Philippines pioneer remembered

Manila, Philippines

Wilfredo Aguillon Manaois, pioneer Philippines pastor, educator, missionary, and district superintendent, passed away 19 August after a prolonged battle with cancer and a recent bout with pneumonia. He was 89.

"A holy man and fine educator,” said Donald Owens, general superintendent emeritus and founding president of Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary. “I pray for more ministers like him and his talented companion."

Manaois was born 12 October into a Roman Catholic family in Enclaro, the oldest town on the Philippine island of Negros.

After he graduated from high school in 1946, Manaois gave his life to Christ at a Baptist church in Bacolod City, where he attended college. Manaois returned to his hometown after his college graduation to teach English, history, and mathematics for the next six years at Southern Negros College while also serving as a high school teacher and later as principal.

When Olivet Nazarene College (now University) graduate Greg Tingson came to preach at a high school convocation, Manaois felt a call to preach for the first time.

On 12 March 1955, Wilfredo married Lourdes Perez Gayo, and thanks to Nazarene missionaries John and Lillian Pattee, the couple became members of the Binalbagan Church of the Nazarene in 1956.

Two years later, the Manaoises both enrolled as students at Fitkin Memorial Nazarene Bible Training College (now Philippine Nazarene College) in La Trinidad. After studying there for a year, the Manaoises returned to Negros to teach at Himamaylan High School while Wilfredo also pastored the Binalbagan Church of the Nazarene.

The Manaoises continued their studies at Fitkin Memorial, and Wilfredo graduated with a Bachelor of Theology in 1964. He served as the pastor of the college church from 1965 to 1967, taught at Luzon Nazarene Bible College from 1965 to 1973, and also taught at the University of Baguio from 1967 to 1973, all while studying there for a Master of Arts in English.

On 4 April 1973, General Superintendent L. Eugene Stowe ordained Wilfredo as an elder in the Church of the Nazarene on the Philippines District. That year, Manaois was also appointed assistant superintendent of the newly created Visayan Mindanao District, and the Manaoises moved south to Iloilo City to teach at Visayan Nazarene Bible College. Wilfredo then served as superintendent of the Visayan Mindanao District from 1974 to 1976 while also serving as the director of VNBC for one year.

After completing church growth classes under missiologist Donald McGavran through a Fuller Theological Seminary extension program in 1976, the Visayan Mindanao District was sub-divided with Manaois serving as the inaugural superintendent of the Western Visayas District.

“For the first years after the division, the growth in the Visayas and Mindanao was among the fastest in the country among evangelical churches and in the Nazarene denomination as a whole,” Floyd Cunningham wrote in his book Holiness Abroad: Nazarene Missions in Asia.

As a result, in 1979 Manaois was appointed by World Mission Executive Director Jerald Johnson to the Resource for Evangelism and Projects team — a group that was responsible for going to countries where missionaries could not serve to introduce local leaders to the Church of the Nazarene.

In 1981, the Manaoises were appointed by the Church of the Nazarene's General Board to serve in Nigeria, where Wilfredo served as missions director and established Nigerian Nazarene Bible College. However, visa problems forced the Manaoises to return to the Philippines in 1982, at which time he completed the requirements for a Doctor of Education in Theology at West Visayas State College. Wilfredo also served as a member of the Commission on Internationalization of the Church of the Nazarene from 1980 to 1985.

Wilfredo went on to teach at Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary.  

“At first, he taught general education courses but moved into the Christian Education program,” Cunningham said. “The school called upon him to serve as dean of students, registrar, and assistant to the president. He [also] became full professor [during that time]. While working at APNTS, he pursued Master of Divinity studies, and also a PhD in Asian Studies at Centro Escolar University. For several years, Wilfredo and Lourdes Manaois alternated as pastors of the Diliman Church of the Nazarene."

After graduating from APNTS in 1999, Wilfredo retired at the age of 70.

"I appreciated Dr. Manaois as a colleague and mentor,” Cunningham said. “He contributed much to my life and to the life of APNTS. His advice and wisdom as part of the APNTS administration and faculty was always well-taken. He will be missed." 

After his official retirement, Wilfredo continued to preach in both the Philippines and the U.S. as his health allowed.

Wilfredo is survived by his wife of 63 years, Lourdes Perez Gayo Manaois, and their six adult children — Aaron Manaois, Arlette Pabon, Rodi Jane Manaois, Flora Beth Manaois Liggeti, Lillian Ruth Manaois Katalbas, and Julie Ann Manaois.

A wake and service were held each evening from 27 to 31 August at the Manaois ancestral home in Enclaro, Philippines. The funeral service will be held 1 September at the Binalbagan Church of the Nazarene with Floyd Cunningham speaking.

--Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary via NCN News submissions

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