Pigafetta Monument in Cebu: A testament of PH-Italy Friendship

CEBU CITY, April 14 (PIA) -- The newly-restored historical marker of Antonio Pigafetta, the chronicler of the Magellan Expedition, which the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) turned over to the City Government of Cebu symbolizes Philippine’s close ties with Italy. 

This was the message highlighted by several officials who attended the unveiling of the historical marker of Pigafetta at the Plaza Independencia here on April 13. 

“This monument of Pigafetta is a living testament of Filipino-Italian Friendship as it was donated to the City Government of Cebu by the Philippine Italian-Association. The commission sees the value of the monument to the Filipino people as it is the only monument we have for an equally significant world figure,” NHCP Chairperson Rene Escalante said in his speech during the event. 

Born in Venice, Italy, Pigafetta joined Magellan in his quest for the Spice Islands or Moluccas in the east, which led them to the islands now called the Philippines. 

As the chronicler of the expedition, he wrote down and recorded the way of life, belief systems, languages, and other details of pre-colonial Filipinos.

He was among the few members of the crew who survived the voyage and returned to Spain.

Being part of the said exploration, he became a key personality in the first circumnavigation of the world. 

NHCP Chair Rene Escalante and Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella (2nd from right ) lead the unveiling of the newly-restored marker of Antonio Pigafetta, the Italian chronicler of the Magellan expedition, together with other local officials of the city at Fort San Pedro in Plaza Independencia, Cebu City on April 13, 2021. (ral/PIA7-NegOr)

The Philippine-Italian Association commissioned National Artist Abdul Mari Asia Imao to sculpt a monument of Pigafetta which the association donated to the City Government of Cebu.

The statue was installed beside Fort San Pedro in 1980.

Being a notable work of a national artist, the statue is now considered an important cultural property by virtue of National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009. 

A month ago, a team from the NHCP Materials Research Conservation Division and the Cebu City Cultural and Historical Affairs Office (CHAO) led the efforts in restoring the monument in time for the celebration of the National Quincentennial Commemorations  (NQC) of the Philippines.

“The NHCP board of commissioners saw the need to revise the text of the previous historical marker about Pigafetta that was installed in the pedestal of this monument in 1980. The board wanted to highlight in the new historical marker the value of Pigafetta to our country and the fact that this Italian contributed immensely to the understanding of the world of our ancestors from the Visayas, Mindanao, and Palawan,” Escalante added. 

Escalante, together with Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella, led other local officials in unveiling the newly-restored historical marker.

Afterwards, both officials signed a document certifying the transfer of the said statue from the NHCP to the City Government of Cebu. 

“The City of Cebu humbly accepts this statue with a commitment that we will take care of this so that the future generation of Cebuanos will always be reminded of the significance, this man Pigafetta had brought to our country the Philippines,” Labella said in his acceptance speech. 

“This is will always be a living testament of the cordial relations and the bond of friendship between Italy and the Republic of the Philippines,” he added. 

On the other hand, Vice Consul of the Italian Consulate in Cebu Francesco Guidicelli shared that he can relate with Pigafetta when he moved to the Philippines some 30 years ago. 

“I follow his own steps. Now, Philippines for me is where my family and my home is. The Philippines and Italy have special relations. We have a very similar culture,” Guidicelli said. 

The Italian vice consul hopes that situation will normalize soon so that the Italians can visit the Philippines and Filipinos can also visit Italy. 

The said activity is part of the events lined up for the NCQ.

It started with the opening of the exhibit Voyage and Homage: The Pigafettta Monument and the Quincentennial and ended with a launching of the book “Pigafetta’s Philippine Picnic” written by culinary historian Felice Prudente Sta. Maria. (ral/PIA7-Negros Oriental) 



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

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