Today, August 27th, we celebrate National Heroes Day to commemorate our heroes throughout history.
One of my favorite Filipino heroes is Lapu-Lapu--a man who resisted a foreign invader and fought guns with spears, kampilan
. He was the first-ever recognized Filipino hero and freedom fighter. I was in Rizal Park two weeks ago and visited Lapu-Lapu's 30-foot bronze statue. This monument is called the "Sentinel of Freedom", a gift from the Korean Freedom League, and was erected here in 2004. It was conceptualized to give recognition to the first Asian who fought against foreign invasion.
The hero was shown standing guard, holding his kampilan, which is concealed in its scabbard and firmly planted on the ground. A man of peace yet ready to protect his territory and people if threatened. The statue faces the west, towards Manila Bay.
Lapu-Lapu (1491-1542) is known in history as the Datu of Mactan in Central Philippines who defeated in 1521 the Portuguese explorer and conquistador Ferdinand Magellan. Magellan, who was under the service of the King of Spain, was the first man to circumnavigate the world. After the historic battle in what would later be known as the Battle of Mactan
, it took the Spanish colonialists 35 years before they would set foot again on what is now the Philippines.
The statue was sculpted by Juan Sajid Imao, a 2001 TOYM awardee for the arts.