Msgr. Nestor C. Cerbo is presently the Parish Priest of St. John the Baptist Parish in Pinaglabanan, San Juan City.
Msgr. Cerbo was born on September 29, 1956 in Calinog, Iloilo, to parents Andres Cerbo and Pelagia Cerda. In 1973, after finishing one year in college at the Letran College, Manila, he entered the seminary at the age of 16. On his 28 th birthday on September 29, 1984, he was ordained to the priesthood. Sixteen years later, on May 27, 2001, he was installed a Papal chaplain, earning thereby the title of a monsignor. He was appointed Rector of the Manila Cathedral on February 1, 2002, a position he has been holding up to the present while at the same time the Director of the Archdiocesan Office for Research and Development (AORD).
He was consistently a top academic awardee from grade school to his post-graduate course.
He finished Bachelor of Arts (AB), major in philosophy, from the Dominican House of Studies, Quezon City, magna cum laude; Bachelor in Sacred Theology (STB) from the University of Santo Tomas (UST), Manila, magna cum laude; Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL), also from UST, magna cum laude; Master of Arts (MA) in Higher Religious Studies (HRS), again from UST, meritissimus; and Doctorate in Sacred Theology (STD) from Angelicum, Rome, magna cum laude. While a student at UST and later at the Angelicum, Msgr. Cerbo was editor-in-chief of a campus publication.
Since his ordination as a priest, Msgr. Cerbo has practically found no time for rest. He started as Parochial Vicar of Sta. Clara de Montefalco Parish, Pasay City, in 1994, and two years later, he became Guest Priest at St. Lawrence the Martyr Parish in New York City. In 1987, he assumed another foreign assignment as Guest Priest of Parrocchia Santissima Regina in Pioltelo, Milano, Italia, and while in Italy, he served as editor-in-chief of the New Filippinum, official publication of the Pontificio Collegio Filippino in Rome.
In 1988, Msgr. Cerbo was appointed Ecclesiastical Director of the Archdiocesan Union of the Holy Name Societies of Manila and held multiple positions in San Carlos Seminary as Assistant Director of its Archbishop Gabriel M. Reyes Memorial Library, Assistant Dean of its Graduate School of Theology, and Assistant Director and a Professor of its Theology Department.
In 1990, Msgr. Cerbo left the country anew as he became Guest Priest of at least four parishes in New York: Good Shepherd Parish, Holbrook; Our Lady of Good Counsel, Inwood; St. Sebastian Parish, Woodside; and Our Lady of Miraculous Medal, Ridgewood.
A year thereafter, in 1991, he returned to Manila and was absorbed back by the San Carlos Seminary with appointments as Head, Spiritual Director, and College Professor of its Juniorate Department; Professor of its Theology Department; and Director of its Archbishop Gabriel M. Reyes Memorial Library. In the same year, he was appointed Director of the Office of Communications of the Archdiocese of Manila. In 1992, he was designated Director of two publications of San Carlos Seminary: the Nazorean for the Juniorate Department and the SCS Information for the seminary in general.
Msgr. Cerbo started to handle his own parish in 1994 with his appointment as Parish Priest of the Holy Family Parish, Makati, acting at the same as Director of the Holy Family Formation Complex and the Holy Family Parish Catholic School . He wrote two books for and about his parish, the first titled “Building a Church as People and as Edifice” and the second, “Rising from the Rubbish: The Beginnings of the Holy Family Parish- Makati City.”
In 1996, Msgr. Cerbo was appointed Vice Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Manila and Secretary of Archdiocese’s Presbyteral Council. After a year, he was assigned an added task as General Editor of Vademecum, official bulletin of the offices and ministries of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila.
Msgr. Cerbo was appointed AORD Director in 1998. During that year, he was also appointed Vice Rector of San Carlos Seminary and the Pastoral Director of its Theology Department. In 2000, he became the seminary’s procurator.
His Eminence Jaime L. Cardinal Sin, in appointing Msgr. Cerbo as Rector of the Manila Cathedral in 2002, made clear to him his vision to “make the Cathedral the model to all the churches.” Responding to the Cardinal’s challenge, Msgr. Cerbo, even in his first year in the position, initiated remarkable improvements in both the interior and the exterior of the Cathedral church building and offices. Major renovations and repairs were undertaken, and the church surroundings were spruced up to the detail, resulting in an atmosphere of grace and grandeur that are quite a revelation of the distinction and dignity of the Manila Cathedral as truly the premier church of the Archdiocese.
Hand in hand with physical improvements, Msgr. Cerbo also addressed the administrative and operational run of the Cathedral. Programs have been designed for the employees’ skill enhancement, periodic update of job knowledge, and positive work values with a view to ensuring performance efficiency and better service to the clients. Reengineering, benchmarking, teambuilding, total quality management (TQM), management by objective (MBO), and other corporate productivity models have been adopted, enriched by Church-tailored formation initiatives to optimize quality and Christian touch of delivered results from the employees.
Msgr. Cerbo has also established dynamic links with more institutions and offices within the immediate community, which prove to be effective channels of faith witnessing and inspiring collaborators in the many projects and activities of the Cathedral. Against the constraints of his pressing administrative concerns and pastoral priorities, Msgr. Cerbo finds time to visit these offices regularly.
To keep the churchgoers informed and updated of the activities and programs of the Cathedral, Msgr. Cerbo has also put up the monthly Manila Cathedral Bulletin. In addition, he publishes every yearend the Manila Cathedral’s anniversary souvenir book, where he reports in details the Cathedral’s accomplishments for the particular year in the areas of Worship, Education, Services, Temporalities, and Youth (WESTY), the central action matrix around which the Cathedral’s priority agenda revolves.
It was under Msgr. Cerbo’s administration that the Manila Cathedral underwent a major restoration and retrofitting with the help of the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral Foundation, Inc. from 2012 to 2014.