In a land area of 6,413.30 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the towns in northern part of Palawan province, including island municipalities.
It has a total population of 310,383 as of 2007, where 265,000 are Catholics. Some are other Christians and Muslims and the rest are Indigenous Peoples Tagbanua and Molbog with their native indigenous beliefs. The main language in the area is Filipino but most of its people speaks Visayan languages like Cebuano, Hiligaynon, and Caray-a, and native Palawan dialects such as Cuyunon and Agutaynen, among others.
Three of its parishes are over 300 years old: the Parish of Sta. Monica (Taytay) having been founded in 1622, the Parish of St. Augustine (Cuyo) also in 1622, and the Parish of San Juan Bautista (Agutaya) in 1692. Four parishes are over 100 years old: the Parish of St. Augustine (Coron) having been founded in 1901, the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi (El Nido) also in 1901, the Parish of Nuestra Senora de Araceli (Araceli) in 1902 and the Parish of the Immaculate Conception of Mary in 1906. Yet, the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay is only a little over five years old, having been established on May 26, 2002 from what was then the Apostolic Vicariate of Palawan.
Three of its parishes have beautiful centuries-old stone forts: the Parish of Sta. Monica (Taytay), the Parish of St. Augustine (Cuyo) and the Parish of San Juan Bautista (Agutaya). Three other parishes have remnants of what were then mighty forts: the Parish of St. Michael the Archangel (Linapacan), the Parish of the Immaculate Conception of Mary (Culion), and the Parish of St. John the Baptist (Dumaran). Yet, the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay is still gathering stones to build its own Cathedral in Taytay. At present, in the words of its Vicar Apostolic, the Bishop Edgardo S. Juanich, D.D., Taytay has the biggest cathedral in the world with the stars as its roof at night and the clouds as its shade during the day.
The vicariate has 20 parishes, 10 of which are found in Northern Mainland Palawan and another 10 are situated in the islands, in particular, in the Calamianes Group of Islands and the Cuyo Group of Islands. Travel from one parish to another, even in the mainland, is too weather-dependent because a day's rain often transforms the roads into soft cakes of clay and makes some stretches in the national highway impassable. Travel from one island parish to another is just as difficult and dangerous because the Amihan and the Habagat winds spawn big waves that can sink small pumpboats and can unnerve bangkeros (boatmen) of lesser mettle.
Its Principal Patron is St. Joseph the Worker (May 1). The vicariate, moreover, venerates the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, St. John of God, and St. Benedict Menni as its Secondary Patrons.
Bishop Edgardo S. Juanich is Taytay's first Vicar Apostolic and the first Palawano priest, Taytay's very own, to be raised to the ranks of the episcopacy. He was appointed as Vicar Apostolic by the late Pope John Paul II on May 13, 2002, ordained Bishop by Archbishop Antonio Franco, former Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, on July 11, 2002 and installed as the first Vicar Apostolic of Taytay on July 12, 2002.
Working hand-in-hand with the bishop and the diocesan clergy in pursuing the aims of the vicariate are the Fathers of the Society of Jesus (Parish Work and Educational Apostolate in Culion) and the Mill Hill Fathers (Parish Work in Turda, Coron) as well as the Mensa Domini Sisters of the Lord's Table (Catechetical and BEC Work in Taytay), the St. Paul of Chartres Sisters (Catechetical and Hospital Work in Culion), the Augustinian Recollect Sisters (Educational Apostolate in Liminangcong, Taytay) and the Daughters of Charity Sisters (Parish Work and Educational Apostolate in Coron).
In its First Vicarial Pastoral Consultation and Planning held at the Parish of St. Isidore the Farmer (Roxas) on Oct. 7-11, 2002, the delegates articulated the Vision of the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay with these words: Led by the Spirit in discerning the signs of the times, We, envision the local church of the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay, Palawan as a community of Christ's disciples, with Mary as our model, journeying together in proclaiming the Father's reign.
At present, the priests of the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay run and man the Seminario de San Jose in Puerto Princesa City, with Monsignor Jose D. Delfin, Ph.D. as Rector and Principal. Seminario de San Jose is a high school and college seminary program of both the Apostolic Vicariates of Puerto Princesa and Taytay.
In the whole vicariate, the promotion and development of Basic Ecclesial Communities has been relentlessly pursued. Its Ministry on Worship and Liturgy has been conducting updating seminars and workshops for the Special Ministers of the Eucharist as well as for the parishes' Lectors and Commentators. Its Ministry on Mass Media and Communications has ventured into radio broadcasting with its regular Sunday radio broadcast on the air for over a year.
The vicariate's Ministry on Clergy Formation has already sent most of its Senior Clergy to the Integrated Renewal Program organized by the Archdiocese of Manila in San Carlos Seminary. Its Ministry on Catechetics has finished its drafts on 2 catechisms and intends to publish them this 2008: Checkbook to Heaven (A Basic Catechism for Elementary School Pupils) and I, Sick (A Catechism for the Sick). Its Ministry on Youth has been conducting Youth Camps with the hope of making the youth more participative and active in church activities and of promoting vocations to the priesthood and the religious life.
On his own, the Vicar Apostolic has been visiting communities of Indigenous People in Northern Palawan.
