You can say that Magellan and Lapu-Lapu called out to us and begged for us to learn about them. Though we were learning about explorers and explorations then, I didn’t realize that I could relate Philippine history to it until we came across Magellan and his death in our book called “Explorers News: Columbus in Japan!”
I was still mulling about what our next topic would be when my friend Tina of TrulyRichMom.com returned our “101 Filipino Icons” by Adarna House. When Little T opened it, it opened right into the page about Magellan and Lapu-Lapu; Tina borrowed the book to prepare her kids for their trip to Cebu, which you can say is Lapu-Lapu’s home province.
When we got home, Little T chose to answer her Life of Fred book while I worked. She gasped and told me that Magellan was in her book. And lo and behold, he really was! (And this is the reason why we just love Life of Fred – we get more than just math!)
I felt then that we just had to learn more about the Philippine’s first known hero. I dedicated a week to learn about Magellan, Lapu-Lapu, and their battle in Mactan Island. I can say that my two little ones now have a good introduction to this part of Philippine history.
So, here are 5 fun things that we did to answer the call of Magellan and Lapu-Lapu. I’m sure you can easily do these too, and I hope that you would also share your own resources and activities.
1. Read “Si Ambongan”
Written in Cebuano with a Tagalog translation, “Si Ambongan” tells the story of a boy who warned Lapu-Lapu of the arrival of big foreign ships on their island. This is a very simple retelling of the Battle of Mactan that even 3-year-olds can appreciate; Little Sir kept asking me to read it to him.
2. Watch these super cool videos
I haven’t found any other materials about Lapu-Lapu aside from “Si Ambongan” and the two pages about Magellan and Lapu-Lapu in “101 Filipino Icons.” So, I turned to YouTube and unearthed these gems.
- The Ballad of Magellan – A cartoon with a very funny and catchy song, this video will keep you and your kids singing Magellan’ story.
- Renaissance Explorer: Ferdinand Magellan – This cartoon has a lot more details than “The Ballad of Magellan”, especially about the early life of Ferdinand Magellan.
- Battle of Mactan by GMA 7 – This music video done in black and white is visually arresting and has actually raised some Filipino pride in me. My daughter calls it “the serious video”, and she really likes it too.
- Yoyoy Villame’s Music Video – Don’t laugh, but the words of this old song will actually teach you Philippine history. My mother-in-law sang it when I told her about what the kids and I were learning about, so I looked for it in YouTube.
3. Have a swordfight
With a little boy in the house, role-playing with swords is inevitable. I enjoy being Lapu-Lapu and pretending to leap like Lapu-Lapu in GMA 7’s video. Eeeyaaah!
4. Trace Magellan’s route on a map
Little T made a model of a Spanish galleon with her older cousin when we went to their house. We then used it briefly to trace Magellan’s route on our map and to learn about the five oceans of the world.
5. Visit the Ayala Museum’s dioramas of Philippine history
My bookshop partner Sanne recommended that we visit the Ayala Museum. I am so glad that we did!
We were first led to the 4th floor where we watched a video about how our ancestors used gold. I was able to connect the video and the gold exhibit on the 4th floor (where they don’t allow picture-taking) with the gold worn by Lapu-Lapu in “Si Ambongan.”
The second floor of the museum, however, is the real star of the show. Replicas of the various boats that travelled our seas are beautifully displayed. These include a pre-hispanic sailboat, a Chinese junk, and a galleon.
Life-sized images of historical figures are also on the walls so you can compare your height with theirs.
And then the dioramas. Starting from the story of the Tabon cave people up to the recognition of Philippine independence by the United States, the dioramas give a glimpse of important events in Philippine history. The picture below depicts the Battle of Mactan.
It is important to remember, however, to first buy this guidebook from their bookshop. We only discovered it when we went up to the third floor and Little T insisted that we go back to the dioramas and read about each one.
Other things to do:
- Go to Mactan Island in Cebu, of course, right now! 🙂
- Join Manila Collectible Co.’s Kiddie Archeology – This is described as an activity for kids where they will dig for gold and learn about history and culture. After seeing the gold exhibit at the Ayala Museum and how Lapu-Lapu belonged to that time, I am more determined to bring my 6 year old to one of their sessions. It’s really just difficult to go to Manila on Saturday mornings!
I hope you find the above useful and exciting! How did you introduce this interesting part of our country’s history to your little ones?