TAOID OPENS IN LIMASAWA, SOUTHERN LEYTE

The first Mass held in the Philippines happened on March 31, 1521 at Limasawa Island in Southern LeyteThe smallest municipality of Southern Leyte, Limasawa, hosts this year’s opening of the Taoid Heritage Program Celebration. Spearheaded by the Subcommission on Cultural Heritage (SCH) of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the event happening on March 31 is conjunction with the 493rd commemoration of the first Mass in the Philippines. It also signals the celebration of the National Heritage Month in May. Limasawa Island is a historical place considered by many as the “site of the first Mass in the Philippines” that happened on March 31, 1521. The island municipality remembers this important event through the annual Sinugdan Festival.
Activities start in the morning when a Santo Niño de Cebu image arrives in the barangay of Triana via a fluvial parade and will proceed to the barangay of Magallanes via a foot procession, where it will have a festive welcome. After a six-gun salute, the anniversary Eucharistic mass will be held.
As Taoid partakes in this year’s commemoration, officials not only from the local government but also from SCH are expected to grace the festival.

ALSO: All set for 493rd celebration of First Mass in Limasawa

In commemoration of the First Mass in the Philippines and the Far East 493 years ago, the Diocese of Maasin and the Province of Southern Leyte gear up for a simple celebration on March 31 in Limasawa, Southern Leyte. Nedgar Garvez, Southern Leyte provincial tourism officer, said a fluvial parade from this city will culminate in the island town of Limasawa, with the arrival of Sr. Sto. Niño’s image and guests led by Bishop Precioso D. Cantillas of the Diocese of Maasin, Southern Leyte, Governor Roger G. Mercado, Representative Damian Mercado, Maasin City Mayor Maloney Samaco and other guests.
The image and delegation is expected to arrive at 7 a.m. in the island municipality.
Limasawa Mayor Melchor Petracorta and local officials will welcome the guests at Triana pier. “Sinugdan” dancers of Limasawa will offer a dance ritual in welcoming the Holy Image.
A two-kilometer foot procession will then follow from Triana port to Magallanes village. A 6-gun salute signals the start of the Holy Mass.

ALSO: A Glimpse of Maasin City, Southern Leyte

In an unruffled rural setting in Southern Leyte, lies a city draped by remnants of its glorious past. Maasin, the capital of the province blissfully sits on the western coast and is largely not a tourist favorite. Not much is written about the points of interest in this tranquil metropolis, but intrepid travelers curious to explore this part of the country will be rewarded with interesting treks, immaculate waterfalls and uncharted caverns. Getting here requires extra stamina since the closest airport is located in Ormoc roughly 3 hour drive or you may also reach Maasin via Tacloban in approximately 4 hours by land. Alternatively, you can ride a ferry from Cebu or if coming from Mindanao, you can take the route I took which also entails a degree of travel discomfort – board a ferry at Lipata Port in Surigao City to Liloan, Southern Leyte and hop on a bus bound to Maasin.


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Taoid opens in Limasawa, Southern Leyte


The cross used in the first Philippine Catholic Mass


MANILA, MARCH 31, 2014
(MANILA TIMES) The smallest municipality of Southern Leyte, Limasawa, hosts this year’s opening of the Taoid Heritage Program Celebration.

Spearheaded by the Subcommission on Cultural Heritage (SCH) of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the event happening on March 31 is conjunction with the 493rd commemoration of the first Mass in the Philippines. It also signals the celebration of the National Heritage Month in May.

Limasawa Island is a historical place considered by many as the “site of the first Mass in the Philippines” that happened on March 31, 1521. The island municipality remembers this important event through the annual Sinugdan Festival.

Activities start in the morning when a Santo Niño de Cebu image arrives in the barangay of Triana via a fluvial parade and will proceed to the barangay of Magallanes via a foot procession, where it will have a festive welcome. After a six-gun salute, the anniversary Eucharistic mass will be held.

As Taoid partakes in this year’s commemoration, officials not only from the local government but also from SCH are expected to grace the festival.


The first Mass held in the Philippines happened on March 31, 1521 at Limasawa Island in Southern Leyte


In the afternoon, SCH officials will conduct an ocular inspection and technical assessment of cultural properties, sites and structures including the library, First Mass marker, schools and the municipal hall as well as natural heritage sites.

The steering committee of the Taoid 2014 is composed of Rev. Fr. Harold Rentoria, OSA, head of SCH and the National Committee on Archives; Stephen Totanes, vice head of SCH and head of the National Committee on Historical Research; Lucille Karen Malilong-Isberto, SCH secretary and head of the National Committee on Monuments and Sites; Marilou Tadlip, assistant secretary and head of the National Committee on Libraries and Information Service; Robert Bjorn Santos, SCH member and head of the National Committee on Art Galleries; and Amado Alvarez, SCH member and head of the National Committee on Museums.