One of the many landmark projects the vicariate has achieved in its five-year history is the 2006 Memorandum of Agreement it has forged with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources regarding Forest Protection and Development Program covering an area of 1,077 hectares. Seizing this opportunity of "adopting a mountain," the vicariate has developed a demonstration farm in Sitio Quilala for vermicompost, herbal garden, vegetable garden, a fishpond, among other things. It has also initiated tree planting programs at Sitio Quilala for its diocesan priests and other sectors in Northern Palawan even as it has pursued the spiritual and pastoral care of the settlers in the mountain entrusted to the vicariate. Very recently, a Mass Wedding for some of these settlers has been successfully concluded. Three monks with roots from the Trappist Monastery in Guimaras, Iloilo, live as hermits in three separate stations in the mountain.
Indeed, given its short history -- with the first five years spent in strengthening old parishes. establishing new mission territories/parishes, as well as in making the different ministries become more responsive to the spiritual and pastoral needs of the faithful -- the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay now looks forward to erecting the first pillars of its cathedral. Given another five years, through God's grace and the generosity of friends - that is, stone after stone after stone, peso after peso after peso, prayer after prayer after prayer - the vicariate hopes that the spires of the St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral shall be ready to reach out to the heavens.
The Vicariate is in the northern part of Palawan province or the First Congressional District of the province. The First District is composed of towns or municipalities. Each town is headed by a Mayor. Municipalities are composed of Villages or Barangays which are headed by a Barangay Chair or Barangay Captain.
There are three existing airports in the area at present namely Busuanga Airport in Busuanga town, Sandoval Airport in Sandoval Village in Taytay town and El Nido Airport in El Nido town. They cater domestic flights from and to Manila as well as flights within the province. An international airport in San Vicente town is currently under construction.
At present, all domestic and some international flights course through Puerto Princesa City Airport, the trade and industry hub in the province.
Buses, Jeepneys, and Shuttle Vans serve as major modes of land transportations within the area while the island towns could be reached by either air planes or ships and motor boats. The port in Coron town caters for big (RORO or Roll on-Roll off) ships from and to Manila while Taytay and El Nido ports cater for small ships.
Tourism, fishing and farming are the main sources of livelihood of its people. Main crops are rice, banana, cashew, root crops, and corn, among others. Abongan village in Taytay town and several villages in Roxas and San Vicente towns serve as the main producers of rice that supplies the whole area.
The towns of Coron, Taytay and El Nido home various tourist spots, destinations and resorts that attract both domestic and foreign tourists for fun and leisure. The territory is known for its world class resorts, foremost of which are the Amanpulo (Cuyo), Club Noah Isabelle (Taytay), Club Paradise (Coron) and Miniloc Island Resort (El Nido).
Its Cagayancillo town, an island town covers the world-renowned Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park that is listed in the United Nations ESCO World Heritage Sites.
It is also the source of the much sought-after but expensive bird's nest of the Balinsasayaw which is supposedly extremely good for one's health (a kilo sells for around Philippines Pesos 150, 000 [US$3,100 as of Feb. 2009]) and of live fish or buhay-buhay, in particular, of the red Lapu-lapu fish a good size of which sells for PHP1,500 a kilo.
Yet, the communities in the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay are among the poorest in Palawan. Except for the towns of Roxas and Coron, the rest of Northern Palawan does not enjoy a 24-hour supply of electricity nor a good water system that provides water in respective households. Except for Culion which has a general hospital, there are no good hospitals in the area. The local government units, though, have money to spend for the improvement of their airport facilities meant to lure more tourists.
The country's two giant telecommunication companies, Globe Telecom and Smart Communications have a 30:70 sharing to all mobile phone users in the area. There are no home-based landline services yet but the Philippine Long Distance Company (PLDT) and the Philippine Telecommunications, Inc. (Philtel) provides landline services through their Tawag (Call) Centers in towns proper.
There are local FM stations in the towns that also air news programs. There are at least six Cable TV stations in the territory namely Calamianes Cable Television, Inc.-Coron; Culion CATV Services, Inc. (Culion); Cuyo Cable TV Corporation (Cuyo); Roxas Cable Television, Inc. (Roxas); Taytay CATV Service (Taytay); and Treasure Cable Television, Inc. (Cuyo).
However, the main TV and radio stations as well as print media, usually province-wide in scope, are all based in Puerto Princesa City. Puerto Princesa City belongs to the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa.
This part of the province serves as the melting pot of various Filipino races, where peoples from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao meet and share their culture with the original inhabitants of the island. Their music, songs, dances and dramas are showcase in various festivals when people would gather in the Church for masses in the morning and at the towns' plaza during evenings where local talents perform.
Songs in Cuyunon, a local Palawan dialect originated from the island town of Cuyo are sung by both old and young people during Fiestas too and are usually used as music for the festivals' street dancing competitions, which is common in every town's fiesta. During feast for their patron saints, there would either be mass processions around the town or village or Fluvial parades around their fishing grounds.
One of the famous Cuyunon characters, Ploning, and the life in Cuyo town was featured in a movie "Ploning" recently which was staged not only in Philippine cinemas but also in international theaters including Hollywood. The movie, which also features the simplicity of life in the area became the Philippine entry to the Best Foreign Language Film category in 2009 Academy Awards.