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 Town of Looc


 

HISTORY OF LOOC

 By Rudy Candelario

Translated in English by Benjamin Walata 

 

I – DURING THE SPANISH REGIME

 

 

            The name of this town came from its wide bay which up to the present time is being used as place of refuge by sea vessels during stormy weather.[i]

 

            Based on the Chinese potteries and utensils which were excavated from the islands of Golo and Ambil of this municipality, it could be assumed that the first inhabitants of these places came into contact with Chinese traders or were influenced by the culture of the foreign merchants.

 

            In 1760, the island of Ambil was mentioned in an old document of the Spaniards.  It was stated there that this community was made as the temporary headquarters of Moro pirates.  The raids conducted by the pirates in other villages of the island was the reason why the ancestors of the inhabitants of now Brgy. Maligaya, Lubang constructed a stone fort in their settlement.

 

            Although the number of inhabitants in many villages of Mindoro decreased due to piracy, this was the reason why more people settled at Bulacan, Looc.  It was stated in the history written by a teacher in 1950, that the families who settled at Sitio Kay Batico were the people from Mamburao who left the place due to frequent raids conducted by the pirates.  It was also described in the said history how some of the weak bodied captives of the pirates were tied around wooden posts and left to endure the intense heat of the sun in a place which the people of Looc called Presuhan.[ii]

 

            Ambil was again mentioned in an old Spanish document in 1819.  It was stated there that an Englishman who traveled to the different parts of the country mentioned that a deposit of copper was discovered in this island.

 

            According to the historical account of the people of Burol, their ancestors were Ilocano farmers who looked for vacant land to till in this place in 1850.  They were led by Pascual & Pranada family.[iii]

 

            It was also mentioned in the history of Brgy. Burol that there were teachers who cared to teach the youth in the different villages of Looc how to read, write and compute.  During the period that government authorities were not yet opening primary schools in the island, the teachers taught the youth, cartilla and mathematics.  Three of the teachers who were mentioned in the history of the barangays of this town were Wenceslao Fajardo of Talaotao, Cornelio Maninang of Bulacan and Estanislao Pascual of Burol.[iv]

 

           Aside from the Ilocanos, some families from Batangas migrated to Looc during the Spanish regime.  One of the families was that of Vicente Abeleda who bought the vast agricultural land where Brgy. Talaotao of Golo Island is located at present.  The said landowner was appointed as capitan del pueblo of Talaotao.  However, twenty years before the Filipinos revolted against the Spaniards, the said leader and his family migrated to Paluan which during that time was only a wide forest.[v]

 

            In 1882, an epidemic of cholera occurred in the village of Lubang.  Fearing that the people of Looc would get sick of the dreaded disease, Gobernadorcillo Agustin Liboro did not allow Fr. Tomas Roldan, the priest assigned in Lubang to enter Looc.

 

            In 1890, when Gen. Emilo Aguinaldo was still a young businessman, he bartered goods with the people in the different towns of Occidental Mindoro.  Don Justino Zubiri or Kabesang Tinong of Brgy. Bulacan became his friend.  He used to stay at the house of the said cabeza de barangay while trading with the people of Golo Island.[vi] 

 

            In his autobiography, the general mentioned that Kikong Kastila, the owner of the island of Ambil also became his friend.  According to old residents of Looc, the full name of the friend of Gen. Aguinaldo was Francisco Muñiz.

 

            In 1896, when the Filipinos revolted against the Spaniards, Kabesang Tinong joined the Katipunan movement, Aguinaldo faction.  One of his barrio mates, Pedro dela Fuente or Kabesang Pendong also joined the Katipunan, Bonifacio faction.[vii]          

 

Other members of the Katipunan in Looc under the leadership of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo were Ramon Trajeco, Januario Aguilar, Anacleto Basco and Isidro Magat.

 

Meanwhile, a courageous leader from Balikyas, Emiliano Cajayon, organized a group of revolutionaries in his place.  He was fondly called General Barog by the members of his group.  With the help of the group of Esteban Quijano of Lubang, they captured the Spanish friars and soldiers at the center of the municipality, in 1898.  That same year, when General Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed Philippine independence, Emiliano Cahayon and Esteban Quijano led the group which administered the whole island of Lubang.

 

 

II – DURING THE AMERICAN REGIME

     .        

 

            When the American soldiers put Lubang Island under their jurisdiction in 1900, a group of foreign soldiers under the command of Captain Samuel occupied Looc.  That same year, the leader of the community, Capitan Lino Liboro, established Colegio Filipino de Looc.  He recruited teachers in Manila.  Two of the well known personalities who finished the elementary grades in this school were Cipriano Liboro and Mateo Virola who became governor of the whole island of Mindoro and the chief executive of the province of Occidental Mindoro, respectively.[viii]

 

            In 1902, the first public school was opened in Looc.  Old folks of this municipality still remember the teachers who taught in this school:  Agustin Craig, an American and one who was known only by the name of Maestrong Carlos.

 

            When Lubang was created as a municipality, in 1905, by virtue of Act 1280 of the Philippine Commission, Looc was registered as one of its barrios.[ix]

 

            During the early years of American occupation in the Philippines, the authorities encouraged the people to develop vacant agricultural land as their homestead.  As a result, many families were encouraged to occupy the vacant land in Looc.

