Church of St. James Fortress

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Sometime in 1585 Fr. Esteban Marin, an Augustinian Friar, was the very first missionary ever to set foot in Bolinao, an island town, which he formed out of the People he baptized. He worked there till 1587, when he was appointed Prior of the town of Batac, Ilocos Norte. Bolinao was then assigned to the Dominican Fathers who took charge of it till 1599. In 1600, however, the Augustinian Fathers came back with Fr. Francisco Martinez as their superior. In 1602 Fr. Estacio Ortiz took over, and later on, Fr. Antonio Figueroa. The Augustinian Fathers were the very first sowers of the seeds of the Gospel in this town. They ended their missionary work in 1607.

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With their departure, the Most Illustrious Governor and Capt. General Rodrigo de Rivera and the Dean of the Metropolitan Church requested the Recoletos de San Juan Agustin Fathers to take over the work begun by the Augustinian Fathers. Immediately, thereafter, Father Jeronimo de Cristo and Fr. Andres del Espiritu Santo rallied to the call and upon arrival at this island, town of Bolinao, they began to undertake the great work of spreading the Gospel, teaching the people by precepts and the best example of their life. In due time, these missionaries began to reap the fruits of their toils and sacrifices when over 1600 infidels were baptized.

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Around 1609, lue to piratical molestation, the town was transferred to the mainland, where it presently exist. Records show that the Recoletos de San Agustin Fathers administered Bolinao parish from 1609-1679. From 1679 to 1712, the Dominican Fathers took over again the administration of the parish. In 1749, the Recoletos de San Agustin Fathers came back to Bolinao, and took charge of the parish up to about 1784. From then on, different priests, administered Bolinao parish up to the present.

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