Lapu-Lapu was given a knife by the elder chieftain of the tribe. The knife was made from carved carabao and stag horn and said to have some supernatural powers. “Go, my son and defend our village from the Spanish conquistadors. We had our own beliefs from centuries ago, so we didn’t really need to be converted to Christianity.” And so Lapu-Lapu with his warriors waited for a battle to commence, ready to defend their independence, ready to die for it.
Meanwhile, Ferdinand Magellan’s fleet had entered the Philippines and sailed to the island of Mactan with a small force. Magellan was a converting Catholic, and because of this he lost sight of his main goal, which was to find the Spice Islands. As an intensely religious man, he began to believe that his journey was ordained by God.
Lapu-Lapu had rejected the Spanish conversion and Magellan decided to use force. Due to his profound convictions and the easiness of converting other chieftains in the Philippines, Magellan had no hesitations about entering battle with the rebellious Lapu-Lapu and his warriors. He severely underestimated the capabilities of his opponents.
Magellan’s flotilla were allegedly greeted on the shores with near 1,500 fighters. The combatants recognised Magellan as the captain. Lapu-Lapu descended on him with the knife given to him by the elder chieftain and killed Magellan. The other warriors fought with their bamboo spears and cutlasses in the rocky shores of the island. The rest of the Spanish retreated.