 

            It was also during this time when Aglipayan priests, Fr. Alejandro Albano and Fr. Victorio Limano arrived in Looc.  Since no Catholic priest was assigned in this town, many inhabitants were convinced to join the religious faith led by Obispo Maximo Gregorio Aglipay.[x]

 

            Aside from farming, fishing and weaving of sinamay or clothes made of abaca fibers, building of big sailboats was the occupation of many families in Looc.  This town became well known, not only in Mindoro but also in other parts of the Philippines, as the place where sturdy and fast sea vessels are being made.

 

            When elementary schools were opened in Looc, the first one was established at Agkawayan, the most developed barrio during that time.  Gradually, as years passed, all big communities in this town opened elementary schools

 

            In 1916, Looc was separated from Lubang and created as another municipality.  Placed under its jurisdiction were the barrios of Talaotao, Bulacan, Ambil, Burol, Balikyas and Agkawayan.  Calixto Liboro was appointed as the first municipal president.  Temporarily, Agkawayan was made as the seat of the municipal government.[xi]

 

In 1922, during the administration of Hon. Macario Adriatico as representative of Mindoro to Philippine Congress, he strived to construct a sturdy schoolhouse in Looc.  It was followed by the building of schoolhouses during the terms of office of Hon. Raul Leuterio and Hon. Cipriano Liboro as representative and governor of Mindoro, respectively.

 

            When Juan Calabio was appointed as municipal president of Looc, the center of the municipal government was transferred to the place where it is located at present.[xii]

 

            Since the strait between Golo Island and the village of Calavite of mainland Mindoro is dangerous for sea travel, especially at night, a lighthouse was constructed by the American government at the tip of the first aforementioned island.  Up to the present time, the lighthouse still serves as guide of sea vessels passing through that part of the sea what is popularly called as Calavite Strait.

 

            Aside from the abovementioned leaders, those who served as municipal presidents of Looc during the American regime were Mario Villa, Diosdado Liboro, Nicolas Villar, Luis Vega and Pedro Alfaro.

 

 

 

III – DURING THE JAPANESE OCCUPATION OF MINDORO   

 

 

            When World War II broke out, many families from mainland Mindoro who avoided the Japanese soldiers evacuated to Looc.  The Japanese soldiers rarely visited this place for there were still thick forests around the villages where the people could hide or where the Filipino freedom fighters could ambush them.[xiii]

 

            A radio transceiver was secretly installed by a group of American soldiers and Filipino guerrillas at Ambil Island, during the war.  By means of this radio communication equipment, the group was able to report to their main headquarter the movements of the warships of the enemies at the sea around the island, including the activities of the Japanese soldiers at the center of the municipality of Lubang.  One of the guerrillas who manned the radio transceiver was Florante Tria.  After the war, the said member of the guerrilla movement served as mayor of Sta. Cruz for many years.

 

            When the U.S. led Allied Forces came to liberate Lubang from the Japanese soldiers in 1945, its warships shelled Barrio Agkawayan, thinking that there were Japanese soldiers hiding in the community.  Unfortunately, two fishermen of this place were killed and many houses were burned.[xiv]

 

            Three Japanese soldiers led by Lt. Hiroo Onoda did not surrender to the American soldiers.  Although his companions died one after the other during sporadic armed encounters with the Filipino soldiers who hunted them, the said leader did not surrender.  He hid at the forests of Looc and Lubang for almost thirty years.  While hiding, nobody dared cut the big trees in the mountains of the island.

 

            Within the thirty year period that the three soldiers, dubbed as Japanese stragglers by the Philippine government, hid at the mountains of Looc, they killed three civilians whom they mistook as their enemies.  The unfortunate victims were Pedro Trambulo, Alfredo Villacete and Modesto Garcia.[xv]

 

 

IV – AFTER THE WAR     

 

 

            After the war, Fr. Benito Rixner visited Looc.  He was the first SVD missionary to reach this place.  The following year, another SVD missionary, Fr. Matias Buendgen, built a chapel at Balikyas. 

 

            In 1947, Fr. Carlos Brendel, SVD was assigned by the superiors of his congregation as parish priest of Looc.  He established Sacred Heart Academy in this town.  The said secondary school closed when Fr. Brendel was assigned to another parish in 1950.[xvi]

 

            In the latter part of Decade 50’s, the swamps at the barrios of Bulacan, Balikyas and Poblacion, Looc were converted into fishponds by well off families.  During summer season, the fishponds were used as salt beds.  Up to the present time, tons of white salt,  produced from the salt beds, are being sold to retailers at the provinces of Batangas, Cavite and the city of Manila.

 

Those who served as municipal mayors of Looc strived to construct schoolhouses in this municipality.  Old residents of this town remembered Mayor Federico Tividad and Mayor Mariano Macalalad for their project of constructing school buildings.  Mayor Onofre Aguilar and Mayor Isabelo Villaroza were remembered for constructing the old municipal hall and the streets at the town proper.  According to the old residents, it was during the time of Mayor Agustin Aguilar when the new municipal hall being used at present, was built.  The old municipal hall was used as offices of employees of the national government.[xvii]

 

An important event happened in Looc in 1962.  During that year, the engineering battalion of the Philippine Army constructed the national road connecting the center of this town with Tilik, the barrio where the port of the island is located.  Due to this development, passenger jeeps started plying the Tilik-Looc route, every time ships drop anchor at the pier of Tilik.

