Lakan originally referred to a rank in the pre-hispanic Filipino nobility which means "paramount ruler." It has been suggested that this rank is equivalent to that of
Rajah, and that different ethnic groups either used one term or the other, or used the two words interchangeably. [Scott, William Henry, Barangay: Sixteenth-Century Philippine Culture and Society, Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1994.] tl icon [http://www.elaput.org/pinsnyon.htm Buhay Sa Nayon] ]
Today, the term is still occasionally used to mean "nobleman", but has mostly been adapted to other uses. In
Filipino Martial Arts, Lakan denotes an equivalent to the black belt rank. http://www.martialedge.net/encyclopedia/definition/terminology/view/lakan/] Also, beauty contests in the Philippines have taken to referring to the winner as "Lakambini", the female equivalent of Lakan. In such cases, the contestant's assigned escort can be referred to as a Lakan. More often, a male pageant winner is named a Lakan. http://www.oroquietacity.com/ArtCulture/Lakambini.html]
The title Lakan can be spelled separately from a person's name (e.g. "Lakan Dula"), or can be incorporated into a singly spelled word (e.g. "Lakandula").
Gat and Lakan. "Lakan" and "Gat" are often used interchangably, since Gat (from the word "Pamagat", meaning "Title") refers to a person as a member of the nobility in general. Thus, someone like Lakandula is also named Gatdula.
Rajah and Lakan. It is sometimes argued that since the words Rajah and Lakan mean more or less the same thing, the two should not be used together. Thus, popular reference to Rajah Lakandula are said to be the result of mistaking Lakandula to be the full proper name of the historic chieftain.
Users of the title Lakan that figure in 16th and 17th century Spanish colonial accounts of Philippine History include:
*Lakandula, later renamed Don Carlos Lacandola, the tribal chief of Tondo, when the Spanish colonization of the Philippine Islands had began.
*Lacatagcan, the greatest ruler of the Kingdom of
In popular culture
The name of
Malacañang Palace, the official residence of the President of the Republic of the Philippines, is traditionally attributed to the phrase "ma-lakan-iyan", or "where the chief [or head] resided".cite book |title=Bonifacio's Bolo |last=Ocampo |first=Ambeth |authorlink=Ambeth Ocampo |year=1995 |publisher=Anvil Publishing Inc. |location=Pasig City |chapter=Inside Malacañang |isbn=971-27-0418-1 |pages=122 ]
History of the Philippines (pre-1521)
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