Fernāo Magalhaes was a nerd. He was the son of the mayor in his native town, and as a boy, he studied map making and navigation. In his 20’s he joined a Portuguese fleet, engaged in battle and in the process got himself wounded. As a result, he walked the remainder of his life with a limp. While nursing his injury, he was falsely accused of illegal trading with the Moors and despite his services to Portugal, Fernāo fell from the grace of the King.
In 1521, Magellan and his fleet of 5 ships came upon the Philippines and claimed all of her 7,107 islands for Mother Spain. They weren’t really the first foreigners to arrive the archipelago seeing that Indians and Chinese were already trading with the natives, but first to claim to have discovered it. These Spaniards were just too cheeky for their own good.
Naturally, the natives were greatly impressed with Magellan's circumnavigation project and very much in awe with this bunch of sweaty armor clad mestizos. They smiled graciously and went for the beeline to be baptized. They gave up their land and proclaimed an unknown crazy man as their King who lived half way across the world. Because as a people, we bow and say yes to whatever a white looking dude tells us to do. (Note sarcasm here. Actual historians, hold your hate mails.)
We as Filipinos are known for our hospitality, as evidenced by travel books and websites. It must have started here. We're so hospitable we gave our land away. It would've been crass not to.
|Battle of Mactan, 1521|
My friend XabiWanKenobi assumed that Magellan died from a disease during transit back to Spain. This is historically incorrect. He was killed in battle by the great Lapu-Lapu from Mactan, Cebu.
There is little known fact about the great Philippine hero Lapu-Lapu, which coincidentally is also the name of a type of fish.
Years ago I attended a film workshop by a brilliant Filipino filmmaker with metal plates in his head. Noel Lim went off topic and discussed his own theory about Magellan and Lapu-Lapu.
Magellan is peddling ashore one morning and a giant fish jumps out of the water and devours him. “What the heck was that?” cry his men. “Lapu-lapu!” a native onlooker answers.
The Spaniards head back to their Motherland and report their commander’s untimely demise.
“Who killed Magellan?” the King asks. “Lapu-Lapu.”, they say.
“Who is this Lapu-Lapu?”
His men look at each other in silence, contemplating on their beloved leader now reduced to fish shit in the bottom of the ocean. The most loyal in the group speaks up, “Um…err…he was a fierce tribal warrior! Yeah, yeah…that’s right…he was so big and strong!”
Because of Noel’s genius as a writer and filmmaker, I’m sticking to this story as historical fact. It has more pizazz.
Anyway, the Spaniards came back a few years later, this time bringing with them mean chubby friars and converted everyone into guilt-ridden Christians. They overstayed their welcome for more than 300 years.
That’s how ‘Shit, coño dude!’ came to be.