 

It was also during that year when irrigation systems were built by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) in Looc.  One of the barrios which benefited from this project is Burol.  At present, the farmers of this place harvest palay twice a year.

 

In 1966, when barrio high schools were opened in different parts of the Philippines, the parents and teachers of Looc strived to open one at the town proper.  The following year, Looc Community High School accepted enrollees.  Years later, this secondary evolved into a municipal high school and finally into a national high school.  It is known at present as Looc National High School.[xviii]

 

With the objective of developing the fishing industry in Occidental Mindoro, Ex-Congressman Pedro Medalla, Sr. opened another secondary school at Agkawayan, Looc.  The said school was inaugurated on August 18, 1971.  It is known at present as Looc National School of Fisheries.[xix]

 

In 1972, when Fr. Karl Barbian, SVD was assigned as parish priest of Looc, with the financial assistance of his friends and benefactors abroad, he built a water system for clean drinking water at the town’s center.  After a few years, the management of the water system was entrusted to the municipal government.

 

Fr. Bernhard Kassellmann, SVD continued the community project of Fr. Barbian.  When he was assigned as parish priest of Looc, he built a water system for clean drinking water in the island of Ambil.  The said project was a blessing to the islanders who used to get water from faraway springs.

 

Meanwhile, the almost thirty years of hiding of Lt. Hiroo Onoda in the forests of Lubang Island ended in 1974. That year, the Japanese straggler decided to surrender.  However, before he surrendered to General Rancudo of the Philippine Air Force, he conferred with his countryman, Yukio Suzuki in one part of the riverbank of Burol.  The said historic place was named Wakayama Point by government authorities.[xx]

 

In 1977, during martial law period, the management of Lubang Electric Cooperative (LUBELCO) strived that electricity could reach many houses in Looc.  The people of Looc felt happy with the benefits brought by electricity to their lives.     

 

 

V – AFTER THE PEACEFUL REVOLUTION AT EDSA

 

 

            After the peaceful revolution at EDSA, Frank Velandria was appointed OIC Mayor of Looc by President Corazon Aquino.  A year after, when local elections were held, Felesteo Telebrico was elected as municipal mayor.  He implemented many infrastructure projects in his municipality.  Some of them were the construction of concrete roads and bridges, digging of deep wells for irrigation purposes and buying of an electric generator for lighting the town’s center every time LUBELCO, the electric cooperative, fails to supply electric current.

 

            On May 21, 1996 former Japanese straggler Lt. Hiroo Onoda, now an owner of a cattle ranch in his native land, visited Looc.  He asked forgiveness from the people whom he have hurt or have given fear & anxiety during his almost thirty years of hiding in the forests of Looc and Lubang.  He promised to help the provincial government in the implementation of its development projects for the people of the municipality.[xxi]

 

            Mayor Felesteo Telebrico was reelected twice as municipal mayor of Looc.  He served his town mates faithfully until he has completed the three term limitation imposed by the Philippine Constitution to elected government officials.

 

            On the May 10, 2004 Elections, the people entrusted the rein of the municipal government of Looc to Mayor Ariel Telebrico.

 

            Aside from the aforementioned leaders, those who served as mayor of Looc were Bonifacio Villaluna, Mamerto Villaroza, Francisco Liboro, Theseus Mercader and Isabelo Villaroza.[xxii]       

 

 

 

HISTORY OF THE SEVEN BARANGAYS OF LOOC

 

 

1.  AGKAWAYAN

 

 

            Bamboos grew profusely in this place during the early days.  Members of few families who inhabited this place, were often asked by residents of other villages this question:  “From where are you?”  They would answer in the Tagalog dialect:  “Taga-Kawayan.”  As a result, their village was called Tagakawayan.  Years later, the name became shorter when due to constant use, two letters disappeared.  Tagakawayan evolved to Agkawayan.

 

            Based on the stories of the old residents of Agkawayan, the pioneers of this place were Muslim converts.  It was believed that the culture of the traders from China influenced them for in their burials grounds, Chinese potteries and kitchen utensils had been excavated.

 

            Based also on the stories of old residents of Agkawayan, the people who inhabited this place, when the Muslims transferred to other villages, were the families of Ilocano farmers.  They were members of the group who cleared the forested area where Brgy. Burol is located at present.  At the same time, the families of Villas, Trambulo, Quiñones, Viaña, Calabio and Tria arrived in this place.

 

            During the Spanish occupation of Mindoro, Miguel Quiñones was appointed as cabeza de barangay of Agkawayan.  Although the main duty of the said leader was to collect taxes from the inhabitants of his place, he also tried to facilitate the travel of his fellow villagers to nearby sitios, particularly Burol.  With the cooperation of the leader & inhabitants of Burol, a hanging bridge was built by the people of Agkawayan over the river between the two places.

 

            In 1916, under the American regime, Looc was separated from Lubang and created as another municipality.  The municipal hall was placed in Agkawayan.  Municipal Presidents Calixto Liboro and Julian Calabio served as heads of the municipal government of Looc, during the period that Agkawayan served as the town’s center.  After the term of office of Municipal President Julian Calabio, the seat of the municipal government was transferred to the place where it is located at present.

