History

Sto. Niňo Parish
Tampakan, South Cotabato
Erected: November 23, 1980
Titular: Sto Niňo
Feast Day: January (variable date)
Population: 36,664; Catholics: 26,257


Tampakan was originally created in 1940 by the defunct NLSA (National Land Settlement Administration) as part of the municipality of Koronadal. However, when Tupi (which was also part of Koronadal) became a municipality in the 1950's, Tampakan was absorbed by the newly created town and became the biggest barrio of Tupi.

On June 21, 1969, Tampakan was created into a regular municipali¬ty. But despite this new political independence, Tampakan con¬tinued to remain part of the Parish of Tupi. This set-up was maintained for more than a decade with the priest from Tupi visiting the place for Mass once a month. But God in His infinite mercy had other plans for Tampakan.

In 1976, due to the sudden death of Fr. Vicente Sorondo, the parish priest of Tupi, the Tampakeňos were challenged to move and work together to put up a convento which they could call their own. In no time, under the leadership of new leaders, the con¬struction of the convento was completed and blessed by Bishop Reginald Arliss sometime in 1977. Fr. Jose Madanguit, then Assistant Parish Priest of Tupi, was assigned to prepare Tampakan to become a parish. Fr. Joe made some renovation on the old chapel built in the 50’s which was already worn down. He was followed shortly by Fr. Angelo Diana who intensified the preparatory work.

Finally, on November 23, 1980 Tampakan was created as a parish. It was called Sto. Nino Parish with Fr. Angelo Diana as the first parish priest. The parish covers the whole Munici-pality of Tampakan and two barangays and sitios of Koronadal. Thus, the Tampakenos had at last realized their dream.

Soon after the parish was established, it became pretty obvious that the old barrio chapel now converted into a temporary parish church, could no longer hold the ever increasing number of churchgoers coming to Mass on Sundays. And so, the building of a new church became top priority for the new parish.

A plan was drafted during the time of Fr. Rolando Japitana for a medium sized church and in fact some concrete posts were already put in place. But before the plan could be fully implemented there were some changes that were introduced into the original plan. The revised plan called for a much bigger church building and much greater amount of money. At first there was much hesitation for such an ambitious undertaking. Meanwhile new concrete posts were erected to mark the area for the church, and Fr. Jose Legaria took it upon himself to fill up the area with land soil.

Not long after, an intensive fund campaign was launched during the time of Fr. Jimmy Faustino. Soon, work started and in no time, the building slowly took form with steel structures, G.I. roofing, concrete flooring, an altar and sacristy put in place. The building was made ready for the 1998 patronal fiesta in which Bishop Dinualdo D. Gutierrez, D.D. was main celebrant. The building however still needed some finishing touches. It was Fr. Romeo Subaldo’s turn to complete the project. He had the floor tiled, old benches repaired and painted, and other additional facilities were acquired. The church was at last completed.

Other Improvements in the Parish

The Parish Social Action Office called “Our Lady of Justice and Peace Center” and the Parish Seminar House were built during the time of Fr. Carlos Andalan and Fr. Robustiano Morgia with the help Bayanihan System and foreign donations (1984-1987).

The kindergarten school called Stella Mans Learning Center was established during the time of Fr. Elbert Vasquez (1990-1992).

Presently the parish is at the forefront of the diocesan-wide opposition to the presence of WMC (Western Mining Corporation) and SMC (Sagittarius Mining Corporation) operating in the mountain areas of Tampakan. The parish has launched a massive education campaign in the poblacion and GKKs to make the people aware of the dangers and evils of mining. The parish has voice its opposition particularly to open-pit method envisioned by SMC and the “banlas” method currently being used by small-scale miners in some areas of Tampakan. These methods contribute to the destruction of the environment, result in deforestation, land slides, pollution of water, climate change and global warming, and other adverse effects. It is believed that this campaign is indeed a big challenge for the parish now and in the years to come.

Tampakan celebrated its Silver Jubilee as a parish in 2005.

The present population of the parish is about 37,000 of which about 27,000 are Catholics.

The parish has 49 GKKs, 137 KRISKA units with 137 alagads, 60 catechists, 27 family and life workers, 215 youth leaders, 45 laycos, 18 lay eucharistic ministers, 373 lay liturgists, and 62 altar servers.

Other groups in the parish are the KC, CWL, Legion of Mary, Lay Vocation Promoters, CFC, and Samaria-Cursillo.

The social action programs of the parish are JP, Alay Kapwa, and Farmers Apostolate.

PARISH PRIESTS ASSIGNED IN TAMPAKAN:

1. Fr. Angelo Diana – 1980-1981
2. Fr. Carlos Andalan – 1981-1984
3. Fr. Robustiano Morgia – 1984-1987
4. Fr. Rolando Japitana – 1987-1990
5. Fr. Elbert Vasquez – 1990-1992
6. Fr. Jose Legaria – 1992-1995
7. Fr. Jimmy Faustino – 1995-1999
8. Fr. Romeo Subaldo – 1998-2001
9. Fr. Cristito Joloro – 1998-2001
10. Fr. Ricky Legario – 2001-2004
11. Fr. Edwin Funtilon – 2004-2007
12. Fr. Bobby Parreno – 2007-2010
13. Fr. Joseph Benitez – 2010-2013
Fr. Joemer Candido (Parish Vicar)
14. Fr. Robert Feguro - 2013-2016
Fr. Freddie Paulo (Parish Vicar)

Sources:

History of the Diocese of Marbel, “Parishes”, On Chancery File, 1985
Souvenir Program, 21st Annual Patronal Fiesta 2001, “The Metamorphic History of the Church of Sto. Nino, Tampakan”
Sto. Nino Parish of Tampakan: A Brief History, 2011