The identification of the proposed projects in the comprehensive plan focuses on four guiding principles
Filipino-centric/Asian-centric. Reflecting Filipino/Asian points of view of the commemorations.
Commemorative. Conducting meaningful activities to commemorate various milestone events in Philippine history in 1521.
Multidisciplinary. Engaging scholars from various fields to contribute to the advancement and enhancement of our understanding of the past.
Communicative. Promoting the event and historical education through traditional and new media.
To commemorate the quincentennial of the Victory at Mactan and related events, the NQC proposes to develop a national park in Cebu City, to be dubbed as the “Luneta of the South.” The site of the 30-hectare park will be in the South Road Properties (SRP), beside SM Seaside. An iconic five-pylon monument, with the statue of Lapulapu at the center, will be the park’s main attraction. The monument will be surrounded by artworks depicting important personages and events in 1521. There will be a museum at the basement of the monument. The galleries of the museum will narrate the role of the Philippines in the first circumnavigation of the world, showcase some artworks, and house a resource center that contains archival materials and other documents related to the events that happened in 1521.
On top of the monument is a globe symbolizing that the Philippines was part of the first circumnavigation of the world. It will also serve as a viewing deck where people can have a bird’s eye view of Cebu City and the Mactan Strait. At night time, it will be illuminated by multicolored lights depending on the occasion.
Opposite the monument will be a grandstand that can accommodate a million people. It can serve as venue for concerts, parades, religious gatherings, sports activities, public events, and political affairs.
The park will also have an oval for runners, football field, courts for basketball, badminton and tennis, mini amphitheater, skate park, dancing fountain, food kiosks, souvenir shops, parking spaces, and fairgrounds. Trees will be planted in strategic locations to support the Green, Green, Green project of the Duterte administration. Lastly, a 100-foot high flag pole will be erected in front of the monument.
The NQC and the NHCP will invite Filipino design teams to submit their concepts for the 2019 National Quincentennial Monument. The design competition will be launched in the first half of 2019. The winning monument design will be constructed in January 2020.
For the preparation and management of the park, the NQC proposes the creation of an inter-agency committee composed of the NHCP, Cebu City Government, Philippine Sports Commission, DPWH, DOT, NEDA, and DepEd.
This proposed museum is incorporated in the Quincentennial National Park. Drawing inspiration from the NHCP’s Museo ni Manuel Quezon in Quezon City, this museum will be located at the basement of the five-pylon quincentennial monument. Highlight of the museum narrative is the history of the Magellan-Elcano expedition and other related events such as the introduction of Christianity to our ancestors and the Victory at Mactan. The proposed opening of the museum will be on 27 April 2021, the 500th anniversary of the Victory at Mactan. President Duterte will be invited as the Guest of Honor.
The museum will house the digitized and printed materials of the NQC about the first circumnavigation. There will be a gallery dedicated to select entries to the 2019 Quincentennial Art Competition. A gallery will also showcase the 16th-century Visayan warrior-inspired outfit of 2018 Miss Universe Catriona Gray, either the original or its replica.
The NQC will memorialize in the proposed museum the contributions of Enrique de Malacca. It will coordinate with the Malaysian Historical Society, the Society of the Indonesian Historians, and the Philippine Historical Association for the research and memorialization of the Malay people in the historic Magellan-Elcano expedition.
Renaming the Mactan-Cebu
In his message delivered during the National Heroes Day rites on 27 August 2018, NQC Vice-Chair Dr. Rene Escalante proposed to immortalize Lapulapu by renaming Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) to Lapulapu International Airport. When President Duterte was asked by the media if he supports the proposal of Dr. Escalante, he gave a positive answer.
There were two options that surfaced during the consultation meeting on this proposal. The Mayor of Lapu-Lapu City and the lone representative of the city proposed that the new name should be Lapulapu International Airport. Representative Raul del Mar and eight other Cebu representatives proposed that it should be Lapulapu-Cebu International Airport. The NQC leaves to the Office of the President the decision of what name to adopt with the note that the practice in the Philippines is not to include the place in the name of the airport. This is also the same practice in many parts of the world like John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City and Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. The President may execute this proposal through an executive order or request Congress to pass a law to that effect.
Lapulapu first appeared in Philippine currency in 1967 in the one-centavo coin but was removed in the new series in 1995. The NQC recommends to restore Lapulapu in Philippine currency and proposes the revival of the 2,000-peso banknote with Lapulapu as the featured hero on its obverse side and the first circumnavigation of the world on the reverse. If approved, this would not be the first time the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will issue the 2,000-peso denomination.
In 1998, a 2,000-peso commemorative banknote was issued in celebration of the centennial of the proclamation of Philippine independence. It had an unusual size, measuring 216 mm x 133 mm. In 2001, the BSP reissued the 1998 commemorative banknote as the New Millennium banknote, this time in a standard size measuring 160 mm x 66 mm. The 2,000-peso banknote was demonetized on 31 July 2018.
