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 Town of Magsaysay


 

HISTORY OF MAGSAYSAY TOWN

By Rudy Candelario

Translated By Benjamin Walata

 

 

 

I – DURING THE SPANISH AND AMERICAN REGIME

 

 

            One could start the history of this municipality with the history of its two oldest communities --- Caguray and Sta. Teresa.

 

            Caguray was mentioned in the report of a Jesuit missionary to the head of his congregation in 1666.  The missionary reported that he baptized many adults in the villages of Cagulay and Ililin[1].

 

            Sta. Teresa was mentioned in history in April, 1903 when the American government established a community for the indigenous people of Mindoro, the Mangyans, in one of its sitios.  The community was called Lalawigan.  Captain Robert Offley, the governor of Mindoro during that time, appointed a president and councilor who would manage the indigenous people living there.[2]  Lalawigan existed only for a few years for the Mangyans who were freedom loving people transferred to other places.  The former community of the indigenous people is now called Sitio Cagaring of Sta. Teresa.

 

            Sta. Teresa was again mentioned in the history written by Antoon Postma, a Dutch researcher and historian, who wrote that the missionary who was assigned in this place in 1912 was Fr. Bernabe Peña Reta dela Imaculada Concepcion.[3]  The said missionary was also celebrating mass in the chapel of Toong.  During that time, Toong was the center of La Hacienda de San Jose, the vast agricultural land in Occidental Mindoro which was entrusted for development by the Spanish government to the Order of Augustinian Recollects.

 

            It could be mentioned here that the land within the municipality of Magsaysay at present could be divided into three sections during that time.  The first section was the La Hacienda of the Augustinian Recollect missionaries.  The second section was the private land which was the property of Felix Lopez,[4] a well off individual living in another province.  The third section was the public land owned by the government.

 

            A great part of La Hacienda and the land owned by Mr. Felix Lopez was utilized as pastureland.  Only a small part was planted with various plants, including coconut and vegetables.  When Mr. Lopez sold his land to Yu Kee Tay and Mrs. Richelle Kelly Dewalt, the two businessmen widened the area planted with vegetables.  During that time, a small launch used to enter the mouth of Caguray River where the vegetables harvested by the two businessmen and the Spanish friars were being loaded and transported to Manila.  The said launch was used to deliver the merchandise in the grocery of Sebastian Dylo, a Chinese merchant who was living at Brgy. Caguray.[5]

 

            In 1920, in the report sent by Fr. Julian Duval, chaplain of Mindoro Sugar Company and acting parish priest of St. Joseph Parush-Central to Bishop Alfredo Verzosa of Lipa, Batangas, he narrated his visit to Barrio Sta. Teresa on January 5, 1920.  He said that there were twelve houses and a chapel made of lumber and nipa in the barrio.  He mentioned that former laborers of Mindoro Sugar Company of Central decided to live in Sta. Teresa.[6]

 

            Fr. Duval also narrated that on January 6, 1920 he visited Caguray.  There were thirty houses in the barrio and the leader of the inhabitants was Capitan Eduardo Lualhati.  The missionary wrote to his superior that among the words engraved in the bell installed by a Spanish missionary in the chapel were the words Año 1896.

 

            The old residents of Caguray still remember that a convent for the priest was built in Sitio Toong.  According to them, a certain missionary priest popularly called Fr. Isidro died in the said sitio and was buried there.

 

            Before the outbreak of World War II, the hacienda owned by Mrs. Dewalt was sold to Yu Kee Tay of Yutivo & Sons Corporation.  Old timers of the indigenous people belonging to the Hanunoo tribe said that in a portion of the hacienda called Bagaas, the site of Poblacion, Magsaysay today, big hogs were raised by the workers of the said corporation.[7]

 

            During that period, families of fishermen from the islands of Agutaya, Palawan and Panay settled in Alibog.[8]  Later on, the settlement became a barrio.  Farmers from the island of Lubang who were looking for land to till also came and settled in this place.  Some of them decided to settle permanently in the sitios of Laste, Panaga and Bulo.

