Project: Mactan

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I was reading the short graphic series 300 the other day when I thought, how come we never really romanticize our history? In case you're still not familiar with the movie/novel, 300 is a series of comic books made by Frank Miller about the battle of Thermopylae where some 3000 Greeks faced a Persian force ten times their size. It's romanticized in a sense that the novel was inspired by the movie but does not necessarily stick to the real events. If you're somewhat familiar with Asian literature, the Romance of The Three Kingdoms does the same thing with Chinese History. It's like Chinese History + Lore + Kickassery = Romanticized version.

So I'm thinking, we Filipinos don't have an accurate history to begin with. (case in point: The Kalantiao Code which was said to be at least 1500 years old is actually a less than 200 years old joke by some historians) So we might as well remake our history.

So here's how I think The Battle of Mactan should be told.

The story begins as told by Antonio Pigafetta, close friend of Ferdinand Magellan. He briefly narrates how they were commissioned to do voyage across the pacific to establish new routes to the spice islands.

Many months later, they later landed on Magellan's Port, Mazua where they met the friendly datus of Cebu. In the story, Magellan first meets Datu Pulahan in a feast held by Rajah Humabon.

They quickly turned into friends with both men having a natural passion for adventure. Things began to turn bad, however, when a woman comes into the picture.
Soon Magellan becomes enthralled by the very wife of Lapulapu, Reyna Salimsim.

Disgusted and at the same time honoring the bloodpact friendship, Lapulapu concedes the wife to Magellan and then prepares to go back to Mactan. He then makes a prophecy. Salimsim will order Magellan to attack Mactan. And that if he does so, he will die by Lapulapu's own hands.

Salimsim, now revealing herself a daughter of another tribe which Lapulapu vanquished, orders Magellan to assault Mactan. Against his will, Magellan then labels Mactan as an island of infidels and asks only his most loyal of men to follow him, knowing it will be a futile fight.

Lapulapu and Magellan finally meet at the shores of Mactan. Magellan apologizes for having to fight - but as a man of honour, he must fulfill his promises to Salimsim. Lapulapu smiles and agrees and they finally duel by the sunset that ended up with Magellan being cut down by Lapulapu as the datu sides with the setting sun.

Salimsim, once again in defeat, runs away from Cebu, never to be seen again.

The story closes with Magellan's body being given a burial at sea, with Lapulapu watching over the ceremony - far from being an enemy and more of a friend. Antonio Pigafetta finishes writing his tale and goes back to Spain with Lapu-Lapu's earring and Magellan's cross - mementos of a friendship lost in history.

All in all, the relative length of this would be fit for a short film a little less than an hour or a 4 issue comic book.

As a little trivia, the history books were wrong when they said Limasawa was the first place where a catholic mass was held in this country. It's specifically called "Limasawa" because its original name was "Di Mazua" a mix of Cebuano and Spanish meaning "Not where Magellan berthed." - because it was simply impossible to land a ship there - and without a ship, there'd be no sailors to hold a mass.

I say to be historically accurate we have to have an accurate history, but since we don't have that, we might as well make up a really interesting substitute.

p.s. This is a very rare instance that I'm revealing a storyline before I start writing the actual piece. Let us not act like animals by stealing each other's kills. If you're interested in adapting this story, with or without me, you should at least talk to me via YM first. My handle is "redkinoko". Thanks.

pps. I'm serious about this, in case anybody's wondering.


robert said...

Yes surely would have a talk with u before doing anything as the way...liked ur post...nice one and if u too r interested on some fun stuff on friendship....u can have a look at my blog...I have just updated wishes :)

rommel said...

man! after watching 300 my testosterone level went up, i had a temporary increase in muscle mass, and i could swear i saw the same thing in everybody else!! hooya! and why cant we duplicate the same with mactan? i might be interested in that project red.

Anonymous said...

bataan/corregidor would work also. just exclude the death march after the fall and go straight to mcarthur landing in leyte.

Cyberpunk said...

i have for quite some time now been wanting to see some animation/graphic novels about romanticized filipino history...pre-spanish period...sort of a pinoy-style rurouni kenshin...if i only had the talent i would have dabbled in this...

i saw such a thing somewhere before, not sure entry in that neil gaiman contest i think...???

anyway, take a stab in this one... it would be interesting to see...good luck! :)


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