Briones: Sinulog 2021

I THOUGHT Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña may have jumped the gun when he announced that the king of Spain and the pope are expected to grace the 500th anniversary of Ferdinand Magellan’s arrival in the archipelago.

That Sinulog 2021 will be held in March to coincide with the Portuguese navigator’s sighting of the eastern coast of Samar.

That the date is important because it was when, according to history, Magellan had told the natives that he was sent by the Spanish king to spread the faith and introduce them to the “True Religion.”

And thus, fast forward almost five centuries, the Philippines is only one of two Asian countries where Roman Catholicism is the main religion--Timor L’Este being the other--and is the fourth largest Christian country on Earth.

The mayor said King Felipe VI “has expressed interest in coming to Cebu because the latter has plans to visit all the places Magellan visited before he was killed in the Battle of Mactan” to mark the 500th anniversary of Magellan’s attempt to circumnavigate the globe.

However, Osmeña clarified that the religious aspect of Sinulog will still be held in January of that year, adding that only the cultural celebration will take place in March.

But until the Spanish Embassy or the Spanish Government formally announces what it has in store to commemorate the year it replaced and brutally repressed the many different religious beliefs the people of these islands held before the mass conversion, Osmeña should have kept mum.

I mean, it is very presumptuous on his part.

First of all, he is working on the assumption that he will still be mayor that year. I’m not saying he won’t be, but many things can happen between now and 2021. Like next year’s elections, for example. (Now who’s being presumptuous?)

Osmeña also said that the church will take care of sending the invite to Pope Francis.

Mind you, for a sector that is very vocal on many issues like divorce and contraception, it has been awfully quiet on this one, although it’s never too early to send word to the Vatican that the pope’s presence on this occasion will be most appreciated considering the prelate’s busy schedule. Then again, maybe it has, and it just hasn’t said anything about it until it receives confirmation because it doesn’t want to get the people’s hopes up.

And I know many of the faithful are looking forward to March 16, 2021. And I’m pretty sure they’ll be ecstatic if the pope decides to show up and maybe curious if King Felipe arrives with his entourage.

Although I don’t know why they want to celebrate the year we were robbed of our true heritage.
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