The Often Stolen, Nearly Lost, Never Forgotten Lapu-Lapu of Visayas, Philippines

The original body art and fight style of Filipino warriors is one of the most popular –and effective- techniques on earth. Often seen in its various forms in Hollywood Blockbuster Movies, Walt Disney Characters, Martial Arts Films, Cirque du Soleil, and even embedded in popular dance moves, the Lapu-Lapu Martial Arts is often stolen, nearly lost, but never forgotten.

A little history:

Chief Lapulapu or Lapu-Lapu, (whose name was first recorded as Çilapulapu) of Mactan in the Visayas Region, of the Philippines, is celebrated in history for defeating The Spanish Forces, and killing Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan who led “The Battle of Mactan” on April 27, 1521, holding the Spanish rule off for a generation.

Chief Lapu-Lapu reigned, until the expedition of Miguel López de Legazpi in 1564, in which Legazpi continued the expeditions of Magellan, ultimately leading to the colonization of the Philippines for 333 years.

The Legazpi name remains on maps and cities in The Philippines to this day; however, Chief Lapu-Lapu does not. However, there are statues of the Chief around the country, The Philippines National Police and Bureau of Fire Protection do use his image on the official seals.

Chief Lapu-Lapu, was known –and feared by his enemies- throughout the archipelago; 7,000+ Philippine Islands, Africa, and the Eastern region, now known as Asia and The Middle East. The Chief uniformed his warriors (both men and women) in tribal body art, which in many forms is still practiced today by tattoo artists around the world, and his Lapu-Lapu Martial Arts techniques have been infused throughout the global martial arts community.

Setting the Records Right:

On April 27, 2017, the first Bisaya (from the Visayas Region) Philippine President, Mr. Rodrigo Duterte, honored the first hero in the country who defeated foreign rule, by declaring the date of The Battle of Mactan as Lapu-Lapu Day. 

In 2021, President Duterte signed Executive Order No. 152, which officially called for the use of the first Filipino hero’s true name “Lapulapu” instead of the seemingly slang version “Lapu-Lapu” being respectful and true to Philippine history.

The Power of Chief Lapu-Lapu & The Lapu-Lapu Warriors

One aspect wildly lost in translation, -or perhaps an intentionally annexed secret- is HOW Chief Lapu-Lapu won the battle against The Spanish.

As we all know, ‘the ultimate winner’ writes the history, and that being said, the Lapu-Lapu body art armor has been discriminated against, and their weapons, and their martial arts techniques were buried in a diluted Spanish-washed history.

However, this generation (both Filipinos and youth around the world) has become mesmerized and overflowing with pride in their re-emerging, true-Filipino heritage.

Filipinos have touched every corner of the world throughout history, and have always been known as hospitable and joyous people. It is about time, that the Philippines claims their inherent rights to their culture and the appropriations that have been taken from it.

From natural beauty techniques to food, and body art, to boxing and martial arts, Filipinos have impacted the world.

However, until the new global rise in the love of tattoo art, as well as, the boom in action-packed, historically referenced martial arts, and fight films, the Philippines was often missed when it came to credit for their contributions and culture.

Thousands of screenplays, shows, cartoons, and theatrics around the world are Filipino-inspired.

One aspect overlooked is the historical power and popularity of the Lapu-Lapu Warriors and Martial Arts in/from Visayas, Philippines.

Established in 2012, LAPU-LAPU ARNIS DE ABANICO is a re-birth of Bisaya heritage.

From the moment you see them, their vibrant colors, their low and powerful formations, their expressions, bold body art, and their action-packed exhibitions, you realize that you have seen it all before. This powerful, and beautiful martial arts form, along with its distinct body art, has been sprinkled in all popular pop culture, -from Marvel’s Deadpool and DC Comics Batman, to Walt Disney’s Lion King, Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto movie, and Canada’s Cirque du Soleil; aspects and characters seemingly adopt the styles and attributes from, The Lapu-Lapu of Visayas.

Thank you:

  • Saturnino Gestopa IV
  • Karol Satera
  • Bryze Danielle Manaytay
  • Dwayne Barse Manaytay
  • Thaniel Jan Sapio
  • Franz Clement Guino-o
  • Jannalyn Ycoy
  • Jeanalyn Ycoy
  • Kurt Imbert Limbaga
  • Kate Iccy Solis
  • Paulino Jr. Ortiz
  • Johnniel Barral
  • Avegaile Alpanta
  • Nicollete Prado
  • Lee Xavier Canedo
  • FIel Jay-r Ipanag
  • Jeruel Baguio
  • Maria Ella Alcoseba
  • Ma.Crystal Jane Sapio
  • Jenieve Sapio
  • Jhe-Ann Geraldez
  • Antonio Sensal
  • Jack Noah Abatayo
  • Gabriel Anthony Solis
  • Zeke Zheir Manaytay
  • Tsuyoshi West
  • Manaytay
  • Jarolyn Ycoy
  • Athena Kate Sapio
  • Jayn Paller

Special Thanks to the Coach/Trainor of Lapu-Lapu Arnis de Abanico

Mr. Jonel E. Pepito

Witness this amazing and breathtaking exhibition from the LAPU-LAPU ARNIS DE ABANICO, the descendants of Datu (Chief) LapuLapu for yourself.

FB: Facebook.com/Arnis1521

Call: 09239462595
Email: lapulapuarnisdeabanico@gmail.com

An introduction:

October 18, 2022 – Golden Prince Hotel, Ayala, Cebu City
October 20, 2022 – Adlawn Vacation Farm, Adlaon, Cebu City

Invited by the Department of Tourism Central Visayas Office for their “Familiarization Tour” for the Outdoor Adventure Trails and Farm-Fork-Fitness Cebu Circuit. We would like to convey our gratitude to Ma’am Cristelle Anne Tudtud and the rest of the DOT7 staff for supporting us Lapu-Lapu Arnis de Abanico.

#FMA7, #Farms7, #Outdoor7, #dot7, #VisitCentralVisayas

October 22, 2022 – Science and Technology Education Center (STEC)
For their School Parent-Teacher Association General Assembly, to encourage parents and teachers to let their students/children engage in sports, especially our Filipino Martial Arts – ARNIS, as a way to promote a healthy lifestyle. Thank you STEC Faculty, to Sir Juny Potot and PTA officers for inviting us. We also want to express our appreciation to Lapu-Lapu City Tourism for providing us with a coaster for transportation!

From right to left. Mike Jorie Israel, Paulino Jr. Oritz, Thaniel Jan Sapio, Dwayne Barse Manaytay, Kurt Imbert Limbaga, Sir Kareem, Kate Iccy Solis, Clarence Prado, Avegaile Alpanta, Franz Clement Guino-o
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