PGMA to inspect Fray de Urdaneta Plaza Friday

URDANETA CITY – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will inspect on Friday (Dec. 26) the Spanish-inspired plaza being laid-out in front of the newly built city hall here for the monument of Fray Andres de Urdaneta, the 15th century Spanish friar of the Augustinian order known for the Christianization of Cebu province.

The President had earlier proclaimed 2008 as the Year of Urdaneta.

The Chief Executive is scheduled to arrive at the Urdaneta and Civic Park Plaza along the MacArthur Highway at 10 a.m. and will be met by top Pangasinan provincial and Urdaneta City officials led by Mayor Amadeo Perez Jr. The city government has contributed P3 million to the P12.7-million project. Aside from Urdaneta's substantial contributions to Philippine arts and history, the Augustinian priest is known for the Urdaneta Route- the ocean route he had taken from the Philippines on his way back to Spain.The Urdaneta Route was later used for 250 years in the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade with Mexico. The sea route was responsible for “bringing Philippine and Asian cultures to Europe through Mexico, according to the
National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

The NCCA is collaborating with the Urdaneta City government and other groups in the implementation of the ambitious plaza project.
Fray Urdaneta arrived in Cebu in 1565 and is said to be responsible for the Christianization of the province and the construction of the Basilica del Sto. Nino in Cebu.
At the center of the plaza project is a chaplet to the Sto. Nino. When completed, the chaplet will form the inner chamber of the galleon-shaped structure on top of which Fray Urdaneta’s sculpture will be installed beside a 50-feet mastcross.
The completion of the Urdaneta figure sculpture, which is being carved by National Artist for Sculpture Napoleon Abueva; will cap the yearlong commemorations for the Spanish friar and navigator.

The NCCA also commissioned three other national artists for the Urdaneta Plaza project: Dr. Abdulmari Imao Jr. for the galleon structure; Dr. Alejandro Roces for the inscriptions descriptive of Fray Urdaneta’s contributions to Philippine history and culture; and Architect Ildefonso Santos for the design of the civic plaza. Headed by Executive Director Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, the NCCA has contributed P4 million to the project in time for the commemoration of the fifth birth centennial of Fray Urdaneta.