News Release

President Oaks Dedicates Urdaneta Philippines Temple

The Urdaneta Temple is now the country’s third operating temple, 190th in the world

From left to right: Sister Nancy Duncan; Elder Kevin R. Duncan of the Quorum of the Seventy and Executive Director of the Temple Department; President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Sister Kristen Oaks; Sister Marie Revillo; Elder Carlos G. Revillo Jr., Second Counselor in the Philippines Area Presidency.© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor to the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dedicated the Urdaneta Philippines Temple in twin sessions on Sunday, April 28, 2024.

Elder Oaks, accompanied by his wife, Sister Kristen Oaks, arrived in the Philippines a day earlier—a country he often visited as an Apostle of the Lord, including a special commission to serve as its Area President from 2002 to 2004.

“How thrilled Sister Oaks and I are to be with you, the noble men and women of the Philippines,” President Oaks said during the dedication. “We bring you the love of our prophet, President Russell M. Nelson. Before I left him, he embraced me and asked me to convey that love to you, which I now do.”

He continued: “A temple dedication also reminds us to rededicate ourselves to faithfulness in the work of the Lord… We are thrilled to realize that you have grown much more faithful in keeping the commandments of God than when Sister Oaks and I were here 20 years ago.”

In the dedicatory prayer, President Oaks said, “We thank Thee for Thy Only Begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, for His Resurrection, for our Immortality, for His Atonement, for our repented sins, and for experiencing all our pains and infirmities, that He may strengthen us in our infirmities.”

"We dedicate unto thee this sacred structure and its surroundings for Thy holy purposes. We dedicate this entire temple to perform its sacred functions: the baptistry, the ordinance sealing rooms, the celestial room and all other locations in this holy house," President Oaks said.

"We invoke Thy power to assure that Thy Spirit and Thy glory will always be present here and among all Thy sacred work that will be done here," he added.

President Oaks and Sister Oaks were joined at the Dedication Ceremony by Elder Kevin R. Duncan of the Quorum of the Seventy, the Executive Director of the Temple Department, and Elder Carlos G. Revillo Jr., the Second Counselor to the Philippines Area Presidency.

Elder Revillo and his wife, Sister Marie Revillo, expressed their excitement about the Filipinos who will make and keep sacred covenants in the Urdaneta Temple, particularly those living in Northern Luzon.

“We're excited! We are not the only ones who will be rejoicing; our ancestors who have passed on for a long time will join us in rejoicing as we open [the Urdaneta Temple]. Once the temple operates, there will be rejoicing on both sides of the veil. That's what really excites me,” Elder Revillo said.

“The presence of President and Sister Oaks here adds significance to the dedication. We deeply love them. To hear him dedicate this House of the Lord in Urdaneta is very significant. I see it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me and the Filipino saints,” Elder Revillo added.

President Oaks' ministry to the Philippines

From 2002 to 2004, President Oaks accepted a special assignment from President Gordon B. Hinckley to concurrently lead the Philippines as Area President. During that time, the Philippines only had one operating temple (Manila Philippines Temple) despite almost 600,000 members and a baptism rate of about 20,000 Filipinos every year.

“Other areas of the Church that had that many members had many more temples than one. And so, the people were very anxious to get an additional temple or more,” President Oaks said.

“President Hinckley was very concerned that we were baptizing a large number of people in the Philippines..., but that we were not seeing significant increases in the number of priesthood ordinations or first-time temple attendance. And by other measures, the Church was not established,” he added.

After over two decades since President Oaks helped establish the Church more fully in the Phillippines, the country now has three operating temples, two in Luzon, the country’s biggest cluster of islands, with ten more temples either under construction or announced.

“I often tell people that the greatest period of my growth as an Apostle was the two years in the Philippines,” President Oaks said.

“The Philippines is a major setting for me to advance my knowledge of how the gospel works in the lives of people who make and keep covenants. I remember the Philippines like I remember key times in my other education, partly in the Church, partly in my profession. It was a major place to learn things I needed to learn to go on with my life,” he added.

Urdaneta Philippines Temple History

President Thomas S. Monson announced a house of the Lord for Urdaneta, Philippines, on October 2, 2010, during General Conference.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles presided over the groundbreaking of the Urdaneta Philippines Temple on January 16, 2019.

During its two-week open house in March 2024, the Urdaneta Temple welcomed more than 65,000 guests from all over the Philippines, including key government officials, local industry and community leaders, and friends from other faiths.

The Urdaneta Temple Committee, led by its Coordinators Greg and Ana Marie Karganilla, said that the subcommittee members and numerous volunteers have been a great blessing to the Urdaneta Temple's Open House up to its dedication.

“In our experience, we have learned to lean heavily on the Lord and seek His will in all we did, especially during the challenges we faced in the early months of our preparation. We always sought His guidance on how to overcome them, and He has shown us many miracles along the way,” Sister Karganilla said.

“We express our deepest gratitude to all subcommittee members and volunteers in each subcommittee. We've seen their sacrifices, their tireless efforts, their dedication, patience, and humility. We were so blessed to have them. Because of our combined efforts, the temple is here, and this experience will remain in our memories forever,” she added.

The Urdaneta Philippines Temple is slated to serve more than 200,000 members of the Church across more than 50 stakes and districts in the area. Members in Northern Luzon, who previously had to travel several hours to Manila, may now make and keep sacred ordinances at the Urdaneta Temple.

The temple is located at MacArthur Highway, Brgy. Nancayasan, Urdaneta City. It is 3,029 square meters and 41.6 meters high. The temple reflects both the Spanish and Asian influences on the Philippines and contains design references to the mango plant and the Sampaguita flower. Materials used during the construction of the temple were sourced from the Philippines, China, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Palestine, Thailand, and USA.

Temples in the Philippines

There are more than 870,000 Latter-day Saints in the Philippines. Before the completion and dedication of the Urdaneta Temple, Church members in Northern Luzon must travel to either Manila or Cebu to worship in a temple.

In addition to the temples in Manila, Cebu and Urdaneta, ten more temples have been announced or are under construction in Alabang, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Iloilo, Laoag, Naga, Santiago, Tacloban and Tuguegarao. The Philippines has the fourth-largest population of Latter-day Saints of any country in the world, and members worship in more than 1,200 congregations.

The Urdaneta Philippines Temple is the 190th dedicated temple in the world. There are 350 temples in operation, under construction or announced around the world.

Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints differ from meetinghouses or chapels, where members meet for Sunday worship services. Each temple is considered a “house of the Lord,” where Jesus Christ’s teachings are reaffirmed through baptism and other ordinances that unite families for eternity. In the temple, Church members learn more about the purpose of life and make covenants to follow Jesus Christ and serve others.

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