During the semester break, some of the fathers and brothers from the Houses of Formation set out on an expedition for Limasawa Island, a municipality in Southern Leyte, Filipinas. Since most of our brothers were in their holidays, it turned out that 8 non-Filipino father and brothers were destined to go to this sacred spot, where the first Mass in the Filipinas was celebrated, almost 500 years ago.
Along the 650km way towards this historical island, we were able to visit many churches and popular sites along the way. Our team has to pass by down the Southern Tagalog and the Bicol Region, where we were able to visit the famous Basilica of Our Lady of Peñafrancia in Naga City. Of course, we won’t let this trip pass without visiting the famous Cagsawa Ruins, where a town used to stand at the foot of Mayon Volcano.
Arriving at Matnog Port, Sorsogon, we crossed the sea to Northern Samar. We stopped by Maasin Cathedral, Southern Leyte and also visited the Monte Cueva, a cave-chapel. there, the only sound that could be hears was that of the water trickling down from the rocks above and hitting the ground. Then, we visited Macrohon, where the image of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace was reported to have shed tears in the year 2015.
Finally, the long awaited day arrived when we set out for Limasawa. From Padre Burgos, where a generous priest accommodated us in his parish, we sailed by boat towards Limasawa Island. Arriving on the island, we have to use public motor bikes, the only means of transport on the whole island, to the Shrine of the First Mass.We were fortunate to be able to celebrate Mass at the chapel, and climbed a hill where a cross was erected to commemorate an earlier cross planted by Magallanes- the first Christian Cross in the Filipinas. Of course, we were able to enjoy the beautiful beaches Filipinas generously offered us.
Going back to our house in Batangas, we (once more) passed by San Juanico Bridge, said to be the longest bridge in the Filipinas and stopped for a while in Bicol to get some Pili Trees and plant them here in Lipa.
We thank God for the opportunity to visit Limasawa Islands. Last 2012, the Bishops of the Filipinas announced a novena of nine years to commemorate the 500 years of Christianity in these blessed archipelago. During the fourth year of novena, we were able to admire the beauty of missionary adventure right there in Limasawa. May this serve as an impetus for us to be a new generation of adventurous missionaries.