MANILA –A Jesuit dormitory in Intramuros which was previously occupied by a Japanese martyr is being eyed as a new tourist attraction in the Walled City, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said Wednesday.
DOT said it will launch initiative to spur Japanese tourist arrivals to the Philippines following the recent beatification of a Japanese martyr who died in exile in 1615 in the country.
The life story of Blessed Justo Takayama Ukon, particularly in the places he stayed in before his death in a Jesuit dormitory in Intramuros called Casade San Miguel is slowly piquing the interest of Japanese tourists.
Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, whose mother is of Japanese descent, said that she saw this as an opportunity to “deepen and strengthen friendship between Filipinos and the Japanese.”
Teo, meanwhile, directed DOT Undersecretary Falconi Millar to oversee the familiarization tour program intended for Japanese tourists, who wish to pay homage to Blessed Justo in the Philippines.
According to DOT, Blessed Justo was a feudal lord who chose to give up his wealth, embraced Christianity and suffered persecution.
After a year-long sea voyage, he and his family reached Manila in 1615 but he died of illness 40 days later under the care of the Jesuits in Manila.
Also referred to as Justus “the Japanese Servant of God,” Takayama was beatified and proclaimed “Blessed” /last February 7 by Cardinal Angelo Amato in behalf of Pope Francis in Osaka, Takayama’s birthplace.
An exhibit on Blessed Justo’s life and historical records is currently being at the Manila Cathedral, which is organized and hosted by the DOT National Capital Region and Intramuros Administration (IA). It will run until Saturday, February 24.
Meanwhile, a “bigger than life” statue of Blessed Justo can also be found at the Plaza Dilao in Paco, Manila and another one on the grounds of the University of Santo Tomas Graduate School in España, Manila.