LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte, Feb. 20 (PNA) — Ilocanos in this northern part of Luzon, about 486 kilometers from Metro Manila rejoice for having the first Ilocano cardinal to be officially declared by Pope Francis on Saturday at the Vatican.
Archbishop Orlando Beltran Quevedo of Cotabato, who was born and raised in Laoag City, will receive his red hat and ring, together with 18 new cardinals during the consistory.
Witnessing the event is no less than Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos who is also a relative through his father, the late strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos. Marcos earlier flew to Rome, Italy to personally witness the consistory.
In Laoag City, the new Ilocano cardinal who will turn 75 years old on March 11 was recognized on February 21, Friday, as one of the 10 most outstanding Ilocanos this year by the Laoag City government as a tribute for his exemplary performance and as a tribute for being the first Ilocano cardinal to represent the city of Laoag.
In time for the month-long celebration of Pamulinawen festival every year, the Laoag City government is recognizing outstanding Ilocanos in various fields of profession or vocation to inspire more Ilocanos to follow their footsteps.
Aside from Laoag City, the first Ilocano cardinal also traces his roots from Sarrat, Ilocos Norte.
Local residents here are excited to welcome the new cardinal with his huge photo and congratulatory messages displayed in front of the Sarrat town plaza.
On March 30, Quevedo is expected to be in Laoag City and in Sarrat town to hold his first mass as cardinal at the century-old Sta. Monica Church, known as largest church in the entire province of Ilocos Norte.
During his formative years, Quevedo spent his elementary years (Grade 1-3) at the Shamrock Elementary School in Laoag City before his family moved to Marbel, South Cotabato in 1945.
He was ordained as a priest on June 5, 1964. After 16 years, he became a bishop after his ordination on October 28, 1980. (PNA)