On Tuesday, Catriona Gray graced the 500th-anniversary celebration of the Battle of Mactan in Cebu. The former Miss Universe reminded her fellow Filipinos to continue fighting for their freedom.
As the historians’ term for the April 27, 1521 skirmish between one of Mactan chieftains, Lapulapu, and Spanish sailors under the command of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who died in the fight—”Battle of Mactan”.
A reenactment of the battle was done in honor of this. It was staged by local actors. The Covid-19 pandemic forced the City not to hire famous actors. To play the roles of Lapulapu, his wife Bulakna, and his nemesis Magellan. In past reenactments, the actors who played the roles of Lapulapu and Magellan portrayed the fighting with the native hero winning the fight. This is despite Pigafetta’s account of the battle is silent on who killed Magellan
If one consults the song of the late great Bisaya hitmaker Yoyoy Villame, Magellan does not die right away. He is still able to cry and begs his mother to call the doctor as he is sick.
The former Miss Universe, Catriona Gray, said she is honored to be part of the festivities amid the pandemic. She is an ambassador of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). It’s currently her second year. Aside from this, she also became an ambassador of the “One Town, One Product” campaign. This comes under the Department of Trade and Industry. These came after she drew wide praise for her patriotic wardrobe during her Miss Universe campaign in 2018.
In her speech during the program, she said,
We Filipinos may be kind and compassionate. But as our history shows us, we know how to fight for our rights, our freedom, and our sovereignty. This is why our ancestors here in Mactan, led by Lapu-Lapu, victoriously defied Magellan.
Victory and humanity—these are the values that we stand for and celebrate tonight, the same values that inspired our founders in the fight for Philippine independence. Our ancestors raised their voice and their swords so that today, we could proudly raise our flags.
She also joined other artists in the singing of the theme song of the quincentennial celebrations in the Philippines, “Bagani.” Before her performance, she called on the audience and viewers to be the “fulfillment of the dreams of our ancestors.”
As she said,
May we all be modern-day heroes of humankind.
As stated by the article of Sun Star Cebu, aside from staging one-day-only events to honor the heroism of Lapulapu and his fellow natives, it would be better if the students in the country, or at least in Cebu, would be fed with in-depth literature on Lapulapu.
In order to honor and remember a hero, it is not enough to memorialize him by erecting monuments. Not by building shrines and museums, naming places and government facilities after him, offering a baseless account about his origins. Definitely not by staging a concert with a lineup of celebrities (with a huge budget, instead of putting it into other more important causes).
To remember Lapulapu, his act of defiance and his place in history must be studied.
I am a person who dropped a plan for years to pursue my passion for the arts and writing. I love the cosmos and I'm here to wander around it.