Kidlat Tahimik’s 7th Monday in lockdown: 499th ‘Hapi LapuLapu Day!’

Kidlat Tahimik
Kidlat Tahimik’s 7th Monday in lockdown: 499th ‘Hapi LapuLapu Day!’
The National Artist for Film makes a case for Lapu-Lapu and offers a way for anew generation to grop up with homegrown superheroes in film

“We Filipinos were a freedom people…until we bumped into History” –  Villalba

Alam mo ba, Mimi?” I ask my granddaughter. “This day in history April 27,1521 is Hapi Lapu-Lapu Day!”

Super-curious ang mata ni Mimi.  

Yes, Superhero natin sa Maktan island – 499 years ago. Despite the odds of the armor and gunpowder technology of invader Ferdie M. — sumugod si Lapu-Lapu! Nag-tagumpay! (BTW, Ferdie M. is for Magellan. Hindi yung isang FM na taga-solid north.) 

Yehey! Hindi Umatras! Hindi Sumuko! Sugod mga Kapatid! Pina-talsik ni Lapu-Lapu si Magellan! Out of Maktan! Ang unang recorded repulsion of a foreign invader sa Pinas. This fact is imbedded in the annals of history by Antonio Pigaffeta (chronicler of Magellan’s voyage). 

Usually ang pagsulat ng kasaysayan ay sang-ayon sa POV ng nanalo. History is written by the victors (beating their triumphant chests, diba?). Palibhasa napaka-tamis ng Victory… record it with a capital V,  para sa next generations. (Kung talo, eh… Delete! Ibasura sa trashbin of history, getz?)

By eulogizing Magellan’s death in his diary, Pigafetta immortalized the April 27 successful defense by Lapu-Lapu of Maktan’s pre-colonial culture (a legacy we should still be fighting for today, 499 years later). 

April 27 1521, battle of Maktan (anonymous painting at LapuLapu Shrine in Mactan)

Pigafetta had a great admiration for his boss. Malalim ang malasakit niya kay FM. Kitang-kita sa diary entry dated April 27, 1521: “They killed our mirror, our light, our comfort, and our true guide.” That mournful entry, for us Filipinos reverberates as solid historical proof ng tagumpay na tumataginting that stopped a world-respected navigator. Otherwise we have no reason to celebrate today. 

So why are there no national fireworks honoring Lapu-Lapu today? Walang parades. Walang wreath-laying para sa kadakilaan ni Apo Lapu-Lapu. Except the Kadaugan reenactment in Maktan, the island he saved from colonization. 

Zero celebrations sa 7,106-island archipelago outside Maktan? Na-COVID-19 ba ang pag-diriwang sa buong kapuluan? That’s a lame excuse. Malungkot itong kamalayan nating colonyal. Admit it, sa sariling bayani natin, si Lapu-Lapu, natabunan ng dayuhang Superheroes. 

At least the National Quincentennial Commission (NQC) had a webinar on the significance of April 27; countdown sa 500th  anniversary ng Victory in Maktan. Next year sana, ang pag-tepok ni Lapu-Lapu kay FM, ma-declare National Holiday!

Balita ko, our President is not keen on celebrating the “Discovery” of the Philippines by Spain.

Yes, totally agree ako sa POV ni Ginoong DU30: Bakit ipagdiriwang ang pagdating ng ating cultural oppressors with their colonizing sword, cross and alphabet? 

Dying Magellan comforted by his slave Enrique  (from film BalikBayan#1 by Kidlat Tahimik)
      

Why focus on FM? Lets zoom-in on the valor of Datu Lapu-Lapu and his KO-punch to Senor Magallanes on April 27 in the year 1521. Kaarawan ng Tagumpay na dapat natin pag-yabang, diba?

Ang April ay designated na buwan ng kagitingan. We celebrate on April 9 “Fall of Bataan Day.” Why do we celebrate the defeat of our colonial masters? (Paumanhin, Buong-pusong gina-galang ko po ang tapang ng ating Pinoy WW2 veterans… who were just dragged into somebody else’s War. But that’s another story.)

So why not celebrate April 27 with Lapu-Lapu as our symbol of true kagitingan?

Local Bamboo Camera for shooting our Local Hero

Sa 2021, pangarap ko ma-declare National Hero si Lapu-Lapu. 

