During the last week a delegation of more than 90 people from the University of the Philippines, led by its Rector, has visited Spain. The University of the Philippines, which is the public university par excellence of the Philippines, with campuses in the main cities of the country, has chosen Spain, and specifically the University of Malaga, to hold an academic meeting of great importance. The visit took place from 25 to 30 October, during which the delegation attended a seminar on the "Modernisation of academic teaching and the implementation of the Bologna Process". They also carried out various extracurricular activities both in Malaga and in other Andalusian cities. This visit is an extraordinary event that is part of the celebrations of the 500th centenary of Spain's encounter with the Philippines, with the arrival of Magellan to the archipelago and the first circumnavigation of the earth completed by Juan Sebastian Elcano.
The Philippine delegation was led by the Rector of the University of the Philippines (UP) Danilo Concepción, who said that the reason for choosing Spain and the University of Malaga is the strong legal link that exists between Philippine and Spanish law, as well as the Spanish heritage that they maintain and to which they want to pay tribute to this ceremony. In addition, there is an important relationship between the University of Malaga and the University of the Philippines, with an Erasmus mobility project thanks to which more than 30 students have already completed study stays for credits. In addition, three Filipino professors are preparing their doctoral thesis at the University of Malaga, as well as the most ambitious project of the Erasmus programme, the Capacity Building CALESA led by the University of Malaga and in which the University of the Philippines is a partner.
The Philippine delegation was received by the Rector of the University of Malaga José Ángel Narváez Bueno, and the conferences were given by professors from the University of Malaga, Deusto and the University of Nova de Lisboa.
Likewise, on Thursday 27th, the Philippine delegation visited the Spanish Society of Friends of the Country of Malaga, located in the Plaza de la Constitución, where the recently created Spanish-Philippine Cultural Association of Malaga holds its meetings. During their visit to the SEAP, they were shown a part of the bibliographic collection that the institution keeps on the Philippines, as well as different maps by the librarian of the institution. José Antonio Sierra Lumbreras also addressed them a word of welcome and explained the recent activities of the institution in Latin America and in the Philippines.
Afterwards, the delegation of the University of the Philippines went to the birthplace of Ruy López de Villalobos, in Compañía Street, who baptised the archipelago with the name of the Philippines in honour of the then future Felipe II. They then went to the entrance of the port of Malaga to make a wreath at the statue of José Rizal, the great hero of the Philippines, before which the poet Antonio J. Quesada recited the poem "My last goodbye" written by Rizal.
This visit, together with the recent visit of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines to the University of Malaga, is an example of the interest being aroused in the Philippines by the proposal to modernise its university system and update Philippine law, which is being developed in partner universities and institutions in the Philippines through the project led by the UMA. After more than fifty years of separation, the strong link previously existing between the Philippine and Spanish university community, especially in the field of law, is being recovered, which is a source of satisfaction and motivation.
Submitted by José Antonio Sierra, Hispanismo advisor.