Make your own free website on
To: Nestor Palugod.Enriquez,

From: Jean-Marie

Subject: (First Circumnavigation of the World) I need a favor from you

Oct 25, 1997

Dear Sir

I am sorry to intrude. My name is Jean-Marie  (I am French) and my wife is Yoko (she is Japanese). We live in California (near San Francisco) and we have 3 young girls (oldest is 12). Everyday at dinner time we play a game of finding the answer to a mystery or a situation (they ask questions and I can answer by yes or no only). The subject is always around some of their homework. Today Emikoís homework (she is the 10-year old) is about great navigators. I am sure that you have been living all your life the fact that the way world history is viewed by American schools is different from views in other countries. I had learnt through my French education that Magellan never completed his round-the-world trip and that Enrique should be credited for it (although I do not know if Elcando could have been to the Philippines or further East on a previous trip). I am going to have my kids to guess who was the first man (Enrique) to go round the world. And why. Would you mind to write a little note to Emiko saying who you are and confirming that your ancestor is to our civilization what Gagarine or Neil Amstrong are for space exploration.

Very respectfully yours.
Hi Emiko1

A long time ago in the early 15th century, a young Malay boy in the Southwest Pacific had a destiny with history. This was the golden Era of Discovery and Rediscovery, the time when Prince Henry, the Navigator, opened the way for European exploration to the East by going around the tip of South Africa. Magellan followed this direction and reached Malacas Island (now part of the Malay Archipelago.) He met this young Malay boy who stood out from the native people. He found that the boy, who was already well traveled in the region, could help him later on his journey.

Magellan brought him back to Europe and named him Henry (English for Enrique.) Little Henry was just few years older than you at this time. Magellan convinced the Queen of Spain to finance his attempt to navigate the world by sailing west. Some time in 1520, Magellanís famous journey

began with Henry on his side. All this time Henry was telling Magellan about the islands he had come from, where they were headed now from opposite direction. After passing

the Straight of Magellan, they crossed the Pacific. The Pacific wind directions were favorable and, in March 1521 they landed in the heart of the Philippines. When Henry spoke the language we knew that it was his homecoming. He had left years earlier, following the sunset, and, one morning, appeared from where the sun rises, completing the first circumnavigation of the world. He was just a little boy when he started. Magellan knew how much he had owed to Henry for help on his famous journey that he provided in his own will a share of his personal prize and wealth upon his death.. Unfortunately Magellan was killed in the Philippines. Henry elected to stay home as the famous ship "Victoria" continued back to Spain.

He is my ancestor...

Nestor Palugod Enriquez

From: Jean-Marie B (second e-mail)

Thank you very much for your quick response. When I was 10-year old (in 1955) our teacher by the name of Monsieur Pujol had told us about Magellanís translator being the first man to go around the globe. In fact it was not during a lesson of history but during a lesson of vocabulary. The word he was explaining was "circumnavigation". This was reminded to me 10 or 15 years later on a TV program. I am not very sure but I would not mind betting that it was on a famous program made by a well-known historian whose story-telling was captivating millions of viewers. The name of the historian is Alain Decaux and his program was called "Alain Decaux raconte" (he was facing the camera for one hour without showing any other picture than his own face). Ask any Frenchman (older than 20) and he must know that name. If I am right, it is during one of Decauxís stories that he had reminded us about Enrique the native translator and that Magellan was only the ill-fated leader of the adventure whose name was imprinted in History because he gave his name to a Straight.

Jean Marie B

 back to index