 

            In order that their children could study, the inhabitants of Agkawayan requested the government that a primary school be opened in their community.  In 1922, with the assistance of Hon. Macario Adriatico, then the representative of Mindoro to Philippine Congress, a school building was constructed in this community.

 

            When World War II broke out, some people from the provinces of Bataan, Batangas, City of Manila and the municipality of Sablayan, evacuated to Agkawayan.  They found out that the Japanese soldiers rarely visited this place, for it was surrounded by forested hills.

 

            After the war, many young men & women of Agkawayan were convinced by their relatives and friends to look for vacant land to till or engage in other occupation in other municipalities of Occidental Mindoro or the City of Manila.

 

            Within the long period that the Japanese stragglers made the forests of Lubang as their hiding places, the illegal cutting of trees at the mountains of Agkawayan stopped.

 

            In 1962, with the help of the engineering battalion of the Philippine Army, the national road from Tilik, Lubang to the center of the municipality of Looc was constructed.  The road passed through Agkawayan.  The government also constructed concrete bridges, including the replacement of hanging bridge between Agkawayan and Burol.  The following year, small irrigation systems were built by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) in this place.

 

            In 1979, through Lubang Electric Cooperative (LUBELCO), electricity reached the households in Agkawayan.

 

            During the term of office of Hon. Pedro Medalla, Sr., as representative of Occidental Mindoro to Philippine Congress, a National School of Fisheries was opened in Agkawayan.  It was blessed and inaugurated on August 18, 1971.  At present, it is known as Looc National School of Fisheries.

 

            Aside from Cabeza Miguel Quiñones, those who served as leaders of Ahkawayan were Regina Tajonera, Timoteo Navarro, Pedro Cajayon, Adriano Villaflores, Rafael Dizon, Jr. and Anastacio Viguilla.  The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Reynaldo Trambulo.[xxiii]

 

 

2.  AMBIL        

 

 

            Ambil is a small island located at the northwestern part of the Island of Lubang.  Nobody could provide information as to the origin of the name of the island, although it was already mentioned in history during the Spanish occupation of Mindoro.

 

            The people who first inhabited Ambil were from the island of Lubang.  They chose to build houses in one part of this small island where a kind of bamboo, known in the Tagalog dialect as tambo, grew abundantly.  When the number of families increased in this part of the island, they called their settlement as Sitio Tambo.  Later on, another sitio appeared in another part of Ambil.  The people who settled there called it as Sitio Tabaw. 

 

            In his autobiography, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo mentioned that when he was still bartering goods with the people of Mindoro, Kikong Kastila, the owner of the island of Ambil became his friend.  According to the general, his friend helped him in convincing the parents of a beautiful lady he courted for quite a time, to accept him as the husband of their daughter.  Unfortunately, the parents of the beautiful lady of Looc turned down his marriage proposal.

 

During the latter part of the American occupation of Mindoro, a primary school was opened by the government authorities in Ambil.  At first, the schoolchildren were taught in private houses.  However, the parents strived to build a schoolhouse.  Due to few enrollees, it took many years before the primary school evolved into a complete elementary school.

 

During the Japanese occupation, although the Japanese soldiers did not occupy Ambil, the people of this island felt the hardships of life.  They experienced using ash and the sap of a kind of tree, called gogong batete in their native dialect, as substitute for soap in washing their clothes.

 

After the war, many families needed lumber for building their houses.  Able bodied males of Ambil engaged in cutting big trees on the mountain of the island.  Others built boats for fishing and transporting goods from Calatagan, Batangas and other towns of Occidental Mindoro.

 

Due to the limited area of agricultural land in Ambil, many families from this island migrated to other places. A great number who left this place were able to buy and occupy arable land in the municipality of Magsaysay.

 

Those who remained in the island strived to improve their living condition.  In the past, they diligently rowed their bancas for almost four hours, to cross the sea between Ambil and Agkawayan in order to buy goods.  At present, there are already stores in their community which sell merchandise transported by motorboats from Batangas.  Their fishing boats now have ice boxes, thus, they could fish for weeks at the fishing grounds of Mindoro and Palawan.

 

The parish priest of St. Raphael the Archangel Parish-Looc, Fr. Bernhard Kassellmann, SVD helped the inhabitants of Ambil.  In 1981, he built a water system in this island where clean drinking water could be drawn.

 

The leader who served as cabeza de barangay of Ambil was Actoradio dela Torre.  Those who served as teniente del barrio, capitan del barrio and barangay captain were Ignacio Verdera, Antonio Tañedo, Regino Viaña, Alejandro Verdera, Josue Verdera, Juan Mercader, Pedro Verdera, Francisco Verdera and Maximino Torreliza.  The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Federico de Lemos.[xxiv]

 

 

 

3.  BALIKYAS         

 

 

            According to the old-timers of this barangay, even before the Spanish regime, people who first inhabited this place repeatedly left and returned to this place.  When they shared stories, they mentioned that what they are doing is what they called in their native dialect as balik-layas.  They called their community as the residence of people who repeatedly left and returned or balik-layas.  Years later, the name was shortened and became Balikyas.

 

            Like Agkawayan, the first inhabitants of this place were Muslim converts.  Chinese potteries and kitchen utensils were also excavated from the burial grounds of this community, thus, the people believed that their ancestors have associated with traders from China, if not in this village in the settlements where they came from.

