Dauin was among the oldest towns organized in Negros Oriental but it stayed for a long time as a visita of the parish of Siaton.
Before it became a parish, Fr. Jose Barredo ministered to the town from 1796 until his death in 1835. Frequent pirate incursions prompted him to transfer Dauin to where it is now currently located.
The parish of Dauin was entrusted to the Recollects beginning in 1857 by order of Bishop Romualdo Jimeno of Cebu and Fr. Manuel Navarro became the town’s first Recollect parish priest.
Church of stone
Since Dauin only had a small church with thin walls made of bricks, Fr. Navarro initiated the construction of a church made of stone. He was the town’s parish priest up to his death in 1864.
His successor, Fr. Tomas Gonzales (1864-1874), continued work on the church and built the convent as well.
Additional work was undertaken by succeeding parish priests. Fr. Manuel Cabriada, who served from 1874 to 1898, renovated the church to make it “spacious, proportionate, and beautiful,” according to the book “Handurawan: Visita Iglesia Negros Y Recoletos.”
It added that he also added an “elegant porch made of fine square hewn stones and slender columns.” He finished his work on the church in 1880.
The outbreak of the Revolution in 1898 forced the Recollects to abandon the parish. It fell to a secular priest, Fr. Francisco Locsin, to minister to parishioners until their return in 1912.
For the second time, the Augustinian Recollects relinquished control of the parish in 1969, and Fr. Leandro Palacios – who served from 1964-1969 – was the last of the order’s priests assigned in Dauin.