Bohol: Influencing the Quincentennial Historical Marker Project

Posted on 19 June 2021
By Rene R. Escalante, Ph.D.

If I may confide to you, Bohol influenced a lot in the marking project of the Philippine route of the first circumnavigation of the world. Originally, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) wanted only to mark the places where the Magellan-Elcano expedition had actually landed. If that was so, only ten sites will be marked. But before Luzon was placed under quarantine in 2020, Governor Arthur Yap and the members of the Bohol provincial historical and cultural council made a visit to the NHCP in Manila exploring possible activities related to the 2021 Quincentennial Commemorations in the Philippines. In that meeting, Governor Yap requested a historical marker commemorating the place of the waters of Bohol in the history of the first circumnavigation of the world, which was the election of the new captain-general of the expedition after the leaders were killed in the Battle of Mactan on 27 April 1521 and the Massacre in Cebu on 1 May 1521. Another significant event in that place was the burning of the ship, Concepcion.

From left: National Museum of the Philippines Director-General Jeremy Barns, Bohol Governor Arthur Yap, National Historical Commission of the Philippines Chairperson Rene Escalante, and National Quincentennial Committee Secretariat Reynaldo Lita with the Bohol Quincentennial Historical Marker as background.

Having that argued by the good governor, we immediately reconsidered including the rest of the places in the Philippines recorded by the expedition with significant activities such as the case of Bohol. Thus, all in all, we have included 24 more sites to be marked.

Pandemic indeed is a great factor in pursuing the unveiling of the historical markers. Most of the projects and programs slated for 2021 which were planned for almost three years were set aside or completely canceled. The most significant infrastructure project that remained was the construction of the 34 quincentennial historical markers with reliefs and memorials, such as this one we have just unveiled. Through this infrastructure, we have involved several local government units from Guiuan, Eastern Samar down to Sarangani Islands, Davao Occidental between March 16 and October 28, 2021. This, in a way, introduces new information to our countrymen and the whole world that there was more beyond the Battle of Mactan and the introduction of Christianity, the two dominating narratives related to the 1521 events in Philippine history.

I opened my message acknowledging Governor Yap, I will end my speech by according the good governor another recognition. Governor Yap failed not to attend online stakeholders’ meetings. He really wants this quincentennial marker to be erected here in Bohol so he himself ensured it would be a reality. And to repay his passion for this project, I decided to grace the unveiling. May I also take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Boholanos for supporting the 2021 Quincentennial Commemorations in the Philippines? It was your very own Direk Lutgardo Labad who directed the 500-day countdown to the Quincentennial in December 2019. He mustered almost 500-strong artists and staff all over the Visayas there in Mactan to highlight the world of our ancestors in a musical that was the first of its kind in the history of the Visayas. It was entitled Mangayaw. But I also remember before DFA Undersecretary Ernesto Abella and I left our hotel in Lapu-Lapu City, we were having our breakfast with your world-renowned Loboc Children’s Choir. I am myself is an enthusiast of music, being a former choir member, too, I did not let the opportunity pass without hearing them singing. And they sang for us “Paraiso.” May Bohol remained a paradise not only of natural heritage but also of historical sites and cultural heritage. I pray that this province blessed a hundredfold and its leaders remain champions of what is Boholano and Filipino.

Thank you and God bless us all.


Rene R. Escalante, Ph.D. is the Chairperson of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and concurrently the Executive Director of the National Quicentennial Committee. He read this message during the unveiling of the Quincentennial Historical Marker for Bohol on 17 June 2021 at Punta Cruz, Maribojoc, Bohol.


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Seeing this post? Curious what this is about? 2021 is the Year of Filipino Pre-Colonial Ancestors by virtue of Proclamation No. 1128, s. 2021. Also in this year, we commemorate the Philippine part in the achievement of science and humankind in circumnavigating the planet for the first time. Central in this commemoration is the 500th anniversary of the Victory at Mactan on 27 April 2021. These and more are collectively known as the 2021 Quincentennial Commemorations in the Philippines by virtue of Executive Order No. 103 (2020). Know more about the event here: ?


? About us ?[]

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? Listen to Quincentennial Soundtrack ?[]

? Watch our lectures []☝️

?️‍♀️ Quincentennial activities and materials here []




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