Immaculate Conception Parish
Damar Village, Quezon City
Immaculate Concepcion Parish - Damar Village, Quezon CityImmaculate Concepcion Parish - Damar Village, Quezon City

Welcome About Us

Brief History

The Immaculate Conception Parish: Then and Now
By: Ma. Lourdes C. Sanchez

San Miguel Corporation, the original owner of 210,469Sq.m. of land in Balintawak, Quezon City, developed these into a subdivision and marketed the subdivided lots through realtors, A. Varias and Associates sometime in 1963.

Envisioned to be first class subdivision and an improved counterpart of San Miguel village of Makati, it was initially referred to by SMC executives as San Miguel Village of Quezon City. Later, however, it was named Damar Village after Dona Margarita Roxas Soriano, deceased mother of the late Don Andres Soriano, Sr.

52,059sq.m. of the total land area were subdivided into 372 lots. 46,000sq.m.or 3.8kms. Were developed into centered roads 12,588sq.m. were reserved for parks, other open spaces and community area. 1,888sq.m. were earmarked for the Chapel which San Miguel built.
The church structure as it still stands today was designed by a certain Architect Pobre. Its construction was supervised by then SMC Vice President Eduardo Fanlo and Damar Village Association officers headed then by Engr. Emilio Dionisio. By the middle of 1964, the church was already in place; recalled Mr. Noberto Caimol whose family, along with the late Isidro Fonacier’s family, were among the first to settle in the village. But the church was merely a shell of structure. Except for the altar there was nothing inside.
When in 1969, Engr. Conrando del Rosario assumed the presidency of the DVA; he formed a Chapel Committee, with the late Justice Cecilio L. Pe as chairman and former resident Mrs. Pilar E. Soto as Vice chairperson. Dr. Avelina L. Bacnis, another former resident and the DVA treasurer then, led in the solicitation in cash and in kind for the chapel’s needs. The first to be installed were the original 14 Stations of the Cross. The huge crucifix still on the altar, the original chandeliers, electric fans, microphones, followed suit. Each family was asked to donate P 100.00, the cost then of one narra pew-the same pews still used today. Before the arrival of the pews, Sunday churchgoers would bring their own stools or chairs to sit on. The late Engr. Pete Villarama, a baritone, was the soloist who sang during the Mass.
Meanwhile, residents like Mrs. Pillar Soto, Mrs. Conchita Fonacier , Mrs. Fely de leon, Mrs. Norma Ferrer, Mrs. Leny Tolentino, Mrs. Leoner Jayme and Mrs. Josefina Pe Purisima sought the parish which had jurisdiction over Damar. They were referred to San Pedro Bautista Parish in San Francisco del Monte.
Father Leon Ramos, the Franciscan parish priest then of San Pedro Bautista who was concurrent Rector of the Franciscan Seminary started saying Sunday Mass in the Damar chapel. A devotee of the Immaculate Conception, he purportedly chose her as the patroness of Damar Village.
The first fiesta celebration took place on December 8, 1971 under the aegis of the DVA whose president then was the late Judge Emigdio V. Nietes. Festives activities which took place during the nine-day novena period included free movies at the basketball court, native “palaro”, volleyball, and basketball games. Booths festooned with colorful paper buntings were set up free of charge, by the Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola Bottling Companies for the food, drinks and cake sale. Each day of the nine-day novena held in church was sponsored by certain streets. On the day of the fiesta, a playing band went around the village as early as 6:00 A.M. The Religious procession around the village after the 6:30 P.M. mass was followed by fireworks. To record the celebration for posterity, as well as the DVA officers and residents behind the celebration, a souvenir programme was printed and distributed to the residents.
Fr. Agapito Dei, another Franciscan assumed Fr. Ramos position and duties when the latter was assigned elsewhere. Whenever unable to say Mass at Damar, Fr. Diez sent other Franciscans like Fr. Ibanez and Fr. Roberto Manguiat.
