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May God forgive the “Fish King” of Mactán

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Carlos Calao (whose relatives today now spell their last name as Kalaw) was a Chinese Mestizo from Binondo. He published the below Spanish poem in 1614. It’s fortunate that I still found a copy of it. The poem was written in praise of Fernando Magallanes (Ferdinand Magellan in English) for having brought the Christian religion to these islands. Cali Pulaco, popularly and erroneously known as Lapu-lapu, was pictured as the real villain (“por orden de Satán“) in that legendary battle.

Actually, Magallanes was hailed by Filipinos as a hero for centuries, even after Spain had left the Philippines. A monument was even erected in Mactán island in his honor. But when our country was invaded and colonized by the US WASPs, they imposed upon us many questionable “heroes”, among them Cali Pulaco/Lapu-lapu, systematically brainwashing the Filipino mind to hate their Spanish past, killing the Filipino identity in the process.

For good or bad, Magallanes et al. brought to these heathen islands the concept of Christianity. So we better salute and thank him for introducing to us the Christmas season which is just around the corner. =)

To read the full and real story behind the battle of Mactán, click here. I wrote that indignant article more than three years ago for JB Lazarte‘s techno-humor blog SKIRMISHER (a history blogpost published in a techie blog — ang layo, ¿no?).

Without further adieu, here is Carlos Calao: poet, Filipino…


A monument of Magallanes in Punta Arena, Chile. Although Magallanes has a couple of monuments here in our country (with some places named after him), he is still looked upon with scorn for having “invaded the Philippines”. A classic case of historical stupidity among Filipinos today.

Carlos Calao

Que Dios le perdone al salvaje,
Al pagano de Mactán
Que no entendió la palabra
De Dios en el Capitán
Magallanes, a quién muerte
Dió por orden de Satán,
El enemigo de Cristo,
El ponsoñoso alacrán.

A dos cientos cobardes
Cali Pulaco mandó
Que se le tire arena
En los ojos a traición
Y que con pedradas y palos
Se le cayera el toisón:
¡Un hombre contra dos cientos
Salvajes sin corazón!

El Capitán Magallanes
Los invitó a servir
Al verdadero Dios servir nuestro;
Mas, aquel régulo vil
Llamado Cali Pulaco
No quiso ver ni sentir
La dádiva de la Fe
Y nos lo hizo morir.

Mas, no fue en vano la muerte
Del noble Conquistador.
El Niño Jesús que se entrona
En Cebú es hoy la flor
Que a su martirio perfuma.
Nadie recuerda al traidor
Que a Magallanes dió muerte.
Tal vez, otro vil traidor.

I dare say that the true hero of Mactán was not your vile Fish King. For having resisted Christianity and a possible early Filipinization, he unwittingly became the enemy of Christ, the poisonous scorpion.

To Magallanes: a respectful salute and boundless admiration!


9 responses »

  1. John Christian Canda

    I personally believe that Lapulapu was a Mohammedan.


  2. It is VERY doubtful that Lapu-Lapu was a Muslim (Mohammedan is a term that should not be used). See, for example,

    On Mactan’s beach, Lapu-Lapu was a patriot defending his homeland.

    Magellan was a foreign adventurer and a puppet in the local power politics of the Cebu-Mactan of his day.

    Humabon was his puppet master. But no one remembers.



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  4. Magellan as with any man has his good traits and bad. The Spaniards in general wanted to conquer the archipelago to rival Portugal who already had Malaysia. The excuse of spreading Christianity came third….remember the three Gs: Gold, Glory and God. Caliph Lapu (Lapu-Lapu) also had his good and bad side. I suppose we would never learn why Lapu and King Juan (of Cebu) were fighting in the first place (for all we know it could be because of a woman or a debt), but here is what’s clear: Magellan to gain trust of King Juan attacked Lapu-lapu under estimating his ability. Lapu-lapu experienced in warfare against the Portuguese (a story mentioned him fighting in the Battle of Malacca-ironically again fighting Magellan) over estimated the Spaniards and bought many warriors.

    I don’t think Lapu-lapu was Muslim but a Hindu as were most Malays then. Mindanao was only starting to spread Islam. So you will find titles like Sultan (Muslim), Rajah (Hindu), Datu (Hindu) which Datu Lapu-lapu was called, Ratu (Hindu) and Harah (Hindu). Caliph (a muslim title) was and is not common, so Caliph Lapu or Pulaka was an assumption rank, this was the time of Spanish Inquisition wherein everyone not Christian was a Heretic and most heretic were either Mohammedan (term for Muslim then), Jew or practicing witch craft. Since Lapu-lapu was not a Jew, a wizard or a witch; he must then be a Mohammedan.


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  6. A close look at Pigafetta’s chronicles will show that SI LAPUCLAPUC (as Humabon called him) was not present in the actual “battle of Mactan”. There was never a man to man confrontation between Magallanes and Calipulaco. It is the American Commission of 1902 that made him “a national hero” for their own colonial ends against the Filipino people. GGR


  7. So just exactly why is it a good thing for Christianity to have been brought here?


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