National Quincentennial Committee Unveils Butuan Museum of Philippine Early History

Courtesy of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) released on 30 March 2021 the rendition of the restored Old Butuan City Hall (currently the Butuan Police Office). It is envisioned to house the country’s first Museum of Philippine Early History. It will highlight the world of our ancestors based on extant historical writings before the coming of the Magellan-Elcano expedition in 1521–the 900 AD Laguna Copperplate Inscription, Chinese annals, Portuguese records, the chronicle of Antonio Pigafetta, and early Spanish colonial accounts such as the Boxer Codex among others. This is in response to the advocacy of the National Quincentennial Committee that Philippine history must highlight its pre-Hispanic story to debunk the misconception that our ancestors were savages when the explorer Ferdinand Magellan reached Philippine shores in 1521. Butuan was also prominently mentioned in the history of the first circumnavigation of the world as a region of gold, ruled by Rajah Siagu.

Notwithstanding its archaeological wealth, Butuan City has been recommended to host the museum since pre-Hispanic historical documents are consistent in pointing out its wealth and prominence. The Sangguniang Panlungsod of Butuan already authorized Butuan City Mayor Ronnie Vicente Lagnada on 17 January 2019 to enter into a memorandum of agreement with the NHCP. The NHCP Board, likewise, authorized NHCP Chairperson Rene Escalante through Board Resolution No. 4, s. 2019 dated 25 January 2019.

Courtesy of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

Like the Lapulapu Memorial Shrine and Museum, the restoration project and the eventual conversion of the pre-war structure into a history museum are temporarily shelved. This is to give way to the government effort against COVID-19. Restoration and curatorial plans are already done, subject to the availability of funds.

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In 2021, we will commemorate the Philippine part in the achievement of science and humankind in circumnavigating the planet for the first time. Central in this commemoration is the 500th anniversary of the Victory at Mactan on 27 April 2021. These and more are collectively known as the 2021 Quincentennial Commemorations in the Philippines by virtue of Executive Order No. 103 (2020). Know more about the event here:

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