Spanish Ship Welcomed by Small Fishing Boats as It Arrives in the Philippines

A warm welcome greeted the Spanish sailors.

Five hundred years ago, Spain arrived for the first time in the Philippines. The Spanish expedition was commanded by Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastian Elcano. To commemorate the 500-year anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the world, Spain sent out its historic ship, the Juan Sebastian Elcano, to retrace the voyage that proved the world was round. 

The Spanish ship Elcano arrived on the shores of Suluan Island on March 16, the same date Spain landed on Philippine shores in 1521. The Elcano was surrounded by fishing boats as it arrived on the shores of the small island. The Elcano itself is a historic ship, having been built in 1928. It is a four-masted brig-schooner that measures 113 meters long. 

The footage below was taken by International Container Terminals Services, Inc. (ICTSI).

The ship will stay in and around the island until March 18. Throughout its visit to the Philippines, four historical markers will be unveiled at different locations, following the initial route of the Magallanes-Elcano expedition. 

After its Philippine stops, the Elcano will sail westward and retrace Spain’s circumnavigation voyage from the Philippines to the Moluccas, around Africa, and back to Europe. 

The reenactment of the voyage is being kept as faithful as possible to the original routes taken by Magellan and Elcano. The crew will likely experience similar weather patterns documented by the crew and the expedition’s chronicler, Antonio Pigafetta. 

Four New Historical Markers 

A historical marker was unveiled in Suluan on March 16. Another historical marker will be unveiled in Homonhon on March 17 and two more markers will be unveiled in Simbahan Ng Guiuan and Samar on March 18. The text of the marker in Samar has been translated into Spanish, as proof of friendship between our two countries, and it will be unveiled by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Ambassador Jorge Moragas of Spain.


Suluan’s Ancestors Remembered

The first arrival of the Spanish expedition in 1521 was greeted by the inhabitants of the area, who provided them with food and drink.

“This was the starting point of close friendship and brotherhood between Spain and the Philippines, as we look forward into the future of many more to come,” the Spanish Embassy wrote in a statement. 

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