As I and my travel buddy, Darwin of Tracking Treasure decided to stay overnight in Dagupan City, to stay another day to sightsee Pangasinan, we checked on its historic past and the religion. As I always expected, I went to see churches which span from the years of the Hispanic influence in the Philippines and to this day. Pangasinan is wonderfully blessed with the richness of such Hispanic influence in the Philippines and through which, I gleaned in its religious past. Calasiao Parish Church of Saints Peter and Paul is the best example of these.
Arriving in Calasiao town, we were greeted by a very imposing church in the hues of clay. It is a storied one where happiness, joy, pain and death were celebrated inside its hallowed interiors. A few jeepneys were taking a break from the heat and humidity of the day, them under some old Acacia trees. I was mesmerized, I am captivated.
As we were busy taking photographs of the church’s exteriors, I asked a fellow if we can see the interiors and he just nodded. I am impressed at how the interiors of the Calasiao Church are well-maintained and is regularly repaired, maintaining its original state.
I went to the choir loft of the Calasiao Church of Saints Peter and Paul and saw beauty before my eyes. I am forever indebted to my decision to stay and see this wonderful beauty of Philippine’s religiosity and a personal lessons of history.
Built by the Dominicans between the 17th to the 19th century, the Calasiao Church of Saints Peter and Paul witnessed upheavals and earthquakes but remained strong. The Calasiao Church manifestly stood the tests of time and era, providing the vantage marker for retracing back where personalities, events and years dotted Pangasinan’s rich history.
As I was done taking photos of the interiors of the Calasiao Church, I set eyes on the nearby convent. The sprawling convent of the Calasiao Church of Saints Peter and Paul was the venue of the Synod held in the 18th century. It is in this very historic convent that I met Parish Priest Fidelis Layog, a very accommodating and considerate priest. He invited us in and introduced himself and after short pleasantries, without us asking permission yet, he permitted us to take as many photos if we can and then shared the history of the church.
Fr. Layog even pointed to us the original and historic ‘pogon’ or clay kitchen being used by the Dominican friars when they managed the Calasiao Church. He also showcased to us his rare collection of antiques and rare paintings on the second floor of the convent.
Calasiao town where the church stand even until today prides itself as the first and only town in Pangasinan who stood up against the agonizing colonization of Spain. It is the first town to join the Malong Rebellion of 1660-1661. As a result, the Calasiao Church was burned down in 1736 during the Palaris Revolt.
Calasiao Church of Saints Peter and Paul highlights the resiliency of the Filipinos in the midst of cultural hegemony and oppressive Spanish colonization in the Philippines.