At para sa akin, sana maging National Artist si Yoyoy Villame for his epic song “It was in 1521…”

Palibhasa everybody remembers the year 1521 from his catchy ‘promdi’ lyrics. (Kung ang titsers mag-chant ng history lessons — siguro mas-madali isa-ulo ang ating bayani, diba?)

(Trivia question: kalian ba nawala sa coins yung mukha ni Lapu-Lapu?… Presidential policy ba ni Ramos? or ni Gloria?  Was it a 5-centimos coin? Or was 1-centimo? Ang liit-liit na, binali-wala pa.)

Lapu-Lapu’s Strategy: Using Maktan’s Local Culture Assets

Our indigenous warrior Lapu-Lapu is among our underrated, un-sung heroes. Pinaglaban niya ang isla niya (He didn’t sell out). Pinaglaban niya ang Kultura ng ninuno niya, like Cebuanos today preserving their ancient Arnis-Kali fighting traditions. These martial arts were fierce wounding-jousts. These developed a warrior spiritual focus– to provoke a faster healing capacity of a wounded fighter. This boosted an inner confidence within combatants besides honing their outer skills. 

Arnis is a martial art indigenous to Cebu – talagang time-tested as those of ancient China! Bakit hindi elevate Arnis to an Olympic sport? Our kids emulate Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, box-office heroes. Palibhasa ang Kung Fu films palaging Patok Sa Takilya (What I call P.S.T. films). Thanks to PST movies ang kabataan naging super-fans sa martial arts ng Chinese at Hapon. Kids are unaware of our Cebuano home-grown Arnis fighters whose martial skills were an art, long before Magellan crossed paths with Maktan’s arnis army.


Stick-in-hand Arnis strike by Bulakna, wife of Lapu-Lapu (demo by blackbelter Bambi Beltran)

 

Ang arnis ng Cebu ay kaalamang katutubo. Pre-Hispanic! Alam mo ba, the Spanish governors in Cebu later banned Arnis practice as subversive activities? Takot sila! In 1521, there must have been a throng of Arnis-Kali fighters among the defenders of Maktan. After launching their spears and arrows, they attacked with swift stick-in-hand weapons. Ang invaders, naubusan ng bala at gunpowder, forced sila sa hand-to-hand combat. Arnis mano-mano were deadly accurate. Quick reflexes easily targetted weak spots – outside the protective armor of Magellan. Indigenous weaponry was decisive in the waters of Maktan.

Kung may video cam si Pigafetta, na-record niya ang human-scale ng mano-mano victory of an Arnis culture – Lights! Camera! Action! 

Lapu-Lapu and his wife Bulakna, fighting side by side— armed with their Kali skills: fast-hand Arnis strikes raining down on Spaniards. Zoom-in to the final showdown: Eyeball-to-eyeball ang dalawang lider! Locked-swords ang Kris at ang Espada.

The final blow on FM is a bamboo arnis stick, flying through the air! A graceful twist of the wrist of a petite Arnis-master— BOG! On target! A blackbelter Arnis blow from below— bagsak sa balls ng conquistador! Wazak! Tapos ang boksing. 

Bulakna does an Arnis-blackbelter strike while proud spouse Lapulapu witnesses final blow.

 

A conjugal victory over FM. A gender-balanced entry in history books. Pwedeng dagdag itong eksena ng Arnis fighting-duo sa Kadaogan (the Cebuano word for Victory) as in… napaka-Sweet Kadaogan ni Lapu-Lapu at Bulakna. 

A strategy to highlight our Un-Sung Heroes of 1521

Alam ko na. I mustn’t just add Arnis scenes to my film. But on April 27, I will launch something of symbolic significance for the resurrection of our un-sung heroes of 1521. We have 365 days to the 500th Jubilee of that conjugal victory. Kelangan explore ko – ways to make our youth appreciate our heroes and their indigenous fighting skills.

Yes, para sakyan ng kabataan ang cultural assets ng ating nalimutang bayani ng 1521.

Palibhasa, overdosed na ang kids with screen super heroes. Parang droga… addicted na sila kina Spider-man at Wonder Woman at Captain America. Sobrang monopolized ng Marvel heroes ang kamalayan ng kabataan, salamat sa brainwashing ng Cineplexes at idiot-box screens.

