The Story of Our Lady of Pillar Church and Cauayan City

by Jane Dacumos on August 23, 2012
The Story of Our Lady of Pillar Church and Cauayan City

It was September 8, 1739 when a group of Dominican missionaries landed in Turayong, a barangay of this town which was later named Cauayan. From the very start of their mission work, the missionaries managed to convert to the Christian Faith some 140 Gaddangs, the pioneer inhabitants of this city.

It was in the year 1741 when the Dominican authorities, meeting in a general chapter in Manila, declared this mission of Cauayan a full-fledged parish. It was dedicated to Our Lady of the Pillar commonly known as the NUESTRA SEÑORA DEL PILLAR in the old days. The first vicar of this parish was Fray Antonio Del Ocampo who was at the same time Superior of all the missions from Cauayan to Bayombong.

The first parish church was constructed by Fray Juan Prieto with the first class materials with galvanized roofing and a ceiling of bricks. It has a beautiful tower which was later destroyed by a violent earthquake.

Through the years, the faith of the Gaddangs and other migrants who made Cauayan their home kept growing. As an indication of said growth, we can see our churches and barangay chapels filled to capacity on Sundays and Fiestas. Baptisms, marriages and other sacramental rites have become a serious concern not only of the parish priests but also by parents themselves. Catechetical instruction in public schools has intensified with the increasing number of volunteer catechists. In 1956, a Catholic School was founded by Fr. Roque Fidel. Starting from modest beginnings, it has grown into a big institution offering college and high school courses now on its way to become the premier university of the region.

The fist parish priest was Fray Pedro Sierra. Until 1912, all parish priests were Spaniards. In 1912, the first Filipino was named parish priest in the person of Fr. Proceso Cortes. He was followed by Fr. Alvaro Jaramillo, Fr. Rafael Quimpo, Fr. Angel Ranjo, F. Manuel Apostol, Fr. Teleseforo Cordova, Fr. Federico Pagallaman, Fr. Jesus Gaffud, Fr. Roque fidel, Msgr. Marino Gatan, Fr. Francisco Uanan, Msgr. Daniel Guiyab, Fr. Dante Mazo, Rev. Fr. Angel Luga and the rest of the Diocesan Priest have came and left to serve our beloved Our Lady of the Pillar Parish Church.

Our Lady of Pillar Church and Cauayan City

On March 20, 2001, Cauayan was converted into a component city of the Province of Isabela by the power of people’s plebiscite. The town got its name from the word “Cauayan” meaning bamboo in the dialect of Gaddang, the early settlers of this place. How it got its name is told vaguely by the natives in the tale about how the early Spaniards who reached the place found abundant growths of bamboo trees along creeks that circled the town site namely Bulod, Sipat, Bungkol, and Marabulig creeks where few families lived. It was also a common sight to see crocodiles basking under the cluster of bamboo along the creeks in the early morning sun.

Travel to Cauayan, Isabela

Take any Cagayan Valley Region aircon bus from Manila at 7 PM and get down at Cauayan City early morning the following day. Cyclone Planes in Cauayan City take the passengers to Palanan for a 30 minute flight. For independent motorists from Manila, take the North Luzon Expressway and exit at the Sta. Rita Exit. You may park vehicle at the Cyclone parking area. Cebu Pacific fly to Cauayan City Airport from Manila.

Santiago City buses travel to Disalag, Aurora daily; from Dilasag take a boat to Palanan through the Pacific Ocean.

Accommodations: Cauayan City is a commercial center for the Cagayan Valley Region. Accredited hotels and restaurants abound in the area.

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