How the Faith Came to the Islas Felipinas PDF Print E-mail

The Catholic Faith is a Gift from the Blessed Mother

by Ramon A. Pedrosa

Subsequent to the failed Magellan expedition, the Spanish Emperor Charles V commissioned three other expeditions to the Moluccas. They would all again fail to make landfall for the Spanish crown. The Second Expedition was led by Garcia Jofre de Loaisa, who died at sea and was succeeded by the famous Sebastian del Cano. The flotilla started off from southern Spain in 1523, reaching Mindanao in 1526, returning to Spain in 1535. The Third Expedition was captained by Alvaro de Saavedra, casting off in 1527, reaching Mindanao in 1528, and back in 1529.

 

In 1542, Charles made a last-ditch effort to obtain a foothold in the East. He outfitted the Fourth Expedition under the command of Ruy de Villalobos with the specific order to establish a permanent settlement in the Islas del Poniente or “Westernmost Islands."

It was the Portuguese that called the archipielago Islas del Oriente because sailing eastward (from Europe through the Asian southlands) they had reached the outermost brink where the sun rose. The Spaniards called the Philippines Islas del Poniente because sailing westward (across the Atlantic, and after Mexico across the Pacific) this was the country where they said the sun set. In either direction the islands were the antipodes, the end of the world. Emperor Charles defined the herculean policy and program for his reign in the phrase: Ne Plus Ultra - there is none better, grander, further.

The fleet weighed anchor from Navidad, the first to depart from the Mexican coast. After a year at sea, Villalobos, in the company of four Augustinian priests, landed on the island of Sarangani, south of Mindanao. They tried to establish a permanent footing, but because of the stiff hostility of the Moros, the Spaniards hurriedly left. in addition to the poverty of the place they were forced “to eat cats, dogs and rats, gray lizards and unknown plants."

On the track home passing by the island Leyte, Bernardo de Ia Torre, one of the crew, named it La Isla Felipina in honor of Philip, then the Spanish crown prince, later to be King Philip II, when his father Charles I abdicated in his favor. The name was used to refer to the twin islands of Leyte and Samar, but was later applied by European cartographers to the entire archipelago. Hence, its present form “Las Islas Filipinas” - The Philippine Islands.

Fray Andrés de Urdaneta. Twenty-two years later in 21 November 1564, the King Philip II commissioned Andrés de Urdaneta to organize the Fifth Expedition to take possession of the archipelago, then known as San Lazaro. He was a former soldier and a famous navigator in his own right having previously crossed the Pacific, and now retired as a friar in the Augustinian Order. His first crossing was with Magallanes in his ill-fated circumnavigation of the globe but which Urdaneta completed as boy attendant of Sebastian Elcano on the Victorias. The second was with the Second Expedition across the Pacific commissioned by Emperor Carlos V and captained by Garcia Joffre Loaysa (op. cit. Pedro M. Picornell: Cuadernos 26). Among the crew in the Loaysa was seventeen year old Andres de Urdaneta.

Five other priests of the Agustinian Order were to assist Fray Andres, who was slected Prior: Martín de Rada, Diego de Herrera, Andrés de Aguirre, Pedro de Gamboa and Lorenzo Jiménez (op. cit. Antonio Molina: The Philippines through the Centuries). P. Jimenez succumbed to a malignant fever before the expedition lifted anchor at the Puerto de Navidad, leaving four.

Capitan Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. Instead of taking on the expedition himself, Fray Andres de Urdaneta recommended his comrade-at-arms, the Capitan Miguel Lopez de Legazpi y Gorrochátegui, a mature man already in his fifties, to head the Expedition. Legazpi was born in Zumarraga, in the Guipuzcoa region of Spain. He was former secretary of the Holy Office - the Inquisition Tribunal, under Don Fray Juan de Zumarraga, first Bishop of Mexico. and headed the Cofradia del Sto Niño in the City of México. He is said to have sold his patrimony to head the expedition.

Legazpi and Urdaneta left Mexico for the Philippine Islands in September 7, 1564 arriving in Sugbu on a Friday, the 27th of April 1565.

3. OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE IN SUGBU

Rajah Tupas and Tetlaquatlaxopeuh

An Expeditionary Image. So we go to the question of whether a relationship can be established between the events at TEPEYÁC and TULPETLAC and the expedition of Legazpi and the Augustinian, de Urdaneta? If the Image of Guadalupe was installed on the flagship of the Christian Fleet during the Battle of Lepanto, did Legazpi and Urdaneta on their voyage to evangelize the Orient bring with them a pennant bearing the image of our Lady at Tepeyac to the Islas Felipinas?

The answer is Yes.

In the first edition of this book published in 1995 under the title “The Virgin of Mexico and the Philippines" the author reported that there was no such record. During the voyages of the galleons plying the Manila-Acapulco route, no mention is made of a devotion to the Guadalupana. Instead we have Virgin statues ‘tallado a mano‘ made at the start in the shops of Acapulco, such as is the popular Nuestra Señora de Paz y Buen Viaje of Antipolo, but it is not the Lady of Guadalupe. Or the Nuestra Señora de Guia of La Ermita. Much later the woodcarvers of Manila, Pampanga and Paete would take over the floourishing trade.

Thanks to a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Mexico in 1995, the negative conclusion tentatively arrived at in the First Edition gave way to a positive finding. In an article quoting D. Antonio Pompa y Pompa, the eminent Guadalupe historian, P. Lauro Lopez Beltrán recounts to us the historical antecedents of the advent of Christianity in the Islands, and the intervention of our Lady of Mexico that led to our giving a listening ear to the Spanish missionaries. (For the distinct flavor of the Spanish account, go to Appendix 22:Rajah Tupas and Tequatlaxopeuh: citing Patronatos Guadalupanos, Tomo VI. Obras Guadalupanas de Lauro Lopez Beltrán. Editorial Tradición, Mexico. 1982. pp. 86-94).

Sources. The provenance of this account of the Blessed Mother’s intervention in bringing the Faith to the Philippine islands is taken from two sources: a Document called “Balangay sa Guadalupe” and a Manuscript last seen in the Augustinian archives in Manila according to this tip from the Mexican historian and anthropologist, Dra. Ana Rita Valero de Garcia-Lazcurain:

“. . .segun el relato de D. Antonio Pompa y Pompa: fray Andres de Urdaneta y el capitan Miguel Lopez de Legaspi llevaron una Virgen de Guadalupe a las islas de los Ladrones y de las Filipinas. El dato esta tomado de “Balangay sa Guadalupe” y de un manuscrito encontrado en el Archivo Agustiniano de Manila. Bibliografia al respecto: Urdaneta y la Conquista de Filipinas: Estudio histórico, San Sebastian, 1907: “Relacion del viaje del comendador Loaysa y cartas al rey Felipe II con descripciones de los puertos de Acapulco y Navidad,” de fray Andres de Urdaneta en: Fermin de Uncilla y Arroitajauregui, O.A.; Monje y Marino. La vida y los tiempos de Fray Andres de Urdaneta: Mariano Cuevas S.J., Mexico, 1943; The Manila Galleon: W. L. Schurz, New York, 1059, 2a edicion; Urdaneta y el Tornaviaje: Enrique Cardenas de la Peña, Mexico, 1965” (Una carta al autor fechada 1997 de la Dra. Ana Rita V. de Garcia-Lazcurain, historiador y antropologo)

The Album del IV Centenario Guadalupano, obra publicada por la Insigne y Nacional Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe, Mexico, 1938 published in commemoration of the 4th centenary of the Apparitions has this on its pages 87 and 89:

“Muchos religiosos, gobernantes, marinos o soldados que habian residido en mexico al ser llevados a otras tierras se convertian en propagandores del culto a la Virgen del Tepeyac: y es asi como fray Andres de Urdaneta y el capitan Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, al conquistar las islas de los Ladrones y Filipinas en 1565, llevaron una Virgen de Guadalupe. (“Balangay sa Guadalupe” y MS. Arch. Agustiniano de Manila). citado en (Album del IV Centenario Guadalupano, obra publicada por la Insigne y Nacional Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe, Mexico, 1938, p. 87

“Ahora recordamos que muchos años antes, don Rodrigo de Vivero, pariente de don Luis de Velasco, segundo Virrey de Mexico, cuando fue enviado como Capital General de Filipinas, impulsó el culto guadalupano iniciado por Urdaneta y Lopez de Legazpi.” (citado en (Album del IV Centenario Guadalupano, obra publicada por la Insigne y Nacional Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe, Mexico, 1938, p. 89)

This rare narration is echoed by by Herbert F. Leies, S.M. in his book “Mother for a New World.” (Our Lady of Guadalupe: St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas. The Newman Press, Westminster, Maryland, 1954)

Search. Diligent search for our primary source, the “Balangay sa Guadalupe” and the Agustinian manuscript mentioned above has been largely negative.