For more information on the activities and schedules, contact NCCA-Public Affairs and Information Office (PAIO) head, Rene Napeñas at 527-2192 or at 0928.5081057. Log on to www.ncca.gov.ph

EARLIER NEWS FROM MANILA NEWS ONLINE

All set for 493rd celebration of First Mass in Limasawa Posted by admin-ven on March 22, 2014 By Vicky C. Arnaiz

MAASIN CITY, Philippines, March 22 — In commemoration of the First Mass in the Philippines and the Far East 493 years ago, the Diocese of Maasin and the Province of Southern Leyte gear up for a simple celebration on March 31 in Limasawa, Southern Leyte.


Photo: en.wikipedia.org.

Nedgar Garvez, Southern Leyte provincial tourism officer, said a fluvial parade from this city will culminate in the island town of Limasawa, with the arrival of Sr. Sto. Niño’s image and guests led by Bishop Precioso D. Cantillas of the Diocese of Maasin, Southern Leyte, Governor Roger G. Mercado, Representative Damian Mercado, Maasin City Mayor Maloney Samaco and other guests.
The image and delegation is expected to arrive at 7 a.m. in the island municipality.

Limasawa Mayor Melchor Petracorta and local officials will welcome the guests at Triana pier. “Sinugdan” dancers of Limasawa will offer a dance ritual in welcoming the Holy Image.

A two-kilometer foot procession will then follow from Triana port to Magallanes village. A 6-gun salute signals the start of the Holy Mass.

The anniversary Eucharistic Mass will be officiated by Bishop Cantillas at 10 a.m.

A 3-gun salute consecration follows with the Bishop blessing the people attending the event.


Limasawa is a sixth class municipality and an island of the same name in the province of Southern Leyte, Philippines. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 5,835 inhabitants, making it the smallest municipality in the province, both in population and area.[2][3] It lies south of Leyte, in the Mindanao or Bohol Sea. The island, also known as Sarangani Island, is about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) long from north to south.

The officers of the National Commission of Culture and the Arts will launch the Declaration of the Opening of the Taoid Heritage Program in Limasawa.

The Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan planted the Holy Cross at the Magallanes village, where Friar Pedro Valderrama officiated the First Catholic Mass that saw the birth of Christianity in the Philippines.

In historical accounts, the indigenous natives of the island welcomed their guests and showed them their hospitality. The natives were never converted to Catholicism, which may account that until 493 years after the First Mass, the Limasawa island residents of 6,000 remained a mixed of different religions.

After the anniversary mass, a dance that recreates the beginning of the Christianity in the country, will be showcased in the Sinugdan Festival (the beginning) followed by the ceremonial tree planting.

The Holy Image of Sr. Sto. Niño is expected to return to Maasin City around 5 p.m. A foot procession of the faithful around the city follows upon arrival and a welcome mass will be officiated by Rev. Fr. Jonas M. Mejares, OSA, Rector of the Basilica Del Sto. Niño, Cebu City.

The world’s first navigator, Magellan continued its exploration and reached the island of Cebu, where King Humabon and Queen Juana welcomed him.



In the webpage of the Sto. Niño de Cebu International, it was mentioned that the “authenticated entry in the Journal of Pigafetta, clerk in the Magellan expedition explains the origin of Santo Niño:

“On the day Queen Juana was baptized by Father Pedro Valderama, chaplain of that expedition, Pigaffeta himself presented her with the Image.”

The same Image now lies in the Basilica del Santo Nino and become a favorite destination for millions of pilgrims each year.

For four and half centuries now, the Image of Santo Nino continues to make wonders in the lives of many Filipinos.

On the third Sunday of each year, in Cebu, millions flock to the streets for a colorful festivity, honoring and placing the Island and the entire Philippines under His Patronage.

During the last World War, a bomb fell inside the Church but the Image was recovered unscathed. It was one of the numerous miracles and powers attributed to the Holy Image.

In 2012, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has issued a pastoral letter on the new evangelization to help prepare Catholics for 2021, the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the Gospel in the Philippines.

“We look forward with gratitude and joy to March 16, 2021, the fifth centenary of the coming of Christianity to our beloved land,” the bishops said in their July 9 letter.

“We remember with thanksgiving the first Mass celebrated in Limasawa Island on Easter Sunday March 31 that same blessed year. We remember the baptism of Rajah Humabon who was given his Christian name Carlos and his wife Hara Amihan who was baptized Juana in 1521. Our eyes gaze on the Santo Niño de Cebu, the oldest religious icon in the Philippines, gift of Ferdinand Magellan to the first Filipino Catholics that same year. Indeed the year 2021 will be a year of great jubilee for the Church in the Philippines.”

