One of the oldest churches in Pangasinan, St. James the Great Parish Church in Bolinao, Pangasinan was constructed in 1600s using native materials that includes wood, ground coral stones, rocks, and eggs (probably as binding agent). The church remains the center of catholic faith in Bolinao and served as shelter from pirate raids as well as during the WW2.
The church survived multiple natural calamities including the 1788 earthquake that damaged the church tower, the 1819 fire that burned the convent, and the 2009 typhoon that caused heavy damage on the church structures.
In front of the church is a marker stating that the first mass was celebrated in the Philippines in 1324. After being forced to land due to a stormy weather, Blessed Fr. Odorico held a thanksgiving mass. He also baptized several locals before returning home in Italy.
The marker reads:
Born in Pordinone (Italy) around 1275 A.D., Father ODORICO, a courageours and religious Franciscan missionary pioneered the spread of the Gospel in Asia and China. He traveled always barefooted among undescribable difficulties and dangers, exhausting his energies in the service of the Kingdom of GOD.
In 1324, after landing and taking refuge in Bolinao Pangasinan during a stormy weather, Father ODORICO celebrated a thanksgiving Mass in honor of their safe journey and his mission. He also indoctrinated and baptized many of the Malay immigrants in Bolinao.
He returned home to Udine (Friuli) Italy after thirteen years mission. He died a holy death on January 14, 1331. His precious remains are kept in an artistic tomb of the parish Church of our Lady of Mount Carmel in Udine (Italy).
This historical church as a lot to be proud of. Take a look at these other markers:
The ST. JAMES THE GREAT PARISH Bolinao, Pangasinan was canonically erected in the year 1609 when the Augustinian Friars took over this mission territory which was earlier entrusted by the Spanish Colonial Government to the Dominican Friars in the year 1594 and left the place in the year 1607 due to the vastness of their mission territories and the scarcity of their missionary members.
The Church tower of Bolinao measuring seventy five (75) feet was then the tallest in the whole Pangasinan if not in the entire Northern Luzon. However, an earthquake in 1788 toppled about half of it. Then in 1819, the Church Convent was also accidentally burned.
Here below is the church’s altar and tabernacle.
The church is undergoing structural repairs and maintenance.
This wraps up our 3D/2N Bolinao exploration.
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