The Bood Promontory Ecopark is a wooded area located at a bend in the Masao River (also known as the El Rio de Butuan) in Butuan City. This site, containing a large cross, is claimed by the Butuanons to be the place where Magellan celebrated the first mass in the Philippines on March 31, 1521 before dying in battle at Mactan a little less than a month later.
You should know by now that there is a dispute as to the exact place where this historic mass took place. According to Antonio Pigafetta, the chronicler of Magellan’s voyage, the mass occurred in a place called “Mazaua.” Butuanons contend that “Mazaua” referred to their Masao River.
Republic Act No. 2733 was passed in 1960 and it declared that Limasawa (“Mazaua”) is the site of the first mass. Limasawa is an island municipality in the province of Southern Leyte. This assertion was based on a translation of Pigafetta’s journals by American historian James A. Robertson. This position is also accepted by popular Filipino historians Zaide and Agoncillo.
Butuanons disputed this law and this prompted the formation of the Gancayo Commission to resolve this issue. In 1998, the National Historical Institute ruled that Limasawa is the real site of the first mass. But of course, Butuanons rejected this and still continue to commemorate the March 31 mass in their city.