 

            When the Muslims were driven out of this place by the Spaniards, families of farmers and fishermen from Luzon and other villages of Lubang arrived in this place aboard a number of sailboats. They built houses near the seashore and they cleared the lowlands of the place.

 

            In 1846, the five historic encounters on the sea between La Encarnacion & Rosario, two galleons of the Spaniards and the fifteen Dutch frigates occurred.   Writers of Philippine History dubbed it as the Battle of Manila Bay.

 

One of the encounters took place at the sea near Balikyas.  An unknown painter painted a part of the historic battle which the Spaniards won.  His painting was displayed inside the chapel of Balikyas where it remained up to the present time.

 

One of the local heroes of Occidental Mindoro was from Balikyas.  He is Emiliano Cahayon.  He led a group of Filipino revolutionaries capture the Spanish friar and soldiers who were at the center of the municipality of Lubang in 1896.

 

In 1901, Emiliano Cahayon, fondly called General Barog by members of his group, was captured by the American soldiers.  Together with other Filipino revolutionaries, he was imprisoned in Calapan.  After almost a year of imprisonment, he was allowed to return to Balikyas.

 

During the American regime, a primary school was opened in Balikyas.  Whenever a pupil of this village wanted to study Grade V & VI, he has to attend classes at the elementary school of Agkawayan or at the center of the municipality of Lubang.  

 

In 1916 when Looc was created as a municipality, Balikyas was registered as one of its barrios.

 

When World War II broke out, although the Japanese soldiers did not make Balikyas as its headquarters, the inhabitants of this place were not able to cultivate their farm.  They worried that the enemies would come any time and confiscate their products.  As a result, they also experienced hunger and deprivation.

 

After the war, the primary school in Balikyas became a complete elementary school.  Years later, through the efforts of the provincial government, the engineering battalion of the Philippine Army constructed the road connecting Tilik, Lubang and the center of the municipality of Looc.  The said road passed through Balikyas.  The flow of transportation became fast, especially when ships drop anchor at the pier of Tilik.

 

Two families from other barangays of Lubang converted into fishponds the swamps in Balikyas.  During summer season, they turn portions of their fishponds into salt-beds. 

 

When Fr. Bernhard Kassellmann, SVD was assigned as parish priest of Looc, he built a water system for clean drinking water in Balikyas.  The source of water was Kalanda River.  At present, almost all of the houses in this community have water faucets.

 

In 1979, through Lubang Electric Cooperative (LUBELCO), electricity reached Balikyas.

 

Those who served as leaders of Balikyas were Faustino Villaluz, Juancho Aguilar, Dalmacio Arellano, Binong Villaluz, Canoy Pag-ilagan, Victorino Aguilar, Lando Salaysay, Pablo Villaluz, Carmen Ramirez and Pedro Aguilar.  The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Reynaldo Villaluz.[xxv]

 

 

4.  BULACAN

 

 

            Aside from Talaotao, another barangay in the island of Golo of the municipality of Looc is Bulacan.  Residents of this place believe two anecdotes concerning the origin of the name of their barangay.  According to the first anecdote, ten families decided to settle in this place.  While thinking of the appropriate name for their settlement, they saw the white cotton balls of the plants which grew abundantly in the area.  In their dialect, the equivalent of the word cotton is bulak.  They decided to call their community as Bulakan or the place where plenty of white cotton balls could be found.

 

            According to the second anecdote, the first couple who lived in this place was Bulanog and Akansala.  Due to their kindness and industry, the families who arrived later learned to love them.  When they died, their neighbors decided to name their settlement Bulakan, from the first four letters of Bulanog and Akansala.  Years later, letter k was changed to c and the name became Bulacan.

 

            Before the arrival of the Spaniards in the Philippines, whoever occupied a piece of land in Bulacan, it would be named after him.  The prefix Kay denoting ownership in Tagalog dialect is added to his nickname.  As a result, sitios or parts of the barangay at present have names like Kay Bunga, Kay Batico, Kay Platoon, Kay Uwako at Kay Itay.  Kay Platoon is a mountain where the inhabitants used to evacuate every time the pirates attacked their village, during the early days.

 

            During the Spanish regime, only three families owned the lowlands of Bulacan.  The title Don was added to their name as a sign of respect.  They were Don Justino Zubiri, Don Pedro dela Fuente and Don Leon Tarcena.  They were also appointed as cabeza de barangay by the Spanish authorities, thus, they were also known as Kabesang Tinong, Kabesang Pendong and Kabesang Leon.

 

            Aside from farming and fishing, another occupation of the workers of the three landowners in Bulacan was cutting trees which they turned into lumber and charcoal.  The women were making brooms from a kind of plant which they called dayunaka and weaving mats from the leaves of buri and pandan plants.  They sold their products in the provinces of Batangas, Cavite and the city of Manila.

 

            The Spanish authorities did not open schools for the Filipinos in Looc.  In order that the people of Bulacan would learn the Spanish language, a teacher named Cornelio Maninang taught them.

 

            In 1884, there was an outbreak of cholera epidemic in Bulacan.  Since the remains of those who died had to be brought to Looc for burial, Kabesang Tinong donated a portion of his land and converted it into a cemetery.