The absence from Manila of these archives may be explained by two occurrences: 1. A decision was made in the 1930s by the Padres Agostinos in anticipation of concerns of a brewing Pacific war to make two copies of every document in the archives. This was done; 2. All the archives including the two copies were removed to Villadolid, Spain just before the Japanese invaasion of World War II. (Fray Francis Musni, OSA)

On the other hand, the renowned Padre Isacio Rodriguez, OSA, opines that Don Antonio Pompa, who reports this manuscript in his seminal 1938 Album del IV Centenario Guadalupano, may have been mistaken, or at worse, mislead. This is conjecture. Don Antonio was a consummate archivist himself, and of things Guadalupe, we must take his word that these documents were in Manila before the second world war. A perusal of the “Album of the 4th Centenary of Guadalupe,” published by the renowned National Basilica of Holy Mary of Guadalupe, Mexico, 1938, has this:

La conclusion de este Album trae la necesidad de dar a conocer que la fuerza historica del mismo, se apoyo en la documentacion referida en sus diferentes paginas. Nada hay de lo asentado en el, que historicamente no este apoyado en documento que haga fe el criterio historico. Nada hay de lo publicado, que pueda tenerse por apócrifo.

Translation: In conclusion this Album bases its historical justification on records referenced in its many pages. Every statement is supported by documentation that satisfy historical criteria. There is nothing published that may be viewed as aprophycal.

Han sido fuentes de ilustracion, los archivos, General y Publico de la Nacion, el de la Basilica de Santa Maria de Guadalupe, el de la Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores y del ex Ayuntamiento, en la ciudad de Mexico; ilustran estas paginas, documentos del Archivo General de Indias, en Sevilla, de la Universidad de Upsala, en Suecia, de la coleccion Goupil, de Paris; de la Universidad John Carter Brown, en Providence, Rhode Island; de la Biblioteca Publica de New York; del Archivo Historico de Madrid; del Archivo del Ayuntamiento de Guatemala; del Archivo de los RR. PP. Agustinos de Manila, I. F.; y de los archivos de la Compañia de Jesus en Roma y Bolonia; en este ultimo se encuentra el informe que en 1601 le enviaron al R. P. Claudio Aquaviva, General de la Compañia de Jesus, referente a ser venerada en Manila, I.F., la imagen de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Mexico.

Translation: The sources for the illustrations and the documentation in the Album are listed below, among which may be noted the Archivo General de Indias in Sevilla, Spain; the Public Library of New York, the Archivo Historico de Madrid, the Archivo de los RR. PP. Agustinos de Manila, Islas Filipinas; the archives of the Society of Jesus in Rome and Bolognia; and in this last reference was found the information sent to the Rev. F. Claudio Aquaviva, then Father General of the Society, that in 1601 the image of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Mexico was being venerated in Manila, I.F. (APPENDIX 24: Sources - Fuentes de Ilustración y de Información del Album del IV Centenario Guadalupano)

Military narratives. It appears that the history of the Spanish colonies is drawn up by military historians and therefore all take the form of a conquest. The predominance of the military point of view seems to be the common denominator in all these narratives of Spanish hegemony. Not to minimize or gainsay the importance of a combat force but in almost every account the story is to demonstrate the superiority of Spanish arms as the carrier of the conquest of the New World. The initial missionary aspect of Spanish entry into a new country has mainly been a footnote, if at all, to the supremacy of Spanish arms. The few instances of native success are put down as treachery or satanic cultism necessitating the use of violence to extinguish the local leadership structure and the extirpation of its concomitant culture. This is true also of the treatment by European colonizers of the original inhabitants of the north american continent.

See the widely differing accounts depending on the point of view or the point of reference: John of Austria vs. Gian Andrea Doria, Urdaneta vs. Goiti in the Cebu of Rajah Tupas.

