He was ordained priest by the late Cebu Archbishop Julio Cardinal Rosales on June 12, 1963.
He was a most ardent and tireless worker of the Catholic Church accomplishing many things in a short span of 22 years of service, during which he built and designed two churches that were located in remote localities. One of them is the Gethsemane Parish Church in Tabok, Mandaue, known for its modern architectural design where a full-blown garden and a praying statue of Jesus, is placed magnificently at the back of the altar.
The Lord of Gethesame Church
Later he designed and built the Holy Family of Nazareth Church in La Paz, Bogo. often mingling and working together with ordinary workers during the construction phase. La Paz later grew into a cohesive community of of church-goers under the tutelage of Monsignor Yap.
The Holy Family of Nazareth Church
A gifted artist, he became the Church's impromptu resident architect and artist. He had taken charged of most the plans, remodelling and construction of the churches in the archdiocese of Cebu.
He also served as member of the Board of Censors, the Archdiocesan Press Office and the Mass Media Communications for TV and Motion Picture. He was editor of the "Bag-ong Lungsoranon", the official publicatin of the archdiocese of Cebu.
For the 1981 visit of Pope John Paul II to Cebu, he designed and personally involved himself in the construction of the templete (platform) that the Pope used, often working long hours to have it completed on time. He also penned the book "The Catholic Church in Cebu -- A Story", a comprehensive compilation of all the catholic churches in Cebu, which was given to the Pope as a present from the archdiocese of Cebu.
In 1984, he helped organized the FILIPINO Foundation, Inc., an organization that bestowed awards to model and deserving Filipinos for their moral, exemplary and righteous ways. He himself was given the award after he died.
But one of Msgr. Yap's greatest dreams, which was finally realized and formally inaugurated by Jaime Cardinal Sin three months before his death, was the setting up of the Cebu Archdiocesan Museum where church relics, antiques and important documents are housed.
Monsignor Virgilio R. Yap died at the age of 55 of leukemia but not after living a life full of zest, compassion and service. In the words of his sister, Ester, "He knew no pain, no sacrifice big enough to hurt him if only he could do what he believed would be for the glory of God. He loved his vocation so much and for which God had blessed him with rare gifts as a priest, as an artist, which we have the joy and previlege to share."