NHCIP underscores significance of Suluan-Homonhon-Guiuan, Samar leg of the Quincentennial Commemoration of the First Circumnavigation

BORONGAN CITY, March 21 (PIA) -- The Philippine National Quincentennial Committee Chairman Rene Escalante stressed the significance of the Suluan-Homonhon-Guiuan Samar episode in the first circumnavigation of the world.

In his message read by Usec. Jonathan Malaya on March 18 as President Rodrigo Duterte unveiled the 3rd Samar historical marker, Escalante underscored the important role that the Suluan ancestors played in the history of the Philippines.

Listening to Usec. Jonathan C. Malaya read the speech of NHCIP Rene Escalante during the unveiling of the Quincentennial historical marker are Sen. Lawrence 'Bong' Go, Sec. Silvestre Bello lll (DOLE) , President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Presidential Legal Council Salvador Panelo, and Sec. Lloyd Michael Dino (OPAV). (Photo credits: Video from RTVM)

He narrated in part the critical situation of Magellan’s men,  in the words of Antonio Pigaffeta, Magellan’s chronicler.

He cited the worsening situation as his men were hungry, sick, dehydrated and dying of scurvy.

"Pigafetta wrote this entry in his chronicle three weeks before they sighted the island of Samar. By the time they reached the Eastern Visayas area, I would suppose their situation was far much worse than what he described.”

“As we commemorate the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the world, I would like to ask two questions related to this big event. One, what is the contribution of our country to this achievement of humankind? Second, what is the significance of this achievement to our present generation?”

Quoting from a translated English version of Pigaffeta’s account, where the Suluanons met the Spanish crew, he said, "The captain-general, [referring to Magellan] seeing that they were reasonable men, [referring to our Waray ancestors of Guiuan], ordered food to be set before them, and gave them red caps, mirrors, combs, and bells. When they saw the captain's courtesy, they presented fish, a jar of palm wine, bananas, and coconuts.”

He continued saying, “Pigafetta also wrote that they went ashore in Samar and rested to let their sick comrades recover from the debilitating journey.”

“This account of Pigafetta clearly shows the generosity and magnanimity of our ancestors. I think this is the major contribution of the people of Samar to the expedition. If they drove the newcomers away from their island or worse, if they displayed a hostile attitude towards them, the expedition might have ended in Samar and the circumnavigation of the world would not have been completed.”

Escalante said that the event being commemorated  in Samar is important to Filipinos, because it says a lot about what kind of people we are.

“What transpired in Samar 500 years ago clearly shows that we, Filipinos, are generous, kind-hearted, and always willing to help those who are in need, regardless of race and citizenship.”

This is the reason, he said why the National Quincentennial Committee under the able leadership of Exec. Sec. Salvador Medialdea chose Humanity as one of the themes of the 2021 Quincentennial Commemorations in the Philippines.

"History is replete with episodes showing the Filipino heritage of magnanimity and compassion. We extended the same to the Chinese who fled their country during the Opium Wars and during the Cultural Revolution in China. We did the same thing to the Jewish refugees who were persecuted by the Nazis in 1939—actually one of the few countries to do so, not even the United States which was then the sovereign in the Philippines.”

"As we commemorate the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the world, let us once again promote the Filipino heritage of magnanimity and hospitality but mindful of our sovereignty and security.”

“ These values we are espousing this quincentennial serve as ego-booster to each and every Filipino, especially in this time of pandemic; a driver of confidence to foreign and domestic tourists to come and enjoy the beauty and heart of the Filipino; and a reminder to the whole world how compassionate we are, especially our overseas Filipino workers.”

He said that the government also dedicate the quincentennial to the medical frontliners who offer not only their skills and knowledge in combating an invisible enemy but their heart and willingness to attend to the medical needs of our sick brothers and sisters.

“We also need to remind our business leaders to be extra considerate and generous to our countrymen who lost their livelihood because of the pandemic.” (nbq/PIA E. Samar)



Source: Philippines Information Agency (pia.gov.ph)

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