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IN PHOTOS: 500th Anniversary of the First Baptism

IN PHOTOS: 500th Anniversary of the First Baptism

The actor from the San Diego Dance Company portraying Rajah Humabon during the reenactment of the ruler’s baptism as a member of the Roman Catholic church on April 14, 2021. | CDN Digital Photo Morexette Marie Erram

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebu on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, led the nationwide celebrations of the quincentenary of Christianity’s arrival in the Philippines as it commemorated the first baptism that took place in the country.

IN PHOTOS: 500th Anniversary of the First Baptism

The actor from the San Diego Dance Company portraying Ferdinand Magellan during the ceremonial reenactment of the first baptism that took place in the Philippines | CDN Digital Photo Morexette Marie Erram

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic raging on, local and national government officials allowed organizers from the Roman Catholic church here to proceed with the 500 Years of Christianity (500 YOC) celebrations but subject to restrictions.

This is why performers from the renowned San Diego Dance Company wore face shields throughout the play, spectators and guests had face masks on, and all roads leading to Plaza Sugbo were closed from the public.

IN PHOTOS: 500th Anniversary of the First Baptism

Actors enter Plaza Sugbo on April 14, 2021 to signal the start of the ceremonial reenactment of the First Baptism that took place in the archipelago. | CDN Digital Photo Morexette Marie Erram

Rajah Humabon, the most powerful ruler in the region, met Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan weeks after the latter first landed in the archipelago on Homonhon Island, which is now part of present-day Guiuan, Eastern Samar, in 1521.

The rajah and his wife, Hara Humamay, were baptized as Don Carlos and Queen Juana respectively on April 14, 1521. Their names were ‘in honor of King Charles I of Spain and his mother, Joanna of Castile’.

The reenactment of Rajah Humabon’s christening as a member of the Roman Catholic church on April 14, 2021, exactly 500 years since it took place. | CDN Digital Photo Morexette Marie Erram

 

LOOK: A Spanish priest christens Hara Humamay, the wife of Rajah Humabon. She was baptized as Queen Juana. | CDN Digital Photo Morexette Marie Erram

Also present throughout Wednesday’s reenactment was the actor portraying the Italian scholar and chronicler Antonio Pigafetta that joined the Magellan-Elcano expedition.

IN PHOTOS: 500th Anniversary of the First Baptism

The actor from San Diego Dance Company portraying Italian scholar and explorer Antonio Pigafetta | CDN Digital Photo Morexette Marie Erram

Pigafetta’s accounts of Magellan’s landing in the archipelago as well as his demise in Mactan on April 27, 1521 eventually became a primary source documenting the journey, which would turn out to be the first circumnavigation of the globe.

The reenactment last April 14 also included the part when Magellan gifted Queen Juana the image of Snr. Sto. Niño, the oldest religious relic in the Philippines.

LOOK: Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan presents to Queen Juana the image of the Holy Child as one of his gifts to the royal. | CDN Digital Photo Morexette Marie Erram

 

IN PHOTOS: 500th Anniversary of the First Baptism

LOOK: Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan presents to Queen Juana the image of the Holy Child as one of his gifts to the royal. | CDN Digital Photo Morexette Marie Erram

The image of the Holy Child, and the church where it is enshrined – the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño – was declared as National Cultural Treasures on April 14.

/bmjo

RELATED STORY: Cebu holds reenactment of First Baptism with face shields and masks

TAGS: 500 years of Christianity, 500th Anniversary of the first baptism, Cebu City, Ferdinand Magellan, Hara Humamay, RAJAH Humabon, San Diego Dance Company
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