LAGUNA – The Biñan City Culture, History, Arts and Tourism Office (BCHATO) organized a unique competition for the National Quincentennial Celebrations. The challenge to designers – recreate the look of Lapulapu.
The project, titled Reimagining Lapulapu: A Cosplay Competition, required participants to submit a photo portrait and a video performance portraying the datu of Mactan.
According to BCHATO, the project aims to educate the younger generation about Lapulapu, who may not be as popular as other heroes like Jose Rizal or Andres Bonifacio.
“Sad to say, wala naman talaga siyang picture (Sad to say, he doesn’t really have a picture),” BCHATO head Bryan Jayson T. Borja told the Manila Bulletin.
“So, basically, this competition is to reimagine, ano kaya itsura nya? (What does he look like?) By knowing how he looked like, it’s also a chance to reintroduce pre-colonial history to our youngsters and give due recognition to pre-colonial ancestors who fought for our country.”
Roland Joseph Samante Edrozo, a 27-year-old fashion designer and freelance artist was announced the winner of the competition on Tuesday (April 27). According to Edrozo, preparing for the contest was not child’s play.
“I did extensive research, read reviews, and watched documentaries to gather as much information pertaining to his character as a whole – how he looked like physically and how he was as a leader,” Edrozo told the Manila Bulletin.
The designer took the time to learn about Lapulapu’s tattoos and accessories. He also turned to the artworks of local painter Derrick Macutay to get a good grasp of pre-colonial warriors’ garments relative to their rank.
“The costume was made of blood-red felt fabric, which symbolizes royalty and bravery,” Edrozo explained. “The ensemble consists of a kangan (vest), salaules (harem bottoms), bahag (loin cloth), and putong (turban) – a complete set gear worn only by warrior leaders who fought and defeated high-ranking enemies.”
Edrozo spent two days making the pattern, sewing the costume, and completing the beadwork for accessories. In the end, all the hard work paid off as he was able to recreate the look of the legendary Filipino hero for everyone to see.