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March 25, 1521, the Magellan-Elcano expedition left Homonhon

Photo Credit: Philippine Quincentennial Committee, Republic of the Philippines (Facebook Page)

On this day, exactly 500 years ago, the Magellan-Elcano expedition left Homonhon (an island now part of Guiuan, Eastern Samar) after nine days in the area since 16 March 1521, recuperating and brought provisions from the people of Suluan, also an island under Guiuan.

They tracked the west, southwest direction in search of the Maluku, their objective, which is now part of Indonesia, south of Mindanao. Virtually unfamiliar with this area, the expedition followed the Surigao Strait guided by the islands Hiunanghan (Hinunangan, which is actually part of mainland Leyte, under the jurisdiction of Southern Leyte Province) and Ibusson (Gibusong, an island under the Municipality of Loreto, Province of the Dinagat Islands in Mindanao) as landmarks.

On the evening of 27 March 1521, they stopped their southwest journey (which would lead them to northern Mindanao) upon seeing “a fire on an island” in the north direction. Antonio Pigafetta, the chronicler of the expedition, named the island Mazzaua, and centuries later was ascertained by the National Historical Commission of the es as the island of Limasawa in Southern Leyte.

National Quincentennial Committee, Republic of the Philippines (Facebook Page)

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