King Lapu Lapu by Clinton Felker

Artist commentary: “The character is Lapu Lapu. He was the ruler of he Visayan Islands during the early 1500’s in the southern part of the Philippines. He is best known for the Battle of Mactan that happened at dawn on April 27, 1521, where he and his soldiers defeated Ferdinand Magellan. My designs are a bit sensationalized compared to the real character.”

T H E   P I N T A D O S the “painted ones”
aka the Bisayans

Quotes describing the Pintados during the 16th & 17th centuries

“The Natives of these Bisayan Islands are commonly known by two names, because the Spaniards who live here refer to them thus. One name is Bisaya, about which we shall speak in this first chapter; the other is Pintados, about which we shall speak in Chapter Four and which is a result of the practice they had in ancient times of tattooing themselves.”

- Francisco Alcina in his History of the Bisayan People in the Philippine Islands translated by Cantius Kobak & Lucio Gutierrez


“The natives of the Pintados Islands are not very dark. Both men and women are well formed and have regular features. Some of the women are white. Both men and women wear their hair long, and fastened in a knot on the crown of the head, which is very becoming. The men tattoo their entire bodies with very beautiful figures, using therefor small pieces of iron dipped in ink. This ink incorporates itself with the blood, and the marks are indelible. They are healthy people, for the climate of that land is good. Among them are found no crippled, maimed, deaf, or dumb persons. No one of them has ever been possessed by evil spirits, or has become insane. Therefore they reach an advanced age in perfect health. The Pintados are a courageous and warlike race; they have continually waged war on both land and sea. They bore their ears in two places and wear beautiful ornaments, not only in their ears, but also around their necks and arms. Their dress is neat and modest, made generally of cotton, medriñaque, or silk (which they get from China and other places). They are greatly addicted to the use of a kind of wine which they make from rice and from the palm-tree, and which is good. Very rarely do they become angry when drunk, for their drunkenness passes off in jests or in sleep.”

The men are very fond of their wives, for it is the men who give the dowry at marriage. And even if their wives commit adultery, action is never taken against the woman, but against the adulterer. An abominable custom among the men is to bore a hole through the genital organ, placing within this opening a tin tube, to which they fasten a wheel like that of a spur, a full palm in circumference. These are made of tin, and some of them weigh more than half a pound. They use twenty kinds of these wheels; but modesty forbids us to speak of them. By means of these they have intercourse with their wives.The inhabitants of the mountains do not follow this custom; all, however, circumcise themselves, saying that they do it for their health and for cleanliness. When they marry, they are not concerned whether their wives are virgins or not.

The women are beautiful, but unchaste. They do not hesitate to commit adultery, because they receive no punishment for it. They are well and modestly dressed, in that they cover all the private parts; they are very clean, and are very fond of perfumes. It is considered a disgrace among them to have many children; for they say that when the property is to be divided among all the children, they will all be poor, and that it is better to have one child, and leave him wealthy. The Pintados are very strict as to whom they marry; for no one marries below his station. Therefore chiefs will never marry any but women of rank. All the men are accustomed to have as many wives as they can buy and support. The women are extremely lewd, and they even encourage their own daughters to a life of unchastity; so that there is nothing so vile for the latter that they cannot do it before their mothers, since they incur no punishment. The men, however, are not so vile as the Moros. The Pintados love their wives so dearly, that, in case of a quarrel they take sides with their wives’ relatives, even against their own fathers and brothers.“

Relation of the Filipinas Islands by Miguel de Loarca translated by Blair & Robertson.


"South of this district lie the islands of Biçayas, or, as they are also called, Pintados. They are many in number, thickly populated with natives. Those of most renown are Leite, Ybabao, Camar [Samar], Bohol, island of Negros, Sebu, Panay, Cuyo, and the Calamianes. All the natives of these islands, both men and women, are well-featured, of a good disposition, and of better nature, and more noble in their actions than the inhabitants of the islands of Luzon and its vicinity.

They differ from them in their hair, which the men wear cut in a cue, like the ancient style in España. Their bodies are tattooed with many designs, but the face is not touched. They wear large earrings of gold and ivory in their ears, and bracelets of the same; certain scarfs wrapped round the head, very showy, which resemble turbans, and knotted very gracefully and edged with gold. They wear also a loose collarless jacket with tight sleeves, whose skirts reach half way down the leg. These garments are fastened in front and are made of medriñaque and colored silks. They wear no shirts or drawers, but bahaques [i.e., breech-clouts] of many wrappings, which cover their privy parts, when they remove their skirts and jackets. The women are good-looking and graceful. They are very neat, and walk slowly. Their hair is black, long, and drawn into a knot on the head. Their robes are wrapped about the waist and fall downward. These are made of all colors, and they wear collarless jackets of the same material. Both men and women go naked and without any coverings, and barefoot, and with many gold chains, earrings, and wrought bracelets.

Their weapons consist of large knives curved like cutlasses, spears, and caraças [i.e., shields]. They employ the same kinds of boats as the inhabitants of Luzon. They have the same occupations, products, and means of gain as the inhabitants of all the other islands. These Visayans are a race less inclined to agriculture, and are skillful in navigation, and eager for war and raids for pillage and booty, which they call mangubas. This means "to go out for plunder.”“

~ Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas in 1609 by Antonio de Morga