Punta Engaño

April 28, 2009

Commuting from my place to Mactan takes about 45 minutes, that is without regular day traffic, which would surprise Manilenos because traffic here is incomparable to what we have in metro Manila, difference between night and day my friends. The destination is Punta Engaño, or simply Engaño, for the locals here. From the hi-way you could hitch a ride and it would only cost you a measly 13 pesos, along the way you’ll pass by the massive airfield of Mactan airport.

Just the other day, I was asking colleagues [local peeps] how to go this place, I was quite surprised that some of them has never been there. That’s strange, but I don’t really get easily discourage, it was my Nanay who told me, “kung marunong ka magbasa, hindi ka maliligaw”.

I’ve been planning [dreaming?] to go here ever since I was in secondary school, it look large and gorgeous in photos, but seeing it right in front of you is something else, it’s not as big [when you’re a child everything is a giant] as I expect it to be but it’s a handsome monument.

It is said that the memorial for Magellan, constructed by Fray Aguirre in 1866, is the area where the Portueguese explorer died. It’s an elegant monument, made of coral stones and white marble, it’s in fine form, well preserved, for this I commend the Mactan local government. Fray Aguirre, then parish priest of Opon [old name of Lapu-Lapu city] made certain that his conquistador would not be forgotten, the project was said to have been approved by the previous governors and was only constructed years later.

Many foreigners, staying in the Mactan hotels nearby take pleasure snapping shots at the impressive white stone structure. There is a bronze statue closer to the water of Lapu-Lapu, the triumphant Mactan chief.  A historical marker is also nearby commemorating Lapu-Lapu’s victory. What I find odd are these small Lapu-Lapu bust, more like a cartoon image, spread around the monument. These bust are painted and has their eyes fixed at the Magellan monument.

I was once ask if Lapu-Lapu is a hero, I think he was because he fought for his turf [not Filipinas since there was no state during his time], he did what he thought was right, and that means something, he was the underdog fighting a giant, stories like these inspires people to dream, if he doesn’t want to be Christianized and be under any ruler, good for him. But we should also study what happened during this break gained from his amazing victory.

But Magellan deserves credit for his hard wora. This guy is probably the most poorly treated figure in our history, that we have Christian culture today is because he mapped out the island for the future missionaries and conquistadores. I’m sure not all would agree but history is history.  Some of us would prefer always prefer a picture of Magellan getting stabbed to death than a Magellan planting a Cross. I think we must go beyond this mind set. While Panama praise Balboa as its founder and the US having Columbos as one of the most revered historical figure in their history [they even have a holiday for Colon] we picked on giving Hispanidad the maddest evaluation we could give.

Very few people know that Magellan was offered by Humabon to use his warriors, but he declined, probably thinking his armored army, small in number and weak from the extensive ship expedition, is superior, he led his group straight to the slaughterhouse, but Lapu-Lapu’s greatness would’ve been erased in our  history if it were not for the Italian scribe who wrote down in details what happened that day, so the Mactan hero exist largely because history was written for him.

Legend has it that Lapu-Lapu never died [like Elvis Presley who many believe is still alive], people say that he turned into a boulder that resembles his form. I was told that the stone was in the Punta but I can’t find it, or I probably did but did not recognize that it was Lapu-Lapu, someone must’ve used it to built a house or something. The brass marker by NHI is located in front of the Punta Engano, at the back is a panoramic painting of the Battle of Mactan. Which is celebrated in the annual celebration called Kadaugan. The victory of Lapu-Lapu is significant [for the pagans and warring tribes] because it delayed the Spanish invasion and Christianization for 40 years.

There are lovely shops around the Punta Engano, they sell bracelets and wooden furniture. While the Mandauehanons were making bulky wooden furniture, the people of Mactan were crafting their beautiful guitars, I’m not sure whether guitar making here is bigger than the other places here in Cebu, but I tried on some of their locally made guitars, craftsmanship is remarkable and its low-priced.

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