Bolinao stakes claim to Mass held in 1324
BOLINAO, PANGASINAN -- Was a Catholic Mass held here 200 years
before Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the Philippines?
Memorial markers were put up in front of the town’s church
and on Santiago Island,
claiming that in 1324, Franciscan missionaries led by an Italian priest named Odorico took refuge in this
town during a typhoon.
The markers said Odorico celebrated a thanksgiving Mass in honor
of the safe journey of the mission. Odorico also baptized natives during his brief stay here.
The markers, which were put up in July, were donated by Italian
priest Luigi Malamocco, who hails from Odorico’s hometown of Friuli, Italy.
Malamocco, 62, the chief financier of Villa Brunora, a retreat
house in Batangas City, published a booklet
that claimed the first Mass in the country was held in Bolinao and not on Limasawa
Island or in any other place in the country.
Historical accounts recognize Limasawa in Southern
Leyte as the venue of the first Mass held on March 31, 1521, Easter Sunday.
Another claimant to hosting the first Mass was Butuan City on behalf of its old Masao (Mazaua)
The National Historical Institute, however, settled the dispute
on the venue of the first Mass in favor of Limasawa.