500 years of deception

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    TODAY is March 15, 2021. It has been exactly 500 years since Fernando Magallanes, the Portuguese explorer working for the Spanish monarchy, visited this group of islands later to be called Filipinas.

    It is good that Pigafetta’s writings on Magellan’s voyage are still preserved in the British Library, together with the account of the Genoese pilot who sailed with Magellan. In his book “1421 The Year China Discovered The World,” Gavin Menzies, retired Royal Navy Submarine commanding officer, quoted Pigafetta and the Genoese who described “Magellan’s landfall in the Philippines and how he found a strait between Mindanao and Leyte shown on the Rotz chart.”

    Menzies continued: “Magellan passed through this strait and anchored at the first island, Limasava (not Limasawa), where the king greeted him. Pigafetta described the king and queen wearing Chinese silk and eating off Chinese porcelain that had been buried for fifty years to increase its value. Their houses had silk curtains and porcelain ornaments, and their trading currencies were Chinese coins with square centers. The same story was repeated on island after island visited by Magellan’s ships en route to the Spice islands. Zhou Man must have emptied his holds of porcelain as he went along, a century before Magellan.”

    ‘For centuries, generations of Filipino children are being taught our history from the point of view of Europeans and Americans.’

    Pigafetta described Magellan’s meeting with the king of Limasava, Menzies continued. (Our Philippine history identifies this king as Rajah Kolambu). “Magellan showed him the marine chart and the compass of his ship telling him how he had found the Strait to come hither and how many moons he had spent in coming; also, he had not seen any land, in which the King marveled. Magellan showed the king a chart depicting the strait and the empty Pacific. There was also a letter from Sebastian Alvarez, the King of Spain’s factor (a merchant buying and selling on commission), to his king: ‘From Cape Frio until the Islands of the Moloccas throughout this navigation there are no lands laid down in the maps they [Magellan’s expedition] carry with them.’ Taken together, these accounts can mean only one thing. When Magellan sailed, he had with him a chart that not only showed the Strait of Magellan but also the Pacific at 52 degrees South and an empty ocean from there to the Spice Islands on the equator. Someone must have sailed through the Strait of Magellan and across the Pacific before Magellan to make that chart.”

    It does not matter now whether Magellan first saw Homonhon island in Samar or Limasawa. Only that the intrepid Portuguese navigator was in our shores, and was in fact the beneficiary of Filipino hospitality when we were not yet Filipinos (Guiuan, Samar natives gave him food and fresh water as they were dying from hunger and thirst).

    It was also the start of 500 years of deception by the forces of the crown and the cross, the reason President Duterte prohibited the official celebration of the 500th year anniversary of Christianity in the Philippines. The President would rather celebrate the quadricentennial of Lapu-Lapu victory in the Battle of Mactan.

    For centuries, generations of Filipino children are being taught our history from the point of view of Europeans and Americans.