But the highlight of this is the beatification of my dear lolo, Lorenzo Ruiz and his companion martyrs in Luneta Park on February 18, 1981!
This statue which still stands on Luneta Park is a gift of the Holy Father to the Filipino people on the occasion of the beatification of Lolo Lorenzo, the first beatification outside the Vatican.
And in case you didn't know, that tree behind the statue is the tree planted by Paul VI when he visited the country.
It has been 33 years since that day!
And according to tradition, Lolo Lorenzo might have been martyred at the age of 37.
The photo above is from this blog, where you can also read about the historic documentation of the martyrdom.
You can also grab a copy of “Lorenzo de Manila, the Protomartyr of the Philippines and His Companions,” by Fr. Fidel Villaroel, OP, the prolific historian-saint maker, credited for the beatification and canonization of Lorenzo and his 15 companion martyrs. The book is available via the UST Press.
Below is a photo essay of that historic visit to the country. I still have vivid memories of that trip. :)