Best of Both Worlds: Something New, Something Old

McKinley Hill's Venice Grand Canal Piazza

In 2021, it will be 500 years since Portuguese navigator, Ferdinand Magellan, reached the shores of what will be known as the Philippines. The Magellan expedition was funded by the Spanish King and Holy Roman Emperor Charles I (Charles V). The convoy of 5 carracks (a three or four-masted sailing ship that was built for long voyages and to carry large cargo) sailed from Spain in 1519.

The Trinidad (which was the flagship), San Antonio, Concepcion, Santiago, and Victoria embarked on a journey that proved that the world was indeed round and that there was an eastern route to Asia.

Along the way, there was a mutiny and wreckage that saw the fleet decreased from 5 ships to 3 before even arriving on the island of Cebu (Sugbo). By the time the expedition, unknowingly, circumnavigated the world in 1522, there was only one ship left --- Victoria with 18 survivors including Juan Sebastian Elcano and Italian chronicler, Antonio Pigafetta.

Since Cebu is prominently featured in this milestone, there are preparations underway for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the landing of the Magellan expedition. And it is quite significant, not only to the people in the Visayas but also to the rest of the Philippines.

Some of us might feel that we shouldn't even commemorate this historical landmark since it marked the beginning of our colonial period but we shouldn't also forget it because it is part of our collective history as a nation and as a people.

Entrance to Mactan Newtown

If Magellan was still alive today, I don't think he would recognize Mactan Island. One of the places that you can visit in Cebu is The Mactan Newtown. It's a lifestyle township development by Megaworld similar to Eastwood City which is in Quezon City. One huge difference between the two? There is a beach area in The Mactan Newton. One section of the property used to be the Portofino Beach Resort. The beach is a major attraction especially when you are in Cebu.

There are two traditions that The Mactan Newtown has started, their Mango picking activity every summer and the Lechon Festival which happens mid-year. Mangoes and the roasted pig are just two of the well-known Cebuano contributions to the Filipino culinary sphere. 

Mactan Alfresco

I've even read that Megaworld will begin building a residential condominium that will be named La Victoria and will be ready for occupation by 2022. They named it after the first ship that circumnavigated the world. How appropriate that the 500th anniversary of that world event will also be in 2022?

And if Magellan didn't die in Mactan in 1521, the carrack Victoria might not have achieved this great feat. The what-ifs of history.

Speaking of Eastwood City, when I first applied for work in the early 2000s, one of the companies that I interviewed with was located in that place. It's considered the first cyberpark catering to mostly Tech Companies, Call Centers and Business Process Outsourcing Firms. During those days, the Libis area wasn't fully developed as it is now. There was some apprehension on my part about going to work there because the commute was a challenge.

Eastwood's Walk of Fame

Funny how even if I didn't end up making Eastwood my workplace, I have a lot of family memories there. My brother had his wedding in the Eastwood Richmonde Hotel. We've spent countless family dinners in the different restaurants found in Eastwood. I like that small plaza that they have where you can find Eastwood's homage to Quezon City being the City of Stars. They have their own version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame but instead of international celebrities, you have the names of  Filipino personalities lined up along the walkway.

Eastwood City Cyberpark

It does work when you mix something new and something old. When you're attuned to the local culture and respect it by combining it with your vision, people would flock to it.

And if you're wondering about the first photo on this post, that was taken in McKinley Hill's Venice Grand Canal Piazza