November 21 is an important date in the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church because it is the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Orthodox churches celebrate it as well as The Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos in the Temple. For the people of Opon (old name of Lapu-Lapu City), November 21 is a red letter date because it is the feast of their patroness, the Holy Virgin of the Rule.
Another significant event will be added up to the list of Church celebrations happening on November 21, and although the nature of the event is “of this world,” great supporters of the Church find in it a spiritual dimension which is difficult to set aside.
I’m talking about the completion of the The Pavilion, the main venue for the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC). Local developer Duros Development Corporation is scheduled to turn over the P550-million project to the Cebu Archdiocese this Saturday, November 21.
Duros Development Corporation, which is headed by Rafaelito “Lito” and Fe Barino, started the project in November 2013 and finished it in a matter of 18 months amid doubts about the contractor’s capability in terms of resources and tight schedule because the 51st IEC, slated on January 24–31, 2016, is practically around the corner.
The Barino couple is known as great supporters of the church and quite prominent among Catholic renewal or charismatic movements. Lito and Fe belong to the Love of God Community. Fe Barino is president of the association of charismatic movements in Cebu.
An engagement with Landbank of the Philippines to produce a three-part segment featuring the highlights of the Visayas leg of the “Harvest of Heroes” book launch led me to meet Lito and Fe who graciously accepted my invitation for a videotape recording for the segment to be featured on “Co-op TV” (November 21, CCTN Channel 47, 6 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.). Duros is featured in the celebratory book of heroes, referring to outstanding clients and partners enabled by Landbank to make their dreams come true.
The transformation of the once-upon-a-time small enterprise, which later became a multi-million-peso diversified business through the hard work and perseverance of the husband and wife, was too hard to ignore. After a few phone calls, I got to meet the couple yesterday in their hilltop villa in Yati, Liloan town which offers a majestic view of hills, mountains and sea.
According to Lito, in November 2013, Archbishop Palma was still unable to find a suitable venue for the 51st IEC, so he asked the Duros chairman if he could come up with a structure inside the archdiocesan property in Mabolo, Cebu City.
Because the archdiocese had no funds to finance the project, Archbishop Palma offered Duros a usufruct arrangement, which bestows beneficial rights to the 20,000 square meter lot inside the Church property. Despite having no formal document to seal the agreement, Lito said he accepted the offer and immediately started preliminary works because he considered it God’s project.
The Pavilion project had its own challenges because some people doubted his capacity to carry it out, even if Duros had established a solid track record in the construction business.
Duros has constructed more than 3,000 kilometers of paved roads throughout the province. These are projects that passed through stringent standards and even won for Duros a few local and international awards that later earned for Fe substantive exposure in the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
Once he got the green light from Archbishop Palma, Lito said he focused on the task at hand and didn’t allow detractors to slow him down. Despite the pressure, Lito said there were no untoward incidents associated with close deadlines or project delays. He considers this a miracle.
On Saturday, Duros will formally turn over the project to the Cebu Archdiocese.
Asked about his thoughts on having anchored an important Church project, Lito said The Pavilion is “a testament to the capabilities of Cebuanos in whatever field they choose to take.”
“I consider The Pavilion not my most impressive achievement, but rather, the crowning glory of my faith,” Lito said, adding that he firmly believes God hears our prayers and is always there to help us in our needs.
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May I yield this space to a reader from Talisay City, Charles “Chuck” Ranier, who aired his reaction to my piece, “Death Themes on Friday the 13th Paris Concert” published last November 16, 2015.
Mr. Ranier wrote, “While I do agree with your assertions concerning the genre commonly referred to as “Death Metal” which is very much based in some very dark subject matter, in the interest of fairness, I thought I would pass along the following article. EODM is NOT a death metal band. They do play a quirky blues-based high energy style of rock. Actually the name is intended as a bit of a joke and the lineup is ever changing and has included some of the biggest names in current rock circles (I’ll admit, I’m not a very big fan myself).”
To set the record straight, readers may Google the article, Eagles of Death Metal: A Primer on the Tragedy-Stricken Rock Group published by Yahoo Music on November 16, 2015.
So EODM is just a whimsical title that shows the lighter side of the rock band, but I guess after the horrific attack in the Bataclan concert hall, the band’s name will forever be associated with last week’s Friday the 13th tragedy which claimed more than 120 lives and shook the whole world.