President Benigno Aquino III will lead tomorrow (January 6) the bicentennial celebration of the birthday of Melchora Aquino, or Tandang Sora, which will highlighted by the re-interment of the heroine’s remains at the Tandang Sora shrine at Banlat Road in Quezon City.
President Aquino, who has been invited as guest of honor and speaker, will be joined by Mayor Herbert Bautista and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte in the commemorative program and re-interment ceremony jointly prepared by the QC government and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP).
The commemorative program will be highlighted by a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tandang Sora shrine that will be participated by President Aquino, Mayor Bautista and Vice Mayor Belmonte.
The re-interment of Tandang Sora’s remains will be held between 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. The ceremony will include the blessing of the heroine’s tomb and firing of the 21-volley of musketry.
Rev. Fr. Antonio Tobias will officiate the blessing of tomb.
Tandang Sora’s remains were exhumed on the eve of her 200th birthday at the Himlayang Pilipino which has been the heroine’s burial grounds for the past 42 years. The Himlayang Pilipino administration, through its president, Alberto Albano, recently acceded to the request of the Quezon City government and the family of Tandang Sora to have the heroine’s remains exhumed for permanent burial in her birthplace.
“The move of Himlayang Pilipino is for the greater good,” said Albano.
Meanwhile, in an earlier statement, Mayor Bautista said the events that will transpire during the Tandang Sora bicentennial celebration shall serve as a big step towards the development of the Tandang Sora area.
“Tandang Sora is part of the boom at the Visayas Avenue area,” said Mayor Bautista.
After exhumation, Tandang Sora’s remains were placed in a flag-draped wooden receptacle to be carried by a horse-drawn carriage during a funeral procession from the Himlayang Pilipino to Quezon City Hall.
Mayor Bautista and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte will lead city officials in welcoming the remains of Tandang Sora, which will arrive today (January 5) at the QC Hall.
Military and police personnel will provide escort to the funeral procession.
In addition, about 100 traffic enforcers and 20 motorcycle units from the QC department of public order and safety have also been mobilized to direct traffic flow during the funeral procession.
At QC Hall, there will be a funeral ceremony where people will have the opportunity to offer their final respects to Tandang Sora, who has been recognized for her exceptional heroic contributions to the struggle for Philippine Independence despite her advanced age
City hall officials will be joined by descendants of Tandang Sora, especially officers and members of the “Mga Apo ni Melchora (Tandang Sora) Aquino Association Inc., in welcoming the heroine’s remains.
An overnight vigil will also be held at QC Hall hosted by the cultural and tourism affairs office, office for senior citizens affairs, scholarship and youth development program, general services department and the Liga ng mga Barangay.
A memorial mass in honor of the heroine will be held in the morning of January 6 at the QC Hall before her remains will be finally transferred to the Tandang Sora shrine for re-interment.
Tandang Sora’s remains will also be carried by a horse-drawn carriage during a funeral procession, this time, from QC Hall to the Tandang Sora shrine.
Senior adviser to the Mayor, Dr. Manuel Alba, has been tapped by Vice Mayor Belmonte, to handle the negotiation for the transfer of the remains of Tandang Sora from Himlayang Pilipino to the Tandang Sora shrine at Banlat Road.
The year 2012 has been declared as Tandang Sora Year by the QC government through Ordinance No. SP-2092, S-2011.
Vice Mayor Belmonte, who also sits as chairperson of Task Force Tandang Sora said various activities will be mounted by the city government to highlight the celebration of the Tandang Sora Year.
These include, among others, production of a documentary on the life of Tandang Sora, a travelling photo exhibit and mounting of the Gawad Tandang Sora award that will be given to outstanding women who best exemplify the ideals espoused by Tandang Sora.
According to the Vice Mayor, the city government will seal partnership with SM for the travelling exhibit and, with the History Department of the University of the Philippines – Diliman for the production of the Tandang Sora documentary.
National Geographic is also working on a documentary on the life of Tandang Sora, said Vice Mayor Belmonte.
Born on January 6 – Epiphany Day, in 1812, Melchora Aquino was named after one of the Three Wise Men. It can be recalled that despite her old age, Melchora Aquino, better known as Tandang Sora, opened her doors to Katipuneros who risked their lives during the revolution. She kept the spirits of the Katipuneros alive by providing them with food, clothing and shelter.
Charged with aiding the Katipunan on August 20, 1896, Tandang Sora was arrested by the Guardia Civil and jailed at the Bilibid Prison. In complete disregard of her age and sex, the Spanish authorities exiled her to Guam, where she stayed for seven years as a servant.
Tandang Sora came home to her native land on February 26, 1903 at the age of 91. She died on February 19, 1919 at the age of 107. Precy/ Ramir/ Maureen Quiñones, PAISO