Where you there when St. John Paul II (then Pope) visited Bacolod in February 1981? What do you remember about this historic event? The Papal visit came at a time when Bacolod and Negros Occidental needed it most. The sugar industry was in a deep crisis, militarization in the island was at its highest, farm children were starving, and then there was the Don Juan tragedy. People were excited, there were such high hopes about the visit. The place in Bacolod where the Pope would be saying mass was at the reclamation area. This place is now where SM City Bacolod, Bacolod Pavilion and Resort and the Bacolod Seaport can be found. But in 1981, this place was just a huge and vast field of cogon grass. For the Pope's visit the area was cleaned and cordoned off.
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How did we spend Holy week this year? When I was growing up, Holy Week was always a pious occasion for the family. The children would play quietly during Holy Thursday and Good Friday while the adults would spend the time in silent reflection and speaking in low voices. We would religiously join the processions during these two days and join in most church activities. I'm sure the motivation for doing so was not the same for all of us kids, but even so, the meaning of Holy Week was not completely lost on us back then. I miss those days.