It was March 31, 1521 when the first Catholic Mass was said by Fr. Pedro de Valderama along the shores of Mazaua, Southern Leyte. From that time on, Filipino embrace Catholicism through colonization.
But Roman Catholic Church was not the first foreign religion that come to our Country. Before Catholicism, it was the religion of Islam that was established on 1380 by Karim ul’ Makhdum who is the first Arab Trader that reached Sulu Archipelago. Unlike Catholicism, Islam came to the Philippines not bringing sword but the come peacefully to make trades.
Though being a religion of Peace, it did not easily spread out in the Philippines due to the wide presence of Hindu and Buddhist Religion in our country that even date back from 600 AD at the time of Srivijaya and Majapahit empire. At this time, the belief in the Diwata and the role of the Babaylan in our society was held high like in how the present Filipino treat the Catholic Archbishops or Pope.
But the Spiritual and Religious belief of our ancestors doesn’t start with the belief on the Diwata. Prior to that era, our ancestors have already established their spirituality through the belief in the after life and the other worlds.
As member of Luntiang Aghama and as its Chief Priest, i wonder what would be the ancient religion of our ancestors. And these artifacts presented on the National Museum of Anthropology in the Philippines made sure that as inhabitant of this country even before colonization is that we have our own God to call with. This is what the Babaylan Tamblot fought for in 1621 to 1622 in Bohol. We are so glad that we have able to retrieve his teachings as it will echo its words today in our present situation during the time of Pandemic. Let us know now his words:
We people of Bohol like to live free. Now that we see our chance, let us not lose it. Of all Filipinos, we have the reputation, as well as of being the tallest and of the finest Filipino features, of being the stoutest hearted. Now the time has come to rid ourselves of the oppression of the Spaniards. Let us show our spirit and live up to our reputation.
The Gods of our fathers have provided us homes in these mountains and for all our needs. We are not dependent upon others. Food, yes and drink, too, are in the trees about us, and from the plants here our wives and daughters can weave clothes for our wear. Here happily we may pass our lives, freed from the burdens of paying tribute to the Spaniards and tithes to the church.
Our allies and friends will soon be coming to our support. Unfailing in courage, we have naught to fear. Who would not prefer death to the conditions of a Castilian conqueror?
See, rain is falling. Is not that evidence that the diwatas have not forgotten us? What could aid us more than this downpour which makes the firearms of our enemies useless? The battle is already half won.
All the archipelago is awaiting our action. If we win this day there is not a Bisayan who will not rebel. But if we lose those who desire to throw off the yoke of Spanish oppression must continue on under it, and we ourselves, whoever do not wisely choose rather to die fighting here, will have again to place our necks under that same yoke, harder than ever to bear.
And today at this year of 2020 as we continue our battle for our own identity in the names of the Old Gods and Goddess that our ancestors have called upon. They might not left us a holy scripture for their teachings but now they are working with us right now and assisting the Filipino people to live their lives. And we thank all the people who hear the call and make the old Anito live again in this world.
Through your coming many other old Gods will follow to resurrect. And we all Hail you Welcome!