Landmarks across the country will be illuminated on December 14, 2019 to signal the start of the 500-day countdown leading to the Quincentennial celebration in 2021 of the first circumnavigation of the world and the introduction of Christianity in the country and first Filipino Victory at Mactan.

Tourism Undersecretary Arturo Boncato Jr. bared this recently at the Luzon Stakeholders’ Meeting held at the Heroes Hall, City of San Fernando, Pampanga.

Some of those landmarks, which are part of the 21 sites, include the Dambana ng Kagitingan in Pilar, Bataan; Barasoain Church in Malolos City and Jose Abad Santos monument in the City of San Fernando.

The undersecretary stressed “The 21 sites represent various periods in our history from the time of Lapu-Lapu to Spanish colonization, American occupation, and Second World War.”
Other activities include programs at the National Museum of Natural History in Manila and Commemorative Monument of Peace and Unity in Davao, a national songwriting contest, inauguration in 2021 of the new Museum of Philippine Early History in Butuan City, art and sports competition and possibly a beauty contest.

Other side events include a pre-colonial themed Philippine pavilion at the 2020 Dubai Expo, and the country’s hosting of the 7th International Conference of the International Council on Historical and Cultural Cooperation-Southeast Asia and the International Conference on the Philippine Part of the First Circumnavigation of the World.

Meanwhile, with the overall theme “Victory and Humanity”, the commemoration will be anchored on four values of magnanimity, sovereignty, identity and unity. 

These values will be showcased by different monuments and relevant activities. as pointed out by National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Chairperson and National Quincentennial Committee (NQC) Vice Chairperson Rene R. Escalante.

For instance, magnanimity will be represented by the first encounter of the people of Homonhon with the Spanish colonizers, sovereignty through the Battle of Mactan, identity via a new museum in Butuan City and lastly unity by celebrating as one regardless of religious background and political leanings.  (Jojo Mangahis)