The multiple gains of the 51st IEC
An anonymous friend offered to sponsor my registration fee for the last four days of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress but registration was closed on the first day of the sessions. But I did not miss anything at all for it was well covered by CCTN in the comfort of my residence. I missed two morning sessions because I had my dialysis sessions on Tuesday and Friday. Following its activities from day 1 to day 8 was like having a one-week retreat — from the morning prayers, the catecheses, the testimonies, the Eucharistic celebrations, the penitential service, the parish encounters, Visita Iglesia, the procession of the monstrance, the first communion to the closing Eucharistic celebration at the Templete in SRP. The 51st IEC made me recall so many things like how religion was taught in my elementary and high school years.
The venue of the 51st IEC brought memories of the celebration of the 4th Centennial of the Christianization of the Philippines in 1965 held at the Reclamation Area where the old White Gold stands. I don’t exactly remember the month it was held but it was a rainy season so the area which was not fully developed yet (it also underwent controversies) was muddy but the Holy Eucharist was celebrated there. There were very few chairs then so we all stood for the whole event. We also had to walk from Fuente Osmeña to the templete because Gen. Maxilom Avenue and Gorordo Avenue were closed. It was a five-day celebration and we had to wake up early and walk to the venue for the activities. I was then in second year college and I was staying in Kabahar St., Guadalupe. One activity I will never forget was the Children’s Day where we catechists brought the public school children to the Reclamation Area for the Mass and we had to board army trucks in going there and back to their schools. There was also a 2,000-strong choir composed of different schools and congregations and our Glee Club was part of it. The main song of the celebration was “Christ, King of Ages” which was the entrance song at the Statio Orbis Mass in SRP to conclude the 51st IEC. I sang with the choir while watching the closing Mass and was surprised I still remember the lyrics.
The morning prayers were enriching especially in how to start our daily life. The catecheses were deepening, informative, instructive and dashed with wit and humor. The testimonies were moving and people could relate with them since they came from varied experiences. There was great participation of the faithful in all the Masses. Particularly the Statio Orbis Mass at the SRP, the songs were mostly in Cebuano (very beautiful songs and choir) so everybody participated and rocked the mountains and the sea with their singing. In every Mass and procession held, there was a sea of humanity (even walking to and from the venue). The program of activities for each day was smooth and orderly. The IEC theme song is memorable. Every time I opened a channel, the song was played in variation: choral, instrumental (flute, guitar), orchestra. Even five year olds love the song especially the chorus.
I am very happy to be able to witness the 51st IEC, just as I was lucky to be part of the 4th Centennial Celebration of the Christianization of the Philippines. I am looking forward to be able to witness the 5th Centennial Celebration of Christianization of the Philippines in 2021 here in Cebu. What a great Catholic heritage of Cebu! What a challenge to Cebuanos and Filipinos to be missionaries in Asia and the world. This was the message of Pope Francis last year when he said Mass at the Luneta. This has been reiterated by many of the speakers in the 51st IEC and emphasized by Cardinal Bo in his homily at the Statio Orbis Mass. And the most beautiful and meaningful of the closing Mass was its setting — starting with the hot sun and the clear blue skies with the mountain ranges at the background of the Pedro Calungsod Templete and the Altar facing the clear blue sea and ending with the Templete its purple and green light glowing in the darkness silhouetted by the mountain ranges. It signals our strong faith (like the mountains) and continuous living of that faith (like the sea). Thanks and multiple blessings to all from the organizers to the community.
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After the week-long 51st IEC, I had to continue my translation work which was laid aside. I did not realize that translating from Cebuano to English would be more challenging than translating from English to Cebuano. A few months ago, I was asked to translate six Cebuano articles from the local dailies in 2013, two news reports and four opinion columns. Translating the news reports was fast but the four opinion columns are very challenging. First of all, the topic is interesting, a debate on what is the proper spelling of the Pinulongang Sinugboanon (Cebuano Language).
The first column written by Grmer Chan Reyes raised the issue on the proper spelling of the Cebuano language and lauded the spelling formed and used by the Bisaya. The writer thinks that the spelling formed by Bisaya is good and it helps the easy reading and writing of the Cebuano language. But he laments that some writers and other local tabloids create their own. Instead of having a unified standard, they are in disarray. He cited writer Ernesto Lariosa, language consultant of a local newspaper who is not pleased with the spelling of Bisaya and is creating a spelling used by Superbalita (he used to be with Bisaya).
In the second column, Mar Mañuz Jr. reacts to the first article. He started with how the issue on the use of the vowels o and u started. He cited until he left Bisaya in 2005 they only changed “ug” to “og” (and) but the others remained the same. Then they noticed a slight change. The question raised is why change “u” to “o” in the word “tapos” when it is said that “kataposan” was made by Lariosa into “katapusan.”
In the third column, Ernesto Lariosa replies to Gremer. He started with a brief history on how he landed in Superbalita ( he used to be with Bisaya). He was taken in to replace a former feature editor and language consultant. He was plunged into a heated debate among staff members on the proper spelling especially the use of o and u. After several meetings with the editorial staff and publisher, they reached one standard of spelling agreed by all – ‘We spell as we pronounce.” He pointed out that language comes from the people. Even if you force them, if it is not accepted, the word will be lost and reduced to nothing.
It was challenging and interesting to do the translation of these three articles (I could only finish three) because the writers used beautiful and real Cebuano words. The more I appreciated and the more I learned about writing in Cebuano. May their tribe increase!
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