, DECEMBER 4, 2006 (STAR) The Freeman - The magical history of Maribago shines as the fable of a dolphin's bravery brings to life the vibrant cultural history of Mactan to new generations of Filipinos.

The tale of the hero Lapu-Lapu and his extraordinary friendship with the youngest of Maribago's mythical seven dolphins, is told in the colorful pages of the new illustrated children's book, Dolpo: The Story of a Dolphin.

Julie Alegrado-Vergara recounts the local folklore in an effort to share the cultural, almost magical, history of her hometown. Known as a cultural advocate, Julie tells of a legend that reflects her personal passion for culture and history - an appreciation she discovered during her study and travels across Europe. Retelling the tale of Lapu-Lapu and Dolpo in the children's book penned by Brad Geiser blends local history with Maribago's magical charm; thus, promising both young and old readers to discover and experience its beauty through its historical and cultural mystique.

The Legend of the Seven Dolphins The Freeman 12/04/2006

Legend has it that young Lapu-Lapu, future Chieftain of Maktan, was on his way to sea one day when he came upon seven tiny dolphin calves. They were helplessly trapped in a puddle of water surrounded by roots of mangrove trees. He carefully picked them up and took them to deeper waters where he released them. Lapu-Lapu watched as the calves swam into the distant horizon, never thinking of meeting them again.

A year passed.

While at sea, seven beautiful adult dolphins approached Lapu-Lapu and began to play around his little canoe. They were chirping happy and melodic sounds while playfully waving their flippers, as if inviting him to join them. Unable to resist, Lapu-Lapu jumped in. Thus, began the endearing friendship between man and the beautiful sea creatures.

The natives wondered at the camaraderie between their chieftain and the seven dolphins. They watched in amazement as the group cavorted around at sea almost daily - he, riding any one of them as they cruised around the pristine waters of Maktan Island. Without fail, Lapu-Lapu came home at the end of the day with his canoe loaded with fish and pearls. These were then distributed among the villagers.

Stories about the seven dolphins' heroism abound.

On one occasion, a banca which was overloaded with villagers coming back from festivities in nearby Olango Island, capsized in the middle of the deep Hilutungan channel. It was told that lives would have been lost had it not been for Lapu-Lapu and the seven dolphins who came to their rescue.

The dolphins were also known to have stopped pirate raids. In those days, the islands of Maktan and Sugbu were occasionally attacked by Muslim pirates. They would pillage the villages which were then under Lapu-Lapu's domain. Pirates who attempted to wade to shore in silence under the cover of darkness were warded off by the dolphin. They later learned to avoid these villages as the waters were known to be guarded by powerful "water spirits."

When Magellan and his men came to Maktan to punish the recalcitrant chieftain in the early dawn of April 28, 1521, legend has it that seven dolphins were there as the island's first line of defense. Their tenacity distracted the invaders and caused them to tire before they could reach shore.

The rest is history.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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