NQC chairman Salvador Medialdea: Filipinos and Europeans ‘discovered’ each other in 1521


Rather than being mere spectators, pre-colonial Filipinos played an active role in the historic circumnavigation of the world 500 years ago.  

The National Quincentennial Committee (NQC) reiterated this during the inaugural session of the virtual Philippine International Quincentennial Conference (PIQC) last Wednesday at the Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine in Cavite. 

In his video message for the event, Executive Secretary and NQC chairman Salvador Medialdea called out most history books for claiming how Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan “discovered” the country in 1521 and finally gave it international recognition.

Medialdea argued the country was already thriving by trading with its neighboring countries and even having its own set of laws even in pre-colonial times.

In fact, he pointed out how the Filipinos played a crucial role in the completion of the circumnavigation by providing for the needs of the weakened Magellan and his crew after they traversed the Pacific Ocean,  

Medialdea noted that such “Filipino viewpoint” of history does not diminish Magellan’s contribution and legacy for leading the first recorded circumnavigation of the world. 

“We would rather say that our ancestors discovered Magellan, his people, and his civilization just as much as Magellan discovered our islands, our ancestors and our civilizations. In truth we have discovered each other,” Medialdea said.  

President Rodrigo R. Duterte said he hoped this narrative will be furthered during the PIQC, which will run from Oct. 20 to Dec. 21, 2021. 

“May this scholarly meeting contribute to our efforts to preserve and enrich our cultural heritage. I wish you a meaningful event,” Duterte said in his video message for the PIQC. 

Around 100 Filipino and foreign scholars, diplomats, officials, artists, and scientists as well as 39,000 audience will be joining in the event.  

Medialdea lauded the large participation, which he said was a “historical event in its own right.”

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