January 16, 1571 when Miguel Lopez de Legaspi declared Cabuyao, then known as Tabuko, to the inhabitants as an “encomienda”. The Order of Missionaries of the Augustinian-Recollects came to Tabuko. When the Augustians left, the Franciscan Friars took over, headed by an elderly friar, Fray Velin. When they arrived by boat, they saw women washing clothes along the lake they were asked what the name of the place was. These women thought that the friars were asking for the name of the tree bark that they were using to wash their clothes and they replied, “Kabuyaw”. From then on, the name Tabuko became “Kabuyaw” until later the Americans changed its spelling to “Cabuyao”.
The friars realized that the natives had no place of worship and they looked for a place to build the church. They decided to build it in Marinig, which happened to be the center of the town due to easy access to Laguna de Bay. The first church was built within a year. However it was built on loose sand. Due to frequent flooding in the area, the friars decided to move the church to a higher ground creating a new pueblo North Marinig.
A Second More Permanent Church
1763 The construction of the new church started. Along with it, the new roads, bridges, plaza, public market, and a tribunal (municipal building) were also constructed.1771 The church was finally finished and was dedicated to St. Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr and titular head of the Catholic Church in the whole of Asia.
1852 Fray Mariano Gomez and Alcalde Jose Deasanta Rivera built a new cemetery and named it “Campo Santo” in front of the church on the right side of the tribunal. At present, the site is now where the Poor Clare Monastery stands.
During that period, no formal associations or organizations existed. However, there were devotes of the Dolorosa, the Sagrada Corazon de Jesus, the Nuestra Senora Del Carmen, the Lourdes, the San Vicente, and the San Antonio.
These devotees helped in the cleaning of the church and the convent and even raised funds for the needs of the church.
1896 The revolution had already reached Cabuyao and the friars secretly left the convent to escape the wrath of the townspeople.
The Parish Gets Its First Filipino Priest
1899 The first Filipino priest, Fr. Eulalio Mea, was assigned in the parish. He served the parish until 1903. During that period, Americans were looking for those Cabuyenos who were anti-Americans. It was he who hid the natives from the American soldiers.
But in 1901, he was jailed by the Americans. While he was in jail, he was temporarily replaced by Fr. Ladislao Santos. July 12 1916, the third cemetery was built during the term of Fr. Adriano Aranas, it is where the present cemetery stands.
The Church During The Japanese Occupation
January 1, 1942 The Japanese arrived in Cabuyao, the church and the municipal governments were closed. These Japanese used the church to house the wounded soldiers and even converted it into a stable for their horses. The town’s people could not do anything to save the church from desecration because the Japanese would killthose who will be against them.
On January 1, 1945, The American forces came to Cabuyao and they were led by Captain Brown. They stayed in the church patio while “liberating” and rebuilding the town. During this period, peace enveloped the town and gave birth to religious organizations in the church and the first socio-civic club in the town, the Parlatone Club
Fr. Eustaquio Daite, the parish priest at that time, sought the services of the said club. In January 1955, The Parlatone Club executed a Deed of Donation in favor of the parish for the “four concrete fonts with an image of an angel”.
1950’s through the initiative of Vice Mayor Maria L Alipit, the church underwent renovation the choir loft was repaired and the interior and exterior walls were repainted.
1970’s The Parlatone Club constructed one concrete “kubol” at the church courtyard.
1972 The Philippine Constabulary arrived in the church unannounced and they dug its underground. The digging lasted for two months and according to the stories told by the town folks, the Philippine Constabulary forces unearthed treasures that were secretly buried by the Japanese soldiers.
1972 – 1974 Fr. Quirino Glorioso, the parish priest, spear headed the restoration of church during this period. He formed the Parish Construction Committee which took charge of the parish reconstruction. The renovation included the replacement of the old retablo with a crucified Christ and a bronze tabernacle below. The mini balcony on the right wing of the church as well as the huge solid narra balusters that served as a communion and the priest’s pulpit were also removed.
The floor tiles were replaced with crazy cut marbles. Many parishioners were surprised by the new look of the church. However, the committee said that the changes in the look were consistent to the order of the Second Vatican Council.
It was said that during the construction of the church, some of the original antique images and “baroque accouterments” owned by the parish were missing. According to stories , some of which were taken to some houses for safekeeping.
The More Recent Past
1985 The Sangguniang Di-Pari was organized by Fr. Pedro Silva and Bro. Ric Ferrer served as the President.
1986 Sis. Aderita Atienza succeeded Bro. Ric Ferrer in the Sangguniang- Di Pari. During this year, they worked to erect the Christ the King Monument at the right side of the church near the Knights of Columbus Chamber.
It was also at this year the Parish Catechetical Ministry underwent reorganization. Also, the Family Life Apostolate was formed thought couple Bro. Manny and Sis. Carol Briones as coordinator.
1994 Fr. Boy Abarca formed the Sang-Ankan ni San Polycarpo. He also built a new convent at the second floor of the church extension and converted the old convent into a mortuary hall. It was during his term that the old sacristy was fixed and set the first Adoration Chapel.
1997 Under the stewardship of Fr. Jerry Bitoon, the new date for the observance of the town’s fiesta was imposed, from January 26 to February 23 of every year, which is the feast day of the martyrdom of St. Polycarp. He also built the Family Life Center. The parish office was also transferred to its new site located besides the PEA Chapel.
1998 Fr. Rolando “Olan” Ardes labored to create a new retablo of the altar. During his term, the framed images of Mother of Perpetual Help and Divine Mercy from Italy were placed in both sides of the altar. Old Stations of the Cross made of wood were mounted again in the church walls replacing the stained glass images.
2000 During the term of Fr. Edison Roque, he focused his attention on the spiritual growth of the parishioners. It was during his term that the parish underwent SALT Analysis, a course that aimed to formulate vision for the parish in consonance to the vision of the diocese.
2003 In Fr. Edgardo Consignado’s term, he altered the church patio by cementing the whole area which serves as parking space for the parishioners. He also formed the UCG and even constructed the Bulwagang San Polycarpo.
2007 When Fr. Juvenal Anthony “Juvy” S. Leonardo became the parish priest. He revived some of the old practices in observing important events in the church, particularly during the celebration of Holy Week. Then in October 2007, the parish observed the 20th century traditional enthronement of the Confradia dela Virgen del Santisimo Rosario de Cabuyao.
It was also during his time that some documents show that there are property owned by the parish on behalf of the Blessed Virgin Mary, wherein revenues from the land was used to finance all the activities related to the feast day of the Blessed Mother.
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Padre Burgos Steet, Poblacion, Brgy Uno, Cabuyao, Laguna 4025, Philippines.
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