It was on April 7,1521 when the three remaining galleons under the command of Fernando de Magallanes dropped anchor in Sawang (now Suburban San Nicolas, Cebu) to stay in port for 20 historic days, the longest stop over in the navigator’s epic voyage that started in Spain 1519.
With a characteristic display of supremacy, Magellan did not only subjugate the native chieftain of Sugbu, Rajah Humabon, but befriended the entire community leading to their conversion to Christianity by having the royal couple baptized and gifted with a small icon of the Holy Child or the Sto. Niño.
At that time, there was bad blood between Humabon and Lapu-Lapu hence, the former saw the opportunity to conquer his hated rival with the aid of superior arms.
Hearing about the stubbornness of Lapu-Lapu, Magellan lost no time to send a messenger bearing threats and boastful taunts, declaring that defiance would mean death.
The conditions imposed among others were to swear allegiance to Spain, payment of tribute to the King, abandonment of pagan beliefs and acceptance of a new faith. Failure to comply will be answered by sword and fire.
It was said that in defying the treats of Magellan and in being made to choose between servitude and extinction, Lapu-Lapu return the message with extreme pride saying: “I bow to no King, I only owe allegiance to my people”. Thus was triggered the Battle of Mactan on April 27, 1521.
Magellan was vanquished but the faith of Lapu-Lapu afterwards was not exactly known while the remaining crew of the expedition returned to Spain with Juan Sebastian Elcano receiving a hero’s welcome and earning the title as the first circumnavigator of the world.
It was not until 1979, when Lapu-Lapu’s victory was resurrected from buried memory with the first re-enactment of the battle which was conceptualized and implemented by the Customs Collector and concurrent Regional Director of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, David “Boy” Odilao dubbed as Bahug-Bahug sa Mactan. It took less than a day to finish the entire event and there was nothing to expect before and after.
After six years the commemorative celebration took another name and since then it became Kadaugan Sa Mactan. Except for the name, however, it remained the same celebration year after year.
With the assumption of Mayor Arturo O. Radaza and the passage of an ordinance creating the Lapu-Lapu City Tourism Cultural, Historical and Affairs Commission, a new concept of celebration was introduced through the relentless efforts of the then newly appointed Commissioners headed by Co-Chairmen Paz C. Radaza and Damian T. Gomez, Jr.
The celebration was stretched through a weeklong observance that runs form April 20 and culminates on the 27th with actual re-enactment of the battle preceeded by a religious, civic and military program at the Liberty Shrine.
The weeklong activities include among others the much sought daily foodstreet festival, street dancing parade, drum and bugle corps , nightly live bands shows, , cross channel swimming competition, wood carving contest, baroto (small sail boats) race, painting exhibits, beauty pageants, oratorical contest, fireworks display, mini agri-fair, jobs fair, mobile passporting (DFA, NBI, NSO), medical & dental mission, blood letting, operation tuli, search for southern stars, photo contest, fun run, variety & cultural shows, golf tournament, ballroom dancing & exhibition, bartending competitions, beach clean up, inter hotel/resort basketball tournament, boxing, airsoft competition, nine ball tournament and the pre-battle ritual.
Pre- battle Ritual will happen on the evening of the 26th of April, complete with lights and sounds and the pagan practices that could have happened during Lapu-Lapu’s time in Mactan.