 

            When Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo was still a young man, he traded goods with the three aforementioned kabesa.  They became his friends.  When the Filipinos revolted against the Spaniards in 1896, Kabesang Tinong joined the faction of the Katipunan headed by Gen. Aguinaldo.  On the other hand,  Kabesang Pendong joined the faction of the Katpunan headed by Andres Bonifacio. 

 

            In 1920, during the American regime, government authorities opened a primary school in Bulacan.

 

            Although the Japanese soldiers did not occupy Bulacan during World War II, the people of this place experienced shortage of food.  They were not able to plant palay and corn.  They were always worrying that the enemies would come and they have to evacuate to other places immediately.

 

            Fifteen years after the war, a few families in Bulacan constructed fishponds and salt beds.  At present, culturing milkfish and salt making are two industries which help improve the living condition of the people of this community.

 

            Aside from the three aforementioned cabeza de barangay, those who served as leaders of Bulacan were Pedro Paglicawan, Martin Paglicawan, Ciriaco dela Fuente, Rafael Tarcena, Catalino Paglicawan, Tiburcio Paglicawan, Enrique Torreliza, Ciriaco Telebrico, Potenciano Paglicawan, Benito Venturero, Mariano Sales, Lorenzo Ramirez, Juan Zubiri, Juan Torreliza, Victorino Torreliza, Abrenaldo Paglicawan, Ariston Paglicawan, Adelon Telebrico and Valerio de Luna.  The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Emma Verdera.[xxvi]

 

 

5.  BUROL 

 

 

            The Ilocano families of Pranada and Pascual from Luzon, were the first inhabitants of this place in 1850.  To be able to plant palay and corn, they cleared the lowland where bamboos and a kind of tree called tag-araw, grew abundantly.

 

            When the number of inhabitants increased, an Aglipayan priest called Fr. Victorio suggested that their settlement be called San Victorio.  The people agreed.

 

            In 1902, in order that the nearby sitio of Agkawayan would become a barrio, its leaders encouraged the families of San Victorio to transfer to their community.  The families of Ilocano farmers transferred to Agkawayan.  However, after a few years, when their relatives arrived from Luzon, they returned to San Victorio.  This time, they built houses on the hills and called their new community as Burol.  When their sitio was elevated to the status of a barrio, they registered Burol as its official name. 

 

            Some residents of the place strived to learn how to read and write.  They were taught by Estanislao Pascual how to read the Spanish words in the caton, reading material during that time.  When Maestro Pascual retired, he was succeeded by Mr. Arce and then by Mr. Escutillo.

 

            In 1927, the aforementioned successors of Maestro Pascual began to teach at the primary school opened by the government in Burol.  However, they only borrowed the books which their pupils used from the nearby public school of Agkawayan.  The first pupils still remember that the titles of their first books were Planting Rice and Caton.  The public school of Burol was able to acquire its own books and construct its own school buildings made of strong materials, after thirty years.

 

            When World War II broke out, Burol was one of the hiding places of the people who avoided the abuses of the Japanese soldiers.  After the war, many families of farmers were convinced by their relatives to transfer to the municipality of Calintaan, Sablayan and San Jose.  However, after a few years, some families returned to Burol.

 

            Through the cooperative labor of the people of Agkawayan and Burol, a hanging bridge was built over the river between the two barrios.  During that time, since no road existed, carabaos and horses were used as means of transportation.  It was only in 1962 when the national road connecting Tilik, Lubang and the center of the municipality of Looc was constructed.  At the same time, a concrete bridge which replaced the hanging bridge, was built over the river between Burol and Agkawayan.  Subsequently, a feeder road from Burol to the national road was also constructed, making it easier for the farmers to transport their products. 

 

            In 1972, Fr. Karl Barbian, an SVD missionary who was assigned in Looc, built a water system for clean drinking water in Burol.  With the help of his friends and benefactors from Germany and the provincial government of Occidental Mindoro, pipes were installed at the houses of the families in the community.  The source of water was the spring at the upper portion of the hills of Burol.

 

            When Lt. Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese straggler who hid for almost thirty years at the forests of Lubang, conferred with his countryman Yukio Suzuki, before he surrendered to Gen. Rancudo in 1974, the incident happened in a place near the river of Burol.  That historic meeting place is now called Wakayama Point by government authorities.

 

            In 1979, through Lubang Electric Cooperative (LUBELCO), electricity reached many houses in Burol.  The said service and the construction of an irrigation system,  by National Irrigation Administration (NIA) for the agricultural land in Burol helped in the gradual elevation of the economic condition of the people in this barangay.

 

            Aside fro, Estanislao Pascual, those who served as leaders of Looc were Pastor Quiñones, Dalmacio Pascual, Maximino Trambulo, Alfredo Villacite, Candido Reyes, Tirso Quiñones and Avelino Sales.  The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Rogelio Villaflores.[xxvii]

 

 

6.  POBLACION  

 

 

            The name of this place came from its wide bay which was used as landing area of sea vessels and hiding place of ships during stormy weather.  Bay is the Tagalog dialect is look.

 

            The first inhabitants of this place were the families from the different villages of Lubang who looked for rich fishing grounds and vacant lands to cultivate.  They built houses near the seashore in order that it would be easier for them to go to other places by means of sailboats.

