12 Things You Didn’t Know About Philippines and The Catholic Church
12. The largest human gathering from the creation of mankind was on January 18, 2015 at Rizal Park in Manila with an estimated 7 million people attending the Holy Mass celebrated by His Holiness Pope Francis.
11. The largest human cross was achieved by 13,266 participants organized by the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila on March 9, 2011. The cross was in two colours, black and white.
10. The biggest catholic church in East Asia measuring nearly 316.7148 sq. m is the Basilica of St. Martin de Tours in Taal, Batangas built by Augustinian Missionaries in 1572. It is large enough to house another church within it.
9. The oldest official pawnshop in the Philippines is established by the Archdiocese of Manila in 1882. Monte de Piedad y Caga de Ahorros, the first savings bank in 1882 also operated as a pawnshop providing collateral-backed loans for the people. (The first online pawnshop in Southeast Asia is established in the Philippines! Pretty cool, huh?)
8. The oldest university in Asia is UST, established in 1611. UST is older than Harvard in the United States.
7. Two popes have officially recognized the image of the Black Nazarene. In 1650, Pope Innocent X approved veneration of the statue and allowed a group of religious laymen to form in its name (the Confraternity of the Most Holy Jesus Nazarene), while in 1880, Pope Pius VII’s Apostolic Blessing allegedly gave plenary indulgences to those who prayed to it.
6. The Basilica of San Sebastian is the only all-steel church in Asia and was the second building to be made out of steel, next to the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
5. The largest bell in Asia hangs at the belfry of the 221-year old Panay Church. It is 7 feet in diameter and 7 feet in height, and weighs 10.4 tons. Its tolling can be heard as far as 8 km. away. It was casted from 70 sacks of coins donated by the townspeople as a manifestation of faith and thanksgiving.
4. There are approximately over 84,600,000 Roman Catholics in the Philippines or roughly 86% of the population.
3. The Philippines and Vatican are the only two countries in the world where divorce is illegal.
2. The Catholic Church supports the legalization of Marijuana. Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines states: “Catholic health care ethics, in fact, considers as morally justifiable the use of marijuana for terminal cancer patients in severe pain.”
1. The Philippines is the only predominantly Christian country in Asia as a result of Spanish colonization which lasted for over 377 years (1521-1898).