Thursday, Apr 15

Tzu Chi Cebu, Bohol observe threefold celebration

May 14, 2017 | Charlotte Omila and Kristelle Ferrir

430 participants joined Tzu Chi Cebu’s celebration of the Buddha’s Birthday, Mother’s Day, and Tzu Chi Day at the White Gold House, Cebu City on May 14. 【Photo by Kristelle Ferrir】

Story Highlights

  • Tzu Chi Foundation’s liaison office in Cebu organized a solemn event to celebrate the Buddha’s birthday, Mother’s Day, and Tzu Chi’s 51st Global Anniversary on May 14 at White Gold House in Cebu City.

  • 430 participants attended the threefold celebration in Cebu. Tzu Chi volunteers and Tzu Chi scholars from Bohol travelled to Cebu to also attend the event.


Tzu Chi Cebu organized a solemn even to celebrate the Buddha’s Birthday, Mother’s Day, and Tzu Chi Day on May 14. The celebration gathered 430 participants, including Tzu Chi volunteers and Tzu Chi scholars from Bohol, at White Gold House in Cebu City.

The celebration started with the procession of commissioners who bring with them the flowers, candles and scented water for the Buddha Bathing ceremony. The bathing ceremony followed soon after. The scented water symbolizes the virtue, spirit and teachings of Buddha. Every participants bowed and tapped into the scented water hoping their mind and hearts to be purified and be cleansed from impurities.

Tzu Chi Bohol scholar Benjie Portrias shared it was his first time attending the ceremony. When asked about the experience he said, “It is different and I am grateful. The serenity and reverence of the participants is calming and I feel blessed.”

Benjie Portrias is one of the first batches of Tzu Chi Bohol scholars. The 20-year-old Civil Engineering student has watched video footages of Buddha Day celebrations across the world from volunteering during Tzu Chi volunteers’ Spreading the Seeds of Love programs around the province. From then on, he had hoped to take part in such ceremony.

“Though I am not a Buddhist, taking this experience to heart had touched me and put me in the presence of calmness,” he said. “I wish Buddha’s virtues will remain not only in mine but in everyone’s hearts.”

After the Buddha Bathing ceremony, Tzu Chi Cebu Officer-in-charge Nelson Reyes welcomed everyone to the event. According to him, Mother’s Day is a reminder for everyone to be filial – respectful and loving to their parents. The Buddha’s Birthday, meanwhile, is celebrated to express gratitude to the Buddha for guiding us to grow spiritually. In celebrating Tzu Chi’s 51st Anniversary, love that transcend religions and differences is being promoted.

During a Mother’s Day tribute, 12 Tzu Chi Cebu scholars washed the feet of their parents and offered flowers. The gesture symbolizes the scholar’s gratitude toward their parents for the latter’s hard work in raising them. It was a heart-warming scene that aims to strengthen a mother-child relationship and to promote filial piety.

The tribute ended with the scholars and volunteers presenting a sign language called “A Mother’s Hand.”

By the end of the celebration, everyone present was honored to have participated.

The entire Bohol team, who travelled early morning of May 14 to attend the celebration, is looking forward to holding the same event locally. They hope to make everyone in Bohol feel that despite the many differences, we are all united as one in sharing love, in doing good deeds and making a positive impact to the world.

  • Tzu Chi volunteers offer the flowers, fragrant water and candles for the Buddha Bathing ceremony. 【Photo by Kristelle Ferrir】

  • Tzu Chi volunteers offer the flowers to the Buddha to start the Buddha Bathing ceremony. 【Photo by Kristelle Ferrir】

  • During the Buddha Bathing ceremony, participants bow and tap their hands into the scented water to symbolize cleansing their hearts and minds from impurities. 【Photo by Kristelle Ferrir】

  • A group of Tzu Chi volunteers from Bohol take part in the Buddha Bathing ceremony for the first time. 【Photo by Kristelle Ferrir】

  • Every second Sunday of May, Tzu Chi celebrates the Buddha’s Birthday. Tzu Chi volunteers offer their gratitude and respect to the Buddha in a solemn ceremony. 【Photo by Kristelle Ferrir】

  • Tzu Chi scholars show synchronization during the walking meditation. 【Photo by Kristelle Ferrir】

  • Ending the ceremony, participants solemnly pray for a harmonious and disaster-free world. 【Photo by Kristelle Ferrir】

  • The ceremony closes with a processional exit by the Tzu Chi Commissioners. 【Photo by Kristelle Ferrir】

  • 19-year-old Tzu Chi scholar Benjie Portrias mindfully take part in the Buddhist ceremony. 【Photo by Kristelle Ferrir】

  • Tzu Chi Cebu Officer-in-Charge Nelson Reyes welcomes the participants in the threefold event. 【Photo by Kristelle Ferrir】

  • Tzu Chi Cebu scholar Uriel Sy participates in the washing of feet ceremony ro express respect and gratitude to his mother. 【Photo by Kristelle Ferrir】

  • Tzu Chi volunteers present a sign language entitled “A Mother’s Hand” during hte Mother’s Day tribute. 【Photo by Kristelle Ferrir】