 

            Looc was mentioned in history in 1882.  It was stated that the gobernadorcillo of this place was Agustin Liboro.  It was also written that due to the outbreak of cholera epidemic in Lubang, the said leader did not allow Fr. Roldan, the Spanish friar who was assigned in Lubang to enter his community.  He feared that the virus of the deadly disease would enter Looc through Fr. Roldan.

 

            The Spanish government established a school in Looc.  They named it as Colegio Filipino de Looc.  Two graduates of this school were Hon. Cipriano Liboro and Hon. Mateo Virola, who served as governor of Mindoro in 1919 and of Occidental Mindoro in 1951, respectively.

 

When Lubang was created as a municipality in 1905, one of the barrios registered under its jurisdiction was Looc.  It was difficult to reach this place during that time, due to the absence of a road connecting this barrio with Tilik which was the center of the municipality.  During stormy weather when travel by means of sailboat was not possible, the people have to travel by foot, to reach the center of the town of Lubang.

 

During the early part of the American regime, government authorities opened a primary school in Looc.  From 1921 to 1928, the primary school evolved to an elementary school, gradually. 

 

Aside from farming and fishing, construction of big sailboats was one source of income of the people of Looc, during the American regime.  Building of this type of sea vessel was stopped only during the outbreak of World War II.

 

In 1916, Looc was separated from Lubang and created as another municipality.  Agkawayan was made as the first center of the municipal government.  It was only in 1925, during the administration of Municipal President Juan Calabio, when the seat of the municipal government was transferred to its present site.

 

When World War II broke out, many families from other municipalities of Occidental Mindoro evacuated to Looc.  Thick forests still surrounded the villages of this town and the Japanese soldiers rarely patrolled the place.  When the U.S. led Allied Forces liberated Occidental Mindoro from the Japanese soldiers, Japanese stragglers led by Lt. Hiroo Onoda hid in the forests of Lubang Island.  For almost thirty years, while Onoda was hiding in the mountains, nobody dared to cut big trees in the forests of the municipalities of Looc and Lubang.

 

When Fr. Carlos Brendel, SVD was assigned as parish priest of Looc, he opened a secondary school at the poblacion or center of the municipality.  He named it Sacred Heart Academy.  Unfortunately, after two years, when Fr. Brendel was transferred to another parish, the Catholic school was closed.

 

In 1967, a barangay high school was opened in Piblacion, Looc.  After five years, it was made as a municipal high school by virtue of Resolution No. 19 of the Municipal Council of Looc.  During the administration of President Corazon Aquino, the high school which was supported by the municipality was elevated to the status of a national secondary school known as Looc National High School.

 

When Fr. Karl Barbian, SVD was assigned as parish priest of Looc, he built a water system for clean drinking water at Poblacion, Looc.  With the assistance of his friends and charitable institutions in foreign countries, pipes and water faucets were installed at the town’s center.

 

In 1975, President Ferdinand Marcos ordered that the barrios be called as barangays.  In addition, the town’s center was divided into barangays.  As a result, Poblacion, Looc was divided into three --- Bonbon, Gitna and Kanluran. 

 

Those who served as leaders of the three barangays of Poblacion, strived to develop their respective communities.  At present, they are Brgy. Capt. Ponciano Villas of Gitna; Brgy. Captain Joselito Limjoco who succeeded Pepito de Lara of Bonbon; and Leandro Villarosa who succeeded Felipe Villar of Kanluran.[xxviii]

 

 

7.  TALAOTAO

 

 

            This place is one of the two barangays in the island of Golo which is a part of the municipality of Looc.  This community is near the tip of the island, the part where the seashore suddenly curved outward.  In the native tongue of the inhabitants, the sudden curving of a thing, whereupon its shape becomes pointed is called mataotao.  They called their settlements by that name.  Later on, Mataotao became Talaotao.

 

            This place was a forest during the Spanish occupation of Mindoro.  When Vicente Abeleda decided to settle in this part of the island, the Spanish authorities entrusted to him this place as his homestead.  He hired laborers who would clear and cultivate the land. 

 

            The laborers of Vicente Abeleda who cleared and cultivated his homestead were Segundo Vidal, Ramon Terrenal, Teodulo Ambrocio, Eugenio Pag-ilagan and Fermin Nuñez.  Through perseverance and industry, they were able convert the land into ricefields and cornfields.  

 

During the period when Moro pirates frequently attacked the different villages in Mindoro, some families from the pueblo of Mamburao evacuated to Talaotao and decided to settle in this community permanently.  The number of inhabitants increased, especially when their relatives from other provinces migrated to this place.

 

Vicente Abeleda, the acknowledged founder of Talaotao was called Capitan Vicente by his laborers and the people of the community.  During the latter part of 1870, together with Capitan Pablo Tria, another leader of Talaotao, they crossed the sea between the small island of Golo and the big island of Mindoro, to look for uncultivated vacant land in Paluan.  His two sons, Mariano and Regino, inherited his homestead in Talaotao.  When Mariano followed his father in Paluan, Regino became the sole owner of the homestead.  Since Regino has no child, he bequeathed his land to Cipriano Liboro, his nephew.

 

When Cipriano Liboro became active in politics, until he was elected governor of Mindoro and then delegate to the 1935 Constitutional Convention, he sold his landholdings in Talaotao.  The buyers of his land subsequently sold it to the farmers.  As a result, many families now own the land which at first belonged to only one man, Capitan Vicente Abeleda. 

