The National Quincentennial Committee (NQC) launches its new program titled Countdown to 500 Lectures Online. The NQC has reformatted the conduct of the Quincentennial Lecture Series previously held in various cities of the country. The objective is the same: to diversify discussions about the 500th anniversary of the Victory at Mactan, the Philippine part in the first circumnavigation of the world, and other related events in 1521. These are collectively known as the 2021 Quincentennial Commemorations in the Philippines (2021 QCP) per Executive Order No. 103 (2020).
The themes of the lectures center on the 2021 QCP theme Victory and Humanity. Victory represents the triumph of our heroes since the Battle of Mactan, while Humanity embodies the kindness our ancestors in Homonhon showed the ailing and hungry crew of the Magellan-Elcano expedition, the first to voyage around the planet, 500 years ago.
Scheduled lectures are as follows:
• “Mactan, Macapagal, and the Transfer of Independence Day to June 12” by Dr. Vic Torres, 12 June 2020, Friday (in commemoration of the 122nd anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine independence)
• “Rizal and Reclaiming the World of Our Ancestors” by Dr. Kerby Alvarez (UP History Department), 19 June 2020, Friday (in commemoration of the 159th birth anniversary of Jose Rizal)
• “Mabini and the Malay Freedom” by Dr. Dwight David Diestro, 23 July 2020, Thursday (latest news— Dr. Diestro passed away on 2 June 2020; we have retained his name for the record and in honor of his memory) (in commemoration of the 156th birth anniversary of Apolinario Mabini)
• “Theorizing the Visayan Food Magellan Possibly Ate” by Dr. Rolando Borrinaga (UP Manila), 27 July 2020, Monday (in observance of the Nutrition Month)
• “Our Ancestors and the World Trade in Pre-Hispanic Times,” 17 August 2020, Monday, 4:20pm (in observance of Made in the Philippines Product Week and History Month)
• “From Magellan to Quezon: Our Heritage of Compassion,” 19 August 2020, Wednesday (in commemoration of 142nd birth anniversary of President Manuel Quezon and History Month)
• “Our Ancestors and the Peace Process,” 15 September 2020, Tuesday (in observance of National Peace Consciousness Month)
• Part 1: The Case of Casi-Casi
• Part 2: The Case of the Cordilleras
• Part 3: The Case of the Lumads
1. “Interesting Things in the Museums of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines,” 14 October 2020, Wednesday (in observance of Museums and Galleries Month)
• “The Filipino as Humanitarian Champion,” 24 October 2020, Saturday (in observance of the United Nations Week)
• “Resurrecting the Balangays Through Sama Bajau Indigenous Boat Building Technology,” 8 October 2020, Thursday
• “Learnings from Pigafetta’s Account of the First Circumnavigation of the World for Teachers,” 25 November 2020, Wednesday
• “Seeing Our Ancestors in Our Traditions and Customs,” 2 December 2020, Wednesday
• “Tattooing in the Life of Our Ancestors,” 9 December 2020, Wednesday
On June 5, NQC collaborated with the De La Salle University Southeast Asia Research Center and Hub (DLSU SEARCH), Society of Indonesian Historians, and Philippine Historical Association, for the webinar titled “History of Pandemics in Southeast Asia.” Three historians from the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia will share their expertise on the topic. The registration is closed but DLSU SEARCH and Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) will stream live the proceedings starting at 3:30 p.m.
This year, the country is supposed to commemorate a series of events in various places in the Visayas and Mindanao in anticipation of the aforesaid quincentennial milestones in 2021. Barely a day before the first activity for the 499th anniversary of the Philippine part in the first circumnavigation of the world in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, office work was suspended in Manila on 13 March 2020. This was in preparation for the placement of the entire Luzon under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) which lasted until end of May.
NQC has intensified its online presence in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. It fully supports the measures the government is implementing to prevent the further spread of the virus, and one of the ways the NQC has manifested this support was by automatically cancelling the scheduled projects and activities involving mass gatherings.
As of the latest count, a total of forty-six (46) programs and activities have been canceled, nineteen (19), indefinitely postponed, four (4) research endeavors abroad, affected, two major infrastructure projects deferred to 2021 and 2022 (i.e., Lapulapu Memorial Shrine, Museum of Philippine Early History at Butuan), and six conservation projects of monuments and sites, halted. The NQC also contributed almost 50% of its total allocated budget to the government’s response against COVID-19.
Last April 27, the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) spearheaded the Countdown to 500 Specials. It was a whole-day online program celebrating the one-year countdown to the quincentennial. PCOO is also at the forefront of the new edition of Countdown to 500, which this time is now an online lecture series.
The NQC was created by virtue of Executive Order No. 55 (2020), to prepare the country for the 2021 QCP. Visit www.nqc.gov.ph and its official Facebook page (@nqc2021) for updates. Further queries may be made with the NQC Secretariat at [email protected].