The recovery of domestic tourism – Manila Bulletin
One of the biggest deprivations for many Filipinos that resulted from long lockdowns during the pandemic has been their inability to visit their favorite places of worship. Online masses and other religious services were very poor substitutes for their physical presence in their respective parishes and at major pilgrimage shrines. Another way to substantially promote domestic tourism is to ensure that Roman Catholics, the majority of Filipinos, can resume their age-old practice of visiting religious shrines throughout the archipelago. As can be read on Wikipedia, the Philippines is the capital of Catholic pilgrimage in Asia, owning hundreds of ancient churches, most of which were established between the 15the in the nineteenth century. Paoay Church, Manila Cathedral, Maragondon Church, Manaoag Shrine, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Baclayon Church, Panay Church, Loboc Church, Church of Daraga, Boljoon are among the most popular pilgrimage sites for Roman Catholics (representing around 80 percent of the population). Church, Church of Guian, Church of Calasiao, Church of Paete, Church of Lucban, Church of San Sebastian of Manila, Church of Jimenez, Church of Barasoain, Church of Antipolo, Church of Baclaran, Carmelite Monastery of Lipa, Sanctuary of Padre Pio in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, San Josémaria Escriva Sanctuary in Girona, Tarlac, among many others. To prepare for a boom in religious tourism among Filipino Catholics, the LGUs of the municipalities in which these pilgrimage destinations are located should do their utmost to transform their communities into bakuna bubbles. Catholics who have been deprived of religious services for nearly two years will have a huge pent-up demand to practice their respective devotions, especially during the upcoming Christmas season, Holy Week and the pilgrimage month of May. Visits to these many shrines can boost domestic tourism in the last quarter of 2021 and the first half of 2022.
In addition, Filipinos belonging to other major religions such as Islam and Buddhism or who are animists will also begin to visit non-Christian shrines such as Seng Guan Temple, Sheik KarimoMakhdum Mosque, Taluksangay Mosque, Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque, Masjid Dimaukom Mosque, Mount Banahaw, burial caves of the mummy of Kabayan. Kamhantik Limestone Tombs, Bud Bongao, Mount Apo, Mount Bulusan, Mount Pulag, Caliao Cave, Mount Kalalungan, Mount Matutum, Mount Makiling, Mount Kanlaon, Mount Arayat, Mayon Volcano, Mount Pinatubo, and Mount Kitanglad. The LGUs responsible for these sites should also aspire to qualify their respective localities as bakuna bubbles to facilitate the freer movement of pilgrims to these famous places. Increasingly, airlines and tourism-related industries are asking LGU officials to allow lesser restrictions for fully vaccinated people and simply meet entry requirements for passengers, including shorter quarantines. . Alex Reyes, Vice President of Cebu Pacific, Ricky Isla, CEO of Air Asia, and Gilbert Sta. Maria presented a unified proposal to offer incentives to fully vaccinated travelers in domestic destinations without having to bear the additional financial burden of an RT-PCR test.
There is also sufficient time to prepare for the annual religious and other festivals for the whole year 2022. Some of the most famous of these are the Sinulog festival in Cebu, the Kadayawan festival in Davao, the Ati-Atihan festival in ‘Aklan, the Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo, the Panabenga Festival of Baguio, the Moriones Festival of Marinduque, the Pahiyas Festival of Quezon Province, the Obando de Bulacan Fertility Rites Festival, the Pintados de Leyte Festival, the Sandugo Festival de Bohol, the Ibalong Festival of Bicol, the Masskara Festival of Bacolod and the Giant Lantern Festival of Pampanga. Add to that the ubiquitous religious processions during Holy Week and the Flores de Mayo and Santacruzanin processions in May. These are all potential attractions for domestic tourism in their respective constituencies. Again, LGU authorities have a key role to play in ensuring that these festivals can take place safely under the conditions of a bakuna bubble.
Another opportunity to develop religious tourism for at least the next two years, to coincide with the strong rebound in domestic tourism, is the promotion of the delayed celebration of 500 years of Christianity which spanned the period from November 18, 2019. as of March 31, 2021., almost at the height of all the strict containments caused by the pandemic. There may be enough reasons why Filipinos still want to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines. What are two years behind in celebrating a period spanning 500 years? What communities can possibly benefit from an influx of Filipino Catholics and other Christians in the Philippines still eager to celebrate 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines, a historic moment too precious to be sacrificed to the evils of the pandemic? Through the Kalinangan Youth Foundation, Inc., we have access to a valuable list of all possible sites that can be visited by domestic travelers to celebrate 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines. Let’s briefly list these locations.
- Arrival of Magellan in the Philippine Islands. He sighted Samar Island on March 16, 1521 and landed the next day on Homonhon Island, now part of Guiuan, in eastern Samar. Ferdinand Magellan is considered the world’s first circumnavigator.
- First mass in Limawasa. The majority opinion of historians considers that the first Mass was celebrated in the south of Leyte on March 11, 1521. It was celebrated by Father Pedro de Valderrama along the banks of what Antonio Pigafetta’s Journals called “Mazaua”. “. (In a future article in this series, we will discuss an alternative perspective that could effectively broaden the prospects for domestic tourism in the same way that there are alternative sites in the Holy Land for certain events in the life of Christ) .
