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Philippines’ second saint Pedro Calungsod is said to trace his roots to Molo, Iloilo City and Leon, Iloilo, accounts of his life story claim.

Pope Benedict XVI canonized or declared Dec. 19 Calungsod as the country’s newest saint, next to San Lorenzo Ruiz (1987), a Chinese mestizo from Binondo, Manila who died as a martyr in Japan early 17th century.

The beloved and late Pope John Paul II beatified or recognized during the Great Jubilee Year 2000 Calungsod’s miracle for bringing back to life a brain-dead woman in Cebu in 2003 through her doctor’s prayers and his intercession.

Calungsod then only 17 or 18 years young sacristan/catechist/seminarian/ missionary was brutally murdered (mutilated and dumped to the sea) by natives in Guam sometime in April 2, 1672, together with priest-companion Jesuit mission-founder Father Diego Luis de San Vitores, a website dedicated to his blessedness said.

The two martyrs were killed for baptizing an infant catching the ire of the non-Christian community.

Calungsod named “Joven Bisayo” (as 17th century documents say) left the Philippines at age of 13 or 14 joining 17 teenage Filipinos brought by Jesuits priests to Guam for missionaries works, said priest-biographer Catalino G. Arevalo, S.J.

At least four Visayan towns claim him: Ginatilan and Tuburan in Cebu, Loboc in Bohol, and Leon in Iloilo. Cebu and Bohol are rated “more probable” as places of origin, but Leon rates high in probability too, Fr. Arevalo noted.

Loboc had a Jesuit “minor seminary” where Calungsod could have been educated but Tigbauan near Villa de Arevalo, Jesuit Pedro Chirino had also established the first Jesuit school for boys.

“It is not unlikely that Calungsod could have come from nearby and joined the Tigbauan school. The Calunsods (more commonly written now without the “g”) tell us they have old family traditions that say a boy, only 11 or 12, had gone to Mactan island, joined the Jesuit mission station, and then traveled with the priests to some islands “near Hawaii” and was later killed with the Fathers there,” Fr. Arevalo said.

Calungsod, a barrio boy and “brown-skinned native” Visayan belonged to the Diocese of Cebu – at that time all the Visayas (Eastern and Western) – even the island of Guam – belonged to the same diocese, the priest added.

“The Ilonggo Calunsods today claim Pedro’s father was a skilled craftsman, a goldsmith. The skills of goldsmithing run in the family, they say. There are Calunsod goldsmiths even today; one practices his craft at Molo,” said Fr. Arevalo.

A friend of Cardinal Sin, a Calunsod, once gifted him with an Episcopal ring created by another Calunsod – this is a source of pride to the family, the priest added.

Get to know more about the Blessed Visayan, visit pedrocalungsod.page.tl.

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