 

            Other inhabitants of Sta. Teresa and Caguray transferred to vacant lands near the mountains and cleared the forested areas there.  As years passed, the sitios of Paclolo, Purnaga and Lourdes appeared.  Among the families who transferred to Lourdes was the family of Nazario Dimailig, a farmer from Batangas.  He first settled in Caguray but since he was able to acquire a farm in Lourdes, he transferred to this place and stayed here permanently.  He served as teniente del barrio of Lourdes and the first vice mayor of the municipality of Magsaysay.[9]

 

            Aside from farming, logging was another source of income of the pioneers of Magsaysay.  The logs were converted into traviesa or railroad ties and raja or firewood.  Hard wood whish were converted into railroad ties came from the mountains of Alibog, while firewood came from the mangrove trees which abound in the swamps of Laste, Sibalat, Sta. Teresa, Caguray, Sitio Toong and Sitio Talaba.[10]      

 

 

II – DURING THE JAPANESE OCCUPATION

 

When World War II broke out, the mountains and forests of Magsaysay became the hiding places of the boluntaryo or the guerrillas who fought the Japanese invaders.  They ambushed the small launch of the Japanese soldiers in Caguray River which was loaded with vegetables from the hacienda of Yu Kee Tay.  Killed during the ambush was the machinist of the launch and Captain Kimar, the commanding officer of the soldiers who escorted the water vessel, lost his left eye.  Angered by the ambuscade, the Japanese soldiers burned the houses in Caguray and in the town site of San Jose.[11]

 

            Unfortunately, the treacherous killing of Captain Vincent Fortune, the brave leader of a group of guerrillas, by a member of a rival group, happened at Sitio Nalwak, Purnaga, Magsaysay.  The tragic event took place on August 15, 1943 while Captain Fortune was taking a bath at Mantangkob River pf the aforementioned sitio.[12]

 

            Jose Garcia, one of the members of the group led by Captain Fortune, succeeded the slain official as leader of the guerrillas.  However, he transferred the operation of his band of freedom fighters in Oriental Mindoro.[13]

 

            During the Japanese occupation of Mindoro, there were only three barrios in the area which was under the town of Magsaysay today.  They were Alibog, Sta. Teresa and Caguray.  The Japanese soldiers visited those barrios, asked its inhabitants on the identities and whereabouts of the guerrillas and convinced them to cooperate with the Japanese government.  Despite the threats of torture and execution, the pioneers of the three barrios remained loyal to their flag and people.

 

 

III – AFTER WORLD WAR II

 

 

            After the war, families of farmers from Central Luzon, Panay and Palawan who were looking for land to cultivate, flocked to Occidental Mindoro.  Gradually, the forests in the areas which are under Magsaysay at present were cleared.  The plains were turned into ricefields and cornfields.  The swamps were converted into fishponds by well off families.  More than two thousand hectares was the total area of the swamps in this municipality, that at present, Magsaysay has the biggest fishpond area among the eleven towns of Occidental Mindoro.[14]

 

            Fifteen years after the war, eight were added to the original three barrios of Magsaysay.  They were Laste, Sibalat, Calawag, Nicolas, Lourdes, Paclolo, Purnaga and Gapasan.  Two of the abovementioned barrios, Gapasan and Nicolas were founded by Mr. Epifanio Nicolas.  The said leader served as teniente del barrio of the two barangays and later on as member of the municipal council of Magsaysay.

 

            The vast agricultural land of Yu Kee Tay, called Hacienda Caguray, was abandoned by the Chinese businessman after the war.  Tall trees and grasses grew in the area.  As a result, different groups of farmers sent petitions to the president of the Philippines, requesting him that the said hacienda, be purchased by the government, afterwards, subdividing and distributing the land to the petitioners.  The first to petition was the group of farmers led by Ex-Governor Mariano Tajonera; the second was the group led by San Jose Ex-Mayor Isabelo Abeleda, Sr.; the third was the group of Ex-Judge Leandro Reyes; and the fourth were the farmers led by a certain Mr. Mariano.  The four groups did not succeed in acquiring the vast tract of land.[15]

 

            Despite the failure of the four groups of farmers, Mr, Urbano Olivares, Sr., together with his relatives, friends and acquaintances sent a petition to the president of the Philippines in 1955.  He personally sought an audience with President Ramon Magsaysay and urgently requested for the approval of their petition.

 

            Since the primary program being implemented by President Magsaysay during that time was Land for the Landless, he ordered Chairman Manuel Castañeda of Land Tenure Administration or LTA to attend to the petition of the farmers in Hacienda Caguray.  Mr. Olivares and Chairman Castañeda met several times and the leader of the petitioners learned the process which he would follow.  He formally formed the group of petitioners and called it OLIMA Farmers Association from the first letters of the surnames of its president and vice president; Urbano Olivares and Onofre Madrid, respectively.  The said leaders were able to convince LTA Chairman Manuel Castañeda to visit San Jose during the latter part of 1956 to see the living condition of the farmers.

