Emmanuel Garibay has painted the hero Lapu-Lapu as a sentinel - a barechested Philippine native with a drawn wavy sword standing alert at the arrival of a Spanish galleon. Lapu-lapu is a local chieftain known to history as the leader of warriors who slew Ferdinand Magellan, the Portuguese explorer who found the Pacific Sea route to Asia for the Spanish crown in 1521. For this feat, the hero is glorified as the first anti-imperialist warrior, who resisted foreign intrusion into his own sovereignty. Garibay’s portrayal – and even his reference to the ideological idealization – is of course suffused with the overtones of romantic patriotism. It even reflects the way he is institutionalized as an official symbol adopted by the Philippine police, where Lapu-Lapu is shown in every badge with both shield and sword. But Garibay’s work shows him wary of an encroaching vessel: the intruder has landed, he is poised to vanquish the arriving foe. Yet, as romantic as the work appears, Pagdating also refers to a critical moment in Philippine history. The arrival of the Spanish explorers signalled the mapping of the archipelago and thus, of discovery and colonization.
Oil on Canvas
106.7 x 76.2cm (42 x 30”)