Pedro Calungsod
Calungsod on a stained-glass window in Cubao Cathedral
BornJuly 21, 1654[1][2]
Ginatilan, Cebu, Captaincy General of the Philippines, Spanish Empire
DiedApril 2, 1672(1672-04-02) (aged 17)[3]
Tumon, Guam, Captaincy General of the Philippines, Spanish Empire
Venerated inCatholic Church
BeatifiedMarch 5, 2000, St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City by Pope John Paul II
CanonizedOctober 21, 2012, St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City by Pope Benedict XVI
Major shrineCebu Archdiocesan Shrine of Saint Pedro Calungsod, Archbishop's Residence Compound, 234 D. Jakosalem St., Cebu City 6000 PH
FeastApril 2
AttributesMartyr's palm, Spear, Bolo, Doctrina Christiana book, Rosary, Christogram, Crucifix
PatronageFilipino youth, Catechumens, Altar servers, the Philippines, Overseas Filipino Workers, Guam, Cebuanos, Visayans, Archdiocese of Cebu, Pury, San Antonio, Quezon Province

Pedro Calungsod (Spanish: Pedro Calúñgsod or archaically Pedro Calonsor; mid-1650s[4] – April 2, 1672), also known as Peter Calungsod and Pedro Calonsor, was a Catholic Filipino-Visayan migrant, sacristan and missionary catechist who, along with the Spanish Jesuit missionary Diego Luis de San Vitores, suffered religious persecution and martyrdom in Guam for their missionary work in 1672.[5][6]

While in Guam, Calungsod preached Christianity to the Chamorros through catechesis, while baptizing infants, children, and adults at the risk and expense of being persecuted and eventually murdered. Through Calungsod and San Vitores's missionary efforts, many native Chamorros converted to Catholicism.

Calungsod was beatified on March 5, 2000, by Pope John Paul II, and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI at Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City on October 21, 2012.[7]

Early years and missionary work

Queen Mariana of Austria, Regent of Spain, the benefactress of the mission to the Ladrones Islands later named in her honor.

Birthplace dispute

Few details of the early life of Calungsod (spelled Calonsor in Spanish records) are known. Historical records do not mention his exact birthplace or birth date and merely identified him as "Pedro Calonsor, el Visayo". Historical research identifies Ginatilan in Cebu, Hinunangan and Hinundayan in Southern Leyte, Baybay in Leyte,[1] and the Molo district of Iloilo City[6] as possible places of origin; Loboc, Bohol also makes a claim.[8] Of these claims, the one from Ginatilan, Cebu, is considered the strongest. Nonetheless, all four locations were within the Diocese of Cebu at the time of Calungsod's martyrdom.

Proponents of an Ilonggo origin argue that in the early Spanish period, the term "Visayan" exclusively referred to people from the island of Panay and the nearby islands of Negros and Romblon. In contrast, people from Cebu, Bohol, and Leyte were called "Pintados".[9] Thus, had he been born in Cebu, he would have been referred to as "Calonsor El Pintado" instead of "Calonsor El Visayo"; the term "Visayan" receiving its present scope (i.e., including inhabitants of Cebu, Bohol, and Leyte) sometime the 1700s. However, American historian and scholar John N. Schumacher disputes the Bisaya/Pintados dichotomy claim as at that time the Pintados were also referred to as Visayans regardless of location and said Calungsod "was a Visayan" and may have been but doubtfully "from the island of Cebu" or "could have come any other Visayas islands".[10]

The Cebu camp reasoned that Ginatilan contains a high density of people surnamed Calungsod and that during the beatification process, they were the initial claimants to having been Calungsod's birthplace. The Calungsods of Iloilo also claim to be the oldest branch, based on baptismal records containing the surname "Calungsod" dating to circa 1748, compared to branches in Cebu and Leyte, which possess baptismal records dating only to 1828 and 1903, respectively.[11]

Training and arrival in Guam

In Cebu, Calungsod received primary education at a Jesuit boarding school, mastering the Catechism and learning to communicate in Spanish. He also likely honed his drawing, painting, singing, acting, and carpentry skills, as these were necessary for missionary work.

