As early as 1600, Dominican missionaries established religious missions in a place called Caboloan ( said to be the first name of Pangasinan ). One was called SAN BARTOLOME DE AGNO ( 1687 ) the first to be established near the present site of San Manuel. Then another mission was put up in a neighbouring area ( now the present site of Asingan ). This second mission is called SAN LUIS BELTRAN DE SINAPOG (1698). In 1719 some Igorots from the nearby mountains of San Manuel attacked the mission of San Bartolome and massacred some inhabitants. The Dominican friars and some survivors fled to San Luis Beltran mission for safety.
In 1733, the Governor General granted a license to establish a town in the San Luis Beltran mission. This town became Asingan in 1802 and up this day, it is still located beside the Sinapog river.
ASINGAN got its name from an early incident when some visitors cried “Naasing kayo” ( Ilocano for you are hostile ) to some natives who did not want the visitors to hang around. But the present inhabitants of Asingan are now anything but hostile.
Francisco Malala, a retired school teacher and a local writer-researcher from Asingan, provided us with additional materials pertaining to the history of this town. Mr. Malala is also the Editor-in-Chief of the HOMELAND NEWS, a Community Newspaper published in Asingan and being circulated in nearby towns of Pangasinan.
According to Francisco, when the revolt against the Spaniards broke out in 1762, only Asingan and Binmaley did not join the uprising. Asingan became the refuge of Dominican friars whose lives were endangered; thus Asingan earned the title of “Most Noble and Most Loyal Asingan.”
If you visit Asingan now a days, you can view the Asingan Catholic Church in its fully restored elegance. Like any church in Pangasinan, it has survived earthquakes, insurrections and other man-made calamities.
On March 16, 1892 an earthquake left the church with some horizontal cracks. But the church was still usable for worship. Then in 1898, General Makabulos of the KKK ( Kagalang galangang, Kataastaasang Katipunan ) organized some secret groups in Pangasinan. It is written that during this year, Binalonan, San Manuel and Asingan were captured by the KKK. It must have been during this period that the Asingan convent ( the biggest convent in Eastern Pangasinan at that time ) was razed to the ground by a Katipunero named Agustin Alejo.
In 1947, Rev. Jose Macaraeg renovated the church in preparation for the second post war celebration of Christ the King in Pangasinan. Thus in October 1947, the faithful from entire Pangasinan, and also the towns of Lupao and Cuyapo in Nueva Ecija and other towns like Camiling and Gerona in Tarlac converged in Asingan for a huge celebration. ( at that time, these towns are still part of the Diocese of Lingayen.)
On July 16, 1990, an intensity 8 earthquake rendered the church useless. Whole walls came down. Masses were held outdoors. But Asinganians from all over the world ( even those from other denominations ) pitched in their financial help for the restoration of the church. Thus, on October 10, 1993, which is celebrated in Asingan as the feast day of their Patron Saint St. Louis Beltran, the reconstructed church was opened to all Asinganians for the first time. This first Mass was concelebrated by Fr. Jesus Galang, D.D. Asingan Parish Priest Msgr. Marlo Peralta and assistant Parish Priest Benjamin Mangonon.
The parishioners were honored in April 23, 1995 when President Fidel Ramos came to his hometown to see the new church . Msgr. Peralta acknowledged before the congregation the presence of the former President of the Philippines.