So back to the finding on Legazpi’s expeditionary pennant. When the Vth Expedition left Mexico for the conquest of the Philippine Islands in September 7, 1564, it carried the first image of Our Lady TEQUATLAXOPEUH on the flagship the San Pedro.

It was a full-size hand-painted replica of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe located in what was then just a Hermitage on the Hill of Tepeyac in Mexico. The reproduction, as was the custom of those days, was touched to the original image.

Installed as the expeditionary pennant or flag on board the “San Pedro," flagship of Legazpi, it arrived in Sugbo (present-day Cebu) on a Friday, the 27th of April 1565. The name Sugbo means “to walk in the water,” a reference to those who had to leave their boats in the deep waters of the trench and wade across the shallows to reach dry land.

During the impasse between Rajah Tupas, King of Sugbo, and the Spaniard Legazpi, the Image played a key role in bringing the Cebuano king to listen to the Agustinian missionaries.

Encounter at Togoan Hill. The historic meeting between Filipino and Our Lady TEQUATLAXOPEUH took place at the foot of the hill known as Togoan. According to the Spanish account, the forces of Rajah Tupas, the King of Cebu had been routed by superior Spanish arms and had fled to the forests of the Togoan.

This is typical put-down by invading troops confronting bellicose natives. Consider how the Spanish missionaries, no military men with overarching ambitions of hegemony, thought of the natives of the islands at that time:

“The Indians of this country are not simple or foolish, nor are they frightened by anything whatever. They can be dealt with only with the arquebus or by gifts of gold or silver. If they were like those of Nueva España, Peru. Tierra Templado, Tierra Fria, and in other places where the ships may enter, sound reasoning might have some effect. But these Indians first inquire if they must be Christians, pay money, forsake their wives, and other similar things. They kill the Spaniards so boldly...” (Francisco de Sande to Philip II. Relacion de las Condiciones hallados en las Islas Filipinas, 1527. op. cit. in The Colonization & Conquest of the Philippines by Spain, Vol. VIII, Filipiniana Book Guild)

A historical reconstruct. The Rajah was only 5 years old at the time Magellan came in 1521 to the court of his father in Sugbu. In an attempt to demonstrate Spanish superiority before his father who was having internal problems with the great datuk Lapulapu, Magellan and his crew came at dawn and burned down the homes of the people of Maktan in Lapu-Lapu’s village The people remembered this treachery and their satisfaction when Magellan met his death at the hands of Datuk Lapulapu who put them to flight.

And now they were at it again. Legazpi was apprehensive of their reception and fired his canons to display Spanish arms. This angered Rajah Tupas and determined his resolve to expel the Spaniards. He signalled his kinsfolk in the hinterlands, calling on the datus and panglimas in the other islands for thousands of reinforcements to come in force to repel once again these foreign invaders.

There was a standoff. Magellan’s miscalculation had put an end not only to conquistador ambitions, but to missionary efforts in the islands. Fearing that the new effort to bring Christ to the islands would again be dashed, Fray Andres de Urdaneta, decided to intervene between the two prideful men whose intransigence would derail the entry of the Faith into the Islas Felipinas - again. He removed the expedition’s pennant of Our Lady at Tepeyac from the prow of the San Pedro, and disembarked with his three Agustinian companions, and their interpreter. They crossed the shallows into the no-man’s land between the two forces holding aloft the banner of Our Lady. It was borne on a tall shaft upon which swung the upright cloth of the Lady of Mexico. It had been instrumental in the conversion of millions of Mexican Aztecs. Fray Andres was confident that She would do the same for the Sugboanon and rest of the peoples in the numerous islands.

The Rajah’s warriors informed Tupas of the approach of the black robed men. Recognizing the men in black as unarmed and peaceful, Rajah Tupas ordered them brought before him. The Spaniards in the lines to their rear feared an ambush. They saw a number of native warriors emerge from the covering forest, surround the friars, and escort into the hinterland. Legazpi thought he would rue the day he allowed the priest to out-talk him. But he owed him - he understood that Urdaneta never wanted to come to the Islands, but had been deceived by him upon orders of the King - now he wanted to do his own thing, and no one was going to stop him.

