Who Else Died on the Shores of Mactan?

by Fernando Perfas

A depiction of the Battle of Mactan. | Source: Tumblr

When the Europeans came to the Americas they effectively altered the lives and history of the natives. We all know the rest of the story. What may not be readily obvious is that the change was so fundamental that it radically changed the course of their lives and the rest of their history.

The underlying mechanism of the change process was colonial conquest, the acquisition of territories and resources by all means. Through that process and and the things it supports were taken forcibly, including the soul of a people. It was violence of tragic proportions that ripped apart what was an integral whole. Then, the same native people lost their spirit and never recovered.

This brings me to my next point. Lapu-Lapu’s triumph over Magellan and his forces on the shores of Mactan was a historic victory in all sense of the word. A modern army routed by warriors of a warlord. It was, however, a Pyrrhic victory in one sense because it spelled doom of things to come.

“This brings me to my next point. Lapu-Lapu’s triumph over Magellan and his forces on the shores of Mactan was a historic victory in all sense of the word. A modern army routed by warriors of a warlord.”

Spain sent a bigger army until it subdued the whole country. Slowly but surely colonial conquest took hold of the land, a process that drastically transformed our people’s lives and view of themselves and the world. It was a shift in perspective that was dehumanizing and sinister. Like the Indios of the Americas, the Filipino Indios were marginalized, viewed as inferior, savages, and sometimes beyond redemption by the invader’s religion.

The negative and often conflicting messages of indoctrination went on for centuries. Our ancestors’ morphed views of themselves and the world persisted because these conditioning were passed on through generations by means of cultural transmissions, child rearing practices, and a pervasive attitude of subservience and deference to the colonial masters.

“The Filipinos that Ferdinand Magellan and Miguel Lopez de Legazpi encountered who were free, confident, and self-determined are long gone. They died on the shores of Mactan.”

These are unconscious vestigial processes that still go on in our psyche which we often are not aware of. They manifest in our choices and preferences, and our collective means of coping with a national crisis. History may forget but never the collective unconscious of a people.

Each of us has a composite personality shaped by layers of our people’s common colonial experiences and history. Sadly, many of those years were harsh and difficult. The Filipinos that Ferdinand Magellan and Miguel Lopez de Legazpi encountered who were free, confident, and self-determined are long gone. They died on the shores of Mactan.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dr. Fernando B. Perfas is an addiction specialist who has written several books and articles on the subject. He currently provides training and consulting services to various government and non-government drug treatment agencies regarding drug treatment and prevention approaches. He can be reached at fbperfas@gmail.com.

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