Bishop Honesto Ongtioco was born on Oct. 17, 1948 in San Fernando , Pampanga province. He was ordained to the priesthood on Dec. 8, 1972 at the province’s Cathedral of the Assumption and was ordained bishop in the same church on June 18, 1998. He was invested as honorary prelate in March 21, 1992. On April 8, 1998 he was appointed second residential bishop of Balanga, Bataan province by Pope John Paul II. He was appointed the first bishop of Cubao on June 28, 2003 and was installed on Aug. 28 of the same year.
He attended elementary at the St. Scholastica’s Academy (1954-1958) and Don Bosco Academy (1958-1960). He studied high school still at Don Bosco Academy (1960-1964).
He had seminary training at San Jose Seminary in Quezon City (1964-1967). He took up philosophy at the Jesuits’ Ateneo de Manila University in the same city (1967-1969) and theology at the Loyola School of Theology (1969-1973) in the university compound.
He has a Masteral Degree in Organization Development and Planning at the Southeast Asian Interdisciplinary Development Institute in Manila (1979-1983). He took up a Renewal Course on Liturgy and Spirituality at St. John’s University in New York, United States (1984-1985). He got his Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, Italy (1987-1989).
In Pampanga he previously served as: spiritual director/professor at the Mother of Good Counsel seminary in San Fernando (1973-1974); parochial vicar of Holy Rosary Parish in Angeles City (1974-1975); acting parish priest of St. Catherine Parish in Porac (1975); acting director of St. Catherine Academy in Apalit (1975); parochial vicar of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Apalit (1975-1977); director of the Archdiocese of San Fernando and chancellor/procurator of Mother of Good Counsel seminary (1977-1984; 1985-1987).
He had summer parish work in State Island, New York, United States (1987-1991) and served as parochial vicar of St. Catherine Parish in the United States (1987-1992).
In Rome, Italy he was assistant chaplain of Filipino migrant workers (1990); vice rector and econome of Pontificio Collegio Filipino (September 1992-1997); and appointed rector of the same institute in April 25, 1997.
He had several assignments with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) namely: member of the Commission for Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People, Pension Plan Committee, and Commission on Pontificio Collegio Filipino (1998-2003); chairperson of the Pension Plan Committee (2003); and CBCP treasurer (1998-present).
- Spiritual Director/Professor at the Mother of Good Counsel seminary in San Fernando (1973-1974)
- Parochial Vicar of Holy Rosary Parish in Angeles City (1974-1975)
- Acting Parish Priest of St. Catherine Parish in Porac (1975)
- Acting Director of St. Catherine Academy in Apalit (1975)
- Parochial Vicar of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Apalit (1975-1977)
- Director of the Archdiocese of San Fernando and Chancellor/Procurator of Mother of Good Counsel seminary (1977-1984; 1985-1987)
- Parochial Vicar of St. Catherine Parish in the United States (1987-1992)
- Assistant Chaplain of Filipino Migrant Workers, Rome (1990)
- Vice Rector and Econome of Pontificio Collegio Filipino (September 1992-1997)
- Rector of Pontificio Collegio Filipino (April 25, 1997)
- Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Balanga (1998-2003)
- Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Malolos (2018-2019)
The right shield is the coat-of-arms of the Diocese of Cubao.
The bishop’s coat-of-arms on the left shield signifies the singularity of his life’s commitment to his priestly calling. The pervading trait of this commitment depicted by the diagonal strip in royal blue which cuts across the shield is the humble recognition of the gratuitous gifts of God in faith, hope and charity. There wells up in him a serene, confident life in the Spirit. The three silver stars of ascending movement, in apparent variation of sizes, refer to the three theological virtues. St. Paul writes, “So faith, hope and charity remain, these three, but the greatest of these is charity” (1Cor 13:13).
The blue color expresses the bishop’s intense devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. His life and ministry have always been directed by the maternal love of the Blessed Mother. The Patroness of his home diocese, the Archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga, is Mary, Our Lady of Remedies. He was ordained priest on December 8, 1972, feast of the Immaculate Conception. His first major assignment was in the Archdiocesan Seminary dedicated to Mary, Mother of Good Counsel. In Rome, the Patroness of Pontificio Collegio Filipino, where he stayed for eleven years, is also Mary, Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. On March 25, 1998, feast of the Annunciation to Mary, his appointment as bishop was announced to him. Throughout his life’s journey, the Blessed Mother has always accompanied him with her intercession and protection. The bishop desires to imitate Mary’s example of docility and serenity in responding to God’s call.
The golden crown with a cross symbolizes St. Ferdinand, King of Spain and Patron of his hometown. Though he was bestowed with human honors and responsibilities, the saintly king recognized God’s sovereignty and understood his task as the Lord’s servant. The bishop sees his Episcopal position as a means not to be served but to serve as the Lord has done.
The white color expresses the purity of heart needed in being a child of God. “Blessed are pure of heart for they shall see God” (Mt. 5:3), says Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount. This childlike trait is highlighted by the plain white field. It indicates the attentiveness, availability and constant readiness of a true servant of God to hear and heed God’s call.
The bishop’s motto, MAIOR AUTEM CARITAS – The greatest of these is charity, expresses his aspirations in his pastoral ministry. It serves as a challenge to him and an ardent prayer that his works of service be always characterized by the love of Jesus and the faithfulness of Mary.