In 1668, Calungsod, then around 14, was amongst the young catechists chosen to accompany Spanish Jesuit missionaries to the Islas de Los Ladrones ("Isles of Thieves"), which had been renamed the Mariana Islands the year before to honor both the Virgin Mary and the mission's benefactress, María Ana of Austria, Queen Regent of Spain. Calungsod accompanied the priest Diego San Vitores to Guam to catechize the native Chamorros.[12] Missionary life on the island was difficult as provisions did not arrive regularly, the jungles and terrain were difficult to traverse, and the Marianas were frequently devastated by typhoons. The mission nevertheless persevered, and a significant number of locals were baptized.[13]


A month after the martyrdom of San Vitores and Calungsod, a process for beatification was initiated but only for San Vitores. Political and religious turmoil, however, delayed and halted the process for centuries. In 1981, as Hagåtña was preparing for its 20th anniversary as a diocese, the 1673 beatification cause of San Vitores was rediscovered in old manuscripts and revived until he was finally beatified on October 6, 1985. This also gave recognition to Calungsod, paving the way for his beatification.[14]

In 1980, Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, then-Archbishop of Cebu, asked permission from the Vatican to initiate Calungsod's beatification and canonization cause. In March 1997, the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved the acta of the diocesan beatification process. That same year, Vidal appointed Ildebrando Leyson as vice-postulator for the cause, tasked with compiling a Positio Super Martyrio ("position regarding the martyrdom") to be scrutinized by the Congregation. The positio, which relied heavily on San Vitores's beatification documentation, was completed in 1999.[15]

Wanting to include young Asian laypersons in his first beatification for the Great Jubilee in 2000, Pope John Paul II paid particular attention to the cause of Calungsod. In January 2000, he approved the decree super martyrio ("concerning the martyrdom") of Calungsod, scheduling his beatification for March 5 of that year at Saint Peter's Square in Rome.

Regarding Calungsod's charitable works and virtuous deeds, John Paul II declared:[16]

...From his childhood, Pedro Calungsod declared himself unwaveringly for Christ and responded generously to his call. Young people today can draw encouragement and strength from the example of Pedro, whose love of Jesus inspired him to devote his teenage years to teaching the faith as a lay catechist. Leaving family and friends behind, Pedro willingly accepted the challenge put to him by Fr. Diego de San Vitores to join him on the Mission to the Chamorros. In a spirit of faith, marked by strong Eucharistic and Marian devotion, Pedro undertook the demanding work asked of him and bravely faced the many obstacles and difficulties he met. In the face of imminent danger, Pedro would not forsake Fr. Diego, but as a "good soldier of Christ", preferred to die at the missionary's side.


On December 19, 2011, the Holy See officially approved the miracle qualifying Calungsod for sainthood by the Roman Catholic Church.[17] The recognized miracle dates from March 26, 2003, when a woman from Leyte, pronounced clinically dead two hours after a heart attack, was revived when an attending physician invoked Calungsod's intercession.[18][19][20]

Cardinal Angelo Amato presided over the declaration ceremony on behalf of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. He later revealed that Pope Benedict XVI had approved and signed the official promulgation decrees recognizing the miracles as authentic and worthy of belief. The College of Cardinals was then sent a dossier on the new saints, and they were asked to indicate their approval. On February 18, 2012, after the Consistory for the Creation of Cardinals, Amato formally petitioned the pope to announce the new saints' canonization.[21] On October 21, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI canonized Calungsod in Saint Peter's Square.[22] The pope wore papal vestments used only on special occasions. Cardinal Ricardo Jamin Vidal, the Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu, concelebrated at the canonization Mass.

San Pedro Calungsod Parish and Sanctuary of St. Padre Pio, Antipolo


At his canonization Mass, Calungsod was the only saint without a first class relic exposed for veneration, as his body had been thrown into the sea and lost. The cutlass used to hack Calungsod's head and neck was retrieved from Guam by Vidal and is now venerated as a second-class relic. During the homily, Benedict XVI said that Calungsod received the Sacrament of Absolution from San Vitores before his death.

Feast day

After Lorenzo Ruíz of Manila, Calungsod is the second Filipino to be declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Martyrology celebrates Calungsod's feast along with Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores every April 2, their dies natalis (heavenly birthdate);[23] when April 2 falls within Holy Week or the Octave of Easter, his feast is transferred to the Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent, the day after the Friday of Sorrows and before Palm Sunday.

