Ahmad Sampang ibnu Hajiri, MD

A Personal blog by a Tausug medical student (now a doctor!) from Sulu and the stories that inspired him.
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Y'know Lapu-Lapu? He is not a Filipino!

By  AhmadMD _     May 02, 2012    Labels:,, 

Originally written: July 29, 2011

Revised Edition: April 27, 2012

The Great Datu Lapu-Lapu.
known to the Tausugs as Maas Ilidji

We have always known that Lapu-Lapu, the great warrior of Mactan, was notably known as the “First Filipino National Hero” in Philippine History. But do you know that Lapu-Lapu was, in reality, not a Filipino himself? And that the statement of him being the “First Filipino National Hero” (FFNH) is one of the most fallacious historical information taught to us?

How are we to prove this? We have to be daring indeed, to challenge the credibility and truth about the century-old historical fact about Lapu-Lapu, the great warrior of Mactan.

Let us look back into the Philippine History regarding the issue (all dates, names and events can be verified in different Philippine History Books. Please do not hesitate to inform me in case of errors and mistakes herein, I am always ready to accept my errors.):

Lapu-Lapu became famous because of his striking victory against the Portuguese explorer and colonizer Ferdinand Magellan. It was during the Battle of Mactan in April 27, 1521 that Lapu-Lapu stopped the first attempt of the taking over of his island by the foreign colonizers, thereby ending Magellan’s life in the clash. It was that same event that gave Lapu-Lapu the famous name as the “First ever Filipino warrior” who defeated external forces defending his own island. BUT… is Lapu-Lapu really a Filipino?

When did the term “Filipino” came to be known as a form of citizenship? Again, we have to go back to the time when the term “Filipino” was first used, which is in 1600’s or perhaps later. 

It was in 1565 that we first heard the term Filipinas when another explorer, in the name  of Miguel Lopez di Legazpi, reached the same islands ‘discovered’ by Magellan. It was him who coined the name Las islas Filipinas in honor of the then King of Spain, King Philip II (thus the term “filipinas”). Yet, it took another several years more (1600’s) before the term Filipino came out to refer to those ‘people’ in the island of Filipinas, now known as the Philippine Islands. Another in-fact to consider here: Filipinos are actually given not to those original inhabitants of the islands but to other people instead. The indigenous inhabitants were always called Indios not Filipinos; not until the onset of the Philippine Revolution in late 1800’s. (And now we are going far away from Lapu-Lapu, hehe)

Again, Lapu-Lapu won the Battle of Mactan in 1521. How then did he become a Filipino, when in fact, the term Filipino only came to exist decades later (1600s) and even was used centuries later (1800s)? 

Even Lapu-Lapu himself would not have any idea what or who are the Filipinos! Isn’t it quite a huge injustice to call someone he doesn’t even know what, leave alone without his willingness? If ever Lapu-Lapu was still alive, would you think he would agree to be called a Filipino? A term given by the same colonizers he had fought with all his might? Oh yes, you already have the answer: It’s a blatant NO!

And that’s it! End of story.

Now, Alhamdulillah, we have finally explained the facts in simple words, without hiding any real incidents, to clear the issue. Even just using these facts we have stated above, it is already enough for us to say that in reality, by historical fact that Lapu-Lapu was not and never did become a Filipino. It was only in the later years, when we started to write the Philippine History that Lapu-Lapu was (mistakenly or intentionally) considered as a “Filipino Hero” by the Filipino Historians. For whatever reasons, we can not really tell. 

This is a wake-up call to all young Historians out there! We really need to REWRITE OUR HISTORY!

I just hope things have became clear now and that anyone who had read this article would be enlightened to read more, research more to really check and counter-check if our History books did taught us what really happened, and what we really need to know… But if you are still confused, and you are still stuck with the same mindset before reading this post… well, I don’t know. Maybe I only have one more advice for you: Read this post again and again until you are convinced with these facts. :-)
Lapu-Lapu was even so famous that a number of Statues where built for him.
A Statue of Lapu-Lapu in Cebu. Courtesy of CebuCity.org

This is not the end of this argument… Now that we have proven that indeed Lapu-Lapu was not a Filipino, we are faced with more intriguing questions. First among these is:

“If he is not a Filipino, then what is he? Where did he come from?”

That my friends, will be discussed in my next issue (naks): “The unwritten story of Lapu-Lapu”

Until next time,
Salam Kasilasa!

Anak Iluh.

(This post was updated April 27, 2012)

About AhmadMD _

Ahmad is a young Tausug Physician now serving as one of the Doctor to the Barrios (DTTB). He is a free spirit. He loves coffee. And fish.


  1. Top bro. lungkara- lungkara maun n puting yan...eeheh y halu di gumuwa n bahu bro...

  2. Utuh Max.

    Maluhay maglungkat iban magbayta, in mahunit amun TO MAKE THE PEOPLE BELIEVE that what you said and prsented is TRUE. kahit naProove mo na mahirap pa rin if that's already what had been in their mind for 100+ years.

    Isang malaking alon ang kalaban mo.
    it takes courage. huhu kakatakot.


  3. where is the continuation of this? this article is very interesting.

  4. I agree to Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD ... this article is very interesting ...

    I wish we could hear Lapu Lapu's victorious shout after that battle, malalaman sana natin what they called themselves that time (just a thought :) )

  5. Salam Bro,
    Bumped into your interesting article, Thank you for writing a nice piece . I am not a history buff but was just wondering, example,
    Sri Lanka was formerly known as Ceylon and the people known as Ceylonese . Now that the country is known as Sri Lanka and the people Sri Lankan, can we called the heroes from the Ceylon era a Sri Lanka hero ? Just wondering

  6. Abdul Mahimod,

    Lapu-Lapu was a heathen person from Borneo island, and this Borneo was one of the islands of the now called Philippine Islands before.

    I'm sorry, but Colonial Spanish Catholic people has already put a name on our land and changed our last names
    Lapu-lapu is not malaysian muslim or indonesian. He was a heathen Filipino who had body tattoos and ate pork which is haram.


    1. Salam... according to Antonio Pigafetta si lapu lapu ay walang tatoo si humabon meron.

  7. suby syni he share ha FB byadiin pagshare knya?

  8. Here's a question? Do you call yourself filipino? And you said "The indigenous inhabitants were always called Indios not Filipinos; not until the onset of the Philippine Revolution in late 1800’s. The word Indios is a spanish word. "Filipinos" was force to forget their language and culture and to convert to spanish christianity by sword by what I mean by force. so you should research more of your history. Remember" History is told by the victor" that why its His story.

  9. Anonymous070514 no, i dont call myself a Filipino :) I know well of the Filipino History which is basically 90 percent spanish history in the philippines. Prehispanic history is not part of the Philippine history because back then, philippines never existed. So thanks for telling me to review my history (which is Sulu history and not philippine), i am actually rereading them :)

  10. it's right to call us filipino because in the first place our blood line are came from philip ll the spanish.. and we should not live this island because this should be owned and live by what we called indio's..just like manobo, ita's, higaonon, kong-king and any native people who ware bahag..

    1. aaaah pwede pakiTagalog na lang di ko nagets message mo.

      Lapu-lapu did not came from the bloodline of King Philip II, why would you call him a Filipino?

  11. Quick question, wasn't it Ruy Lopez de Villalobos who gave Philippines its name?


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