The Magellan Quincentennial kickoff
The non-government initiative to set up a preparatory committee for the 500th anniversary of the Ferdinand Magellan expedition in Cebu finally kicked off yesterday at the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Cebu Library, which is located beside the Magellan’s Cross across Cebu City Hall.
No less that the director of the National Archives of the Philippines, my esteemed friend Victorino “Ino” Manalo, came over despite his busy schedule to witness the event and unveil the official quincentennial logo.
Spearheaded by the University of San Carlos (USC) through USC Press and the USC Cebuano Studies Center (CSC) together with the newly revived Cebu Historical Society (CHS), the event was hosted by Bank of the Philippine Islands Foundation Inc. (BPI will also mark its 170th anniversary in 2021, incidentally.)
The official logo comprises the front bow of a carrack, the kind of ship that the Magellan expedition used, afloat on light-blue colored sea waves. Above the carrack’s bow are two sails rendered in the vibrant colors of the Spanish flag: red on the left sail and golden-yellow on the right. A brown-colored mast separates both sails. On the lower part of the red sail is imprinted the Spanish crown in golden yellow, the same crown on the Sto. Niño de Cebu. On the lower part of the golden-yellow sail is an outline of the Magellan’s Kiosk, taken from the seal of the City of Cebu.
On the light blue waves below the bow of the carrack are imprinted in white “500th Anniversary” to indicate the much-anticipated event. Emblazoned boldly below this seal are the words “The Magellan Quincentennial” and below it the encompassing years “1521-2021” and right below this, “Cebu, Philippines” in bold print.
The logo is going to be used by USC Press, USC CSC and CHS in all their future undertakings from here on related to the Magellan Quincentennial. As an initial offering, USC Press brought to Cebu Dr. Danilo M. Gerona to speak and sign his latest book entitled “Ferdinand Magellan, The Armada de Maluco and the European Discovery of the Philippines” yesterday. The limited number of 27 copies of this book that he brought to the lecture was sold out in minutes. More will be sent, however, by next week and I shall announce here where interested buyers can get their copies of the 503-page tome.
The event was also timed with the public release of some 4,000 pages of archival documents that were digitally photographed by Fr. Generoso B. Rebayla, Jr., SVD, the vice-president for finance at USC, who accompanied me during a five-day digitization work at the Archivo de la Provincia Agustiniana de Filipinas (APAF). I precisely made it a point to bring him there because of his professional expertise in photography — and I was not disappointed. The documents will soon be accessible at the USC CSC in Talamban once final cataloguing is finished.
Dr. Gerona is set to publish shortly a book on Sebastian de Elcano, the navigator who completed the Magellan expedition and brought his ragtag band of 17 survivors to the port of Cadiz in September 1522. It is there where the quincentennial will end also in 2022.
Also writing for USC Press as part of the quincentennial preparations in CHS ad-hoc founding member Dr. Resil Mojares, USC professor emeritus in the humanities, on the history of the Sto. Niño devotion, set to be released in time for next year’s Sinulog.
Dir. Manalo is also in Cebu to finalize a joint book project between USC Press and NAP on the urbanism and urbanity exhibition currently curated at Museo Sugbo, the Cebu Provincial Museum, after its initial exhibition at USC Museum in 2013-14.
There is much to be awaited as the Magellan Quincentennial looms. Philippine Star and The Freeman columnist Bobit Avila is thinking of building a replica of Magellan’s carrack in time for 2021. In the meantime, Dr. Gerona and others will publish a coffee table book entitled, “Early Cebu, 1565-1700” for USC Press.
Trizer Dale Mansueto will also publish “The History of the Archdiocese of Cebu,” also by USC Press. All these and a host of conferences and symposia are to be expected in the next months as part of the preparations for the quincentennial.
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