The former President and Manila Mayor Erap Estrada, Vice President Jejomar Binay, DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, Speaker of the House of Representatives Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Sen. Bongbong Marcos, Gov. Imee Marcos, Rep. Imelda Marcos, Rep. Neptali Gonzales and Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino Alvarado, Sen. Lito Lapid, TIEZA COO Mark Lapid among others were some of the government leaders in the event today.
|A historical event to commemorate the Ciudad de Victoria's Inauguration, the marker was signed by the Iglesia Ni Cristo's Executive Minister Eduardo V, Manalo on July 21, 2014. (Photo Credit: INC Radio Facebook Fanpage)|
|In extreme joy, the delegates and members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo in the Philippines and in the world were in festive mood as they raised the INC flag during the Inauguration of Ciudad de Victoria. (Photo Credit: INC Radio Facebook Fanpage)|
The President Aquino congratulated and appreciated the congregation of Iglesia Ni Cristo for having erected the world’s largest indoor arena and thanked them for their many contributions to the country. He said, this is the organization ("organisasyong tinitingala") that is now known not only in the Philippines but in the world. In his speech this morning, there were several instances that he quoted verses in the Bible and the delegates smiled and applauded him for doing so, not so common statements in his formal speeches. (No, this was not the SONA yet.)
The Ciudad de Victoria in Spanish literally means “city of victory.” The Philippine Arena is known as the “world’s largest indoor stadium.” The Guinness World Records is expected to release an official statement anytime today naming Philippine Arena as the biggest indoor domed arena on the planet.
The 50-hectare complex, developed and built by the Church through its registered educational institution, the New Era University. About 140 hectares in total land area have been acquired in Bocaue and Sta. Maria, Bulacan for the future expansion of the tourism enterprise. This is a typhoon and earthquake proof and recently withstand the 150 to 185 kilometers per hour winds of typhoon Glenda (international name Rammasun) that slammed Metro Manila and nearby provinces, including Bulacan, on July 16.
In NET25's special coverage this morning, their host Gen Subardiaga emphasized that Iglesia Ni Cristo used voluntary offerings from its members to construct the Philippine Arena, an architectural marvel that was featured by the Discovery Channel in December 2013 as the largest theater on earth, affirmed as modern marvel of architecture and engineering. Subardiaga stressed that Iglesia Ni Cristo do not have tithes but offerings dictated by heart or "pasya ng puso at iginiginhawa."
The Philippine Arena can accommodate 55,000 sitting capacity. In this complex, there are major structures that are expected to be completed soon including the Philippine Stadium, the Philippine Sports Center, the Eraño G. Manalo Medical Center, the New Era Sports Academy, as well as various shops, hotels, and leisure parks.
The Philippine Arena’s design was inspired by the Narra tree (the Philippine’s national tree) and the root of the Banyan tree with a dome over 3.6 hectares. Populous is responsible in Philippine Arena’s concept design.
Populous is an architectural firm focusing on designs of sports facilities, stadiums, arenas and convention centers globally and into planning of major social events.
On July 27, Sunday, Malacanang declared the Igllesia Ni Cristo Centennial Anniversary as a special non-working holiday.
Greetings from Government Officials and Delegates
In the NET25’s interview, the Cavite Governor Jolo Revilla with his mother Congresswoman Lani Mercado greeted the centennial anniversary of the Iglesia Ni Cristo live in the arena. “It is the world’s renowned tourist attraction…It is a feat to live by,” the Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado expressed her awe in the magnificent achievements of the Church Of Christ.
“Talagang masosorpresa ka sa kagandahan ng Philippine Arena. Maipagmamalaki ko na itong Philippine Arena dahil sa kapatiran ng Iglesia N Cristo.” Senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid said.
While Chief Operating Officer of Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) Mark Lapid said: “This is part of the mega structure as featured in Discovery Channel, para sa educational and medical tourism. Sa Department of Tourism, ito ay mag-generate ng employment at income para sa turismo at pagdami ng turista.”
Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos said: “Napakalaki pala nito. Napakalaking bagay nito. Magiging inspirayon ito sa ating mga atleta, sa mga artists, malaking bagay sa Bulacan, hindi lamang sa Iglesia pati sa Pilipinas. Napakaimportannte ng sports and culture. Siya ang nagbibigay sa atin ng national identity, kapag nagiging kampeon ang ating mga atleta. Mahalaga ito sa ating pagkatao at pagka-Pilipino. … Gawan po natin ito ng policy sa school level….Lahat ng klase ng sports events pwede na rito. This will have impact. Nais kong batiin ang Iglesia Ni Cristo sana maipagpatuloy ng 100 taon pa…kaya naman binanabasbasan ang INC dahil sa kanilang ginagawa.”
In festive mood Ilocos Sur Governor Imee Marcos said, “Kung noon ang Iglesia Ni Cristo ay mahirap, inaapi, niyuyurak at kinukutya, ngayon, ito na ang Iglesia pinag-uusapan. We have something to be proud of as Filipinos. Nakakataba ng puso. A great honor, higit sa lahat tuwang-tiwa ako, pasasalamat sa Iglesia hindi lamang sa pamilya ko pati sa sambahayang Pilipino. Talagang nasa mapa na tayo ng daigdig, talagang world-class ang engineering, architecture…Sa lahat ng aking kabsat, sa ating mga kapatid, congratulations sa ating lahat, ang 100 years ay tunay na makasaysayan, ang laki-laking ng nilaktaw ng Iglesia, may isa pang 100 years para makatulong sa ating lipunan. Ako’y ingit na inggit.”
Speaker of the House Sonny Belmonte said: “Ako’y manghang-mangha dahil ito ay napakaganda at world-class at sa palagay ko ito ang pinakamalaking dome. Ito eh, one of the great assets of the country. ..Malaki ang paglago ng Iglesia Ni Cristo dito at sa buong mundo. The Iglesia Ni Cristo has been dramatically increasing in influence. Nakikiisa ako sa pagbati ng 100 years anniversary….This is way beyond imagination. Congratulations sa inyong lahat.”
"This is very impressive. This may host sports events on 2019 for basketball and may boosts the economy." Manny V. Pangilinan, the business magnate in the Philippines said in the news today.
Brethren from different parts of the world came over to witness this historical event from Europe, Canada, USA, Middle East, and for over 110 countries spanning in six territories around the world. We can see the joy of all who were there and was so contagious. The mood was so festive, buzzing with excitement. Some were speechless and amazed! Some were crying with enormous happiness that they belong to the Church Of Christ. The feeling was so infectious inside the dome. They said they have that sort of "chicken skin" or goose bumps as they saw how magnificent the works of God can be in His 100 years of blessings and legacy.
There were more greetings worldwide in the social media as we can see in the hashtags like: #IglesiaNiCristoCentennial #PhilippineArena #CiudaddeVictoria
To all the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Chruch Of Christ) brethren around the world, my family is greeting you "Happy Centennial Anniversary" as we pray God's bountiful and continuous blessings to the Church and to the rest of the members and more in the coming years.
INC Radio Facebook Fanpage
Philippine Arena Facebook Fanpage
Special Coverage of NET25 of Eagle Broadcasting Corporation
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