on November 20, 2005
If you're traveling through Mactan Island for any reason, the Lapu-lapu monument is a good place to stop-over for two reasons: the historical significance of the site, and arguably the best sinugba-tinola-kinilaw, the Cebu and Mactan's specialty seafood dish.Since this is a popular tourist spot, taxis usually ply this area, but if you want to avoid a long wait for a taxi, you can, for a bigger fee, ask a taxi to bring you there and wait for you while you visit the area and enjoy your Sinugba meal.The Lapu-lapu monument is built right on the site where, in 1521, the local datu Lapu-lapu killed Ferdinand Magellan, cutting short the latter's circumnavigation of the world. Magellan was the first Western explorer to land on Philippine shores. Lapu-lapu, on the other hand, was the first datu to resist the occupation of a Western fleet, dramatized not only in his battle with Magellan's fleet, but also in his refusal to pay tribute to the king of Spain.A few years after Magellan's death, Spain colonized the Philippines. In 1866, the Spanish government ordered a marker built on this very site, to honor Magellan (who, though Portugese, had been conducting his explorations for the Spanish flag). The marker still stands.In 1898, the Philippine nationalist movement (the first nationalist movement in Asia) culminated in a Revolution against Spain, and the Philippines declared their independence from Spain on the 12th of June. Lapu-lapu was soon hailed as the first Philippine hero. A statue of Lapu-lapu was thus built in front of Magellan's marker. Side by side the two markers are an ironic reminder of how a single historical event can be interpreted so differently by two peoples.========After contemplating Philippine history at the Lapu-lapu Monument, it's a short walk to the "dampa," the seafood market/restaurant. Freshly caught seafood is on sale here. Customers can also buy the seafood and have it cooked on the spot and served at the adjacent restaurant. The must-try favorite is called "Sutokil" or "STK," short for sinugba-towa-kinilaw, a combination of three dishes, each a different traditional way of preparing seafood. The "sinugba" (literally, "grilled") part of the dish refers to seafood stuffed with various spices and grilled. "Towa" or "Tinowa" ("Tinola" in Tagalog) refers to seafood stewed in hot soup. "Kinilaw" is the Philippine version of sushi: raw fish is marinated vinegar and spices where it is left to sit and "cook" for several minutes before serving. If you ask for Sutokil, you will get all three dishes, but you can just order each of the items--Sinugba, Tinowa, or Kinilaw--individually. Sutokil is available in most restaurants in the area that serve local cuisine, but at the seafood market beside the Lapu-lapu monument, the seafood is freshest, and you can eat your food overlooking the sea, on the very shore where Magellan and Lapu-lapu fought their historic battle against each other, 500 years ago.
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