Enrique Villanueva was erected as a town and parish close to 50 years after the creation of the first five parishes in the island of Siquijor.
It wasn’t part of the cluster of five parishes that were already established by 1877 under the religious administration of the Augustinian Recollects.
Formerly known as Talingting, from the species of fish that used to thrive abundantly in the area, it used to be a barrio of the Siquijor town of Cano-an that is now called Larena.
Talingting became Enrique Villanueva after the Negros Oriental governor who was instrumental in its creation as a town in 1925. The island of Siquijor was ceded to Negros Oriental from 1854 to 1892, becoming a sub-province in 1901 and independent province in 1971 by virtue of Republic Act No. 6398.
Enrique Villanueva doesn’t have a church that can trace its beginnings to the Spanish period. The parish, which has Our Lady of Mt. Carmel for patron, features a church of modern construction built in the early 20th century.
While it’s a fairly new structure, the church of Enrique Villanueva is one of six visited by devout Catholics as part of an island pilgrimage called Round Siquijor.
If you’re doing the pilgrimage, you are in the fifth stop of your undertaking. The chapel that houses the image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is where you light the seven candles and pray your special intention.
Next stop — the St. Vincent Ferrer Parish Church in Larena — is just 20 to 30 minutes by car or public transport.