F. W. Mercer (South China Morning Post, January 29) is right in saying there were no Cebuanos, as such, back in Magellan's day. But let me point out neither were there any Malaysians then; there were Malays.
Indeed the Southeast Asian region is often simplistically termed as being inhabited by people of the ''Malay race''. Malaysia did not come into existence until 1963 when the Malay states merged with Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak.
The island of Cebu eventually became part of the Philippine Republic, as did the rest of the Visayas and Mindanao; hence my point that the man who killed Magellan would today be known as a Filipino from Cebu (then called ''Sugbu'' by the natives).
Lapu-Lapu was actually a chieftain of Mactan, the small island contiguous to Cebu proper, and has long been considered a Filipino hero even though he has been honoured mainly by having a species of fish named after him! If Cebu had, by some strange circumstance, become part of what we know today as Malaysia, Ms Halligan would have been correct in asserting that Lapu-Lapu was Malaysian.
Mr Mercer must be one of those people who say ''. . . by (with, for) you and I.'' instead of ''me.'' I used ''us Filipinos'' as the object (not the subject) of my sentence: ''She owes us Filipinos an apology.'' INES ESCOLAR Mid-Levels