National Museum, Spanish Embassy Open Exhibition on World’s First Circumnavigation

National Museum, Spanish Embassy Open Exhibition on World’s First Circumnavigation |
Model of Victoria, the only ship out of the original five to return to Spain

This article is available in Spanish.

MANILA, Philippines — “The Longest Journey: The First Journey Around the World,” National Museum of the Philippines and the Embassy of Spain in the Philippines’ exhibition on the Philippine part of the first circumnavigation of the world, is opening its doors to the public Thursday, March 24 on the fourth floor galleries of the National Museum of Fine Arts.

Through a display of antiques, relics, specimens and facsimiles, the abridged exhibition commemorates Ferdinand Magellan’s first circumnavigation of the world. The original and unabridged display launched in 2019 in the Archivo General de Indias in Seville, Spain. A traveling version of the said exhibition has also been shown in numerous locations across the world during the previous two years.

In the Philippine edition, the circumnavigation is presented in 14 sections, which also includes facsimiles of some original archival documents, such as the contract between Carlos I and Ferdinand Magellan. A model of the Victoria, the only ship from the original five to return to Spain, is one of the highlights.

“In this exhibition, we hope to [build] international perspective, and we [gain] the perspective of our friends in Spain … and to contextualize what’s being celebrated in this country,” the director of the museum, Jeremy Barns, said in a press conference Monday.

The museum said that it collaborated with the Ambassador of Spain to the Philippines, Jorge Moragas Sánchez, making him a special guest curator. The organizers also worked with the Spanish curatorial team to provide information not found in any other edition of the exhibition, in Spain or anywhere else in the world. Among them are a variety of archaeological, ethnographic, and devotional art pieces, as well as natural history specimens of flora and animals selected from the National Museum and the Intramuros Administration’s collections.

“[La exposición ofrece] la oportunidad de explicar la magnitud del viaje y sobre todo el papel tan importante que Filipinas jugo en él, no, en toda la evolución de distintas etapas y que fue un elemento esencial en el marco de la amistad muy profunda entre nuestros pueblos, entre Filipinas y España, que consiguió además a través de ese viaje el hacer materializar la primera circunnavegación del mundo. Y por lo tanto, facilitar la comunicación entre nuestros dos países y entre nuestros continentes, entre Asia, América y Europa,” said Luis Morales Fernández, First Secretary of the Spanish embassy, speaking with La Jornada Filipina Magazine in Spanish.

(“[The exhibition provides] the opportunity to explain the importance of the voyage and above all, the important role that the Philippines played in it — in all the evolution of different stages and which was an essential element in the framework of the very deep friendship between our peoples, between the Philippines and Spain, which also managed, through that voyage, to make the first circumnavigation of the world come to fruition. And therefore, to facilitate communication between our two countries and between our continents, between Asia, America and Europe.”)

Morales also said that the most important milestone of the voyage is the beginning of a “very lasting friendship between Spain and the Philippines,” thanking the voyage itself. “El habernos encontrado en el marco de esa navegación, de ese viaje que estaba destinado, estaba dirigido a una ruta comercial a lo que es hoy Indonesia, las Molucas, pero que gracias a él, nos encontramos dos pueblos y se formó la amistad a partir de ahí,” he said.

(“To have met in the framework of that navigation, of that voyage that was destined, was directed to a commercial route to what is today Indonesia, the Moluccas, but thanks to it, we met two peoples and the friendship was formed from there.”)

Arvyn Cerézo
Arvyn Cerézo is an arts and culture writer/reporter with bylines in Book Riot, Publishers Weekly, South China Morning Post, PhilSTAR Life, the Asian Review of Books, and other publications. You can find him on and @ArvynCerezo on Twitter.

Comments are closed.

You may also like