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General Santos Philippines Stake is the 2048th Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is the southernmost stake of the Philippines. The stake is currently led by President Michael Q. Garcia, and his counselors, President Philip Ian G. Torino and President Daniel O. Velasco. They were called last September 5-6, 2020.

Overview[]

The stake has ten units, comprising of nine wards and a branch, to wit: General Santos 1st, General Santos 2nd, General Santos 3rd, General Santos 4th, General Santos 5th, General Santos 6th, Polomolok, Alabel and Tupi Wards. Glan is the only branch of the stake.

The southernmost stake in the Philippines, it geographically comprises the City of General Santos, Municipalities of Polomolok and Tupi, South Cotabato, and all of municipalities of Sarangani Province. The stake is bordered with two districts and a stake. In the north border lies the Marbel Philippines District, in the west lies Cotabato Philippines District and in the east border lies the Digos Philippines Stake.

The northernmost unit of the stake is Tupi Ward, General Santos 2nd Ward, and Alabel Ward. The southernmost unit is the Glan Branch. The easternmost units are Alabel Ward and Glan Branch, and the westernmost unit of the stake is the Tupi, Polomolok, General Santos 5th Ward and General Santos 6th Ward,

Geographically, the largest ward of the stake is General Santos 6th Ward. The smallest on the other hand is General Santos 1st Ward. As of August 2020, the Polomolok Ward is the largest ward in terms of membership. It has 542 total members. General Santos 3rd, on the other hand, is the smallest ward with only 261 total members. Glan branch has 202 total members.

History of the Church in General Santos[]

Creation of General Santos Group[]

On March 9, 1969, the General Santos Group was organized by full-time missionaries Elder Steven L. Black and Elder Henry Hintze in a Guest House of the Citrus Development Corporation. Brother James Buel and Sister Renee Buel were called to serve as group leaders. A month later, on April 29, 1969, the General Santos was opened for missionary work by Elder Mark Andersen and Elder Jeryl G. Wray.

On June 13, 1969, Brother Antonio Ines Teofilo was baptized in Mateo's Springs (now known as Lagare Springs Resort). Brother Teofilo was the first person being baptized in the city of General Santos. The following brothers and sisters also entered the waters of baptism in 1969, to wit: Johnny Tan Callaga on June 21; Josefina and Brother Eduardo Amoy on August 1; Renee Padernal Peque on August 30; Teofilo Sanchez Peque on September 21; and Francisco and Antonio M. Teofilo on October 16.

Church meetings were also held for the first time in General Santos in the said year. The first sunday school was held on March 9, 1969; the first sacrament meeting on March 16; first primary meeting on March 21; first group activity on July 25 (commemoration of Pioneer Day); first group leadership meeting on October 30; first youth meeting on November 15; and first scout meeting on November 22.

Creation of General Santos Branch and General Santos District[]

On September 16, 1973, Davao Philippines District President Dean Claire and his wife visited and converted the group into a branch. President Claire called President Carlos G. Revillo as the branch president, with President Teofilo Peque and President Vincent Villamor as his counselors. Brother Leon Alindayu was also called as Branch Clerk. Former General Santos Group Leader (and will later serve as president of Southern Mindanao District) Brother Antonio Barrientos, was also called as president of the Priesthood Group (now called as Elders Quorum President) of the branch. During the organization, the following members are also called in their respective callings: Brothers Julian Ontoria, Oliver Ontoria, and Leon Alindayu in the Sunday School Presidency; Sisters Estrella Barrientos, Leda Muyco, and Josefa Ontoria in the Relief Society Presidency; Sisters Amparo Revillo, Zenaida Palma, and Shirley Villamor in the Primary Presidency.

The following served as branch presidents of General Santos, namely:

  • Carlos C. Revillo Sr. in 1973;
  • Emilo S. Tobola in 1974;
  • Elder Terall Knudsen in 1975;
  • Elder Gary W. Hughes in 1975;
  • Elder Keith T. Knight in 1976;
  • Elder Ronald K. Debo in 1976;
  • Elder Loony Richardson in 1976;
  • (no data from 1977 to 1978)
  • Rogelio E. Muyco in c. 1978;
  • Isabelo P. Ontoria in 1979;
  • Elder John L. Sullivan in 1979;
  • Edwin Manantan in 1979;
  • Bernardo B. Obedoza in 1979;
  • (No historical data from 1980 to 1995. However, the data shows that General Santos Branch were divided into multiple branches.)

In 1986, General Santos District was created from Digos Philippines District. President Carlos C. Revillo was called as the first district president. In 1992, the Marbel Philippines District was divided from General Santos. Records show that when General Santos District was organized, the district has the jurisdiction over the branches, to wit: General Santos 1st Branch; General Santos 2nd Branch; Polomolok Branch; Marbel Branch; Cotabato Branch; and Tacurong Branch.