Saturday has been designated as the weekly day for devotions and novenas in his honor, as he was killed on a first Saturday.[24]

Birthplace issue

Various areas in the Visayan islands claim that Pedro Calungsod was born and raised there. Extensive research provided by the census research of Ginatilan, Cebu provided a longstanding record of Calonsor and Calungsod natives from their area, from which a strong claim had the most Calungsod natives originating since Filipino-Spanish era since the late 1700s[citation needed]. According to the Parish Pastoral Council William Pancho of Ginatilan, Cebu, there is a strong claim that in the mid-1600s, there were three Calungsod brothers:[citation needed]

In a public televised interview with ABS-CBN chief correspondent and newscaster Korina Sanchez, Cardinal Ricardo Jamin Vidal expressed his dismay that when the original beatification process of Pedro Calungsod began in the 1980s, no city except for Ginatilan, Cebu, was willing to come forward and claim credit for being Pedro's birthplace.[25] Not surprisingly, however, when Pedro's canonization became official, Catholic bishops from the nearby provinces of Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, Samar, Iloilo and various Mindanao provinces suddenly came out of the woodwork, all laying claim to be the "official birthplace" of the newly minted saint.

As a result, Vidal ruled that he will not establish a definitive judgment on his birthplace since Spanish records only indicate the words "Pedro Calonsor, El Visayo" as his native description. Furthermore, he stated that all Visayan provinces were under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Cebu during the Filipino-Spanish era.[26]


Calungsod is often portrayed holding a Catechism book, notably the "Doctrina Christiana". Only known surviving copy by Fray Juan de Plasencia. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Circa 1590s.

It is not known what Calungsod looked like, as no contemporary depictions survive. The writer Alcina, who was a contemporary of Pedro Calungsod, described the male Visayan indios of his time as usually more corpulent, better built, and somewhat taller than the Tagalogs in Luzon; that their skin was light brown; that their faces were usually round and of fine proportions; that their noses were flat; that their eyes and hair were black; that they – especially the youth – wore their hair a little bit longer; and that they already started to wear camisas (shirts) and calzones (knee-breeches). Pedro Chirino, S.J., who also worked in the Visayas in the 1590s, similarly described the Visayans as well-built, of pleasing countenance and light-skinned.[27]

Calungsod is often depicted as a teenaged young man wearing a camisa de chino that is sometimes bloodied and usually dark, loose trousers. His most famous attributes are the martyr's palm pressed to his chest and the Doctrina Christiana. He is depicted in mid-stride, occasionally also bearing a rosary or crucifix to indicate his missionary status. In some early statues, Calungsod is shown with a spear and catana (cutlass), the instruments of his death.

In art

Cropped image of Calungsod extracted from a postage stamp
Calungsod on a 2012 ₱5-postage stamp
The saint as he appears on a 2012 Philippine postage stamp

The first portrayals stated to be of Pedro Calungsod were drawings made by Eduardo Castrillo[28] in 1994 for the Heritage of Cebu Monument in Parian. A bronze statue representing Calungsod was made and forms part of the monument. Sculptors Francisco dela Victoria and Vicente Gulane of Cebu and Justino Cagayat, Jr., of Paete, Laguna, created statues representing Calungsod in 1997 and 1999, respectively.[29]

When the Archdiocese of Manila in 1998 published the pamphlet Pedro Calungsod: Young Visayan "Proto-Martyr" by theologian Catalino Arevalo, SJ, the 17-year-old Ronald Tubid of Oton, Iloilo, then a student-athlete at the University of the East, was chosen to model for a portrait representing Calungsod.[30] This became the basis for Rafael del Casal's painting in 1999, Is which was chosen as the official portrait for Calungsod. The Del Casal image is the first to feature a Christogram, the seal of the Society of Jesus, with which Calungsod was affiliated. The original painting is now enshrined at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Saint Pedro Calungsod in Cebu City.

Several statues representing Calungsod were also commissioned for the beatification, with one brought to Rome and blessed by John Paul II. This became the "Pilgrim Image", now enshrined at the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Black Nazarene of the Society of the Angel of Peace in Cansojong, Talisay, Cebu. Another image was enshrined at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Saint Pedro Calungsod in Cebu City. Both images depict Calungsod wearing a white camisa (shirt) and trousers, with the martyr's palm, a rosary, and a crucifix pressed to his breast. During the novena before his feast day, a replica of the catana used to kill him is set into the arm of the statue.

