Bok backing claims Butuan as site of 1st mass launched

BUTUAN CITY – A book backing claims that this city was the site of the first Catholic mass in the country launched Wednesday afternoon at the Balanghai Hotel here.

The book “Beyond the Pale: Limasawa Hoax, A Tragedy in Philippine History” is authored by Dr. Potenciano R. Malvar.

Malvar is a local historian and a long-time advocate in recognizing Butuan City as the site where the first Easter Sunday mass in the country was celebrated in 1521.

Representatives from various sectors, including the religious, academe, and the business community, graced the launch.

In his message, Malvar acknowledged the support of advocates working to have Butuan officially recognized by the national government as the site of the historic religious rite in 1521.

“This humble work is dedicated to you as we continue our advocacy and dedicated works,” he said.

In March, Malvar filed criminal complaints against the members of the Mojares Panel, a group designated by the government last year to finally put to rest the issue surrounding the first Catholic mass.

The panel, led by Dr. Resil B. Mojares, recommended that the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) sustain previous conclusions indicating that the first Catholic mass in the country was celebrated in Limasawa Island in Southern Leyte in 1521.

In July last year, the NHCP adopted the recommendation of the Mojares panel.

Catholic priest Fr. Joesilo C. Amalla, also an advocate to recognize Butuan as the site of the first mass, graced Wednesday’s book launch.

“I am glad about the dedication of Dr. Malvar. This book will help strengthen our advocacy,” Amalla told Philippine News Agency on Thursday.

The book mentions the life of Ferdinand Magellan, especially on his travels in the 1500s, as recorded by Antonio Pigafetta.

Pigafetta was a 30-year-old Italian scholar who joined the expedition of Magellan during the time.

Some of Pigafetta’s manuscripts on the Magellan expedition were presented in the book as a result of the research done by Malvar.

Other accounts, such as the contract between Magellan and the King of Spain in 1518, the King’s command to Magellan, and the orders in the contract of Magellan–both dated 1519–were also presented in the book.

Malvar claimed that the documents are vital to prove that Magellan and his men were in Butuan.

He also discussed four other expeditions after Magellan, including that of Loaysa in 1525, Saavedra in 1528, Villalobos in 1543, and the Legaspi in 1565.

He said he personally made all the research works and studies in Spain, Portugal, Italy, and in the Boston and Yale Libraries in the United States.

In the book, Malvar sought to prove that based on the manuscripts and works of Pigafetta, as well as the other important documents related to the expedition of Magellan he obtained, the first Easter mass in the country was celebrated in Butuan.

The book also presented the different findings made by panels formed by the government before the formation of the Mojares Panel.

The other panels, aside from that of Mojares, include the Gancayco Panel in 1998 and the Legarda Panel in 2009. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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