Trivia about St. Thomas de Aquinas Parish
MANGALDAN owns the distinction as the third town in Pangasinan to be founded by the Dominican missionaries. As early as 1591, it already existed as a Spanish encomienda. Its foundation as a town is attributed to Blessed Juan Martinez de Santo Domingo who died a martyr’s death in Japan on March 19, 1618.
Originally, Mangaldan was a part of Calasiao until the Dominicans created it as an independent parish under the patronage of St. Thomas Aquinas on June 2, 1600. Its first church was of regular proportions.
Economically, Mangaldan was the richest town in Pangasinan in the second half of the 19th century. This was due to the famous irrigation system which the missionaries built within the confines of the town causing its fertile fields to yield bountiful harvest of palay. Most outstanding in this gigantic work was Fr. Jose Torres, O.P. who brought it to completion in 1829.
The second church of Mangaldan was finished in 1812. It collapsed during the great earthquake of March 16, 1892. The construction of the convent dates back to 1747. The construction of the present church was begun in 1942 by Fr. Juan Sison and was completed 20 years later by Fr. Leon Bitanga.