Dr. T.S. Oracion’s Snippet

CHURCH HISTORIAN

Fr. Licinio Ruiz knew whereof he spoke after having served as a missionary in the towns of Negros Oriental for eight years. Fr. Licinio Ruiz wrote in volume II of Sinopsis histórica (1925) of Fray Mariano Bernad: “his name is still remembered up to the present with gratitude and reverence by all the people of Dumaguete without distinction of classes.”

He went so far as to declare that “without fear of being disproven, the town of Dumaguete, thanks to the zeal of P. Mariano…, is one of the greatly religious towns in the Philippines.”

The work of Fr. Licinio Ruiz became one of the sources used by the noted anthropologist, Dr. Timoteo S. Oracion in writing an article in mid-1950s. He penned an article captioned “The Religious History of Dumaguete from 1580-1898.” In it, he made reference to Fray Mariano Bernad as related to him by old folks in interviews he conducted.

“Fr. Mariano Bernad (Dumaguete parish priest in 1880-1891 and 1894-1897)… did everything in his power to complete the convent and the cemetery. He improved the drainage of Dumaguete and began constructing roads and bridges. He beautified the poblacion and the surrounding barrios. Although this was an extra job for him, he never neglected the religious work left by his predecessors.”

“He was a very liberal and democratic priest and treated all alike. To him, there was no distinction between rich and poor. The people of Dumaguete at that time respected and cherished him. He was not afraid to travel alone because he knew that the people loved him. The services rendered by Father Mariano were an example of all other priests that followed and were conceded to be (done by) one of the most outstanding in the Philippines.”