Sunday, May 23, 2010

Month of May:National Heritage Month and the Book of Joshua

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

I waited awhile at the NAIA 3 airport last Friday (May 21) because Friday is my coding day and couldn't drive until 10 in the morning. I looked around and found this tarp advertisement. By virtue of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Proclamation No. 439 which took effect last August 11, 2003,the month of May was constituted as the National Heritage Month. National Heritage celebration aims to create among the people a consciousness, respect, and pride for the legacies of Filipino cultural history, and love of country.

It was so fitting that my Sunday School lesson for next Sunday, May 30 also deals with leaving a "beautiful" legacy. In the scriptural account in the Book of Joshua (Old Testament), the Lord announced that Israel would cross the Jordan as they had crossed the Red Sea 40 years earlier. The Lord gave special instructions about what was to happen during the crossing:

"Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man, And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night" (Josh. 4:2,3). That lodging place was Gilgal (4:20).

"That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever" (Josh. 4:6,7).

The stones were to be a monument and a memorial, providing an opportunity for Israelites to teach their children what great things God had done for them at the Red Sea and at Jordan (4:7,23)".


For this year's National Heritage theme “Preserving the Gift of Faith”, the stones (or memorial or monument) that were left for Filipinos to remember and preserve the legacy of faith are the thirty - three (33)churches built during the occupation of the Spanish missionaries that comprised the National Cultural Treasures.

I had been to a few of them (the pictures are mine but captions were copied from Philippine Daily Inquirer article "National Heritage Month trains spotlight on conservation of 33 ancient churches" by Lito B. Zulueta)


Cagsawa, site of the ruins of an old church buried by the eruption of Mayon Volcano in the early 19th century.

Balayan, Batangas—Parish church of the Immaculate Conception, built in the early 19th century by the secular clergy, with later additions by the Augustinian Recollects


Boljo-on, Cebu—Parish church of Patrocinio de Maria, built in the late 18th to the early 19th centuries under the direction of the Augustinians


Loboc, Bohol—Parish Church of San Pedro and San Pablo, built in the 17th and 18th centuries by the Jesuits, enlarged in the 18th and 19th centuries by the Augustinian Recollects

Majayjay, Laguna—Parish church of San Gregorio Magno, built in the early 18th century by the Franciscans

Maragondon, Cavite—Parish church of the Assumption of Our Lady, built in the early 18th century by the Jesuits, with later additions by the Seculars and the Augustinian Recollects

Tanay, Rizal—Parish church of San Ildefonso, built in the second half of the 18th century by the Franciscans


Daraga, the Nuestra Señora de la Porteria (Our Lady of the Gate).Built in 1772, it is the oldest church in Albay, noted for its vibrant baroque façade with intricate designs carved from volcanic rocks.

Tayabas, Quezon—Basilica of Saint Michael, built in the 18th-19th centuries by the Franciscans

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