Zero-awareness ang kabataan tungkol sa sariling kagitingan stories ng bayani natin sa kasaysayan at alamat. 

All our heroes are imported and packaged, selected for their box-office potential. Basta Patok-Sa-Takilya (PST) – garantisado ang exposure. Exclusively, PST heroes lang ang nakaka-lusot sa mata… tungo sa utak ng young moviegoers.

Paano na sina, Diego Silang at Gabriela? Sina Maria Makiling, Bernardo Carpio? Sila Macling Dulag, Sultan Kuderat, Papa Isyu at si Lumawig, who carved the rice terraces ng Cordilleras?

Kelangan ng kabataan ang local heroes to neutralize tsunami of imported superheroes

The last production about Maktan was the 1956 film epic Lapu-Lapu by Lamberto Avellana. Luckily the pre-war alamat film Ibong Adarna was recently restored. It was premiered at Cinema Rehiyon by Teddy Co, in a Naga cinema full of high school students! Wow! Na-witness ko paano kilig-to-d-eyeballs ang mga mata ng kabataan— seeing for the first time our classic alamat heroes and their glorious alamat magic. Maski na walang special EFX, getz nila ang story! Ilang dekada na ba, quarantined ang kabataan away from our un-sung homegrown heroes?

Surely we can still resurrect our Un-sung Sariling Bayanis (or U.S.B.) Kahit na sa small screens lang. Let’s not compete with Hollywood heroes who monopolize giant screens with flying musclemen and women. Let us avoid the PST films route— para ma-enkwentro ng millennials ang mga hometown bayani at matikim ang tamis ng sariling tagmpay. 

Like those awakened HS students in Naga, we must give all our kids alternative images of non-PST bayanis. Heroic images outside the profit-oriented movie distribution Mafia (yes the mall cineplexes.) Mag-initiate tayo ng isang Countdown-to-2021 Short-Film Contest to get kids to think about Lapu-Lapu, Bulakna, and the arnis victors of 1521. 

Let’s inspire our Senior High School kids to make simple audiovisuals about our U.S.B. (without hi-tech cameras of Mother Lily and ABS-CBN).

Kaya ng kabataan lumikha with smartphones and small handicams. Just do your research, brainstorm with your highschool barkada and pull out your cellphones. Shoot! Later na kayo gumawa ng masterpiece para sa Cinemalaya. Sa ngayon, simple takes on the life of our local hero— to be enjoyed by schoolmates – like a homemovie.

Pull out your smartphones, handicams and yes BambooCams! Sugod mga Kapatid!

 

Mga simpleng narrative, animation and experimental shorts, to be completed and screened by April 27 2021, the 500th Anniversary of Victory at Maktan. Little stories projected in HS campuses nationwide can help counterbalance the pandemic of Marvel Superhero movies that contaminate our youth with visual viruses.

By making a film about local heroism, the young USB documentors will have an in-depth appreciation of local heroes, their motivations, their human-scale bravery. And yes, love of country.

Winning stories of our U.S.B. should get prizes. Sige, set-aside ko, ang honorarium ko bilang National Artist (for the next 6-months). Ibukod natin para sa HS winners and provide mini-prizes to motivate creativity. Teka muna, kelangan ko rin logistic support. Kontakin ang Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP). 

Nasaan ang Yellow Pages? Hmmmm, F…D…C…P… (On the sound track: dialing sound… ringing tone… “Hello FDCP? Can you connect me to the office of Chair Liza Dino?”)

“Hello! Chair Liza, Happy Lapu-Lapu Day!… have you heard about U.S.B. 1521?…”

 

POST SCRIPT:

Post-Lapu-Lapu Day balita: April 27 was an auspicious countdown start. Author Kidlat Tahimik (KT) was invited by the National Quincentennial Commission (NQC) as a resource person at a webinar on Lapu-Lapu. The FDCP joined hands with KT in a Countdown to 2021 Short Film Contest (check their website for announcements this month). And to cap the day the LockdownCinemaClub @ FB, showed KT’s short film BalikBayan#1, a docudrama of the circumnavigation and the battle at Maktan. (You can watch it on their FB page.)

Kapit- bisig lahat para sa 500th Jubilee sa Maktan2021. Sugod mga Kapatid!

– Rappler.com

Kidlat Tahimik is a National Artist for Film 

 




 

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