Team Out of Town Blog Hub (Outoftownblog.com) – The City of Dumaguete topped the recently-concluded competition for the Best Site Development of Quincentennial Historical Markers in observance of the 500th anniversary of the Philippine Part of the First Circumnavigation of the World.
Dubbed Panilongon Landmark, the marker’s landscape is inspired by the galleon Victoria, flagship of Ferdinand Magellan, and stands at the 2-hectare reclaimed Pantawan People’s Park along Rizal Boulevard.
The contest was held among 32 local government units which hosted historical markers where the expedition of Magellan and Sebastian Elcano passed by in 1521 en route to the Spice Islands in present-day Maluku in Indonesia.
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and the National Quincentennial Committee (NQC) unveiled 34 sites across the archipelago from March to October last year to mark the period where the Spanish crew was in the country’s waters.
The NQC funded the fabrication of specially-designed pedestals with the NHCP markers and bas relief depicting the expedition’s episodes and were installed on the identified sites in partnership with local governments for the site development.
The Panilongon Quincentennial Landmark was unveiled on May 4 last year to mark the day when survivors of the Spanish expedition sailed to the waters of Negros Island after their defeat in Mactan in the hands of Lapulapu and the burning of their ship Concepcion by the natives of Bohol.
Historical accounts say that according to Francisco Albo, one of the expedition’s navigators, Panilongon (Negros) is believed to be abundant in gold and ginger. From that point, they sailed to various parts of Mindanao before reaching their destination and completing the circumnavigation of the world the next year.
According to Dumaguete Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo, who conceptualized the Panilongon landmark design, the city government completed the marker in only 2 months, with 80% of materials donated by civic-spirited residents and groups.
He noted that despite time constraints, they edged the more popular sites such as Homonhon Island in Eastern Samar, Limasawa Island in Southern Leyte, and Mactan Shrine in Cebu. For bagging the top honors, the city was awarded a P 250,000 cash incentive by the contest organizers.
The local chief executive said that the new attraction has added to the charm of the scenic bayside Rizal Boulevard, one of the city’s top attractions, where the national hero once walked on a stopover from his exile in Dapitan.
The landmark was originally set to be installed at the Negros Oriental provincial capitol grounds, but the Sangguniang Panlalawigan failed to act on the Quincentennial site development proposal.
Other winners in the NQC site development contest were Punta Cruz in Maribojoc, Bohol, and Tagima at Fuego-Fuego Beach in Isabela City, Basilan, which bagged second and third places, respectively.
Twenty-seven sites were judged based on the criteria of compliance to technical requirements, environmental impact and sustainability, visual integrity, and safety and security.
The board of judges is composed of NHCP chairman and NQC executive director Rene Escalante, representatives from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of Tourism, and the Department of Foreign Affairs.