TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Tourism (DOT) is pushing for stronger pilgrimage tourism in the region even with the culmination of the year-long quincentennial commemoration on the world’s first circumnavigation by Ferdinand Magellan.
DOT Eastern Visayas Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes said on Wednesday with the eased movement restrictions, more people are expected to visit historical sites.
“We will not stop promoting these sites after the commemorations. We will also carry pilgrimage tourism program. We will sustain this especially since all cities and provinces have opened their borders to visitors,” Tiopes said in a phone interview.
Pilgrimage or faith tourism is the visiting of pilgrimage sites, primarily known as religious destinations.
On March 16 and 17, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NCIP) and the local government of Guiuan, Eastern Samar unveiled two separate quincentennial markers in the town’s Suluan Island and Homonhon Island.
It was on March 16, 1521 when the first people to voyage around the planet (Magellan-Elcano expedition) reached the vicinity of Eastern Samar.
According to history, this happened after their voyage from the Atlantic and then across the Pacific for almost four months.
The expedition first saw the landmass of Suluan Island but did not land there. They waited the next morning and landed on Homonhon Island, which was uninhabited at that time. They managed to gather some food and water on the island, according to historians.
On March 31, 1521, the voyage reached Limasawa Island in Southern Leyte and held the First Mass in the Philippines. It was celebrated by Fr. Pedro de Valderama, chaplain of the Magellan-Elcano expedition.
Tiopes said several activities did not push through during the year-long commemorations due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Activities were centered on the unveiling of quincentennial markers and the conduct of quincentennial web lectures.
“We are happy that we have local historians who researched the details of our history. This is a good development since we are more aware of the history now and these are stories that we can share with others. The local history lectures were very enriching,” Tiopes added. (PNA)