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Webinar: The Augustinian Presence in the Philippines

Augustinian Presence

On the occasion of the 456th Kaplag or the finding of the image of Santo Niño de Cebu and the 456th anniversary of the arrival of the Augustinians, the University of San Agustin–Iloilo hosted a webinar titled “The Augustinian Presence in the Philippines” on April 28, 2021.

The first presenter was Fr. Arnel Dizon, OSA who discussed the topic of Augustinians in the Philippines’ Origins and charism specifically on the beginnings of the Augustinian Presence in the Philippines from 1565 to 1572.

Fr. Dizon significantly mentioned the first five Augustinians namely Andres de Urdaneta, Martin de Rada, Diego de Herrera, Pedro de Gamboa and Andres de Aguirre who started a successful apostolate in Cebu as soon as they landed in 1565 under the leadership of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi.

Significantly also related to the event in Cebu in 1565 was the finding of the image of the child Jesus, which Legaspi entrusted to the Augustinians. Legaspi ordered a chapel constructed on the site where the image was found. He also had an Augustinian monastery built and ordered that an annual procession commemorating the said event be organized annually.

He likewise instituted a confraternity, known today as Cofradia del Santo Niño de Cebu, patterned after the one existing in Mexico with he himself acting as its very first hermano mayor.

Finally, a fort was built and dedicated to the Most holy name of Jesus, and the town was named Villa del Santo Niño. On the part of the Augustinians, the new province was named after the Santissimo Nombre de Jesus.

The next presenter of the online conference was Rev. Fr. Czar Emmanuel Alvarez, OSA. He presented the Augustinian legacy to Panay.

In a recap by Fr. Rodel Magin, OSA, the host of the conference, mentioned that indeed the Augustinians were at the forefront in the evangelization of Panay.

The Augustinians were not only church and town builders. They were also promoters of Christian values and education. Worthy to note is the people’s devotion to the Santo Niño de Cebu, which paved the way for the foundation of the Sinulog festival to commemorate the giving of the sacred image of the Santo Niño to Queen Juana of Cebu in 1521 and its discovery in 1565.

In Iloilo, the devotion to Santo Niño paved the way of the foundation of the Dinagyang festival in the 1960s.

Watch the entire video conference below:

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