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Angeles City’s Pyestang Apo

Fiestas have long been part of the Filipino culture. As a Catholic dominated country, every town in the Philippines has fiestas in honor of the town’s patron saint. In Angeles City, one of the most celebrated fiestas is the Fiestang Apu Mamacalulu, or what is known to the locals as Pyestang Apo that happens every October.

The image of Apu Mamacalulu (Merciful Lord) can be found today at the Apung Mamacalulu Shrine at Lourdes Sur in Angeles City. Devotees believe that “Apu” or the dead image of Christ, brings hope to many because Christ rose from the dead to redeem all from sin and eternal damnation. There are also testimonies that the image of Apu has performed miracles to those who pray to him and believe in him.

For almost 200 years, devotees have been faithfully praying to Apu since the image was sculpted by an artist named Buenaventura sometime in 1828 to 1838. Father Macario Paras, the parish priest of Angeles City at that time was the one who commissioned Buenaventura to sculpt the image. And it was in the Paras and Dayrit estate at Talimundoc (present day Lourdes Sur) where the image was first installed.

However, during the Philippine Revolution, Apu was transferred to another church outside of Angeles City for safe keeping. It was moved back to Angeles in Sapangbato and then to a church in 1904.   

Every Good Friday and its feast day in October, Apu is carried to procession in the streets of Angeles. However, in 1928 after the Good Friday procession, a member of the Dayrit-Paras clan forcibly took the image from the church, believing that Apu was an heirloom in their family passed down by Fr. Paras. This incident was even elevated to the court where the clan and the Catholic Archbishop of Pampanga disputed the ownership of the image. Unfortunately to the Dayrit-Paras clan, the Supreme Court decided in 1872 that Apu was a gift of Fr. Paras to the Holy Rosary Parish Church.

After this decision, a duplicate image of Apu emerged in a chapel owned by the Dayrits (now the Apo shrine). This caused another rift between the clan and the Catholic Church. In fact, a request to hold holy mass in this chapel was rejected since the place wasn’t recognized by the Catholic Church. Even if this is the case, masses were still held here for five decades, until Archbishop Oscar Cruz of San Fernando banned masses here in 1985.

It was only in the year 2010 when the ban was lifted by then San Fernando Archbishop Paciano Aniceto. Two years after, the chapel was pronounced as an archdiocesan shrine. Today, hundreds of devotees visit the shrine to hear mass and to pray to the image.

The Apu Mamacalulu fiesta is held in Angeles in October along with two other holy festivals, the La Naval Fiesta and the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels.

Find local churches in Pampanga


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Angeles City’s Pyestang Apo

Fiestas have long been part of the Filipino culture. As a Catholic dominated country, every town in the Philippines has fiestas in honor of the town’s patron saint. In Angeles City, one of the most celebrated fiestas is the Fiestang Apu Mamacalulu, or what is known to the locals as Pyestang Apo that happens every October.

The image of Apu Mamacalulu (Merciful Lord) can be found today at the Apung Mamacalulu Shrine at Lourdes Sur in Angeles City. Devotees believe that “Apu” or the dead image of Christ, brings hope to many because Christ rose from the dead to redeem all from sin and eternal damnation. There are also testimonies that the image of Apu has performed miracles to those who pray to him and believe in him.

For almost 200 years, devotees have been faithfully praying to Apu since the image was sculpted by an artist named Buenaventura sometime in 1828 to 1838. Father Macario Paras, the parish priest of Angeles City at that time was the one who commissioned Buenaventura to sculpt the image. And it was in the Paras and Dayrit estate at Talimundoc (present day Lourdes Sur) where the image was first installed.

However, during the Philippine Revolution, Apu was transferred to another church outside of Angeles City for safe keeping. It was moved back to Angeles in Sapangbato and then to a church in 1904.   

Every Good Friday and its feast day in October, Apu is carried to procession in the streets of Angeles. However, in 1928 after the Good Friday procession, a member of the Dayrit-Paras clan forcibly took the image from the church, believing that Apu was an heirloom in their family passed down by Fr. Paras. This incident was even elevated to the court where the clan and the Catholic Archbishop of Pampanga disputed the ownership of the image. Unfortunately to the Dayrit-Paras clan, the Supreme Court decided in 1872 that Apu was a gift of Fr. Paras to the Holy Rosary Parish Church.

After this decision, a duplicate image of Apu emerged in a chapel owned by the Dayrits (now the Apo shrine). This caused another rift between the clan and the Catholic Church. In fact, a request to hold holy mass in this chapel was rejected since the place wasn’t recognized by the Catholic Church. Even if this is the case, masses were still held here for five decades, until Archbishop Oscar Cruz of San Fernando banned masses here in 1985.

It was only in the year 2010 when the ban was lifted by then San Fernando Archbishop Paciano Aniceto. Two years after, the chapel was pronounced as an archdiocesan shrine. Today, hundreds of devotees visit the shrine to hear mass and to pray to the image.

The Apu Mamacalulu fiesta is held in Angeles in October along with two other holy festivals, the La Naval Fiesta and the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels.

Find local churches in Pampanga


Share this article