PHILIPPINE NEWS, MANILA — The Iglesia ni Cristo was officially awarded two new world records today as the Guinness Book of World Records declared its 4,745 singer choir to be the largest gospel choir in the world and the new Philippine Arena itself, as the worlds largest mixed-use theater.
The announcement was made by Guiness adjudicator Kaoru Ishikawa following the INC’s centennial celebration at the Philippine Arena.
A total of 51,519 spectators attended morning worship at the arena on Sunday. The building has capacity of 55,000 seats and has already been declared as the worlds largest indoor area.
The Philippine Arena and the surrounding Ciudad de Victoria complex in Bocaue, Bulacan, was officially inaugurated on July 21, 2014 by President Benigno Aquino III and Iglesia ni Cristo Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo. The crowd in attendance during the inauguration exceeded the arena’s capacity and some of the attendees had to stay outside.
The Iglesia ni Cristo, known for its discipline, money and political power is marking its 100th anniversary, as an estimated 2 million people attended the celebration at the Ciudad de Victoria.
“The pace of the spread of Iglesia … has exploded,” church spokesman Edwil Zabala said on a tour of the “City of Victory” complex.
The church was established in 1914 in Manila by Felix Manalo, who was raised a Catholic, became a Protestant preacher, then founded his own religion in which he proclaimed himself the last messenger of God. Its cathedrals can be seen in most Philippine towns and cities, while its missionary work has created congregations in more than 100 other countries.
Iglesia ni Cristo promotes a conservative brand of Christianity. Men and women must be separated in church for services, and they are only allowed to date or marry fellow Iglesia ni Cristo members. Once married, they can never separate. Christmas and many popular Catholic fiestas are not celebrated by the church.
Members are estimated to be well above two million, which gives it significant political power.
The Philippines Area is set to become one of the countys major sporting and entertainment venues. The Philippine Basketball Association is negotiating for rights to hold games of the 2014 PBA Season at the arena. The arena will be one of the main venues for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup if the Philippines succeeds with the winning bid.
The arena was awarded the Best Sports Project in Asia under the Medium Cap Project Category at the Construction Awards 2013 by the World Finance.
The Iglesia ni Cristo Cenntenial celebrateion occured on the same day that the population of the Philippines officially reached 100 million.
Baby Chonalyn Sentino was born at the Fabella Hospital in Manila at 12:35 a.m today and hailed as the 100 millionth Filipino. The baby weighed 2.8 kilos, born to Dailin Cabigayan, 27, a resident of Manila’s Sampaloc district.
The child is actually one of 100 infants born in state hospitals all over the archipelago today who received the symbolic designation of “100,000,000th baby.”
The Population Commission in Western Visayas said the 100 millionth Filpino would be born at around 12:06 a.m. on July 27th.
Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III, Population Commission executive director said that their calculations were based on an average of 4,608 babies being born daily.
“This is both an opportunity and a challenge… an opportunity we should take advantage of and a challenge we recognize,” Perez said.
“We’d like to push the fertility rate down to two children per [woman’s] lifetime,” from the current level of an average of three per woman, he added.
The Visayan Business Post looks forward to the day that every one of the 100 million Filipinos becomes a reader! Happy Sunday to all.