Tangunan, Eugenio J. (1916–1993)

By Mariju Ilagan Pimentel

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Mariju Ilagan Pimentel currently (2020) works at a local conference in the northern Philippines. She loves researching about Bible history, lecturing, public speaking, traveling, and writing. She is married to Edwin with one daughter.

Eugenio Tangunan was an evangelist, pastor, and church leader in the Philippines.

Eugenio J. Tangunan was born on September 6, 1916,1 in Sitio Cabalantian, Cabucbucan Village, Rizal, Nueva Ecija, Philippines,2 to Mr. and Mrs. Alejandro Tangunan.3 Eugenio was the fifth child in the family.4

Education and Marriage

Eugenio finished elementary school in 1932. Financial difficulties prevented him from pursuing high school studies right away, so he began working on a farm. But Eugenio was unlike ordinary lads, who would flitter away time with other boys after work. Being a book lover, he would read books from his father’s collection deposited in a wooden trunk built for storing books. Among these he found a particular book sold to his father in 1930 by a literature evangelist, The Great Controversy. This book arrested Eugenio’s interest. He was fascinated by all the startling truths therein, especially about the Sabbath.5

After reading The Great Controversy three times, Eugenio was so convicted of the Sabbath truth that he started to keep the Sabbath. But his father was much opposed to his new religious practice. He could not accept that his son would join another religion. He threatened to disown Eugenio if he continued to keep the Sabbath. Threats turned to persecution, but young Eugenio could not be persuaded to give up his newfound faith. Finally, true to his threats, Alejandro disowned Eugenio and sent him away from their home. But a Seventh-day Adventist Church member, Vicente Payabyab, took pity on him, invited him to his house, and employed him as a farmhand for a year.6

In 1935, Eugenio, through the suggestion of Payabyab, visited Philippine Union College (now Adventist University of the Philippines) after hearing about it. His thirst to continue his disrupted education sprang in him upon seeing the institution. One of the students even encouraged him to pursue his studies. Studying again as a self-supporting student was a turning point in Eugenio’s life.7

Eugenio married Jovita Hernando on June 15, 1944.8 They have four children: Priscilla, Merlina, Edwin, and Ray.9

Ministry

In 1943, close to the end of his first year in college, Eugenio Tangunan was called to be an assistant district pastor with the main job of an evangelist at Central Luzon Mission (now Central Luzon Conference). However, he declined the call because he wanted to finish college. He was able to finance his studies with his work of transporting passengers by a horse-drawn carriage.10

But barely two months after the call, one of the two horses he had got sick. He surmised that the incident must be prodding him to accept the call to be God’s minister. He prayed that his horse would be healed and that he would work for God as minister of the gospel.11

Before 1943 ended, a second invitation to be God’s worker came to him, which he accepted. Tangunan started his ministry as an assistant district pastor, with evangelism as his main job, at Central Luzon Mission. He immediately trained under the tutelage of Pastor Alcaraz, a seasoned worker. After serving for two years, Tangunan became a full-fledged district pastor. He showed his dedication and love for the flock by shepherding church members and exhibiting Christ in his life. The Lord prospered his 12-year ministry (1945 to 1957) as a district pastor. Tangunan played a key role in establishing five churches in different territories where he labored, and he trained many young ministers, some of whom held significant posts in local missions of the North Philippine Union Mission (now North Philippine Union Conference).12

On April 5, 1971, Tangunan was ordained in the ministry.13 He became the Lay Activities and Sabbath School secretary of Central Luzon Mission from 1958 to 1963.14 In 1964, Tangunan was called to be the president of what was then South-Central Luzon Mission, now South-Central Luzon Conference, a position he held until 1968.15 In 1969, he was called to the North Philippine Union Mission to be Lay Activities secretary.16 Tangunan was in that position for six years, until he retired in 1975 after serving the denomination for almost 32 years.

After his retirement, Eugenio Tangunan went to the United States to join his family who had moved there. On November 15, 1993, he died at the age of 77 in Loma Linda, California.17

Sources

Bautista, J. O. “The Book in the Wooden Trunk.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, May 1961, 6–7.

Eugenio J. Tangunan, Far Eastern Division Sustentation Fund Application, June 17, 1975. Southern Asia-Pacific Division archives, Silang, Cavite, Philippines.

“Eugenio Tanguna, 77,” MyLife, accessed March 15, 2020, https://www.mylife.com/eugenio-tangunan/e813133575618.

“North Philippines Ordinations.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, October 1975, 9.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1958, 1964, and 1969.

Notes

  1. Eugenio J. Tangunan, Far Eastern Division Sustentation Fund Application, June 17, 1975. Southern Asia-Pacific Division archives.

  2. J. O. Bautista, “The Book in the Wooden Trunk,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, May 1961, 6–7.

  3. Ibid.

  4. Ibid.

  5. Ibid.

  6. Ibid.

  7. Ibid.

  8. Ibid.

  9. Hyre Tangonan, fourth generation nephew of Eugenio, telephone interview, March 8, 2020.

  10. Bautista, “Book in the Wooden Trunk,” 7.

  11. Ibid.

  12. Ibid.

  13. Ibid.

  14. Ibid.; “Central Luzon Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1958), 99; cf. “North Philippines Ordinations,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, October 1975, 9.

  15. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1964), 125.

  16. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1969), 135.

  17. “Eugenio Tanguna, 77,” MyLife, accessed March 15, 2020, https://www.mylife.com/eugenio-tangunan/e813133575618.

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Pimentel, Mariju Ilagan. "Tangunan, Eugenio J. (1916–1993)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Accessed June 18, 2021. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=4CXD.

Pimentel, Mariju Ilagan. "Tangunan, Eugenio J. (1916–1993)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Date of access June 18, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=4CXD.

Pimentel, Mariju Ilagan (2021, April 28). Tangunan, Eugenio J. (1916–1993). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 18, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=4CXD.