Magellan tastes Pinoy generosity, bravery


BalikBayani République | Tony Alabastro

Filipinos mourn the passing, due to illness, of US-educated Cornelius Cardinal Sim, 69, Brunei’s first Prince of Church, on Trinity Sunday eve, in Taiwan.

Pope Francis, who gave Cardinal Sim his red hat in November 2020, expressed “grat-itude for Cardinal Sim’s faithful witness to the Gospel, his generous service to the church in Brunei and to the Holy See”.

Cardinal Sim told Church of Our Lady of Assumption flock on flight departure’s eve: “Tomorrow, (May 8, 2021), Sayonara for a while.

“God opened a door and I walked through it. God is good, very gracious. Going to Taiwan will consolidate the healing we all pray for. God began the work, to be sus-tained, stabilized, and strengthened in six months I will be away,”

Cardinal Sim, who headed the Catholic community of 20,000 expatriate workers, mostly Filipinos, was ordained in Brunei in 1989.

From August 1, 2021, outbound passengers, including citizens, residents, foreign workers, dependents, and essential (business) travelers, are required to get two vac-cine doses before leaving and returning to Brunei.

May’s last Saturday, last day of opt-in AstraZeneca Covid19 vaccination program, headlines a Bruneian technician dozing overnight in his car, and gets awaken at 3am by people queueing for first jabs at National Stadium.

Pinoy talk on Magellan’s quincentennial voyage caps Royal Brunei Armed Forces Jubilee/ Hari Gawai Harvest Festival weekend: Borneo island’s first cardinal passing on as residents rush to vaccination centers after red Supermoon follows total lunar eclipse.

Portuguese explorer, soldier and navigator Ferdinand Magellan’s voyage from west to east proves the world isn’t flat, Philippine Ambassador to Brunei Christopher Montero tells a cozy, French-speaking audience at Alliance Francaise Brunei.

“There are no written accounts from natives, only Venetian scholar-chronicler Pi-gafetta’s narration showing the Philippines’ role in discovering the world is round, and the hospitality and generosity of our ancestors to foreigners in Homonhon,” Montero says.

Our islanders nourished with fresh food and water the sick and starving, (rat-and-sawdust-diet) survivors who crossed the Pacific Ocean in four months.

“Cebu chieftain Lapu Lapu showed how his men fought an April 21,1521 Mactan battle where Magellan died, but Pigafetta didn’t mention Lapu Lapu in his accounts.

“After Magellan’s voyage, the Spaniards returned and colonized the Philippines,” says Montero.

French Ambassador to Brunei Christian Ramage says “nobody knew about the Philip-pines when Magellan sailed from the west to find a sea route to the rich Spice islands in search for pepper, cinnamon and saffron as valuable as gold.”

To illustrate the envoy’s French lecture on Century of Discoveries and Expansion, Ramage shows mural picturing Sultan Bolkiah’s lavish Brunei Bay reception welcom-ing Magellan’s remnants, the first Europeans to visit Brunei in 1521.

Brunei state university Professor Dr. Rommel Curaming says “Magellan’s voyage was part of global transformation and symbolic of ‘we can do’ and ‘against all odds spirit.’

“In terms of celebration, it showed the capacity of the Philippines to defend itself.

“Are we celebrating the death of a person, Magellan’s?” says Curaming.

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