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Christ in the Far East
by Ernesto del Castillo
11/06/07
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When the Spanish Conquistador Magellan circumnavigated the globe and "discovered" an archipelagic group of islands which he renamed Philippines (in honor of King Philip of Spain) and claimed as a colony of Spain in Yr1521, he found the Philippines already inhabited by civilized settlers (viewed as a mix race of Malay stock intermingled with Aborigines having originated from Mainland Asia centuries earlier) - and ruled by fiercely independent small Kingdoms attending to their own respective Subjects. Ancestors of the present-day multi-racial Filipino had been observed paying homage to "Mother Nature" as the Origin-of-Life.

The Spanish Colonization of the Philippines was said to be for God, Gold, & Glory. Alongside the conquest and consolidation of small Principalities into one Central Government, Spanish Friars were likewise aggressive in the propagation of the Christian Catholic Faith. Since then, majority of Filipinos are baptized Roman Catholics - nominally, at the least.

Despite the presence of a Muslim Minority, Christianity had (and continuous to have) a dominant influence upon Philippine Society. And its Christian Mores have been inculcated into the Filipino Culture. Consequent to Spanish Colonization, many Philippine Towns & Cities had been named after Catholic Saints and had been celebrating their own annual Fiestas on the Feast Day of their respective Patron Saint. Christmas Day is celebrated by all as "Family Reunion Day" - despite distance and circumstance. Christmas Holidays in the Philippines is observed to be the longest "Gift-Giving Season" in the world. On the other hand, the Lenten Season (most solemly observed during Holy Week and peaking up joyfully on Easter Sunday) is seen as a period of Spiritual Cleansing & Renewal for the Christian Faithful. Catholic Parish Churches (all throughout the country) welcome all "People-of-Goodwill" in pious disposition to enter these Houses-of-Prayer - with no Entrance Fee. Eucharistic Mass is celebrated every day in all Catholic Churches - open to all. Despite the Constitutional Provision on the Separation of Church & State, the Philippines' People Power was said to have Divine Intervention - in response to the call of the Catholic Bishops for the Filipino People to collectively express their Sovereign Will.

In search for a better life, the Filipino Christian believes in Jesus as his true Beacon-of-Light.

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