September 29, 1637
MANILA, Sept. 29 — On this day in 1637, Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino Saint, was hung upside down in a pit by his tormentors until he suffocated to death in Nagasaki, Japan.
Despite the torture inflicted on him, Ruiz, a former altar boy in Binondo, Manila, did not renounce his Christian faith.
Prior to his persecution, Ruiz led a peaceful, religious and full of contentment life with his Filipino wife, two sons and a daughter.
However, he was falsely accused of killing a Spaniard, thus he sought asylum and left for Japan on June 10, 1636 on board a ship with Dominican Fathers, including Fr. Domingo Gonzales.
The boat landed at Okinawa, Japan and Ruiz's group was arrested and persecuted because of their Christian religion. They were brought to Nagazaki on July 10, 1636.
On September 27, 1637, Ruiz and companions were taken to the "Mountain of Martyrs," where they were tortured through hanging by their feet and submerged in water until near death. Ruiz was also subjected to water torture. Needles were also inserted through his finger nails and was beaten until unconsciousness.
These methods made some of Ruiz's companions recant their faith, but Ruiz never did.
Ruiz died from hemorrhage and suffocation. His body was cremated and the ashes thrown into the sea.
Lorenzo Ruiz was beatified in Manila on Feb. 18, 1981 by Pope John Paul II during his Papal visit to Manila. It was the first beatification ceremony held outside the Vatican.
San Lorenzo Ruiz was elevated to sainthood and canonized by Pope John Paul II in the Vatican City, Rome on Oct. 18, 1987, making him the first Filipino saint and the first Filipino martyr.
On this same day in 1898, the Malolos Congress ratified the June 12, 1898 Act of Declaration of Independence proclaimed in Kawit, Cavite.
In 1972, Presidential Decree No. 6-A known as the Educational Development Decree of 1972 was promulgated in order to ensure maximum development of the country's educational system. (PNA)