Now on its 503rd year

TACLOBAN CITY – The town of Guiuan in Eastern Samar will mark this year’s 503rd Magellan’s Landing in Homonhon Island with a modest celebration, as announced by municipal tourism officer Janet Israel-Ramos.

The town has organized several activities commemorating the historical event, which will be attended by residents from Guiuan, as well as from the islands of Suluan and Homonhon, along with municipal and provincial government officials.

The commemoration activities, also dubbed as Philippine Part in the First Circumnavigation of the World, began on Tuesday (March 12) with the opening of the “Panagtawo” or the Kadiwa ng Pangulo at Guiuan’s Plaza, organized by the municipal government in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry.

On March 16, Dr. Rolando Borrinaga, one of the region’s foremost historians, will conduct a history lecture at the island village of Suluan.

According to Antonio Pigefetta’s chronicle, it was the residents of Suluan who assisted Ferdinand Magellan’s crew when they landed on Homonhon Island after months of crossing the Pacific.

Simultaneously on March 16, commemorative programs will be held at the Suluan Marker in Suluan Island and at the Samar Marker in Calicoan.

Additionally, there will be a groundbreaking ceremony for the circumferential road in Homonhon Island from Barangay Bitaugon down to Casuguran, led by 4Ps party-list representative and House Minority leader Marcelino Libanan.

A dental and medical mission is scheduled from the 16th to the 17th in the villages of Casuguran and Pagbabangnan, all in Homonhon Island.

On the 17th, municipal and provincial government officials will gather at Magellan’s Landing site in Homonhon for a wreath-laying ceremony at the Quincentennial Marker and a commemorative program.

Aside from Rep. Libanan, expected attendees at the commemorative program include Governor Ben Evardone, members of the provincial board, Rep. Fe Abunda, and Guiuan town officials led by Mayor Annaliza Gonzales-Kwan.

Guiuan commemorates annually the “humanity” displayed by early residents of Suluan towards foreign guests led by Magellan, who, along with his crew, were seeking a new route to Moluccas for the Spice trade.

On March 16, 1521, they sighted mainland Samar but did not dock due to rough sea conditions. They then encountered the islands of Suluan and Homonhon, where on March 18, they disembarked to search for food and attend to their sick crew.

It was on this day that residents of Suluan met them and promised to provide food, which they did the next day. Magellan’s crew stayed in Homonhon for several days before sailing south to the area of Limasawa, where the first Easter Mass was held.