TO COMMEMORATE BATANES BICENTENNIAL
From the Batanes Chronicle (Vol III No.1, 1983 issue),
A YICA publication in the 1980s
Representative of the Ivatan communities in Batanes and in Manila have
designated May 7 and June 26, 1983 for the commemoration of the 200th
anniversary (bicentennial) of the permanent founding of the Catholic Church,
and the establishment of centralized civil government in Batanes.
The bicentennial commemorates the final and successful founding of Christianity
on Batanes soil by two Dominican missionaries, and the establishment of
centralized civil government by the Spanish of Batanes on 26 June 1783.
On that day, a tall wooden cross was planted on the plains of Basco, in
front of what is now the Basco Cathedral, and the civil governor inaugurated
the formal annexation of Batanes to the Philippines.
Although the bicentennial date is 26 June, the Batanes commemoration has
been set for 7 May in order to take advantage of the good summer weather.
Ivatans from Luzon and other places who wants to take part in the celebration
in Batanes are expected to have a better chance of being there under fine
weather in May rather in June.
The Manila Ivatan community, however, will hold the commemorative celebrations
on the actual bicentennial date of 26th June. The Manila celebration will
consists of a series of religious and cultural activities highlighted
by a weeklong cultural exhibition at Santo Domingo in Quezon City. A general
get-together for religious and cultural program and picnic has been scheduled
to take place on the Santo Domingo grounds on 26 June.
Spearheading the planning and preparation for the commemorative festivities
is the Bicentennial Council headed by its president, Atty. Silvino Agudo.
The council is composed of representatives of all the Batanes towns and
some members at large.
A kick-off activity for fund raising to support the projects and activities
connected with the bicentennial was held at the Aquinas School at the
Sanctuario de Santo Cristo at Blumentritt Street, San Juan del Monte,
Metro Manila, on 27 February 1983. The kick-off activities were opened
with a midday Mass concelebrated by Rev. Fr. Segundo Vicente, O.P., Vicar
of the Provincial Dominican Province of the Most Holy Rosary in the Philippines,
and Rev. Fr. Rey Adalid, O.P., himself an Ivatan.
The Mass was followed by luncheon and a program where main proponent of
the activity, Mrs. Josefina Castro Valera, Co-chairperson of the committee
on Ways and Means, presented to the Ivatan assembly per plea for personal
and financial support for the bicentennial. Dr. Francisco Roman is the
Chairman Committee on Ways and Means.
Present on the occasion was Assemblyman Simon Gato who spoke in glowing
terms about the virtues of Ivatans, and made the public know his enthusiasm
for the bicentennial saying that this is the first time Ivatans have ever
thought of commemorating the beginnings of their present civil and cultural
conditions much of which Ivatans should be proud of.
Members of the Manila-based Council for the Commemoration of the Bicentennial
of the Permanent Founding of the Catholic Church in Batanes (for short
Bicentennial Council) are: Atty. Silvino Agudo, President; Dr. Florentino
H. Hornedo, vice president, and chairman for the Committees on Promotions;
Rev. Alfonso Loreto,O.P., secretary; Rev. Fr. Rey Adalid, O.P. Treasurer;
Mrs. Rucela B. Acacio, Mrs. Ana G. Agagan, Atty. Antonio Alcantara, Sr.
Pia Alcazar, O.P., Mr. Elias Carongoy, Atty. Carlos Castaņo, Bro. N. Comaya,
O.P., Mr. Pedro Doplito, Atty. Antonio Escalante, Mrs. Agapita Fagar,
Dr. Francisco J. Roman, Fr. Ermito de Sagon, O.P., Mrs. Eutropia H. Silvestre,
and Mrs. Josefina C. Valera, members.
Advisers are Msgr. Mario Baltazar, O.P., Prelate of the Prelature Nullius
of Batanes-Babuyanes; Very Rev. Fr. Secundino Vicente, O.P., Vicar Provincial
of the Province of the Most Holy Rosary in the Philippines; and Very Rev.
Fr. Thomas F. Lopez, O.P., provincial of the Dominican Province of the
Elders of the Ivatan community in Metro Manila have been designated as
body of consultants to the Bicentennial Council. FHH.