Priest and fish vendor Fr. Silagpo finally opens church in Basilan

There is nothing one can’t do if he works for it and asks for God’s help. This is what Father Joel Silagpo proved when his dream church was finally built earlier this month.

Fr. Joe Silagpol’s story went viral in March of last year. He nobly sold fish every day to save enough money in the hopes of building a new church for the benefit of those Catholics in a heavily Muslim-populated area.

The new church cost around 9 million pesos. But in March of last year, the Parish only had a little more than 100,000 pesos on hand and a foreign grant in the works. They needed so much more to turn their dream into reality.






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So, Fr. SIlagpo took it upon himself to earn money for the church. And even though people raised their eyebrows upon knowing that the priest would sell fish, he never batted an eye and worked every day. And thankfully, his hard work paid off.

If Christ can sacrifice for His people, then, I am just doing my share to my community,” Fr. Silagpo explained.

With his earnings, and generous donations from kind-hearted individuals, the new San Antonio de Padua Parish Church opened on May 5.





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But that wasn’t the only thing Fr. Silagpo built in the course of a year. He also built friendship and brotherhood with the Muslim fishermen whom he buys the fish from.

Because we respect each other’s belief, I learned from them and maybe they also learned from me, we build friendship and break our religious barriers,” he said in an interview last year.

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Because of his dedication, many social media users couldn’t help but commend the priest. Here are some of their comments.


There are so many takeaways from Fr. Silagpo’s story. This incredible man is not only a man of faith, passion, and perseverance, he is also a man who sees beyond religion and practice. He and the Muslim fishermen are living proof that people can co-exist harmoniously despite differences.


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