An Interesting Mormon Personality: A Filipino Patriarch Named Moses


Backstage in the Philippine International Convention Center, Elder Gordon B. Hinckley was talking to a man whose face glowed with spiritual excitement and joy beyond description.

The date: Sunday morning, the 29th of May, 1977. The time: 5 minutes before the opening ceremony of the Combined Special Conference that was to culminate in the writing of Church history in the Philippines. The topic between them: an Apostle of the Lord making a divine call—the man accepting the call with happiness overflowing in his heart.

This was the man Elder Hinckley introduced the day before to Elder Jacob de Jager as the man called Moses.

The only other person who learned a few minutes after about this divine calling was his wife and later, when he was sustained by the multitude as one of two Filipino Stake Patriarchs, the spiritual events in their lives flashed back in their minds.

During this moment of unbridled job, Moises Marzan Mabunga, Sr., who first saw the light of day in Naguilian, La Union February 13, 1917, and Vicenta Mercado of Manila, silently shared with each other their testimony of finding the gospel of truth and live after many years of searching, radiantly recalling the day, 13 years before, when two missionary sisters (Sisters Garrison and Smithen) knocked on the door of their home at Molave Street, Project 3 in Quezon City, to bring the message of the restoration.

The events that followed after this meeting with the missionary sisters were as varied as they were interesting. At first, Bro. Mabunga was obstinate and unmoved by the assuring words of the missionary sisters. He had to rationalize for more than four months, and later to ask and pray in the presence of no one but God for divine guidance. On July 11, 1964, at Brother Grimm’s residence at Sta. Mesa, he was baptized with his wife and children.

Blessed with a family of six boys and six girls, Bro. Mabunga (who recently retired as Project Superintendent of Manila Electric Company) has other blessings. Two of his sons served full-time missions. Moises, Jr., is now Bishop of the Rego Park Ward, Plainview Stake, New York. Son Danilo completed his mission only last month.

In October this year, Brother and Sister Mabunga will leave for the United States to fulfill the dream of being sealed for eternity in a temple of the Lord.

His record of Church assignments can be compared to that of a tiny acorn growing into an oak tree: 1st counselor, Sunday School presidency; Superintendent, Mutual Improvement Association (M.I.A.); 2nd Counselor and 1st Counselor, Branch presidency; Branch President; 1st Counselor, District presidency; and Stake High Councilman upon organization of the Manila Philippines Stake in May, 1973.

And now, the Filipino called Moses has a new calling worthy of his name.