 

In 1898, one man devoted his life in teaching Cartilla and Mathematics to the people of Talaotao.  He was Wenceslao Fajardo.  When he retired from teaching, his son, Manuel Fajardo succeeded him.  Since there was no school building during that time, classes were held at private houses.

 

When Looc was created as a municipality in 1916, Talaotao was registered as one of its barrios.

 

In 1930, through the efforts of Congressman Raul Leuterio and Governor Cipriano Liboro, a school building was constructed in Talaotao.  Regino Abeleda donated the lot where the school was built.

 

During the Japanese occupation of Mindoro, Donato Liboro built a sailboat which he used to transport logs for lumber and fuel to other provinces.  The said sea vessel, together with small bancas and sailboats greatly helped the people of Talaotao in fishing and selling their products of mats and clothes made of abaca fiber or sinamay.  However, their occupation of fishing became profitable only when they started using motorboats in 1956.  The fishermen of Talaotao reached the fishing grounds of Palawan and Naic, Cavite in their effort to catch large quantity of fishes and sell it at a price much higher than the prevailing price in their community.

 

During the American regime until 1961, when the people started to elect the barrio leaders, those who were appointed as teniente del barrio of Talaotao were Eugenio Pag-ilagan, Fermin Nuñez, Matias Juaño, Sudano Alindugan, Crisanto Tampilic, Primitivo Valles and Ciriaco Juaño.  Some of those who were elected as barangay captain were Dionisio Nuñez, Remigio Nuñez, Eusebio Ambrocio and Romeo Nuñez.  The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Emilio de Lara, Jr. 29


ENDNOTES/SOURCES OF INFORMATION:

 

[i] Teresita Pacheco, Ang Lasaysayan ng Looc,, 1990, p. 1

[ii] Delia Venturero, Ang Kasaysayan ng Brgy. Bulacan, 1990, p. 3

[iii]Teresita Bautista, Ang Kasaysayan ng Burol, 1990, p. 2

[iv]Ibid

[v]Lamberto Quijano, Ang Kasaysayan ng Brgy, Talaotao, 1950, p. 4

[vi]D. Venturero, Ang Kasaysayan ng Brgy. Bulacan, 1990, p. 6

[vii]D. Venturero, Ang Kasaysayan ng Brgy. Bulacan, 1990, p. 7

[viii]Editorial Staff, STAA Souvenir Program, 1970, p. 176

                                                                                                                                                 

[ix] Ibid

[x]T. Pacheco, Ang Kasaysayan ng Looc, 1990, p. 5

[xi]T. Pacheco, Ang Kasaysayan ng Looc, 1990, p. 6

[xii]T. Pacheco, Ang Kasaysayan ng Looc, 1990, p. 7

[xiii]Interview with Ex-Mayor Pedro Gonzales, Dec. 12, 1997

[xiv]T. Bautista, Ang Kasaysayan ng Brgy. Burol, 1950, p. 4

[xv]T. Bautista, Ang Kasaysayan ng Brgy. Burol, 1950, p. 3

[xvi]Editorial Staff, STAA Souvenir Program, 1970, p. 163

[xvii]Interview with Mr. Domingo Tria, February 10, 1998

[xviii] Interview with Mr. Domingo Tria, February 10, 1998

[xix]Interview with Mr. Reynold Marticio, February 9, 1998

[xx]T. Pacheco, Ang Kasaysayan ng Looc, 1990, p. 7        

[xxi]Governor’s Office, Sentimental Journey of Lt. Hiroo Onoda, 1996, p. 3

[xxii] Editorial Staff, STAA Souvenir Program, 1970, p. 177

 

[xxiii]Interview with Mr. Reynold Masticio, February 9, 1998

[xxiv] Interview with Brgy. Captain Maximino Torreliza, February 9, 1998

[xxv] Interview with Brgy. Captain Reynaldo Villaluz, February 9, 1998

[xxvi] Delia Venturero, Ang Kasaysayan ng Brgy. Bulacan, 1990, p. 3

[xxvii] Teresita Bautista, Ang Kasaysayan ng Burol, 1990, p. 2

[xxviii] Interview with Mr. Domingo Tria, February 10, 1998

 [xxvix] Lamberto Quijano, Ang Kasaysayan ng Brgy, Talaotao, 1950, p. 4

 

 

REFERENCES

 

A.  Published Materials:

 

     1.  Governor’s Office 

          1996 Sentimental Journey of Lt. Hiroo Onoda 

     2.  National Statistics Office 

          1995 Census of Population

     3.  Editorial Staff

          1970 STAA Souvenir Program

 

B.  Unpublished Materials:

 

      1.  Bautista, Teresita - 1950 Ang Kasaysayan ng Burol

      2.  Pacheco, Teresita - 1990 Ang Kasaysayan ng Looc

      3.  Quijano, Lamberto - 1950 Ang Kasaysayan ng Talaotao

      4.  Venturero, Delia -  1990 Ang Kasaysayan ng Bulacan

 

C.  Resource Persons:

 

     1.  Ex-Mayor Pedro Gonzakes

     2.  Brgy. Captain Maximino Torreliza

     3.  Brgy. Captain Reynaldo Villaluz

     2.  Mr. Reynold Marticio

     3.  Mr. Domingo Tria