St. Joseph Parish Church
Balungao, Pangasinan
News and Events

 A Priest and the Parishioners in Service to God

                                                 By Meliton G. Dassun



            Four years ago a new dawn for St. Joseph Parish emerged with the arrival of a new priest in the person of Rev. Fr. Franklin John U. Tandingan. An indefatigable action man, dynamic and hardworking, besides being the music director of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Urdaneta, he planned to introduce changes not only to the spiritual and moral direction of the parishioners but more importantly to the physical structure of St. Joseph Parish. Invoking always the Holy Spirit and his popular phrase “God will provide”, he charted his vision for the Parish and encouraged all parishioners to join him in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the edifice which is already very much dilapidated and worn out because of damages inflicted by natural calamities in its over sixty years of existence.


          On acumen of his being an action man is getting what he wanted one after the other. He considered all things important, but prioritization made his vision realized in the order of things to be done. In so doing, he encouraged the parishioners to share what was referred to as the “3T’s” (time, talent and treasure), which is a concept being taught to all parishioners in the Roman Catholic Christian world. To enjoin the active participation of the parishioners, he organized the interim Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) days after his takeover. In a year, the PPC became a regular organization in the life and operation of St. Joseph Parish.


Leaving no moment idle, the parishioners spearheaded by the PPC responded to the call initiated by its presiding officer. Putting things in the order of priorities as earlier stated, donors were invited to share their blessings for the completion of the Parish Hall in 2005. After this, the PPC planned and embarked on a massive solicitation drive through solicitation letters and other methods. Aware of the sad state and condition of the edifice as mentioned earlier, positive response from generous donors poured in. Beating all odds and sacrifices, the solicitation activity bore fruit and with the blessings of God, the ground work for the reconstruction and rehabilitation under Phase I started in October 2006.


Under Phase I, the erection of pillars and related masonry were the major activity. The amount of eight Hundred Fifty Thousand (P850, 000.00) was estimated to be incurred under this phase. When the work started, the cash already available was P404, 000.00. With the continuous pouring in of donations during implementation of the phase, the pillars and related masonry was completed. Under this phase, the accumulated donation reached P864, 172.50 while the expenses incurred P940, 172.50. At the end of the phase in May 2007, the PPC incurred a liability of P76, 000.00.


For several months, masonry was suspended and solicitation activity was continuously carried out by the PPC and concerned parishioners. The liability under Phase I was paid as donation poured in for Phase II. Under this phase, the major activity was formation, installation and roofing of the building. After the 2007 Mayflower festival, the PPC initially bought the needed materials for this phase but aware of the inadequacy of the donations before the works could again be resumed, the activity was indefinitely suspended. Miracles do happened when a generous Balikbayan incidentally happened to attend a Holy Mass last December 2007 and heard the appeal of Fr. Tandingan for more donations to jumpstart the activity for Phase II. Said Balikbayan responded and her donation triggered the masonry to resume under the phase which started on March 19, 2008 and was finished on May 17, 2008. Accumulated donation reached P1, 085,714.72 while the expenses incurred P1, 299,519.50. At the end of Phase II, the PPC incurred liability of P214, 556.00. To ensure the continuity under Phase II, concerned parishioners in the persons of Sis Corazon Acosta and Sis Angelita T. Valerio lent One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100, 000.00) each without any interest. The amount borrowed was paid from the proceeds of the 2008 Mayflower Festival. In order to raise enough funds to pay for the borrowed money, the PPC tapped Sis Minda T. Peralta as the Executive Chairman of the 2008 Mayflower Festival: The decision to involve her was proven favorable to St. Joseph Parish because the proceeds of said festival was very much higher than the other festival which came before it.


What was conceived as a mere reconstruction and rehabilitation activity is now a major construction project. As of date, Phase III is being undertaken and no doubt more funds are needed. If the priest and the parishioners in service to God have gone this far, it is because of the unconditional trust and confidence being displayed by all donors to the said construction. The PPC officers are doing their best to manage the fund prudently and honestly as they could which can be seen in the proportion of materials to labor expenses during the two phases of the construction. Under Phase I, fund spent for materials is 72.16 percent while labor is 27.84 per cent. The prevailing rate in the construction industry may reach between 30 to 40 percent if it is a straight contract.


The Parish Pastoral Council with Rev. Fr. Franklin John U. Tandingan takes this opportunity to extend their gratitude and thanks to all parishioners involved in the construction, more specifically on the financial support aspect, big and small, and without having to be selective only a few could be accommodated to be listed in this article. To name a few which include their families, Hon. Congressman Conrad Estrella III, Bro. Daniel Glorioso Z. Martinez, Chief, of LTO-Urdaneta who spearheaded the conduct of several “Bingo Sosyal”, the local leadership headed by Hon. Jose G. Peralta, Jr. of LGU Balungao, Engr. Fidel D. Ginez of the DPWH, Region I, Ex-Mayor Wilfredo N. Mina, Ma. Cristina Valdez-Sequeira and other major contributors. But foremost among them is the man behind the architectural design, implementation and supervision of the construction in the person of Engr. Gualberto Ballano, Division Chief of PANELCO III, who had unselfishly extended his technical expertise without any single centavo obligation from St. Joseph Parish.


This article may not be complete if it fails to echo the message of urgent appeal being requested by the St. Joseph Parish Pastoral Council for more financial assistance in order that it can attain its goal to finish the construction of the edifice within the time frame it imposed upon itself. Time passes unnoticeably, and 16 months from now, Rev. Fr. Franklin John U. Tandingan will finish his stint as Parish Priest of Balungao. The parish and the parishioners are the midstream of the construction, while they are trying their best, which best would not be enough without the continuous financial support from the faithful. With ardent prayers and the practice of said “3T’s” the dream to have a better place to worship our Creator shall be realized sooner as we implore His blessings in the journey to the completion of the construction.


                Our Church Under Construction                                                    Our Church Under Construction
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