Creation of General Santos Stake[]

In a historic conference dated 06 August 1995, Elder Benjamin B. Banks of the Seventy converted the General Santos Philippines District into a stake. Elder Banks, who was then presiding over Philippines-Micronesia Area, was accompanied by the then Philippines Davao Mission President Modesto Amistad. General Santos Philippines Stake was the 2084th stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

President Fabian L. Sinamban Sr. was sustained as its first stake president. During the stake's creation, he was set apart with President Esteban C. Urian Jr. and President Reynaldo A. Agustin as his counselors.

During that time, the stake has five wards and two branches namely, General Santos 1st, General Santos 2nd, General Santos 3rd, General Santos 4th and Polomolok Wards. The Tupi and Glan were the branches of the stake back then.

The following served as the first local ecclesiastical leaders of the newly created wards:

  • Alabel Ward - Bishop Israel O. Velasco (created in 2018)
  • General Santos 1st Ward - Bishop Christopher Rafanan
  • General Santos 2nd Ward - Bishop Renato V. Tampac
  • General Santos 3rd Ward - Bishop Rendo F. Tibungcog
  • General Santos 4th Ward - Bishop Gerardo M. Velasco
  • General Santos 5th Ward - Bishop Alexander M. Benedicto (created in 2013)
  • General Santos 6th Ward - Bishop Eduardo T. Dugos (created in 2017)
  • Polomolok Ward - Bishop Cecilio C. Garcia
  • Tupi Ward - Bishop Ronald P. Rodrigo (created in 2020)
  • Glan Branch - President Cesario T. Garcia

Growth of General Santos Stake[]

Local congregations were created and organized throughout the years. During President Danilo S. Pandes' service (2004-2013), the Alabel, Tambler, and Apopong Branches were created. However, a year after the creation of the latter branches, the Tambler and Apopong branches were dissolved. In June 2013, General Santos 5th Ward (formerly the Apopong branch) was divided from General Santos 3rd Ward.

Members and friends of the church has seen exponential growth during the leadership of President Renato V. Tampac (2013-2020). Three wards were created during 2013-2020. The General Santos 6th Ward was created from General Santos 1st Ward in July 2017. Alabel Branch, which was converted into a ward last April 2018, and in February 2020, the Tupi Branch became a ward. President Tampac and his counselors also tried to help Polomolok, General Santos 2nd, and General Santos 5th Ward to be divided. Unfortunately, these division proposals did not push through because of the CoVid-19 Pandemic challenges. The goal of the then-stake presidency to divide General Santos Stake also halted due to the aforementioned crisis.

Under the administration of President Michael Q. Garcia (2020-present), the stake has continued to grow and surpass expectations. In 2023, the stake has attempted to propose the division of General Santos 5th Ward. However, due to the new standards set forth by the Philippines Area, the proposal did not push through. Nevertheless, in view of the First Presidency letter dated November 30, 2023, regarding the standards of unit creation, the stake remains to have high hopes in successfully creating the Apopong Ward in the near future. Apopong Ward shall be the 10th ward of the stake. It shall be the key-ward for the impending division of General Santos Stake.

On July 1, 2024, the General Santos Philippines Stake and its neighboring units were transferred from the Philippines Davao Mission and Davao Coordinating Council to the newly created Philippines General Santos Mission and General Santos Coordinating Council.

Stake Leadership[]

Stake Presidency 2020

The Current General Santos Stake Presidency (from L-R, President Philip Ian G. Torino (1C), President Michael Q. Garcia, President Daniel O. Velasco (2C))

Stake Presidency

The General Santos Stake Presidency from 2013 to 2020 (from L-R, President Philip Ian G. Torino (2C), President Renato V. Tampac, President Michael Q. Garcia (1C))

Stake Presidency[]

President Michael Q. Garcia was called as stake president last September 5-6, 2020. He was called along President Philip Ian G. Torino and President Daniel O. Velasco.

General Santos Stake has four stake presidents in the past twenty-five years. Namely, President Fabian L. Sinamban, President Danilo B. Pandes, President Renato V. Tampac, and President Michael Q. Garcia.

Since 1995, here is the list of the members of the stake presidency:

1, President Fabian L. Sinamban (1995-2004)

  • First Counselor: President Esteban C. Urian (1995-2001)
  • First Counselor: President Benjamin L. Wong (2001-2003)
  • First Counselor: President Danilo B. Pandes (2003-2004)
  • Second Counselor: President Reynaldo A. Agustin (1995-2000)
  • Second Counselor: President Benjamin L. Wong (2000-2001)
  • Second Counselor: President Cesario T. Garcia (2003-2004)

2. President Danilo B. Pandes (2004-2013)

  • First Counselor: President Cesario T. Garcia (2004-2013)
  • Second Counselor: President Woodbrey L. Sinamban (200-2009)
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    The General Santos Stake Presidency from 2009 to 2013. (from L-R: President Cesario C. Garcia; President Danilo B. Pandes; President Renato V. Tampac)

    Second Counselor: President Renato V. Tampac (2009-2013)

3. President Renato V. Tampac (2013-2020)

  • First Counselor: President Michael Q. Garcia (2013-2020)
  • Second Counselor: President Philip Ian G. Torino (2013-2020)

4. President Michael Q. Garcia (2020-Present)

  • First Counselor: President Philip Ian G. Torino (2020-Present)
  • Second Counselor: President Daniel O. Velasco (2020-Present)

Stake High Council[]

The office of the High Council comprises twelve priesthood holders. They helped the stake presidency in administering the welfare of the General Santos Stake of the Church.

