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NHCP, Samar to unveil 1 of 34 markers of 1521 expedition

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QUINCENTENNIAL. The “First Contact” between the crew of Ferdinand Magellan and locals in Guiuan, Eastern Samar as illustrated by artist Derrick Macutay. The National Historical Commission of the Philippines will unveil on March 16, 2021, the first of the 34 historical markers in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the world. (Photo courtesy of NHCP)

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) will unveil on Tuesday the first of the 34 historical markers in Guiuan, Eastern Samar to celebrate the 500th anniversary (quincentennial) of the first circumnavigation of the world.

The unveiling of the Suluan Quincentennial Marker in Suluan Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar, starting at 11 a.m., will coincide with the arrival of the Spanish Navy training ship Juan Sebastian Elcano.

The ship is named after the captain of the 17 remaining crew of the original 245-member Armada de Maluco (a.k.a., Magellan-Elcano expedition) that completed the first circumnavigation of the world.

A meeting between the Philippine Navy and Spanish Navy will take place immediately after the unveiling in Suluan, according to NHCP’s official Facebook page.

BRP Apolinario Mabini will welcome Juan Sebastian Elcano. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana will represent the Philippines and will be accompanied by the Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines Jorge Moragas.

The ship is expected to anchor near Manicani Island in Guiuan around 4 p.m. A fluvial parade organized by the local government will follow.

“The marking of the 34 sites of the Philippine route of the Magellan-Elcano expedition is in solidarity with the international project of tracing the route of the unprecedented achievement of humanity and science which proved that the world was indeed round,” the NHCP stated.

Between March 16 to October 28, 2021, 34 historical markers will be unveiled in the Visayas, Palawan, and Mindanao. At least 10 of these historical markers are in Leyte and Samar provinces.

It was on March 16, 1521 when the first people to voyage around the planet (Magellan-Elcano expedition) reached Samar.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) Eastern Visayas regional office said this happened after their death-defying voyage from the Atlantic and then across the Pacific for almost four months.

The expedition first saw the landmass of Suluan Island but did not land there. They waited for the next morning and landed at Homonhon Island, which was uninhabited at that time. They managed to gather some food and water on the island, according to historians.

“About 500 years ago, Magellan and his crew landed in Guiuan. We showed to them our hospitality and kindness. We welcome everyone that visits our place and we feed them. This is the heritage of kindness and the heritage of humanity from our ancestors 500 years ago,” said Guiuan Mayor Annaliza Gonzales-Kwan during the flag-raising ceremony on March 15, 2021.

The expedition also began Filipino ancestors’ contribution to the achievement of science and humanity, DOT Eastern Visayas Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes said in a social media post.

“Filipino poet and writer Luis Francia described this episode as a revival of their lives, if not their fortunes, referring to the expedition. Because two days later, our ancestors from Samar discovered Magellan and his men at Homonhon Island, now under the jurisdiction of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, needing help. Compassion was exhibited by our ancestors which gave hope to Magellan and his crew,” she posted.

Since last year, the National Quincentennial Committee of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines has already planned activities for the quincentennial celebrations but some non-religious activities may not proceed due to movement restrictions. (Sarwell Meniano, PNA)

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