July 5, 2008
AN OPEN LETTER TO NORTHERN CEBU AUXILIARY BISHOP EMILIO BATACLAN
July 4, 2008
Msgr. Emilio Bataclan
Auxiliary Bishop for Northern Cebu
Danao City, Cebu
Dear Msgr. Bataclan,
I am writing on behalf of myself and for several Danawanon friends and relatives who like me were disappointed to learn, too late, you have decreed changing the date of our fiesta from the traditional 3rd Monday to 3rd Sunday of September, thus making this year’s fiesta celebration dates to September 21-22. If tradition is followed it should have been September 14 – 15, being the 2nd Sunday and 3rd Monday.
There is no problem with us if changing fiesta dates is really necessary, regardless a week before or after from the date it used to be. However, we feel there should have been reasonable time for information to reach far and wide before a change of date of an important event, such as a town fiesta, can be made. There are many of us extracted from our homeland, trying to make a living in places oceans apart. Despite the distance we still consider ourselves parishioners of our home parish and have faithfully remained or perhaps even more devoted to our patron saint.
Regardless of status in life – professionals, seamen or OFWs – Danawanons do make an effort to set aside from what little we earned, so we can visit our hometown and see our families after several months or years away from home. And there is no better time to visit than during a fiesta when friends and relatives show up to get reconnected and reminisce the good years together.
Here in California or perhaps anywhere in the U.S, employers require employees to apply, at the beginning of the year, specific dates of a planned long vacation within the current year. Generally, U.S. employees enjoy 2 or 3 weeks paid vacation leaves for each year of service. For us Danawanons we use this yearly vacation privilege to visit our hometown, usually in the month of September. On my part I had filed and had my vacation leave approved for September 8 through September 22. I cannot change that unless someone dies in the family.
Further, scheduled to visit Danao City Fiesta 2008 are 20 Danawanons, from Southern California alone, who have booked and paid non-refundable round-trip tickets as early as June, with departure date on September 8 and a return flight on September 21st or on the 22nd. Then the other day we learned the fiesta date has changed on order of the Auxiliary Bishop.
During the past 11 years this same group had sponsored an annual medical-surgical mission at the Danao General Hospital, scheduled 2 days after the city fiesta. For the 2008 Medical Mission we scheduled it on Sept. 16 -18. Many U.S. based volunteers join the mission, for two reasons, to attend the fiesta and also give something to the community they left behind through their professional services and/or financial support. Although the medical mission can still go on schedule, yet a number of our volunteers would be deprived from attending the fiesta, because their scheduled return is on Sept. 20 or 21.
We are now earnestly appealing and hoping you reconsider your decision and have the 2008 Santo Tomas Fiesta date in Danao City, stay as per tradition, on the 2nd Sunday and 3rd Monday of September i.e. Sept. 14 -15, 2008. Then on the following year you may go ahead and implement the dates you want. And we will be guided accordingly. .
Thank you. May God bless you and the rest of your flocks in this part of Cebu.
Faithfully yours in Christ,
Ramon H. Barriga
8211 Winnetka Ave.
Winnetka, CA 912306