|San Pascual de Baylon Parish Church Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of the Immaculate Concepcion of Salambao|
The church of Obando in Bulacan
|Dedication||Saint Paschal Baylon|
|Status||Parish church and Diocesan Shrine|
|Architectural type||Church building|
|Archbishop||Luis Antonio Tagle|
The Obando Church, also known as the San Pascual de Baylon Parish Church, is a Roman Catholic church located in the municipality of Obando in the province of Bulacan, Philippines. Founded by Franciscan missionaries, under the Spanish flag, it is the venue of the three-day Obando Fertility Rites held annually in honor of three patron saints, namely: St. Pascual Baylon, St. Claire of Assisi and Our Lady of Salambao, a celebration that was mentioned by Jose Rizal, the Philippine national hero, in the pages of his Spanish-language novel, the Noli Me Tangere (in Chapter 6: Captain Tiago). During the month of May, parishioners and other devotees perform the three-day Obando Dance (formerly known as the Kasilonawan, now locally called Sayaw sa Obando, literally "the dance in Obando") inside the church, followed by a street procession.
Its façade had been described as similar to that of the church of Marilao, Bulacan. The edifice is composed of windows and flat columns, and has a pediment with a niche and two round windows at the sides. The façade is also flanked by an octagonal belltower. Connected to its structure is the Colegio de San Pascual Baylon, a private school managed by the parish. The altar of the church is believed to be gilded with silver.
The Obando Church was built by the Franciscan Order, headed by Rev. P. Manuel de Olivencia, the first curate of Obando, on April 29, 1754. The church was destroyed in World War II during the fight for the liberation from the Japanese rule. According to some reports, the original statues of Our Lady of Salambao, Saint Clare and Saint Paschal Baylon were also destroyed during the fighting, and that the images presently venerated are commissioned replication of the original images. The church was rebuilt in 1947 through the efforts of Rev. Fr. Marcos C. Punzal with the help of local Obandeño parishioners.
Other parish priests who also managed the Obando Church since the 1900s include: Rev. Fr. Juan Dilag, Rev. Fr. Padre Exequiel Morelos, Rev. Fr. Ricardo Pulido, Rev. Msgr. Rome R. Fernandez, Rev. Fr. Marcelo K. Sanchez, Rev. Fr. Danilo G. delos Reyes, and Rev. Fr. Avelino A. Sampana. It was Rev. Fr. Rome Fernandez, with the assistance from the Cultural Commission of Obando, who revived the celebration of the Obando Fertility Rites or the Obando Dance in 1972. This was after a prohibition of the practice was imposed by an archbishop of Manila after World War II.
The Church of Obando has been declared as the "Diocesan Shrine" of the Our Lady of the Immaculate Concepcion of Salambao (the long name for the Our Lady of Salambao) by the Catholic Church. The church is connected to several barangay chapels in Obando, Bulacan, namely: the chapels of Barangays Panghulo, Catanghalan, Pag-asa, Paliwas, San Pascual, Hulo, Mahabang-Lawa (or Lawa), Tawiran, Wawang-Pulo, Liputan, and Ubihan. Two former chapels that now have parochial church statuses include the Santa Cruz Parish in Barangay Paco and the Parish of Nuestra Señora de Salambao (the Parish of Our Lady of Salambao) of Barangay Binuangan. Both are still within the political boundaries of present-day Obando, Bulacan. Thus, there are now three parishes in Obando, Bulacan, each with their own parochial churches: those of Barangays Paco and Binuangan, in addition to the Parish of San Pascual Baylon (the Obando Church). At present the church managed by Rev. Fr. Vergilio Ramos. 
Processional Icon of Paschal Baylon in the Church
St. Claire of Assisi in the altar
Our Lady of Salambao in the altar
- Visita Iglesia, the Old Churches of Bulacan Part 2 of 2. Simbahan: Philippine Heritage Churches and Related Structures,17 March 2008
- "Kasaysayan ng Simbahan ng Obando." (History of the Obando Church), Obando, Bayang Pinagpala! (Obando, Blessed Town!), Pamahalaang Bayan ng Obando (Local Government of Obando), 2006/2007
- Obando Church, Religious, Things to Do and see in Bulacan, Bulacan, WowPhilippines.com
- Philippines Obando Church Interior, Obando, Bulacan, ca. early 1900s, Teleguam.net
- Atanacio, Jovi. "Our Lady of Salambao of Obando, Bulacan". Philippine Marian Site. Retrieved on 2014-10-30.
- The correct spelling of Rev. Fr. Marcos C. Punzal's surname is Punzal with a small letter a, as opposed to Punzol with an o from other available sources. The correct spelling can be found at the Obando, Bayang Pinagpala! book which is also listed and used as a reference on this page.
- "New Zest," Obando: Legend of a Dance, Geocities.com
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Obando Church.|
- SPBP ONLINE, the official website of San Pascual Baylon Parish
- Philippines Obando Church Interior, Obando, Bulacan, ca. early 1900s, old photograph inside the Obando Church, at Teleguam.net
- Shrine of the Lady of Salambao, Obando Church's Nave, at Flickr.com
- Inside the Obando Church, at YouTube.com