Bohol’s Choice Cuts
By Loy M. Palapos
May 11, 2008
JEFFREY PINES MALANOG
FULFILLING HIS CREATOR’S WILL
Serving God to the fullest… and with it the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience… is a total sacrifice any man can give to his Creator; for all three subjugates him and draw him farther from the throne where the proverbial Alpha Male is supposed to rule supreme. Material possession connotes power, especially for those who adhere to the belief that everything has a price. Look at the richest men and the way they flaunt their influence, and politicians who can afford to buy votes; they are still that obsessed with an illusion of grandeur beyond the reach of ordinary mortal. Consider the likes of Ramon Revilla, Dolphy, Joseph Estrada and a host of other super-studs; and savor the idolatry they enjoy because of their fight against chastity. Take a glance at hordes of achievers, who always find some means to circumvent the law, because they obey only their whims. To be rich, to propagate his specie with complete abandon, to break the rules… these are seemingly the marks of the modern man in his journey catering to his greed.
Fortunately, not all succumb to man-made criteria for greatness. There are still many who have faith in eternal salvation. Among them are religious leaders who have made it their lifetime advocacy to pave the way for mortals to be redeemed: the priests and the nuns among those in the forefront of an unending crusade for salvation.
It is widely known that among the provinces in the Philippines, Bohol leads in the profession where “many are called, but few are chosen.” This island province has also nurtured more Bishops than anywhere else in the archipelago. There are many Boholano priests all over the world, each preaching the Gospels in some styles and manners that are basically orthodox.
Monsignor Jeffrey Pines Malanog is a Boholano priest who, at a young age of 34, has long proven he has chosen the right vocation. Brisk and alert in his movements, glib-tongued in his discourse, he can always be mistaken as a bachelor who could be a good catch in the marital angle. But no, he has long made his decision to devote his life to God since he was a young boy.
Jeffrey was born in Tagbilaran City on March 15, 1964. His father is Marianito Paculba Malanog who, right when he was a kid, instilled in his young mind the importance of discipline and hard work to reach a dream. A retired Harbor Pilot and a member of the Cebu Harbor Pilot Association, he was formerly an International Ship Captain. His mother, Aquilina Maquiling Pines, is a retired government employee at the Treasurer’s Office of the Provincial Capitol. From her, he learned early the basic teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, and the significance of family solidarity and love.
Jeff studied at the Bohol Wisdom School, where he completed his elementary education in 1976. Even at this stage in his life, he already knew what he wanted: to be a priest. This was the reason his parents enrolled him at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary for his secondary education, which he finished in 1980. The foundation for dedication to the apostolate was sturdy and constant, with the full support of the entire family. When after graduation from high school, he stayed at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary for his college pursuits. This move did not surprise anybody who knew him. After four years of studies in 1984, he enrolled at the University of Santo Tomas Central Seminary, where he graduated from the Bachelor’s degree in Sacred Theology as a Cum Laude. He has always been a consistently diligent student, a kind of dedication that became more pronounced in his tertiary and graduate education.
It was a big accomplishment for one so inspired in his vocation that he was sent abroad to the University of San Francisco, in California. Even in a foreign land he proved his mettle and he also finished as Cum Laude, for his Master’s degree in Theology in 1994.
His giftedness as a scholar did not go unnoticed. He was sent to Saint Paul University in Ottawa, Canada where he again was accorded a Cum Laude distinction for his Master’s and Licentiate in Canon Law in 2001. All throughout his arduous years of studies here and abroad, Fr. Malanog did not disappoint those who wanted him to succeed. It is also worth-noting that not just any priest could be given the privilege of pursuing a graduate degree in Canon Law.
After his studies at the UST Central Seminary, he was assigned as Seminary Professor and Formator of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary from 1988 to 1992. From 1993 to 1994, he was Associate Pastor at St. Kevin’s Church in San Francisco, while taking up his Masters in Theology. From 1996 to 1999, he was appointed Diocesan Chancellor of Tagbilaran. In three year’s time he was Chaplain of St. Vincent Ferrer of Bool. While taking his Master’s and Licentiate in Canon Law in Canada, he was Assistant Resident Priest at St. Patrick’s Basilica in the Archdiocese of Ottawa. A year later, he became the Presiding Judge at the Metropolitan Matrimonial Tribunal of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, California. Another assignment followed as Assisting Resident Priest at St. Augustine’s Church, also in San Francisco.
He came back to the Philippines and was appointed Judicial Vicar and Director of the Marriage Tribunal of the Diocese of Tagbilaran in 2003, a job he holds until presently. Simultaneously, he was Assisting Resident Priest at St. Joseph Cathedral (2003-2006); then Chaplain, Divine Mercy (2006-2007); before he became Moderator Curiae of the Diocese of Tagbilaran. The Bishop appointed Fr. Malanog as a Parish Priest of St. Joseph Cathedral on September 27, 2007 and concurrently Vicar General of the Diocese of Tagbilaran.
Msgr. Jeffrey P. Malanog has been a Member of the Canon Law Society of America since 2001. He is also a Member of the Canon Law Society of the Philippines since 2006. As a trimming to his various tasks, and as an expression of another talent, he is an active member of the well-applauded Singing Priests of Tagbilaran.
Msgr. Jeff has a brother and three sisters. The eldest, Estela, is a Doctor of Medicine, now based in Glendale, California. Janet Malanog-Maniwan is a graduate of BS in Business Economics at UP-Diliman and BS in Nursing at the University of Bohol. James graduated from PMI-Tagbilaran and is presently an International Ship Captain. Jacqueline Malanog-San Pedro is a graduate of Bachelor of Music from UST, and later took Occupational Therapy at Perpetual Help College in Manila. She is now in Glendale, California practicing her second profession.
Knowing Msgr. Malanog was an offshoot of an inquiry I made regarding the rules on marriage annulment, which a brother-in-law wanted to know. It was an ordinary telephone conversation, but which impressed me most. From him I learned that annulment is not a fast process, it needs a lot of discernment. Only in extreme cases, and for just causes, could it be given. Preserving the sanctity of the family is a noble job, and making a pronouncement on its dissolution is never an easy task. Fortunately, Msgr. Malanog is adequately schooled and is fully equipped with the knowledge necessary in the process. But as much as possible, he wants a marriage intact.
For one so young in an advocacy where years of experience count, Msgr. Jeff Malanog stands unique and formidable. Those who have come to know him personally have all high regards not only for his ability to be at home with anybody, especially in conversations that need analysis and thought-provoking banters. As a Shepherd to his flocks, Msgr. Jeff is a highly appreciated gem, with a polish that has become his trademark of priestly competence.