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1521 Feature Heritage History

Cebu Archdiocese, CBCP to focus on first baptism, spread of faith in 2021 celebration

The baptism of Cebuanos led by Rajah Humabon will be the focus of the Archdiocese of Cebu and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in their celebration of the 500th year of the Christianization of the Philippines

On December 1, 2019, the church will start a 500-day countdown to April 14, 2021, the 500th anniversary of the first baptism in the Philippines. On that day in 1521, 800 Cebuanos under Humabon were baptized by members of the Spanish armada led by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

On April 14, 2021, 500 children with special needs will be baptized as part of the reenactment of that first baptism.

Jubilee Cross sendoff

Also on December 1, church officials will send off the Jubilee Cross, a replica of Magellan’s cross made of tindalo wood that will have in it a relic of the True Cross. The Jubilee Cross will visit the different parishes in Cebu and the rest of the Philippines.

The activities were announced earlier today by church officials led by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma and CBCP President and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles during a press conference in the Executive Lounge of Oakridge Business Park in Mandaue City.

2021 EVENTS. Officials announce the official activities for the 500th anniversary of the Christianization in the Philippines. Present during the press conference in Oakridge Business Park are (from left) Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili; Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, who is also the CBCP president; Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, designer Kenneth Cobonpue, who heads the Visayas Quincentennial Committee; and Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones.
2021 EVENTS. Officials announce the official activities for the 500th anniversary of the Christianization in the Philippines. Present during the press conference in Oakridge Business Park are (from left) Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili; Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, who is also the CBCP president; Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, designer Kenneth Cobonpue, who heads the Visayas Quincentennial Committee; and Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones.

Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili said the 2021 celebration has three pillars around which events are organized – celebration, formation, and legacy. He said the 2021 celebration has many highlights – including the arrival of the Sto. Nino, for which the Augustinian community started a countdown today. He said the archdiocese chose to focus on the baptism because “it is when our faith was planted in our hearts.”

Open Holy Door

Fr. Balili said they requested Pope Francis for permission to open the Holy Door for plenary indulgence and extend this to the 9 oldest churches in Cebu. Archbishop Palma will also celebrate the Misa de Gallo in 2020 in these 9 oldest churches, which include Bantayan, Argao, Barili, Boljoon, Carcar, San Nicolas, among others.

Key events leading to 2021 including the holding of monthly jubilees involving church organizations, ministries, and sectors of society. The jubilees are pegged on feast days of saints.

Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones highlighted the importance of the events saying 2021 is unrepeatable, irreplaceable and irrevocable. He said it is a “once in a lifetime event.”

“If Bethlehem is point x of our salvation history, in the Philippines, Cebu – the cradle of Christianity – is the point x where faith spread,” he said.

HERITAGE WALK. Designer Kenneth Cobonpue, head of the Visayas Quincentennial Committee, discusses the heritage walk the Cebu City Government and various stakeholders want to put up in time for the celebration.
HERITAGE WALK. Designer Kenneth Cobonpue, head of the Visayas Quincentennial Committee, discusses the heritage walk the Cebu City Government and various stakeholders want to put up in time for the celebration.

Mission congress

Part of the preparation for the year-long celebration leading to the quincentennial is the holding of mission congresses in the different parishes from August to October 2020. The Archdiocesan Mission Congress will be held on October 24, 2020. This will culminate with the sendoff of 500 missionaries outside extra during the National Mission Congress on April 12-16, 2021.

On April 11 to 18, 2021, organizers will stage an Amorsolo Painting Exhibit. One of Fernando Amorsolo’s most important paintings is “The First Baptism in the Philippines.”

Triduum celebrations will also be held three days before the baptism anniversary. Preceding it is the arrival of the Jubilee Cross scheduled on April 10, 2021. The first day of Triduum on April 11 will be held at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The second day will be at the National Shrine of St. Joseph while the last day will be at the Sto. Niño Pilgrim Center. The Triduum will end with a procession around Cebu City.

First recorded Easter Mass

Valles said the church will mark the first recorded Easter Mass with a national celebration of masses. The Mojares panel is still looking into the question on where the first mass in the Philippines was held. Two previous panels have ruled in favor of Limasawa against the other claimant Butuan.

During today’s press conference, renowned designer Kenneth Cobonpue, who is head of the Visayas Quincentennial Committee, unveiled the planned downtown heritage walk that would take people to historical buildings and locations, including churches, in Cebu City. (See separate story).