For the canonization celebrations, the chosen sculpture by Justino Cagayat, Jr., represented Calungsod in mid-stride and carrying the Doctrina Christiana and the martyr's palm pressed to his chest. This image was brought to Rome for the canonization festivities. Upon its return to the Philippines, the image toured the country. When not on a pilgrimage tour, the image is enshrined at the Cebu Archdiocesan Shrine of Saint Pedro Calungsod in the archbishop's residence.

In film

Pedro Calungsod: Batang Martir is a Filipino film with Rocco Nacino in the title role released on December 25, 2013, as an official entry to the 2013 Metro Manila Film Festival. It was written and directed by Francis O. Villacorta and produced by HPI Synergy Group and Wings Entertainment.

Places and things named after Calungsod


Films and theater


Educational institutions

See also


  1. ^ a b Reyes, Ronald O. (December 28, 2020). "Historian unravels real birthplace of San Pedro Calungsod". SunStar. Retrieved December 3, 2023.
  2. ^ "St. Pedro Calungsod, Filipino lay martyr and patron of catechists". Union of Catholic Asian News. Retrieved December 3, 2023.
  3. ^ Carlomagno Bacaltos. "A Catechetical Primer on the Life, Martyrdom and Glorification of Blessed Pedro Calungsod – Part 1". Archived from the original on October 21, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  4. ^ "Blessed Pedro Calungsod By Emy Loriega / The Pacific Voice". Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  5. ^ Carlomagno Bacaltos. "A Catechetical Primer on the Life, Martyrdom and Glorification of Blessed Pedro Calungsod – Part 2". Archived from the original on October 21, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Saint Pedro Calungsod". Research Center for Iloilo. Archived from the original on October 9, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  7. ^ EWTN Televised Broadcast: Public Consistory for the Creation of New Cardinals. Rome, February 18, 2012. Saint Peter's Basilica. Closing remarks before recession preceded by Cardinal Agostino Vallini.
  8. ^ "About Pedro Calungsod – Pedro Calungsod". Archived from the original on October 31, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  9. ^ G. Nye Steiger, H. Otley Beyer, Conrado Benitez, A History of the Orient, Oxford: 1929, Ginn and Company, pp. 122–123.
  10. ^ "Pedro 'was Visayan and came possibly, but very doubtfully, from the island of Cebu. He could have come any other Visayas islands."
  11. ^ "Scholarly evidence point to Calungsod's Ilonggo roots". Archived from the original on October 31, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  12. ^ "". April 3, 2010. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  13. ^ Blessed Pedro Calungsod – Biography. (March 5, 2000). Retrieved on 2016-06-25.
  14. ^ "PhilPost CV and EV regional offices merged". The Philippine STAR. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  15. ^ Retrieved on June 25, 2016.
  16. ^ Beatification of 44 Servants of God, Homily of Pope John Paul II, No. 5. Vatican, March 5, 2000. Link retrieved on March 23, 2010.
  18. ^ "'Seek Pedro's intercession for Sendong victims'". December 22, 2011. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  19. ^ Baguia, Jason (October 21, 2011). "Calungsod sainthood nears final step". Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  20. ^ "PEDRO CALUNGSOD NEAR SAINTHOOD". Cebu Daily News. October 20, 2011. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  21. ^ CONCISTORO ORDINARIO PUBBLICO. (18 February 2012)
  22. ^ Canonization Pilgrimage to Rome – Marianne Cope, Kateri Tekewitha, Pedro Calungsod, Carmen Salles y Barangueras, Anna Schaffer, Jacques Berthieu with 206 Tours. Retrieved on June 25, 2016.
  23. ^ 2 Aprile, BB. Diego Luigi de San Vitores e Pietro Calungsod. Retrieved on June 25, 2016.
  25. ^ "Bandila: 'Pedro Calungsod was a martyr'". YouTube.
  26. ^ "Bandila: 'Pedro Calungsod was a martyr'". YouTube.
  27. ^ "A Very Common Name". Pedro Calungsod. Archived from the original on October 31, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  28. ^ "Home – EC Art Management". Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  29. ^ "Iconography". Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  30. ^ "Eine Nasenoperation in Muenchen kann Ihnen Linderung verschaffen". Archived from the original on March 1, 2012. Retrieved October 31, 2014.