March 31 as Southern Leyte's 'First Mass Day' approved

THE House of Representatives approved on final reading a bill seeking to declare March 31 of every year as a special non-working holiday in the whole province of Southern Leyte, in commemoration of the first mass held in Limasawa Island to be known as the "First Mass Day."

With 216-0 votes, the House unanimously approved House Bill 5060, principally authored by Southern Leyte Representative Roger Mercado.

Mercado said the bill seeks to memorialize the first mass held in the country 496 years ago at Limasawa Island in Southern Leyte.

“The approval of the bill is a confirmation that the State should recognize the significance of March 31 as an important date for its religious belief, considering that the first Mass of the Christian faith was held on March 31, 1521 at Limasawa Island in Southern Leyte,” he said.

The first Catholic mass in the Philippines was held on March 31, 1521, Easter Sunday, and was officiated by Fr. Pedro de Valderrama.

Mercado said the island of Limasawa is considered the birthplace of the Catholic Church in the country since the first mass was held along its shores. (PNA)