Valles said the CBCP will send an invitation to Vatican for Pope Francis but they said they are aware of how tight his schedule is. He said it is likely that a papal legate will attend the events for the Vatican. He said they will also be sending an invitation to President Rodrigo Duterte.

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1521 History

Marica! Bisaya words in use when Magellan was in Cebu

I’ve long been curious about the word marica, which I first heard when I relocated to Cebu more than 20 years ago. I never heard it growing up in Polomolok, South Cotabato where we talked a patois that was a mix of Cebuano and Ilonggo.

For us, it was “dali” or “adto diri” or “ari di.” For years I spoke an ungrammatical “adto ko dinhi ugma (I’ll be here tomorrow).” The correct phrase is “anhi ko ugma.” To come here is anhi, to go there is adto, I was to learn soon enough.

I can no longer recall when I first heard marica but I’ve always thought it a modernism, a portmanteau of “muari ka” (edit: several people have said the root is the phrase “umari ka“) that evolved into a single-word bidding.

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1521 Feature History

Is the original really encased inside Magellan’s Cross?

No, according to several historians. The panel placed at the foot of the cross makes two astonishing claims: that it contains the original Magellan’s Cross and that it was planted by the Portuguese explorer on that very spot.

Neither claim holds up to close scrutiny.

It is also interesting to note that the commemorative marker put up by the then Philippines Historical Committee in 1941 never made that claim.

MAGELLAN’S CROSS. This undated photo shows a view of the cross from Cebu City Hall. Behind it is the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño convent. (Photo from the Cebuano Studies Center of the University of San Carlos)

MAGELLAN’S CROSS. This undated photo shows a view of the cross from Cebu City Hall. Behind it is the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño convent. (Photo from the Cebuano Studies Center of the University of San Carlos)

Putting up of Magellan’s Cross

Antonio Pigafetta, chronicler of the Spanish armada led by Magellan, wrote that they put up the cross to mark the conversion of Cebuanos, led by ruler Rajah Humabon, to Christianity.

“A large cross was set up in the middle of the square. The Captain General told them that if they wished to become Christians as they had declared on the previous days, they must burn all their idols and set up a cross in their place. They were to adore that cross daily with clasped hands, and every morning after their custom, they were to make the sign of the cross (which the Captain General showed them how to make); and they ought to come hourly, at least in the morning, to that cross, and adore it kneeling,” Pigafetta wrote.

Magellan planting the cross. (Image from the New York Public Library)

National Artist and Cebuano historian Dr. Resil Mojares wrote in his book “The Feast of the Santo Niño: An Introduction to the History of a Cebuano Devotion” that it was the practice of Spaniards to plant crosses on land they “discover” to mark possession for the crown and signify divine presence.

But after Magellan’s death in the Battle of Mactan, which author Hugh Thomas described as “a gratuitous adventure that deserved to end badly,” the Cebuanos turned against the Spaniards, allegedly at the incitement of the explorer’s slave Enrique.

Humabon invited the surviving Spaniards to a feast on May 1. He promised them gifts and jewels to take with them to the King of Spain.

FERDINAND MAGELLAN. This portrait of the Portuguese explorer and captain of the Armada de Molucca is “believed to be one of the few accurate likenesses of Magellan,” wrote historian Laurence Bergreen in his book Over the Edge of the World.

FERDINAND MAGELLAN. This portrait of the Portuguese explorer and captain of the Armada de Molucca is “believed to be one of the few accurate likenesses of Magellan,” wrote historian Laurence Bergreen in his book Over the Edge of the World.

Pigafetta, who did not join because he was still nursing injuries from the battle in Mactan, said a quarter of the crew attended, including the two new co-commanders, Juan Serrano and Duarte Barbosa.

During the meal, the Spaniards were killed by Humabon’s men. The massacre culminated in a standoff at the shore where the Cebuanos held for ransom Juan Serrano, who pleaded with his compatriots to save him. After an initial negotiation on ransom when the Cebuanos kept asking for more, the armada decided to leave Cebu.

NO SUCH CLAIM. The official marker put up in 1941 by the then Philippines Historical Committee, which is now the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, never made the claim about the original cross being encased in the one now at the site.

NO SUCH CLAIM. The official marker put up in 1941 by the then Philippines Historical Committee, which is now the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, never made the claim about the original cross being encased in the one now at the site.