Fr. Manguiat, Soon settled down as a semi-resident priest and as such, he reached out not only to the Catholics but also to Protestants and Buddhist alike; visiting their homes and offering to pray or say mass during special family occasions. It was he who instituted the Wednesday novena to the Mother of Perpetual Help and the first Friday mass in honor of the sacred heart of Jesus.
The DVA, by then, had included in its roster of officers a Director for religious Affairs and had assumed responsibility for the financial needs of both church and resident priest when the latter was appointed by Cardinal Sin to attend regularly to the spiritual needs of the residents. DVA subsidy included cost of maintenance and repair of both Chapel and convent, payment for electric, water and telephone bills, the resident priest’s monthly household allowance. Weekly stipend for former actor Mandling Claro who sang at the 9:30 Mass (later an outside choir took over and received the stipend) and other expenses pertaining to the church.
Prior to the appointment of a resident priest, DVA director for religious affairs, Mrs. Lulu C. Sanchez, with the assistance of the late Mrs. Pepita Pineda, assumed the task of inviting priest from Sto. Domingo Church, Sta Perpetual Church, Sta Cruz Church, Quiapo Church, the Santissimo Rosario Chapel of UST and even archdiocesan guest priest from Palawan and other provinces who were temporarily with the Archdioceses of Manila at that time, to say the Sunday Mass.
The DVA led by the late justice Pe Later made representations with Cardinal Sin to give Damar a resident priest. The late Fr. Leonardo Marquez, already a retired priest, was sent to Damar b the Cardinal.
In 1984, Damar chapel was placed under the jurisdiction of the St. Joseph the worker Parish in Balintawak. Fr. Migs Cobarrubias, the assigned priest to Damar, organized a Pastoral council to assist him and appointed then Barangay Captain Laura del Rosario to head the council.
A year later, Damar was declared a quasi-parish and the Archbishop of Manila appointed Fr. Ernani Denolo in-charge, when the latter left for further studies, the late Fr. Leonardo Marquez was re-assigned as resident priest of Damar.
On August 22, 1987, the feast of the Queen ship of Mary, the establishment of the new Parish of the Immaculate Conception, Damar, was decreed by Jaime Cardinal Sin, Archbishop of Manila. The decree stipulated the inclusion in the parish of Grace Village and the southern part of Barangay Balingasa. The decree further underscored the Immaculate Conception as the Patroness of the parish.
On September 13, 1987, at a concelebrated Mass, with his Eminence Jaime Cardinal Sin as the main celebrant, Fr. Kurian Thalachirakuzky, from Kerala, India, was installed as our first Parish Priest. At that time, Mrs. Fely de Leon was the chair of the Pastoral Council. Fr. Kurian organized the parish council after her term expired and appointed Mr. Jack Ferrer as the President. The Mama Mary Montessori School, a nursery and kindergarten school constructed on the church grounds, was his project. Officially, the school was run by the Archdiocese of Manila. A Board of Trustees, however, composed of residents connected with the academe or with an educational background and training supervised the school and its teachers.
When Fr. Kurian was assigned to German in April 1992, Fr. Geronimo Reyes, who finished hi studies in Cannon Law in Rome and who, despite his youth, heads the Marriage Tribunal Court in the Archdiocese of Manila, was installed by Cardinal Sin as the successor of Fr. Kurian.
Now a monsignor assigned at Ermita Church, Msgr. Jerome’s legacy to the parish of Damar, aside from organizing the Mother Butler Guild here, is our beautiful Adoration Chapel and the renovated marble altar and Sanctuary area of the parish church.
Msgr. Jerome was succeeded by Msgr. Pedrosa as parish priest Damar. Msgr. Pedrosa’s legacy to Damar is the installation of the church facade’s beautiful stained glass which was donated by Mr. Reynaldo Go
As of this writing, our parish priest is Msgr. Cesar B. Pagulayan. A write-up on him and his achievements so far follows this article.
The history of the Immaculate Conception of Damar will continue to unfold until mankind and the whole of creation dissolved into the promised eternity.