Governor Victorino Dennis Socrates (2nd from left), along with Bishop Socrates Mesiona (2nd from right), led the opening ceremony of the photo exhibit titled "A Journey of Faith: 400 Years of Christianity in Palawan (1623-2023)" at the Events Center of SM City Puerto Princesa on Tuesday, April 18. | Photo from the Palawan Provincial Information Office

The celebration of the 400 years of Christianity in Palawan continues as a photo exhibit showcasing the history of the Catholic faith opened on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, at the Events Center of SM City Puerto Princesa.

Entitled “A Journey of Faith: 400 Years of Christianity in Palawan (1623-2023)—A Photo Exhibit,” the opening ceremony was led by Governor Victorino Dennis Socrates, along with Bishop Socrates Mesiona of the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa (AVPP) and Fr. Arnold Mendaro, who represented Bishop Broderick Pabillo of the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay (AVT).

During the program, Governor Socrates gave a message in which he looked back at the arrival of Spanish missionaries in Palawan and their contribution to the community.

“Oo nga, sa katunayan mayroon ng kabihasnan sa ating kapuluan noong dumating ang mga Español sa Cuyo noong taong 1620. Gayunpaman hindi rin maitatangging nagsimula ang pagiging isang sambayanan ng ngayo’y sambayanang Palaweño sa pagpupunyagi ng mga misyonerong Español,” the governor said.

(Yes, indeed, there was already civilization in our islands when the Spanish arrived in Cuyo in 1620. However, we cannot deny that the Palaweño community began to take shape through the efforts of Spanish missionaries.)

Mendaro highlighted that the exhibit is a testament of faith while Mesiona underscored the contribution of Christianity to the culture of Palawan,

“Hindi lang po nilalarawan ang mga istruktura, ang tao at pananampalataya, anumang nakikita natin diyan hindi lang nilalarawan kung ano ang nangyari noon, isa itong testamento na ang pananampalataya ay regalo at ito ay ating pinahahalagahan ngayon,” said Mendaro.

(The exhibit does not only depict the structures, the people, and the faith, but whatever we see there is not just a depiction of what happened in the past, it is a testament that faith is a gift and something we value today.)

“Kahit papaano, even looking at it on a secular point of view ay hindi po talaga natin maaaring tanggalin ang kontribusyon ng Christianity sa pagbuo ng isang sambayanang Palaweño. Kahit papaano ay may kontribusyon ang pananampalataya nating kristiyanismo sa kulturang Palaweño,” said Mesiona.

(To some extent, even from a secular point of view, we cannot discount the contribution of Christianity in shaping the Palaweño community. Christianity has contributed to the culture of Palawan.)

The photo exhibit is divided into three parts: The Arrival of the Spaniards and Onset of Christianity in Palawan, The Catholic Faith in Early Years, and The Catholic Faith in Palawan at Present, exhibit chair and chief of staff of the Office of the Governor, Ceasar Sammy Magbanua, presented.

After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, a flash mob was also held, dancing to the celebration’s theme song.

The provincial government of Palawan, together with the city government of Puerto Princesa, AVPP, AVT, and SM City Puerto Princesa, organized the said exhibit, which will run until April 29, 2023, and is expected to be conducted in various municipalities in the province as part of the celebration of the 400th anniversary of Christianity in Palawan.