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A Coveted Spanish Award

() - July 23, 2006 - 12:00am
In formal ceremonies held recently at the Spanish embassy residence, the highly coveted and prestigious King Juan Carlos I Officer’s Cross, Order of Isabel la Catolica, was conferred on Rosalinda L. Orosa, cultural columnist-essayist of The Philippine STAR, and Jose Maria Taberne, director of Oficina Tecnica de Cooperacion Espanola, by H.E. Ambassador Ignacio Sagaz.

Miss Orosa received the award for her assidious promotion of the Spanish language and avid projection of Spain’s cultural presence in the Philippines.

Mr. Taberne received his award for strengthening Phil-Spanish bonds in various fields, including the economic, social, cultural and educational.

The third recipient was to have been Anastacio Alba but he was in Spain for medical reasons.

Mr. Taberné gave spontaneous, off-the-cuff remarks of appreciation and gratitude. Miss Orosa’s response follows herewith (translation supplied).

For the first time, I am almost at a loss for words. Although I have been a writer for more years than my feminine vanity allows me to admit, I cannot adequately express my joy and profound gratitude for the confernment of the officer’s Cross, Order of Isabel la Catolica, on my modest person.

Isabel, the very religious wife of Ferdinand II of Aragon, received the title of Reina Catolica from Pope Alexander VI. Isabel and Ferdinand embarked on the physical and spiritual unification of Spain, bringing it under one faith, Roman Catholicism. Isabel and Ferdinand established a highly effective co-regency under equal terms. Spain was united under the crown, power was centralized, the Church reformed. Columbus’ discovery of America under the patronage of Queen Isabel set the country on the course for the first modern world power.

Some Catholic Spaniards have attempted to declare Isabel "Blessed", aiming to have her canonized later as a saint. Their justification was that she was a protector of the Spanish poor and that miracles have been attributed to her. In 1974, Pope Paul VI opened her case for beatification, placing her on the path to sainthood.
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To be rewarded for assiduously promoting the Spanish language and avidly projecting Spain’s cultural presence here is for me a magnaninous gesture of recognition. For this, I would like to pay homage to four persons who have served as my inspiration: our national hero Jose Rizal, Don Claro M. Recto and my parents.

My parents often spoke Spanish at home to familiarize us with the language. Spanish sayings and proverbs filled our table conversation. Yet my father, Dr. Sixto Y. Orosa, a doctor of medicine, was self -taught in Spanish. Through the years, he became more eloquent in Spanish than in English. He won the Premio Zobel in 1959.

My mother, Severina Luna, also a doctor of medicine, was likewise self-taught in Spanish. At the age of 93, she translated her essays and a play from English and Tagalog into Spanish. She won the Premio Zobel at the aforementioned age of 93 in 1983.

The Spanish heritage was an integral part of Rizal‘s soul and being. Why do I say this? Because, up to certain point, no one can master a language without imbibing the psychology, the manner of thinking, the spirituality of those who speak that language. The hispanic attitude, the turn of mind of the illustrious senator and dramatist Don Claro M. Recto was largely influenced by a profound knowledge of Spain, its art, its genius, its humanity.

The traces of hispanic culture that still exist here can neither be destroyed nor erased. The strongest cultural and historical bond that unites our two countries has made us brothers for always.

Before ending, I would like to render tribute to His Excellency Ambassador Igancio Sagaz. He will always occupy a special niche in my esteem as a highly cultured person who stands out for his intellect and gentility. May God bless him with love and peace which passeth all understanding.

ALTHOUGH I AMBASSADOR IGNACIO SAGAZ ANASTACIO ALBA CATOLICA DON CLARO M ISABEL AND FERDINAND MISS OROSA ORDER OF ISABEL PREMIO ZOBEL SPANISH
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