IS THIS ACCURATE? Thousands of tourists visiting Magellan’s Cross daily think, because of this panel, that part of the cross is still there and that it was planted at this very spot. Those claims don’t have historical support.

IS THIS ACCURATE? Thousands of tourists visiting Magellan’s Cross daily think, because of this panel, that part of the cross is still there and that it was planted at this very spot. Those claims don’t have historical support.

Tearing it down

“Only 115 men remained of the 260 who had left Spain, and as they fled to safety, their last sight of Cebu was of enraged islanders tearing down the cross on the mountaintop and smashing it to bits,” wrote American historian Laurence Bergreen in his book Over The Edge of The World Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe. (Emphasis mine. Note the reference on a mountaintop. I haven’t found a similar one but the Spaniards were reported to prefer to plant the cross on the highest point of a place.)

“Simultaneously, before the ships had cleared the harbour, amid cries of jubilation from the indigenes, another party of them was tearing down the great Cross which Magellan had erected. What the leader had achieved during weeks of careful and patient work came to naught in an hour,” wrote Stefan Zweig in his seminal book Magellan.

In her dissertation on the Santo Niño de Cebu for her doctorate in anthropology, Astrid Sala-Boza said “there is no archaeological or historical evidence that this cross is actually the original (or at least the site of the original) Magellan’s cross.”

“Instead, because of its proximity to the Basilica, the site of the finding of the Holy Image during Legazpi’s expedition, there is the possibility that the cross could be “Legazpi’s cross” (now encased in wood),” Sala-Boza wrote. She also pointed out that the Legazpi expedition did not mention finding a cross.

NO TEXT OF CLAIM. This photo after a restoration of the kiosk by the Knights of Columbus several decades ago (we’re still looking into date) does not show at the base of the cross the panel that contains the claims about the original cross and its site.

NO TEXT OF CLAIM. This photo after a restoration of the kiosk by the Knights of Columbus several decades ago (we’re still looking into date) does not show at the base of the cross the panel that contains the claims about the original cross and its site.

Rada cross

In 1565, the Spaniards returned to the Philippines under the leadership of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. They planted another cross, made of bamboo and measuring five fathoms.

“It is credited to the Augustinian Martin de Rada and has been called the cross of Rada,” wrote Mojares. He said Rada was known as the Apostle of Cebu because of his evangelization work here.

The cross of Rada was reputed to be miraculous because it “did not suffer the least lesion” in a fire that destroyed houses around the cross on November 2, 1565.

MAJOR TOURIST SPOT. Magellan’s Cross is a top tourist attraction in Cebu. It’s part of the tour circuit that includes the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Fort San Pedro, and Plaza Independencia. (Photo provided by the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu)

MAJOR TOURIST SPOT. Magellan’s Cross is a top tourist attraction in Cebu. It’s part of the tour circuit that includes the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Fort San Pedro, and Plaza Independencia. (Photo provided by the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu)

“Augustinian prior Juan de Albarran, during the construction of the current church complex in 1735-40, built an enclosure around the cross. In 1834, Santos Gomez Marañon, the Augustinian bishop of Cebu (1829-40), had an octagonal temple built to protect the cross from the weather and devotees who, regarding it as miraculous, were accustomed to chip away splinters from it as relics,” Mojares wrote. “The “original” cross is now contained in another hollow hardwood cross set in the middle of a stone altar inside the kiosk.

Sala-Boza said the cross was once referred to as “the cross on Magallanes street” and became eventually known as Magellan’s Cross.

Magellan's Cross in 1965. ({Photo provided by the Basilica Minore del Sto.  Niño.

Magellan’s Cross in 1965. ({Photo provided by the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño.

“The lack of definitive documentary evidence on the identification of this cross obliges us to admit that it is a relic from the expedition of Legazpi, and not from that of Magellan,” Sala-Boza wrote in her study, quoting Villanueva’s 1969 work.

Did you know?

Until our research for the interactive marker that will be installed at the site, I did not know that it was granted an indulgence. To Catholics, an indulgence is “a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven.”

Bishop Santos Gomez Marañon granted the Magellan’s Cross plenary indulgence who those who pray before it every Feast of the Triumph of the Cross on September 14. The indulgence is gained by praying one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory to the Father for the intention of the pope in Rome.

