Celebrating the missionary

CHURCH HISTORIAN

This column piece celebrates the missionary of Amlan from 1857 to 1880 in the Province of Negros Island.

In October of 1857, Fray Manuel Vilches was assigned to the parish of Amlan in Negros Island where he faithfully served his flock in the days and months that followed for nearly twenty-three years.

In 1857, the approximate size of the town population was 3,115. In his first year in Amblang as it was known then, Fray Manuel administered 80 baptisms, 34 marriages and 77 funerals.

Four years after in 1861, the population rose to 4,577. The same missionary recorded 205 baptisms, 205 marriages and 71 funerals. In 1866, the inhabitants of the town increased to 5,052. There were 142 baptisms, 28 marriages and 73 funerals.

The population continued to be on the rise in 1871 with 5,364 inhabitants. Fray Manuel Vilches noted in that year that he celebrated 289 baptisms, 48 marriages and 70 funerals.

The zeal of Recollect friar was unflagging as he served the parish in 1877 with 5,744 people, administering 253 baptisms, 40 marriages and 96 funerals. In 1882, the records showed 6,773 people, 334 baptisms, 41 marriages and 346 funerals.

In this very parish under the patronage of St. Andrew, the Apostle, Fray Manuel Vilches succumbed to death caused by heart inflammation. The Augustinian Recollect missionary died in God’s grace on 16 July 1880.

The Church façade in the parish town of Amblan constructed by Fray Manuel Vilches is entirely made of bricks accentuated by small square hewn stones.