Technology

Limasawa: Historic site now powered by Smart LTE

Limasawa, site of the country's first Catholic Mass, has entered the age of high-speed internet with the launch of Smart's LTE network there. Image credit: Smart Communications
Image credit: Smart Communications

Limasawa, site of the first Catholic Mass held in the Philippines on Easter Sunday in 1521, has entered the age of high-speed internet with the launch of Smart Communications’ LTE network there. This comes months ahead of the start of the yearlong celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Christianization of the Philippines.

“Smart LTE will be of great help with our virtual activities and other strategies to promote the island. Connectivity is crucial to increasing people’s awareness… Overall, it will contribute to the island’s economic development,” said Limasawa Mayor Melchor Petracorta in a press statement.

Far-flung communities

Located off the tip of Southern Leyte province, Limasawa plays a central role in the quincentennial celebration.

Prior to the rollout of Smart LTE in the area, Limasawa greatly depended on local bandilyos (announcements) and posts on barangay bulletin boards. Amid technological advances, Limasawa had been lagging behind progressive communities. 

PLDT and Smart Head of Technology Mario G. Tamayo emphasized the importance of expanding the network to support even far-flung communities, despite the challenges.

“Rolling out in an archipelago and in the countryside presents a variety of unique challenges. But we are committed to doing this. We continue to pour resources in technology and to continuously expand our network, so that all communities can have the best experience with Smart,” Tamayo said.

The historic Christian celebration was supposed to start last year but had to be moved this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. Catholic Church leaders had announced that the yearlong event will start this April and culminate in April 2022.

Limasawa has been upheld as the site of the First Easter Mass. The National Historical Commission of the Philippines affirmed in August the findings of the panel headed by historian and National Artist Dr. Resil Mojares. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines supported the panel’s recommendation.

The recognition is for the First Easter Mass, the Mojares panel said, to distinguish it from undocumented Masses the expedition “probably celebrated when they were at sea in the Samar area”. The Easter Mass was more significant historically because “it was documented by Pigafetta, happened on Philippine soil and local residents participated”.