CEBU CITY, Sept. 14 (PIA) -- Two years from now, a series of celebrations will mark the 5th century of the circumnavigation of the world by Ferdinand Magellan proving the Earth is round.
In Cebu where the Spanish conquistador died in the hands of freedom defenders, the series of celebrations would spotlight the victory of this battle in Mactan.
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) decided to focus the quincentennial commemorations on the victory of Lapulapu and the people of Cebu in the famous Battle of Mactan.
On this, NHCP created the National Quincentennial Committee (NQC) whose task is to coordinate for the commemorations.
Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed in 2018 Executive Order 55 designating NHCP as the secretariat of the national quincentennial committee.
The NQC is now spearheading government activities and projects commemorating the quincentennial in 2021, and takes the victory of Lapulapu and his men against the Spanish colonizers and other related events as its core focus.
NHCP Chairperson Dr. Rene R. Escalante said the event will be commemorated "the Filipino and Asian way."
Escalante said they want to bring a different focus because the quadricentennial commemoration in 1921 had a more "eurocentric" approach.
"We will have a more beautiful reenactment (of the Kadaugan sa Mactan) in the year 2021. We will commemorate this event and other related events in the country," he said.
Escalante said the hero Lapulapu is less known in some parts of the country.
"It's unfair to the man for his achievement. This might be the opportunity to put him on his right place in our history," he said.
In heroes venerated and recognized, Escalante said that Lapulapu is a hero that is considered a winner, because unlike many heroes, they lost and died in the respective battles that they fought.
"Unlike them, he (Lapulapu) won in the battle of Mactan despite the superiority of the Spaniards," Escalante added.
Part of the quincentennial commemorations will be a design competition for a new Lapulapu monument at Liberty Shrine, Punta Engano, Lapulapu City.
The commission is proposing a design in which Lapulapu will be accompanied by a number of warriors giving a message that the Battle of Mactan was not a one-on-one duel between Magellan and Lapulapu.
It was a collective battle fought by the people of Mactan and the members of the expedition.
"Let us democratize the credit and let's see if we can correct the body figure of Lapulapu," Escalante said, as he noted that during the Battle of Mactan, Lapulapu was already a senior citizen.
He added that in the original account of Pegafetta, it was not mentioned that it was Lapulapu who delivered the fatal blow on Magellan.
"The account simply said that Magellan was hit, fell down, and the islanders swarmed at him and hacked him to death," he added.
Escalante said they will try to correct some of the misconceptions about Philippine history.
"We will share whatever information we have discovered in course of research and travel," he added.
On Sept. 13, NHCP and Lapulapu City Government signed a memorandum of agreement for the rehabilitation of the Liberty Shrine.
In the agreement, NHCP and Lapulapu LGU shall urgently develop the shrine in preparation for the upcoming national quincentennial commemorative activities. (fan/pia7)