Tan defends quincentennial celebration: ‘Celebrate the good in it’

By: Rosalie Abatayo September 08,2019 - 03:20 PM

Floral wreaths are offered at the statue of Datu Lapu-lapu at the Mactan Liberty Shrine during the celebration of the 121st Philippine Independence Day on June 12, 2019. (CDN Digital Photo/Rosalie Abatayo)

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Even if the arrival of the Spaniards in the country has led to 300 years of colonization, the Catholic Church in Cebu maintains that there is something worth celebrating half a millennium after Spanish navigators set foot in Philippine shores.

Monsignor Joseph Tan, media liaison of the Archdiocese of Cebu, said the quincentennial or the 500th year celebration of circumnavigation to be celebrated in 2021 does not commemorate the dark ages of the colonization but the bright side of history.

“Ang atong gisaulog dili mana ng pagka-colonize sa atong nasud kun dili nga bisan pa sa kangitngit sa kasaysayan, ang kahayag sa pagtuo naabot,” Tan said at the sidelines of the Feast of the Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary celebration at Plaza Independencia in Cebu City on Sunday, September 8.

(What we are celebrating is not the colonization of our country [by Spain] but that despite the dark times in history, the light of faith has come to our land.)

Tan made the statement following President Rodrigo Duterte’s remark that he was not keen on celebrating the quincentennial anniversary of Christianity  in the country.

The President, in his speech during the groundbreaking of the housing project for the landslide victims in Naga City, Cebu on Friday, September 6, said it was painful for him that the Filipinos were subjugated by Spanish colonizers for over 300 years.

“Dili man ta mga Kastila and they subjugated us for 300 years. Nagsakit ko ana nga ang mga yuta gihatag nila sa mga insulares — katong mga Español nga wala na mobalik sa España,” President Duterte said.

(We are not Spanish and they subjugated us for 300 yeas. It pains me that they grabbed the lands from Fiipinos and gave these to the insulares or those Spaniards who chose not to go back to Spain.)

While Tan acknowledged the President’s point, he said there were good things that happened during the Spanish period that need to be celebrated.

“It is also a celebration of human victory at the time kay pinaagi sa pagabot ni Magellan,  natuyok ang kalibotan for the first time. This shows nga ang ginoo makahimo og maayo gikan sa mga bati nga panghitabo,” Tan said.

(It is also a celebration of human victory because the arrival of Magellan in the Philippines completed the first circumnavigation of the world. This shows that God can created wonderful things even out of undesirable events.)

Tan added that while the government is inclined to focus on the circumnavigation of the world, the church’s celebration for 2021 will be focused on the 500 years of evangelization in the country.

“These are two sides of the same event, lain lang ang focus. But in that sense the same direction ta nga it’s a historic event sa atong nasud,” said Tan.

(These are two sides of the same event but we focus on different sides of the event. But in that sense, we are still looking at the same direction; that its a historic event for our country.)

Official launch of Pagsangyaw 2021 of the Archdiocese of Cebu a the IEC Convention Center. | Delta Dyrecka Letigio

In March this year, the Archdiocese of Cebu’s Commission on the Laity launched “Pagsangyaw 2021,” a movement that encouraged the laity to give testimonials about their faith during Masses in their parishes.

Read more: Pagsangyaw 2021 officially starts in Cebu parishes

Read more: ‘The World of Lapulapu’ to be tackled; Gray’s Visayan warrior-inspired costume to be displayed



The President’s recent pronouncement was, however, contrary to his previous actions towards the quincentennial anniversary.

In May 2018, President Duterte issued Executive Order no. 55 which created the National Quincentennial Committee (NQC).

Based on the EO, the NQC’s primary role is “to serve as the clearinghouse of all government initiatives for the Philippine Quincentennial Commemorations of the first circumnavigation of the world and other related events.”

The committee is also tasked to advocate a “Filipino-centric” viewpoint in the 500th circumnavigation of the world anniversary.

Read more: No President Duterte in Independence Day celebration in Mactan, Cebu

Last June 12, the center of the Independence Day celebration was Lapu-Lapu City as a way to emphasize the importance of Datu Lapu-Lapu, the first Filipino hero who resisted against colonizers, and who led the historic victory in the Battle of Mactan./elb

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TAGS: 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines, Monsignor Joseph Tan
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