By Babe G. Romualdez | The Philippine Star 

Lisbon, Portugal – Ferdinand Magellan is already immortalized in the annals of Philippine history for “discovering” the Philippines, introducing Christianity to the inhabitants of Cebu, and claiming the islands for King Charles I of Spain. Other than the fact that he was killed by Lapu-Lapu’s men during the Battle of Mactan on April 27, 1521, not many Filipinos are familiar with the background of this great explorer whose Portuguese name was Fernão de Magalhães. 

Born sometime in 1480 in Sabrosa, a city located some 380 kilometers north of Portugal’s capital city of Lisbon, the ancestral house of Magellan (sometimes referred to as Fernando Magallanes in Spanish) still stands in its original location and has become a tourist attraction. Considering their historical connection, it does not really surprise us that a proposal is already being forged to formalize a sister city agreement between Magellan’s birthplace of Sabrosa and Cebu City, thanks in large part to the efforts of Sabrosa mayor Jose Manuel de Carvalho Marques (left in the photo) and our Ambassador to Portugal Philippe Lhuillier. In fact, there is now a street named “Avenida Cidade de Cebu” in Sabrosa. 

Our friend Ambassador Lhuillier informed us the sister city deal between Cebu and Sabrosa is part of a larger project dubbed the “Magellan cities” that seeks to establish linkages between several international cities which became part of the Portuguese explorer’s expedition. The sister city pacts are in line with preparations for the big event in 2021 that would commemorate the 500th anniversary of Magellan’s voyage.