THE Philippines welcomed a Spanish Navy warship that arrived in Manila on Thursday, 92 years since they last visited the country.
Representatives from the Philippine Navy welcomed the Spanish Navy frigate Méndez Núñez (F-104) operated by a crew of more than 200 sailors headed by Cmdr. Antonio Gonzalez del Tanago de la Lastra.
The Méndez Núñez is an Alvaro de Bazan-class frigate. It is the second Spanish warship to drop anchor in the Philippines after the cruiser Blas de Lezo in October 1927.
The Spanish frigate was rendered with the customary meeting procedure by the Philippine Navy near Corregidor Island and escorted all the way to Pier 15, South Harbor, Manila.
The Philippine Navy welcoming committee headed by Cmdr. Kenneth Lozañes received the ship’s crew.
They are scheduled to call on Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad, the Philippine Navy’s flag officer in command, at the Navy headquarters in Roxas Boulevard, Manila.
Lcdr. Maria Christina Roxas, of the Philippine Navy’s public affairs office, said the three-day goodwill visit of the Spanish Navy would also include shipboard tour, reciprocal receptions and friendly games.
On September 7, the visitors will visit Baler Bay to commemorate the fifth centenary of the arrival of the Spanish in the Philippines and the circumnavigation of the world by Juan Sebastian Elcano who took over from Ferdinand Magellan following his death in the Battle of Mactan in 1521.
“We feel the Philippines very deep in our heart. We share 550 years of common history when the first Spanish people came to the Philippines,” Gonzalez told reporters.
At the same time, he said Madrid is “fully committed” to freedom of navigation and freedom of international seas.
“Spain is fully committed to freedom of navigation and freedom of the seas. We have not been able to sail around the South China Sea, but we understand, and we share with the European Union all the concerns, all the situation there,” Gonzalez added.