The people of Betis have always been proud of their town’s reputation of having produced the most number of Catholic priests than any Kapampangan town. Betis, in Guagua town, has been described by Bishop Emilio Cinense as “a model parish, a truly Christian parish, a peaceful place to live in..”, a bedrock of Christianity as evidenced by the intense religiosity of its residents, then and now.
Among the first Filipino founders of capellanias (pious trust funds) in 17th century Philippines were Don Pedro Lumalong, Juan Panganiban, Francisco Gutierrez, Martin Tandang, Dna. Francisca Biguiad, Geronima Matig, Cathalina Lindon, Ines Julir and Isabel Taolaya—all from Betis. The perpetual grant was usually in the form of agricultural lands, the income of which was used to support a priest (capellan, or chaplain), who, in turn, was mandated to offer Mass for the soul or intention of the founder.
Also a resident of Betis is Don Macario Pangilinan (1800-1850), who is credited with translating the Tagalog version of Via Crucis into Kapampangan: “Ing Dalan a liualana ning Guinutang Jesucristo quing pamamusana quing mal a Santa Cruz”. The Archbishop of Manila, F. Jose Segui, granted an indulgence of 80 days to those who would pray it.
The first Filipino Doctor of Theology also is an accomplished Betiseño—Dr. Don Manuel Francisco Tubil (b. 17 June 1742/d.6 Sept. 1805). He earned his doctorate from the University of Santo Tomas in 1772. He eventually became a priest in 1770, and rose up the ranks of the church hierarchy, an accompished Indio among Spanish religious leaders.
A 1959 listing of the sons and daughters of Betis who chose religious vocations include the following:
1. Rt. Rev. Msgr. Cosme P. Bituin D.P. (1929 Parish priest Angeles, Bacolor)
3. Rt. Rev. Msgr. Andres Bituin D.P. (1920 Vicar Forane)
4. Very Rev. Msgr. Serafin Ocampo P.C. (1945 Diocesan Secretary of Lourdes, Angeles)
5. Very Rev. Roberto Roque (1916 Vicar Forane, San Ildefonso, Bulacan)
6. Very Rev. Felipe Roque (1920 Vicar Forane, Betis)
7. Rev. Jose Bondoc (1929 Parish priest, Candaba)
8. Rev. Genaro Sazon (1930 Parish priest, Porac)
9. Rev. Melencio Garcia (1936 Paish priest, Mexico)
10. Rev. Jacobo Soriano, (1936 Parish priest, Capas, Tarlac)
11. Rev. Bernardo Torres, (1916 Parish priest, San Rafael, Bulacan)
12. Rev. Florentino Guiao, (1938 Parish priest, Dinalupihan, Bataan)
13. Rev. Pedro Capati, (1939 Parish priest, San Rafael, Macabebe)
14. Rev. Hermogenes Coronel, (1930 Chaplain, Balayan, Batangas)
15. Rev. Pablo Songco, (1939 Parish priest, San Luis)
16. Rev. Francisco Mendoza, (1944 Seminary professor, Apalit)
17. Rev. Julian Roque, (1955 Parish priest, San Isidro, Guagua)
18. Rev. Norberto Coronel, (1947 Seminary professor, Apalit)
19. Rev. Alfonso Ducut, ( 1949 Parish priest, Anaw, Mexico)
20. Rev. Felipe Pangilinan, (1949 Parish priest, Mariveles, Bataan)
21. Rev. Victor Serrano, (1949 Parish priest, Maypajo, Caloocan)
22. Rev. Domingo Gullas, (1951 Parish priest, Laur, Nueva Ecija)
23. Rev. Fr. Gregorio Torres, (1951 Parish priest, Del Carmen)
24. Rev. Vicente Coronel, (1954 Asst. priest, Angeles)
25. Rev. Alejando Ocampo, (1954 Asst. priest, Betis)
26. Rev. Jose Guiao, (1955 Asst. priest, Macabebe)
27. Rev. Teodulfo Tantengco, (1956 Asst. priest, Arayat)
28. Sr. Rapahel de Jesus (Rosario Pangilinan), professed 1932
29. Sr. Celina de Marie (Asuncion Legion), professed 1949, St. Paul de Chartres, St. Paul College, Manila.
30. Sr. Jeanne Mary of the Holy Wounds (Ignacia Guanlao), prfessed 1953. Carmelite Discalced, Yule Island, Papua, Oceania, Australia
31. Sr. Cecilia S. Gozum, professed 1953, Religiosas Hiyajs de Jesus, Pototan, Iloilo.
All these Betis religious have apparently taken to heart their patron’s calling by following in his footsteps. After all, Santiago de Galicia, one of the 12 apostles, was also called by Jesus to preach the Gospel around the globe. With him as inspiration, these men and women of the cloth have stood fast in one spirit, with one mind, laboring together for the strengthening of Kapampangan faith and fidelity in the Lord. In Betis, many are called, and many are chosen.