CEBU CITY – Officers and crew of the Spanish Navy training ship Juan Sebastian Elcano got a warm welcome when it docked off the Cebu International Port here early Saturday morning.
A Sinulog presentation by members of the multi-titled Tribu Lumad Basakanon from Barangay Basak San Nicolas kicked off the arrival honors for the goodwill port of call of the Spanish ship.
Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella and Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan were among the local government officials who attended the arrival honors.
Also on hand were Amaya Fuentes Milani, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Spain in Manila, and Lt. Gen. Roberto Ancan, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Central Command.
The docking of the Spanish ship is part of the quincentennial anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the world.
The ship came from Suluan Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar where the unveiling of the Suluan Quincentennial Marker was held.
“This visit enhances the historic ties between the Philippines and Spain,” Santiago de Colsa, skipper of the Spanish ship, said in a speech.
The ship is scheduled to depart Cebu Monday.
While docked in Cebu, the ship will be off limits to the public while no crew will be allowed to leave the vessel as part of the COVID-19 protocol.
The Cebu stop was the ship’s first port of call after Honolulu, Hawaii.
While docked in Cebu, the ship may unload or load of their provisions and check some necessary repairs, said Byner Diaz, administrative officer of the city’s Cultural and Historical Affairs.
“If we look back, (Ferdinand) Magellan arrived in Cebu on April 7, 1521. A few days from now, we will be celebrating the 500th year of Magellan’s ship. So this visit has a huge significance, historically and culturally,” Diaz said.
In his speech, Undersecretary Gerard Gonzales explained the significance of the 2021 Quincentennial Commemorations in the Philippines.
“But a lot of people are still confused why are we commemorating the coming of the Spaniards of the Philippines? Is the Magellan-Elcano expedition our history? The NQC had already settled this issue during its first meeting in June 2018. The committee assures the Filipino people that we will not celebrate the discovery of the Philippines. We will commemorate the quincentennial the Filipino way, which means we will raise the awareness of our countrymen about the rich yet challenging pre-Hispanic or pre-colonial history,” Gonzales said.