Fray Andres cast his eyes heavenwards, and walked with the group of belligerent Sugbuanos. When they were before the king, Rajah Tupas, who had never seen an image, asked who the beautiful Lady was. Fray Andres knew the moment had come. With the aid of the interpreter, he started to explain the apparition from heaven of the beautiful Lady to the natives of Mexico, how they abandoned their pagan religion, and joined Her and Her Son. He said that this Beloved Lady had made it known that She is the Mother of all peoples, the Spaniards, the Aztecs, the Sugbuanon, and all the races of the world.

He pressed home the point that She was his Mother, and Rajah Tupas’, too. That broke the ice -- and the wily King agreed to dialogue with the Spaniards -- and ordered the brewing counterattack to halt.

This was the real beginning not only of the church - but of the Philippines as a country (Fr David Clay, Columbian). This event firmly inserted Christianity into the Asian hemisphere.

The Interpreter Of Legazpi & Fray Andres. According to the historical record, the interpreter of Fray Andres during this encounter with the Sugboanon, was a Moluccan from the island of Mangola christened Geronimo Pacheco. He was brought to Spain via India by Pedro Pacheco, a crewmember of the Expedition of Ruy Lopez de Villolobos in 1542, and from there to Mexico. (Diccionario Biográfico Agustiniano, Privincia de Filipinas, por Isacio Rodriguez Rodriguez, OSA y Jesus Alvarez Fernandez, OSA, volumen primero (1565-1588), Estudio Agustiniano, Valladolid , 1992, p. 53)

The narrative of D. Antonio Pompa ends with the note that when Fray Andres departed for Manila (or returned to Mexico) he or Legazpi took the image with him, but left a statuette of the same image with the Rajah.

Indeed, it appears that in the mountains of Cebu there was a shrine to the Virgen Morena where an image of Her has been venerated since early Spanish times. The image was found in a cave, and a chapel was built for it in a nearby plateau. Generations of pilgrims have toiled up the mountain to pray before the Virgin. During the Philippine American war the shrine was destroyed and the image was tucked away in the Church of San Nicolás in Cebu City. The pilgrimages have moved there and She is honored on December 12 indicative of its connection with Our Lady at Tepeyac. Pilgrims still go up the hills to offer candles before the Cave of the Virgin (The Philippine Rites of Mary, A Votive Offering of Luz Mendoza Santos, Manila, 1982).

Interception at Togoan. As observed earlier there are strange coincidences indeed, but not for those who discern into the design of things. Take this occurrence at Togoan Hill in the island of Sugbo (present-day Cebu) in the year 1565.

In December 12, 1531 very early on the dawn of a Tuesday morning, Juandiego Cuauhtlatoatzin was to keep an appointment with the Blessed Virgin, his “NOTECUIYOÉ, CIHUAPILLÉ," at Tepeyac Hill. But he chose to lay it aside in favor of a secondary intention to bring succor to his dying uncle, more pressing in his estimation to get a priest to give the last rites and save his soul, than keeping his appointment with the Lady from Heaven.

In 1565 a nation across the seas from Tepeyac was likewise intent on a secondary motivation that would have drawn it away again from Her plan for that nation. She intercepted, stepped in so to speak, to dissuade Her sons from proceeding in their task of war, and from Her image held aloft by Her new messenger, She asks this nation ‘where are you going my sons’ and ‘ what is this that you are doing?’ 'do not worry I will take care of you, what else do you need?'

As reported above (Historical Context Of Apparitions - What They Say) one favorite explanation for the Tepeyac event was that the Blessed Mother came to prevent a war of extermination between the abusive conquistador Spaniards and the aroused Aztec nation.

And so it may likewise be said (in pro of a military explanation) that the reason for the intervention in the Philippines by the Blessed Mother was to avert a bloody finish to Spanish ambitions in the islands both secular or otherwise. For indeed the newy arrived forces of Legazpi were looked upon as no less a threat to the Sugboanos than those of the ill-fated Magellan expedition.

Her role in bringing her Castillian sons across the Pacific has been overlooked. It is high time we give her due importance. It was the right thing to do in pagan, even muslim Philippines. Psychologically the cross would have been shunned, but not the Mother.