- Rajah Humabon and his wife, Hara Humama, along with 800 of their subjects in Cebu, were baptized on April 14, 1521. They took the first names of Carlos and Juana.
- The Santo Nino of Cebu was brought by Ferdinand Magellant along with the “Ecce Homo” and the “Birhensa Cota saSugbo” in 1521 as a gift to Rajah Humabon and Hara Humamay. The image of the Ecce Homo was found on August 20, 1571 at the burial place of Rajah Humabon while the image of the Virgin was found floating inside a well located in Fort San Pedro, Cebu circa 1572-1575.
- More than a week passed after the rediscovery of the image of Santo Nino on May 8, 1565 when Miguel Lopez de Legaspi initiated the founding of the first Spanish colony in the Philippines by naming it “Villa del Santissimo Nombre de Jesus” in Cebu.
- The Diocese of Manila was created on February 6, 1579, dedicated to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Fray Domingo de Salazar who arrived in 1581, became the first bishop. The first synod of bishops took place in 1582 when the diocese was elevated to the rank of archdiocese.
- The wooden Black Madonna in Nuestra Senora de Guia Church (now Ermita Church) is considered to be the oldest extant Marian statue in the Philippines. On May 19, 1571, the local rulers Sulayman III and Rajah Matanda ceded the kingdom of Tondo to the Spanish Empire. In 1578, Philip II of Spain issued a royal decree invoking Our Lady of Guidance as “sworn patron” of Manila.
- The University of Santo Tomas is the oldest university in Asia, founded in 1611 (25 years older than Harvard University in the United States). It received university status in 1645.
- The three oldest dioceses established outside of Manila were the Diocese of Cebu, the Diocese of Nueva Caceres (in the city of Naga) and the Diocese of Nueva Segovia, all founded on August 14, 1595.
- The statue of Our Lady of Manaoag is the oldest Marian pilgrimage site in the province of Pangasinan. It’s a 17e-th century ivory and silver image of the Virgin Mary with the Baby Jesus. Documents from 1610 attest that a farmer returning home heard a mysterious female voice and saw on the top of a tree veiled in clouds an apparition of the Virgin Mary, holding a rosary in her right hand and l baby Jesus in his left arm. In accordance with the instructions of the Blessed Virgin, a chapel was built on the site of the apparition at the top of the hill.
- The oldest Nipa and Bamboo Church is Santo Nino Church in Cebu, founded by Fray Andres de Urdaneta, OSA on April 28, 1565, the day the image of the Holy Child was found in a partially burnt down hut.
- After gaining a foothold in Cebu in 1565, the Spaniards pushed north, led by Martin de Goiti, defeating Muslim leader Sulayman and retaking his fortress of Maynilad. In 1571, Legaspi built the Spanish walled city of Intramuros, making Manila the capital of the islands.
- The Franciscans (1581), the Jesuits (1581), the Dominicans (1587) and the Récollets (1606) followed the arrival of the Augustinians in 1565. the title of Notre-Dame de la Paix et du Bon Voyage, because of the successful voyages of galleons.
- San Juan de Dios Hospital in Pasay was started in the Philippines by the Order of Friars Minor in 1578.
- The Basilica of Taal, canonically known as the Minor Basilica of Saint Martin of Tours, is located in the town of Taal, in Batangas. It is considered the largest church in the Philippines and Asia, measuring 88.6 meters (291 feet) long and 48 meters (157 feet) wide.
- The oldest stone churches are San Agustin (1607), Quiapo (1160, Majayjay (1649), Pillila (1673) and Baras (1686).
- The Dominican Church of Santo Domingo in Quezon City houses the statue of Our Lady of Naval Manila. The victories against the Dutch invaders were attributed by the Spanish and Kapampangan troops to the intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary who received the title of Our Lady of the Naval of Manila
- The Monasterio Real de Sta. Clara, the first monastery of its kind in Asia, was founded by the Poor Clares in 1621. Its first superior was Madre Jeronima de la Asuncion. It was first established in Intramuros and was transferred to Katipunan with the remains of the foundress. Those wishing to obtain the original list of historic sites published by Kalinangan Youth Foundation, Inc. can contact [email protected]
It is hoped that Catholic parish organizations across the country as well as travel agencies will take the initiative to organize group pilgrimages that will cover at least some of the historical sites above in order to belatedly celebrate 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines. . As these group pilgrimages for Filipino tourists are perfected in terms of travel logistics and accommodation, the country is expected to be ready by 2024 for international pilgrimages of Catholics and other Christians from around the world. In Asia alone, there are an estimated 160 million Christians in the Indo-Pacific countries outside the Philippines. With proper marketing efforts, these Christians can be motivated to visit the Philippines as the birthplace of Christianity in Asia. We can position ourselves as a center for Christian pilgrimages in this part of the world, in a manner analogous to what the Holy Land is for religious pilgrims all over the world. To be continued
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