CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The country's quincentennial celebration in 2021 will be anchored on four values that are in line with the theme "Victory and Humanity."
The celebration marks the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the world, introduction of Christianity in the Philippines, and Victory at Mactan.
"The first value that we will promote is Magnanimity. We will have activities and we will come up with some monuments that will promote the magnanimity of the Filipinos," said Rene R. Escalante, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) chairperson and National Quincentennial Committee (NQC) vice chairperson, during Tuesday's Luzon Stakeholders' Meeting held at the Heroes Hall.
"The event that we will focus in order to promote magnanimity is the first encounter of the people of Homonhon with the members of the expedition. We will highlight the fact that when the Spaniards arrived in Homonhon, the people greeted them. They offered the visitors food, shelter and all other amenities that they have during this time," Escalante said.
"The second value is Sovereignty. We will show to the world and to our countrymen that we Filipinos we love freedom, we love independence. We are magnanimous to foreigners but if they will colonize us or intervene in our domestic affairs, we will assert our sovereignty," he added.
Filipinos love for sovereignty continued after the Battle of Mactan as was shown in the battles during the whole Spanish period and later on, carried by the veterans of the Second World War and of other Filipinos who fought for freedom.
The third value is Identity. NHCP will open in 2021 a museum in Butuan City that will showcase the achievements of the Filipinos before the coming of Ferdinand Magellan.
"The peg of the museum is that before the coming of the Europeans, the level of civilization of our country may be considered at par or even more advanced than the civilization of our Asian neighbors. We will show in this museum that we already have a system of writing, the clothing of the Filipinos during this time is already presentable, the burial traditions, the artistic designs of our jars, our boat building technology. All of these will be presented," Escalante said.
The quincentennial celebration will also introduce one personality that is not well known in the history of the world, of the country, and even of Cebu. He is Enrique de Malacca, who was the interpreter of Magellan.
"We will join the Malaysians in telling the world that Enrique de Malacca, a fellow Asian, is a member of the expedition that circumnavigated the world," the official said.
And the fourth and last value that will be promoted is Unity.
"We will set aside our religious affiliations, our political affiliations, and even our color in commemorating this event. Ipagdiriwang po natin ang pangyayaring ito bilang isang bansa. Bilang isang lahi (We will celebrate this occasion as one nation, one race)," the official said.
NQC identified the Battle of Mactan as the primary event of the celebration that is slated on April 27, 2021.
Prior to this, there will be a 500-day countdown on December 14, 2019; one-year countdown on April 27, 2020; and a 100-day countdown in January 2021.
"The celebration will be inter-disciplinary. So in 2021, there will be art competitions, there will be sports competitions, and there is even a proposal to come up with a beauty contest and other activities that will promote the celebration," Escalante said.
Apart from this, the NQC is proposing to rename Mactan-Cebu International Airport into Lapu-Lapu International Airport to center the commemoration of the fifth centenary on the heroism of the people of Cebu particularly Lapu-Lapu.
"He is considered a local hero of the Cebuanos. But because of this celebration, we will promote him and make him a national hero," the official furthered. (PIA-Central Luzon)