4. Togoan Aftermath

Following the encounter at Togoan, the evangelization of the Philippine Islands was one of the most peaceful and rapid in the history of the missions. (see The Encounter, Fr. Jose Vicente Braganza SVD) Citing Edward G. Bourne, Fr. Clark quotes:

“In the light, then, of impartial history raised above racial prejudice and religious prepossessions, after a comparison of the early years of the Spanish conquest in America or with the first generation or two of the English settlements, the conversion and civilization of the Philippines in the forty years following Legazpi’s arrival must be pronounced an achievement without parallel in history.” (Bourne was not a Catholic. A Professor at Yale, he was an authority on Spanish colonization. (op. cit. Francis X. Clark S.J.: The Philippine Missions - The Story of the Apostolate in the Islands from King Philip of Spain to Pope Pius XII) (Historical Introduction, Blair & Robertson, vol. 1, p. 37)

Over the next 350 years, the Spaniards crushed 34 separate rebellions against their political rule, approximately one per decade. But the Faith spread.

It goes without saying that as far back as when these islands was known as the Lupa Sug by its seafaring inhabitants, Ma-Yi by the Chinese, later the Islas Felipinas (Islas Filipinas) by the Spaniards, the Philippine Islands by the Americans, and renamed the Republic of the Philippines, the first and the original devotion to Mary, the Blessed Mother of God, was Nuestra Señora TEQUATLAXOPEUH of Mexico, who came to Her pagan children and who in turn recognized and gave honor to Her singular beauty.

Spread of the Faith. Under the influence of Legazpi and the Augustinians, and later the Franciscans, the Jesuits, the Dominicans, and the Recollects who had the benefit of the Mexican experience in dealing with native peoples, the Catholic faith was readily accepted by the Bisayans, and subsequently by the Tagalogs and the rest of the races in the different islands. All this despite the presence, if not dominance, in the area of Muslim missionaries and the votaries of the Sultan of Sulu. In effect, through Spanish civil and ecclesiastical government, the spread of Islam was checked. Efforts of the imperial reign in Sulu to arrest the inward surge of european thought and institutions were fruitless. The so-called Moro Wars were nothing more than the legitimate defense of the Sulu heartland from alien trespassers, and the exaction of tribute, obedience and fealty from their far flung settlements. The phrase"no hay Moros en la costa" - The coast is clear, was the original all-clear call from the watch towers along the coasts. These had decided to turn their backs on the sultanate and cast their future with the newcomers. There is an exotic Philippine fruit which is used to depict a turn-coat - the BALIMBING which presents the same face whichever way you turn it.

But as a people the Muslim Taosug and Maranaon resisted the Spanish. The constant wars with the West, first the Spaniards, then the Americans, and lately the Republic whom they consider nothing more than surrogates of foreign powers, cost them in terms of development as a nation. As the Indian in the Americas, their socio-economics is at zero levels, and endlessly debate the hows and whys the Moro has become a stranger to the land they had nurtured for centuries (op. cit. "A Nation Under Endless Tyranny," 2nd Edition, By Salah Jubair) While the natives of the Visayas and Luzon succumbed to the propaganda of the Spaniards, the Muslim continued to defend their Bangsa, tau, iban, agama (nation, people, and religion) to this day. (op. cit. Cesar Adib Majul, “Muslims in the Philippines. ” ) It is a nation that cannot reconcile its past with its present and faces an uncertain future.

The historians now say that had the arrival of the Spaniards been delayed, all of the Islas Felipinas which were already effectively Muslim, would have been irretrievably lost to Islam. But as it turned out the same Spanish Nation that had reconquered altar and throne from the Muslims in the home country also effectively stopped its progress in the Far East. It is incredible that that Nation crossed two oceans to bring the Faith to the Islands. It would be interesting to surmise the turn of world history and the present balance of power if Mohamedanism had spread unchecked from the Philippines to China and then to Japan. (op cit. Edward Gaylor Bourne, Historical Introduction to the Philippine Islands, Blair and Robertson. Vol. I, pp 34-35; John Leddy Phelan, The Hispanization of the Philippines, p 8) It was, in the words of Fr. Braganza, “superb timing.”

Today there is a Shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe in Togoan Hill. But when I visited it in 1995, indicative of the hispanization of the event, there was nothing at all among murals don its walls to connect it to Tepeyac. I hope they wake up to their history. And if I may make a suggestion, to correct what seemed to me inexcusable neglect, the apparition on the Tepeyac was her hint about how her Teocalli should be: precious stones, gold, silver, shimmering in light.

(Excerpted from “TEPEYAC - Our Lady of ‘Guadalupe’ revisited, Ramon A. Pedrosa, 2006)