MAASIN CITY, April 12 (PIA) -- The historical marker now dominating the scenery of the new bayview park of this city speaks not just about the city alone, but for the whole Leyte island, in the context of the Magellan-Elcano voyage 500 years ago.
In a nutshell, this was the main reason why the marker, unveiled Sunday April 4, bore the name Leyte below the embossed copper plate painting, and at the top on the other side, the texts describing the passage of the foreigners from Limasawa to Cebu.
“Indeed, what we are marking is the island -- but Maasin was chosen for the symbolic reason that it is the immediate capital city of the closest historical space being described in the records of the Magellan-Elcano expedition,” Undersecretary Anthony Gerard Gonzales of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) declared in his talk.
“Therefore, this marker here in Maasin is being shared by the people of Leyte -- be it the province of Southern Leyte or the province of Leyte -- more so by the towns the Magellan-Elcano expedition passed by: from Padre Burgos to Hindang,” Gonzales, who was the guest during the ceremony, clarified further.
Gonzales enjoined the Department of Tourism and the Department of Education “that whenever you promote the quincentennial historical marker for Leyte at Maasin, ensure that tourists and students imagine the historical space rather than just Maasin only.”
Two other markers related to the first circumnavigation of the globe were established in the province, one was in Hinunangan March 25, and the other was in Limasawa in the afternoon of March 31.
Both markers carried the exact names of the place where they were put up, and that was because these places were mentioned by chronicler Antonio Pigafetta, said Karen Tiopes, DOT regional director who was present in all the unveiling rites in the province.
When Magellan’s trip proceeded to Cebu from Limasawa, there was no Maasin then, but the island whose coastline served as reference guide of the journey was then called by our ancestors as Seilani or Ceylon -- Leyte now -- Tiopes explained in a brief chat with local media.
The unveiling ceremony was attended by city officials led by Mayor Nacional Mercado, provincial officials led by Gov. Damian Mercado, and Cong. Roger Mercado, as well as Jocelyn Solana, schools division superintendent of Maasin City DepEd schools division.
Meanwhile, the marker in bayview park was actually the third kind that was installed by the National Historical Commission in the Philippines (NHCP) for Maasin.
The first was for the Maasin Cathedral that was installed in 1983, and the second was for the provincial library, where a marker was placed in 2018, according to a facebook post of Definitely Maasin. (ldl/mmp/PIA8-Southern Leyte)