Palace order sets correct spelling for 1st Pinoy hero's name

Published December 7, 2021, 3:34 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

For the record, it’s “Lapulapu”–not “Lapu-Lapu”–when referring to the first Philippine hero.

Photo from Wikipedia. The caption reads, “Imaginary posthumous portrait of Lapulapu by Carlo Caacbay for the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, 2019.”

The standard spelling of the name of the revered Cebu warrior-leader was the subject of Executive Order (EO) No. 152, which was signed by President Duterte on Tuesday, Dec. 7. Malacañang reporters received a copy of the two-page directive on the same day.

“Adopting a common rendering of the name Lapulapu, so as to conform to earlier references, will aid in the education of our youth about Philippine history which is foundational to the formation of national identity,” EO No.152 read.

It states that the name Lapulapu “is understood to refer to the Filipino hero who bravely and victoriously fought in the Battle of Mactan in the 16th century”.

The battle is of course famous for causing the death of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who led the historic 1519 Spanish expedition.

“Thus, all references to the name ‘Lapu-Lapu’ in EO No.17, as amended, and EO No.55, as amended, are hearby amended to read as ‘Lapulapu,'” the Palace directive read.

It further said that “All government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations, and state universities and colleges, are hereby directed, and local government units, non-government organizations, civil society groups, and the private sector, are hereby enjoined to adopt ‘Lapulapu’ when referring to the name of the first Filipino hero.”

“The foregoing notwithstanding, the official names of places such as Lapu-Lapu City, having been established by statute, shall continue to be respected,” it added.

According to the EO, the earliest rendering in the Latin alphabet of the Mactan hero’s name is “Cilapulapu”, with “Ci” apparently being an honorific title.

This was how Philippine revolutionary period heroes such as Dr. Jose Rizal and Juan Luna derived their own references to him as “Si Lapulapu”.

Lapulapu is also the local name given to the grouper fish.