable cargo, under a Basques captain Sebastian Del Cano, had touched Timor, and then crossed the Indian Ocean early in 1522. She rounded Cape of Good Hope in May. In a final run to Spain the Victoria anchored in Seville on September 8, 1522, after 3 years at sea. The cargo of the Victoria was sold for enough money to pay for the expedition! Del Cano was rewarded with a pension. Pigaffeta presented to Charles V his diary, or a copy of it, whereabouts is not known today. He visited Portugal, where he gave the king a manuscript, then to France and gave it to Marie Louise, regent and mother of Francis I.

ENRIQUE, Enrique de Malacca or Black Henry as he was called, was the first man to circumnavigate the world. Magellan's journal described Enrique's origin, as not a native of Malaya, but from somewhere else. According to Tome Pires's "Summa Oriental", people from Luzon and other parts of the islands, was living in the Malay Peninsula when the Portuguese conquered Malacca in 1511. Enrique was a captive warrior in Malaya and was sold as a slave, possibly a victim of the practice of slave-raiding. Was the knowledge of Enrique about the area made Magellan confident, convinced King Charles I of Spain and was sure of the expedition? Was this the reason why Magellan “knew the area” so well? Not like Columbus who sailed west to reach India failed, reached America instead, and still believing he made it to India called the Native Americans “Indians.” Like Columbus, Magellan sailed west and reached Asia, as he expected. Was it with the help of Enrique, like his people from Asia who sailed east on their simple and small boat and reached tiny islands of Micronesia and Polynesia? Was Enrique then a Pilipino? Pigaffeta, the Italian scribe of Magellan's expedition was quite explicit in his observation that Enrique spoke and understood Visayan, had familiarity of the geography, rejoined the natives after the battle of Mactan. With the Cebuanos he led a plot to kill more Spaniards, stayed in Cebu and blended with his roots. Pilipino? I really think he was.

Tony Donato

Muchisimas gracias Senor Enrique.

June 27, 2008 12:23 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Once again, Tony, many thanks for sharing with us such a significant aspect of our local history. I, for one, appreciate knowing about this, especially about Enrique who may have been an Indio after all.

Again, muchas gracias!

June 28, 2008 7:04 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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