CEBU CITY, Philippines- Phra Thep meaning “Princess Angel” saw for herself the Statuette of the Infant Jesus Christ here. Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand, the sister of His Royal Highness King Vajiralongkorn visited yesterday the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino where the original image of Infant Jesus from Spain is kept.
A Buddhist, the visit of the well love Thailand Princess is itself historic as it happened before the Philippines will celebrate the 500 years of the birth of Christianity in the country. Ferdinand Magellan arrived in Cebu in 1521 from Spain where he converted the natives to Roman Catholicism.
The relic of the Santo Niño that is placed in a “Marble chapel” inside the Basilica was the gift of Magellan to his first converts, Rajah Humabon, and Reyna Juana. Rev. Fr. Ric Anthony Reyes, OSA, the Basilica museum director who toured Sirindhorn described the Princess as very attentive in their interaction. “She expressed amazement.
She asked many questions and the way I looked at her expression, she was really amazed on the propagation of our faith,” Reyes told reporters in a mixed of Cebuano of English after the Princess left with her delegation. Fr. Reyes said that the Princess did it for their “history class” in Thailand.
Most of the delegation looked, Thai military academy students. Princess Sirindhorn teaches history in the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy but it was not immediately confirmed if she still does at present. According to Reyes, the visit of the Princess is worthy of emulation to people especially the Catholics who should know more about the Catholic faith.
“It should serve as a challenge to us Catholics, to also know more about our own faith especially that we are celebrating our 500 years, ” Reyes said. Aside from touring around the Basilica, the Princess also saw for herself the Magellan’s Cross, the cross that was planted also by Magellan that symbolized the birth of Catholicism in the Philippines.
Princess Sirindhorn, 64, is well loved by the Thais as she is very down to earth and loves to talk to “common people” wherever she goes. Fluent in English, French and Mandarin Chinese, the Princess got her “Princess Angel” moniker as she loves to do charity work and is loving and caring for the poor. A predominantly Catholic country, the Philippines is known as “Asia’s Cradle of Christianity.”/Tonton Alcos Antogop