Presently, the highest denomination in the country is the 1,000-peso bill, which was first circulated in 1991 during the 50th anniversary of World War II in the Philippines. It featured war martyrs Jose Abad Santos, Gen. Vicente Lim, and Josefa Llanes Escoda. The last denomination added to the series of Philippine banknotes was the 200-peso banknote issued in 2002 during the Arroyo administration, which featured President Diosdado Macapagal.
The NQC proposes to put up a museum that will feature the world of our ancestors before the arrival of the Spaniards in our country. This is a bold effort of the Philippine government to debunk the notion that Philippine history only began when Magellan arrived. It will further cement Jose Rizal’s ideal Philippines in his 1889 essay “Filipinas dentro de Cien Años” (Philippines in a Century Hence):
With the new men that will spring from her bosom and the remembrance of the past, she will perhaps enter openly the wide road of progress and all will work jointly to strengthen the mother country at home as well as abroad with the same enthusiasm with which a young man returns to cultivate his father’s farmland so long devastated and abandoned due to the negligence of those who had alienated it. And free once more, like the bird that leaves his cage, like the flower that returns to the open air, they will discover their good old qualities which they are losing little by little and again become lovers of peace, gay, lively, smiling, hospitable, and fearless.
Butuan City was selected as the proposed site of the museum because of its wealth of pre-Hispanic artifacts, which point out to its former status as a thriving ancient port community before the coming of the Spaniards. The Butuan City Government and the Agusan del Norte Provincial Government have signified their interest in restoring and converting the old casa real (provincial government office) of the old province of Agusan into the proposed museum. It is presently occupied by the Butuan City Police Station.
The project will have two phases: the first phase will involve the restoration of the heritage structure, and the second will be the curatorial development. The museum will eventually be turned over to the LGU for its management.
The NQC proposes to retrofit and conduct conservation works on some existing shrines and monuments memorializing 1521 events and personages in time for the quincentennial commemorations. These include:
• Lapulapu Shrine in Lapu-Lapu City, which will be redeveloped by the Lapu-Lapu City Government in time for the 121st anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine independence on 12 June 2019;
• 1834 Magellan’s Cross in Cebu City, which has been the traditional site where the planting of the wooden cross in Cebu in 1521 took place. It has been a regular recipient of the conservation program of the NHCP. A budget for its conservation in time for the quincentennial is also incorporated in the NHCP budget in the 2020 GAA;
• 1866 Magellan Monument, within the Lapulapu Shrine, with funds for conservation to be incorporated in the NHCP budget in the 2020 GAA. If King Felipe VI of Spain visits the Philippines in 2021, he would most likely pay tribute to Magellan at this site;
• Pending the resolution of the controversy as to where the site of the 1521 Easter Sunday Mass in Philippine territory was held, the NQC and the NHCP deferred its proposed rehabilitation of the sites associated to the said mass in Limasawa, Southern Leyte and Magallanes, Agusan del Norte; and
• Rehabilitation of the Magellan-Elcano expedition landing site in Eastern Samar.
Marking the Philippine Route of the
The NHCP is mandated to identify historic sites by installing historical markers. It proposes that historical markers be installed along the Philippine route of the Magellan-Elcano expedition: 1. Homonhon and 2. Suluan Islands in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, 3. the controversial “Mazzawa” (which is still being settled by the NQC and the NHCP), 4. Butuan-Caraga, 5. Cebu, 6. Mactan, 7. Bohol, 8. Balabac, 9. Palawan, 10. Cagayan, 11. Zamboanga del Norte, 12. Sulu, 13. Basilan, and 14. Sarangani.
Since the NHCP was designated as the Secretariat of the NQC, it repurposed the Multimedia Room of the Serafin D. Quiason Resource Center as the NQC Office. It is located at the second floor of the NHCP Central Office Building, T.M. Kalaw Street, Ermita, Manila. It is envisioned to house materials associated with the circumnavigation of the world and other events that happened in 1521. An array of sources on Magellan’s epic voyage is necessary to provide focus on the efforts of the NQC and to revisit historical issues. Once collected, the public may access the printouts and digitized copies of the significant archival resources at the NQC Office.
Using the allocated Presidential Contingency Fund, the NQC is presently gathering digitized copies of the extant manuscripts of the Pigafetta account, which are among the sources for the first circumnavigation of the world: an Italian manuscript (Ms L 103 Sup) in the holdings of the Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan; a French version (Ms 351) found in Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library in Connecticut; and two others (Ms 5650 and Ms 24224), also in French, in the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris. A team of paleographers and translators headed by Dr. Francis Navarro of the Ateneo de Manila University History Department was commissioned to undertake the transcription and translation of the relevant parts of the manuscripts.
Aside from the Pigafetta manuscripts, the NQC will collect other significant materials and publish annotated references. Through the initiative of Philippine Ambassador to Portugal Celia Anna “Cookie” Feria, the NQC will also collect and annotate Filipiniana materials found in Portuguese archives and libraries.