Revisiting the Legacy of the Early Filipino Baptists in collaboration with the First American Missionaries in Western Visayas, Philippines 13 Mar 2012 posted. During the beginning of the Baptist Mission in the Philippines, Western Visayas was strategically divided in three ‘mission stations’ in Jaro, Iloilo, and Capiz in Panay Island, and Bacolod in Negros. Significant efforts were made that kept the Christian faith alive even up to this day. Likewise, it is worth revisiting; Iloilo Mission Station.

Jaro Evangelical Church in Jaro, Iloilo City established on September 1900 known as the First Baptist Church in the Philippines. This is the first ground work of Braulio Manikan and Eric Lund. The Iloilo Mission Hospital (cooperatively with Presbyterians) was established in 1907. [Central Philippine University formerly known as Jaro Industrial School was established in 1904. Dr. William Orson Valentine designed this vocational school to train boys to understand the dignity of labor and study in order to develop a strong character and prepare for living. [3] Panay Station centered on Roxas City, Capiz

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Baptist Home School established in 1904 is now called Filamer Christian College. The first Baptist Filipina Bar Topnotcher, Josefa Abiertas, a native Capiznon, nurtured by an American Baptist missionary was one of the pioneer student of this school. Capiz Evangelical (Baptist) Church formerly known as First Baptist Church was born through the effort of Dr. and Mrs. Lerrigo who reached the northern coast of Panay. The church building was dedicated on January 28, 1906. Emmanuel Hospital was founded in 1908, the hospital is one of the living legacies of the American Baptist Mission in Capiz.

Negros Occidental Mission Station Bacolod Evangelical Church was established in 1902.  The church was a former boy’s dormitory that became a “home-away-from-home” to most youngsters who were new to student life away from home. These places became a haven with a Christian atmosphere. Ilog Baptist Church was established in 1912 through the support of the American Baptist Foreign Missionary Society’s (ABFMS) missionaries Rev. William O. Valentine and Rev. Charles Maxfield. The first Biblical and evangelical church in the Southern part of Negros Occidental and member of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches, Inc. CPBC).

Two of the first ten missionaries in 1904 who visited Himamaylan were William O. Valentine and Henry W. Munger. And from 1914-1920, they concentrated their missionary work in Himamaylan that led to the establishment of The Himamaylan Baptist Church in 1915. Dr Nestor Bunda summarized that: The efforts of both Filipino men and women and American Baptist missionaries led to the establishment of congregations in different areas in Western Visayas, especially in the rural areas of the provinces of Capiz, Iloilo and Negros Occidental.

The missionaries implanted their Baptist tradition and the American way of life, which greatly characterized certain features of local congregations. The Hiligaynon Bible enabled the inhabitants to read it in their own language immensely influencing many people in the rural areas to join the Baptist churches. In spite of the collaborative efforts of Philippine Baptists and American missionaries in founding Baptist congregations during the first three decades of Baptist mission, the leadership in churches and mission institutions like schools and hospitals was clearly controlled by the missionaries.

Even then, the great contributions of the Philippine Baptists cannot be denied. Working on this paper allowed me to reflect in giving value to my Christian faith specifically making it relevant wherever I am in. One challenging question worth reflecting, “What legacy am I leaving to the next generation to inspire them in keeping the Christian faith relevant? ”