Cebu News

Balamban turns 150 years today


The town of Balamban celebrates today its 150 years of establishment as a parish.

At the helm of Balamban’s progress is the joint leadership of Mayor Alex Binghay and Msgr. Isidro Ullamot of the St. Francis of Assisi Parish, one of the oldest parishes in the country being established in 1857.

Its first parish priest was a Spanish friar and he was succeeded by several Spanish priests.

In the early period of the Spanish colonial rule, the parish church of Balamban was built in a chapel-form on a lot donated by a faithful named Juan Redulla in the place where the altar of the present site of the Roman Catholic Church is located.

The first Filipino priest who administered the parish of Balamban was only known as Rev. Father Luis. He was followed by Rev. Fr. Toribio Padilla who was fondly called by the parishioners as Padre Bio.

He was the son of Gregorio Padilla and Maria Cleofe (or Lopez) of San Nicolas, Cebu City, and the nephew of Candido Padilla, a revolutionary leader against the Spanish regime.

Records showed that Rev. Fr. Bio Padilla was ordained as a priest on September 22, 1855 by Bishop Romualdo Jimeno. Fr. Bio was transferred to the Cebu Cathedral Church sometime in 1873.

He stayed there until his death in 1901. Fr. Padilla was also followed by other priests who were assigned to Balamban Parish.

Since it became a parish in the year 1857, St. Francis Parish was administered by 18 parish priests and 15 assistant priests. From 1911 to the present, the town of Balamban has produced 30 or more ordained priests.

In relation to the festivity, a series of activities has been mapped out by the local government unit. One of the highlights is today’s Holy Mass that will be celebrated by Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal along with some 150 priests of the Cebu Archdiocese to celebrate the fiesta.

Mayor Binghay said that through the years, Balamban has developed from a 5th class to a 1st class municipality earning about P60-70 million a month.

Through the years, the town developed physically and the quality of life of its people has slowly improved, he added.

Annual income is placed at around P140 million, according to Binghay, although he expects the figure to rise as soon as a shipbuilding firm’s expansion becomes operational.

A 100-hectare reclamation area will be the site of the construction of a 200,000-deadweight ton bulk carrier said to be the biggest in the world. — /MEEV

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