As quincentenary celebrations near, Spanish navy ship to pass Cebu this March 20
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Spanish Navy ship Juan Sebastian Elcano is expected to arrive in Cebu on Saturday, March 20, 2021, as the quincentennial anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the world begins.
In a statement published on Monday, March 15, the National Quincentennial Committee of the Philippines (NQCP) announced that Spain’s navy training ship, Juan Sebastian Elcano, is scheduled to arrive in Suluan Island in Guiuan town, Eastern Samar on Tuesday, March 16.
The ship’s arrival will also mark the start of the country’s quincentennial celebrations, with the unveiling of the Suluan Quincentennial Marker in Suluan Island.
It forms part of the 34 historical markers placed across the country to highlight the Philippines’ part in the world’s first circumnavigation, the NQCP said.
Juan Sebastian Elcano will then set sail from Eastern Samar to Cebu this Thursday, March 18. It is expected to pass by Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX), the third Cebu-Mactan bridge, on Saturday through Mactan Strait.
The ship was named after Castilian explorer Juan Sebastian Elcano, the captain of Victoria, the only ship of the Armada de Maluco (also known as the Magellan-Elcano expedition) that successfully returned to Spain, and therefore completing the globe’s first circumnavigation.
However, due to the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, limitations were put in place for the quincentennial celebrations and only ‘simple activities will take place in Eastern Samar’.
These included a ‘meeting procedure’ between the Philippine Navy and Spanish Navy, with the BRP Apolinario Mabini designated as the country’s official navy ship to welcome the Juan Sebastian Elcano.
“Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana will represent the Philippine government in the procedure. He will be accompanied by Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines Jorge Moragas,” said NQCP.
“Owing to the pandemic, no physical contact will take place between the crew member and those in land. She (the ship) will also join the Philippine and Spanish governments in the unveiling of the next historical marker at Homonhon Island, still part of Guiuan, at 11 a.m. on March 17,” they added.
Residents of Guiuan town, however, can view the Juan Sebastian Elcano while it is docked in Guiuan Transport Terminal, and subject under health protocols mandated by the government’s anti-coronavirus task force.
This 2021, the Philippines is set to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the world, the Battle of Mactan, and the arrival of Christianity in the country.
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