The history and narratives may say otherwise, but the Philippines and Spain share a unique kind of relationship.
It is not unknown to many that the Philippines had been a Spanish colony for more 300 years.
The arrival of the Spanish in Cebu in 1521 introduced the Filipinos to Catholicism, which remains as the predominant religious sect.
More than the Christianization of the Filipinos, Spain’s indelible mark can also be found in the national language, the culture and the arts, and generally, most Filipinos’ way of life.
During the celebration of Spain’s 527th National Day recently, Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines Jorge Moragas could not help but reminisce about the strong bond that ties the two countries.
“2019 is a very special year for Spain particularly when it comes to its relations with the Philippines,” the envoy said.
“As you all know, during that expedition which was meant to find a way to reach the spice islands through the west, Ferdinand Magellan came across land which was later called the Philippines,” he said.
For Ambassador Moragas, the expedition of Magellan in the Philippines has underlined two remarkable aspects.
One was the multicultural character of the voyage and, second was its scientific achievement.
“Yes, it (expedition) was a Spanish-led and Spanish-financed trip but among the 247-strong crew of the five vessels, there were at least 10 nationalities aboard,” shared the ambassador.
These included Spanish, Portuguese, French, English, German, Polish and Greeks.
“Besides, one cannot take away the many scientific advancements in navigation that were made in years previous to the trip which made it possible,” Moragas said.
“Five hundred years later, today, Spain continues to be committed to both of these things,” he added.
Ambassador Moragas also noted that Spain will always extend its door to anyone who wishes to visit their beautiful country.
“As a tourist destination, Spain received more than 82 million foreign tourists in 2018 while foreign population has reached 10 percent of the overall population. We’re proud to say that all these foreigners, whether tourists or residents, are warmly welcome to our country,” he enthused.