Pigafetta monument in Cebu City unveiled
CEBU CITY, Philippines — A monument to the Italian chronicler, Antonio Pigafetta, who has written the first historical records of Cebu and the Philippines has been unveiled at the Plaza Independencia grounds today, April 13, 2021.
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) turned over to the Cebu City government the restored monument of the chronicler as part of the Quincentennial celebration of the country’s history.
In a speech, Doctor Rene Escalante, the director of the NHCP, said that the monument is a living testament of Filipino-Italian friendship as it was donated to the city by the Italian Association making it an important cultural property virtue of the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.
“The commission sees the value of this monument to the Filipino people as it is the only one we have for an equally significant world figure,” said Escalante.
He added that the monument is a rare marker as most of the markers in the country pay homage to local heroes and historical figures.
The value of Pigafetta falls on his writings that have been one of the major sources of modern historians on the culture, community and political structure, social hierarchy, trade, economy, and relations of the prehispanic Filipinos.
“The way Pigafetta wrote his account, he regarded our ancestors with the utmost respect. He described them as fellow human beings, not as inferiors because he was European. Jose Rizal, when he began writing the Philippine history from a Filipino point of view used Pigafetta in combatting the Western misconception and racist remarks of the Filipinos,” said Escalante.
With his work and values, Pigafetta earns the admiration of the Filipinos today and worth remembering through a monument that should last as long as his written account of history did.
For Escalante, history must be taken from an objective point of view and with respect to the lives and glories of the past, the way Pigafetta did.
Mayor Edgardo Labella accepted the monument from the NHCP with gratitude and said it was an honor that the monument is placed at the Plaza Independencia, facing the sea from which Pigafetta arrived with Magellan’s fleet 500 years ago.
He said that the work of Antonio Pigafetta preserved the memories of the Cebuano ancestors, something that Cebuanos of today will forever be grateful for.
The city government promised to care for the monument and ensure its maintenance for the years to come.
An exhibit has also been opened for the public as well near the marker of Pigafetti at the Plaza Independencia grounds for the public to peruse during the Quincentennial celebrations in the coming weeks. /rcg
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