The following comprises the current Stake High Council:

  1. Anthony M. Aquino
  2. Danilo S. Baricar
  3. Alexander Y. Benedicto
  4. Lehi C. Buenaventura
  5. Serapion L. Bueno Jr.
  6. Eduardo T. Dugos Jr.
  7. Ronald Jan D. Estampador Jr.
  8. Ruel B. Herezo
  9. Leon P. Siringan
  10. Israel O. Velasco
  11. Jonnel C. Villamor
  12. Wilmer T. Buenconsejo

Bishops and Branch Presidents[]

A bishop is a man who has been ordained and set apart as the presiding high priest for a ward, or congregation. He has overall responsibility for ministering the temporal and spiritual affairs of the congregation. The following are the bishops located in the General Santos Philippines Stake:

  • Alabel Ward - Bishop Paquito Nebres Jr.
  • General Santos 1st Ward - Bishop Jayson M. Quinco
  • General Santos 2nd Ward - Bishop Voltaire Q. Garcia
  • General Santos 3rd Ward - Bishop Arlan S. Ravanera
  • General Santos 4th Ward - Bishop Abraham J. Obedoza
  • General Santos 5th Ward - Bishop Joseph Joy E. Dulaca
  • General Santos 6th Ward - Bishop Ernie M. Bedico
  • Polomolok Ward - Bishop Rex C. Bangcong
  • Tupi Ward - Bishop Ronald P. Rodrigo
  • Glan Branch - President Mark Angelo Lacay

Meetinghouses[]

IMG 20200805 100805

General Santos Stake Center in August 2020

Meetinghouses are sacred structure built by the Church of Jesus Christ. Here, members and friends worship Jesus Christ by partaking of the Sacrament, and other activities that uplift and help members to come unto Christ.

General Santos Philippines Stake is blessed to have seven (7) meetinghouses. There are three (3) meetinghouses that are found in the city alone. Four (4) meetinghouses were scattered outside the city. Here are the photos of each meetinghouses:

  • General Santos Philippines Stake Center or Magsaysay Chapel
General Santos Philippines STake

The Stake Center of General Santos. Informally called as Magsaysay Chapel. It houses the General Santos 1st, 3rd, and 5th Wards. The stake center also houses the General Santos Philippines Institute of Religion.It is located in the heart of the city at Quezon Ave., Dadiangas West, General Santos City 9500

  • Royeca Chapel
IMG 20200805 104910

The first meetinghouse built-in General Santos City. It was built during the 1980s during the leadership of District President Carlos C. Revillo. It currently houses the General Santos 2nd, and 4th Wards. It served as the district center from 1992 to 1995 and served as the stake center from 1995 to 2000. It again served as the stake center in 2009, when the Magsaysay Chapel was renovated. It is located at Fernandez St., Brgy. Lagao, Gen. Santos City.

  • Polomolok Meetinghouse
IMG 20200806 020901
  • Tupi Meetinghouse
FB IMG 1596651903632
  • Alabel Meetinghouse
IMG 20200806 020400
  • Calumpang Rented-Facility Meetinghouse
IMG 20200806 020605
  • Glan Rented-Facility Meetinghouse
IMG 20200806 020449

Philippines Home Centered Church Opportunities[]

We teach that true religion begins in the home: "Home Centered / Church Supported". To that end families may consider the following local resources and programs to strengthen your core beliefs and values:


1. Come Follow Me: - Daily & Weekly family gospel study
2. Vanguard Scouting: - Featuring age-appropriate Family Activities, Service, Crafts, Field Trips, & Outdoor Adventures. The Benefits of Scouting are many, and there are lots of personal growth ideas to help your family pursue the new Churchwide Children & Youth Program.
3. LIFE School Curriculum: an LDS gospel based homeschool program that is built on the foundation of the scriptures, giving the child a sense of who he is and setting him on the path of discovering his divine mission. It is presented in a four year chronological rotation, integrating all areas of study to create a clear picture of the history of our world.
4. Family History: Resources to help you explore your family tree

    • Mormon Pioneers - 200+ stories of early faithful Latter-day Saint pioneers.
    • Familypedia - Come help build The Philippines largest Family History online Encyclopedia.


5. Local Recreation:


Cebu City Philippines Temple[]

CebuCitytemple2

The Cebu City Philippines Temple is the second temple built in the Philippines, following the Manila Philippines Temple (1984).

See Also[]


References[]

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