PLENARY INDULGENCE. This framed document found in the basilica library is the actual plenary indulgence granted by Cebu Bishop Santos Gomez Marañon for the Magellan’s Cross.

PLENARY INDULGENCE. This framed document found in the basilica library is the actual plenary indulgence granted by Cebu Bishop Santos Gomez Marañon for the Magellan’s Cross.

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News

Cebu News Digest: April 25, 2015: Ongoing Kadaugan Street Party in Lapu ends tomorrow night, re-enactment on Monday; Public warned: Cebu temperature may continue to rise in May

There’s another reason to be merry with the ongoing Kadaugan Street Party in Lapu-Lapu City. With the suspension of the ordinance against drunk behavior in public areas, revelers can drink beer this weekend without fear of getting arrested.

The current scorching heat caused by summer and the El Niño is already taking a toll on some of Cebu’s livestock and water supply. Yet the state weather bureau is warning the Cebuanos of a possible rise in temperature to 37 degrees Celsius in May.

Are you planning to buy a house unit or thinking of investing in one?

Check out Astele, which is among the newest property developments of top developer Primary Homes in Lapu-Lapu City. Astele is a vibrant community nestled in the coastal area of the island, close to top beach vacation getaways. It makes use of natural lines and Asian contemporary elements that give it a tasteful and minimalist feel. (Read more about the project here.)

Here are the top stories for today, April 25, 2015:

Victory of Datu Lapu-Lapu

The suspension of the ordinance against drunk behaviour in public places was done to let locals and tourist celebrate the victory of Datu Lapu-Lapu over conquistador Ferdinand Magellan. However, drunks who cause trouble will still be apprehended.

The search for Reyna Bulakna 2015 is one of the events leading up to the reenactment of the battle between Datu Lapu-Lapu and Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan called Kadaugan sa Mactan. Photo shows Reyna Bulakna 2015 bets with Mayor Paz C. Radaza. (Photo taken from Mactan Post)
The search for Reyna Bulakna 2015 is one of the events leading up to the reenactment of the battle between Datu Lapu-Lapu and Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan called Kadaugan sa Mactan. Photo shows Reyna Bulakna 2015 bets with Mayor Paz C. Radaza. (Photo taken from Mactan Post)

“We will tolerate those who will fall asleep on the sidewalk or vomit, but we will enforce the ordinance against those who cause scandal or become security threat.” –Lapu-Lapu City Police Office Chief Armando Radoc

These are some things you need to remember when you go celebrate in the Kadaugan Street Party:

* It started Thursday and ends tomorrow night.
* Some major roads in Lapu-Lapu are closed to vehicles this weekend.
* Drivers are advised to follow traffic directions.
* Organizers have set up stalls and banners along the three-kilometer venue for the street party that starts at the foot of the Marcelo Fernan Bridge to the Hoops Dome.
* Other activities you can find in the Party include an indoor sports clinic, basketball contests, wake boarding, a Kadaugan Color Beer Run, Fitness Dance Marathon, Zumba, sound and lights competition, a Cosplay competition, a parade of electric floats and higantes, and a car and motorcycle show.

The annual re-enactment of the April 27, 1521 battle will be staged on Monday morning.

Effects of the sweltering heat seen

The following are believed to be caused by the high temperature Cebu is experiencing:

There is low water supply in some areas as streams, rivers, groundwater reservoirs and other tributaries dry up.

In Medellin, the death of two goats that had no prior signs of sickness is suspected to be caused by the heat.

“May has been considered as the hottest month and the rest of the months are below normal ang rainfall, mao na nga dako gyud ang problema sa tubig.” – PAGASA Visayas Director Oscar Tabada

This year’s temperature is not as worse as that which was recorded on May 31, 2010 when 37 degrees Celsius was recorded, the all-time hottest temperature ever in Cebu.

The city disaster council recommended for the declaration of a state of calamity to utilize the city’s disaster funds to help areas cope with the temperature that will possibly rise.

Other top Cebu News stories:

Sun.Star Cebu: Fire hits landfill
The Freeman: Actual site of Niño’s finding under debate
Cebu Daily News: Talisay, Cebu City tackle water woes

Cebu Business headlines:

Sun.Star Cebu: SM Hypermart opens up retail space
The Freeman: Homegrown retail chain allots P1B for expansion
Cebu Daily News: 3 mixed-use Ayala projects to rise in Cebu, Mandaue, Mactan