Every year, the people of Limasawa and Southern Leyte celebrates the first Christian Mass in the country. This year, the theme revolves on “Unang Misa sa Pilipinas ug Asia ug ang Sto. Niño: Maoy Naglig-on sa pagtuo ug paglaum sa katawhan taliwala sa katalagman ug kalisdanan.” (PNA)

FROM YAHOO PHILIPPINES

A Glimpse of Maasin City, Southern Leyte By Gael Hilotin | Pinay Solo Backpacker – Mon, Feb 24, 2014


In an unruffled rural setting in Southern Leyte, lies a city draped by remnants of its glorious past. Maasin, the capital of the province blissfully sits on the western coast and is largely not a tourist favorite.

Not much is written about the points of interest in this tranquil metropolis, but intrepid travelers curious to explore this part of the country will be rewarded with interesting treks, immaculate waterfalls and uncharted caverns.

Getting here requires extra stamina since the closest airport is located in Ormoc roughly 3 hour drive or you may also reach Maasin via Tacloban in approximately 4 hours by land. Alternatively, you can ride a ferry from Cebu or if coming from Mindanao, you can take the route I took which also entails a degree of travel discomfort – board a ferry at Lipata Port in Surigao City to Liloan, Southern Leyte and hop on a bus bound to Maasin.

At the downtown area, the modest streets are clad by forgotten colonial-era houses. The massive 17th century Maasin Cathedral looms over the central square fringed by buildings important to city life including the Municipal Hall. Adjacent to it is the age-old school of St. Joseph College established way back in 1928 and ruins of an old Spanish balaurte (watchtower).

The cathedral’s interior is enhanced by a beautifully painted ceiling showing images of saints; however the modern altar seems to contradict the archaic elegance of the entire edifice. Its ochre colored walls were built out of coral stones. The Maasin Cathedral began its constructions during the time of Jesuit priest Fr. Serapio Gonzalez and continued from 1839 to 1852 under the guidance of Fr. Jose Paco. Unfortunately in 1884, the church was devastated by fire but was later restored.

Maasin beckons Catholic devotees because of a number of pilgrimage sites scattered around the city. The most accessible is the Shrine of Mother Mary that provides a tranquil refuge to weary visitors. It is believed to be the tallest privately owned shrine in the country. The colossal statue crowns Jaleca Hills and offers a scenic view of Maasin shoreline.

If you have the luxury of time, pay a visit to the lovely Monte Cueva Asuncion de la Virgen Shrine (Shrine of Our Lady of the Assumption and Precious Blood of Jesus), a cave perched on top of a hill transformed into a humble chapel.

NEWS REPORT AFTER YOLANDA IN SOUTHERN LEYTE: FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Despite monster typhoon's fury, Southern Leyte records zero casualties November 9, 2013 1:44pm 5531 211 13 7943

In some miraculous way, the province of Southern Leyte suffered no casualties, even if it was on the path of super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) that unleashed 235 kph winds upon landfall on Friday in Eartern Visayas.

“Salamat sa Diyos zero casualties po ang Southern Leyte,” Governor Roger Mercado told "Balitanghali" host Jun Veneracion in an interview Saturday noon, amid reports that in neighboring Tacloban City alone, bodies that littered the streets there could easily add up to over 100.

Mercado said, the weather has already normalized and was beginning to become sunny in his province.

“Mainit na mainit na at normal na ang lahat we are now in the process of rehabilitation, clearing, appropriation and there are already municipalities na accessible na sa transportation,” he said.

“Roads sa mga highways natin passable na going to San Ricardo, Southern Leyte and then siguro mamayang hapon all our highways will be passable already,” he said, adding that most evacuees might be able to return to their houses.

Also, he said that in the City of Maasin, the province's capital, all evacuees have all returned to their homes.

But Mercado said they were having problems with electricity and telecommunications after the typhoon toppled several electric posts.

“Ang telecommunications dito sa Southern Leyte okay. Kaya lang hindi kami maka-contact sa Tacloban at tsaka sa Ormoc,” he said.

Due to this, overall damage assessment in Visayas has been sketchy with some areas being isolated or inaccessible to land and sea travel.

Mercado has sent men to Ormoc City and Tacloban City to help assess damage and verify earlier reports since communication lines have been cut.

A formal request will be sent on Monday to the Department of Social Welfare and Development for emergency shelters for other affected areas in Visayas, he said.

As of Saturday noon the DSWD recorded 944,586 families or 4.28 million people affected by Yolanda in 299 towns, 39 cities, 36 provinces in 9 regions.

Yolanda is the second super typhoon category to hit the Philippines this year. It is also the world's strongest typhoon of 2013 and is ranked fourth in the world's list of strongest typhoons.

Yolanda is expected to leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility shortly after Saturday noon. — Andrei Medina /LBG, GMA News


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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