 

            Despite feelings of discouragement among many members of the group, difficulties of travel, length of time spent in negotiating with authorities in Manila and the limited budget of the association, Mr. Olivares succeeded in his objective of convincing the government to purchase the abandoned land.  LTA bought the hacienda from Yu Kee Tay.  The total area of the agricultural land released to the petitioners was two thousand, nine hundred thirty six point eight hectares (2,936.8 has.).  It included the one hundred twenty six hectares (126 has.) for residential purposes.[16]

 

 

IV – FORMATION & DEVELOPMENT OF THE TOWN SITE

 

 

            President Magsaysay signed the executive order of subdividing and distributing the land to the farmers, on March 15, 1957.  Two days after that date or on March 17, 1957, President Mgsaysay died when the presidential plane with him aboard crashed at Mt. Manunggal, Cebu.

 

            Mr. Olivares and members of his group were deeply saddened by the sudden death of President Magsaysay.  However, they continued following up the implementation of his order.  As a result, in September 1957, President Carlos Garcia went to San Jose and formally witnessed the formal transfer of the vast tract of land from LTA to OLIMA Farmers Association.  That same date, based on the provision of Republic Act 1402, the group of farmers gave a down payment of nine hundred thousand pesos (PhP900,000.00) to the LTA.  As provided by the said law, the remaining balance to the price of the land they occupied would be paid by installment within the period prescribed also by R.A. 1402.

 

            From three huts, the number of houses in the area which is Poblacion, Magsaysay today, increased.  This community became a barrio of San Jose in 1962.  Dr. Felix Gabriel, then the mayor of San Jose, constructed school buildings and assigned teachers in the elementary school.[17]

 

            In 1966, the parents & teachers of Magsaysay under the leadership of Mr. Cenon Facunla, petitioned for the opening of a high school in their barrio.  With the assistance of Congressman Pedro Medalla, Sr., the barrio high school was established and it was managed for a number of years by Mr. Victorino Galindo.  In 1975, the institution was elevated to the status of a municipal high school.  Mr. Zosimo Panahon was appointed as its principal.  At the same time, the school site inside the elementary school campus was transferred to another area of the poblacion.  In 1993, the high school which was being supported by the municipal government became Magsaysay National High School (MNHS).  After four years, the enrolment reached two thousand.  It opened an extension class for first year high school students in Brgy. Purnaga.[18]

 

            Meanwhile, in 1968, Mr. Reynaldo Agnas opened a high school in Barrio Sta. Teresa.  Graduates of the elementary school in this barrio studied here but after two years, the school was closed due to lack of funds.  It was reopened in 1976 through the efforts of Mrs. Yolanda Tividad and Mrs. Ofelia Soberano.  After thirteen years, the school became Sta. Teresa National High School.[19]

 

            The same year that a school for secondary education was opened in Sta. Teresa, a businessman established a company which would mine the rich deposit of limestone in this place.  He started the construction of the wharf & buildings and purchased the machineries for a mining project.  Unfortunately, after the election in 1969, for still unknown reasons, the project was stopped.[20]

 

            Another historic event happened in Magsaysay on 1968.  That year, the bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan created Sta, Teresa de Avila Parish and its center was placed in Barrio Sta. Teresa.  Fr. George Koschincki, SVD was appointed as its first parish priest.  The Catholic faithful living in almost all barangays of Magsaysay, including those who are residing in Iling and Ambulong were under the jurisdiction of the said missionary priest.  Through Fr. Koschinski, the Catholic Church helped the government in improving the living condition of the people in this part of Occidental Mindoro.[21]

 

 

V – CREATION OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF MAGSAYSAY

 

 

            When Congressman Pedro Medalla, Sr. was elected as the representative of Occidental Mindoro in 1965, he strived to separate Magsaysay and Rizal from San Jose and created those places as independent municipalities.  On April 3, 1969 by virtue of Republic Act 5459 which Congressman Medalla sponsored in Congress, Magsaysay was elevated to the status of a municipality.  Placed under the jurisdiction of the new town were the barrios of Alibog, Laste, Caguray, Sibalat, Sta. Teresa, Calawag, Nicolas, Gapasan, Purnaga, Paclolo and Lourdes.  The total land area of the new municipality was twenty nine thousand six hundred seventy (29,670) hectares.  Its population during the May 1970 census was eleven thousand four hundred seventy five (11,475).[22]

 

            A special election was held in the new municipality on November 8, 1969 to elect the first mayor, vice mayor and councilors.  The voters of Magsaysay elected Basilio Quilit as their first mayor.  During his term of office, with the assistance of Congressman Medalla, roads in the town’s center were improved and the municipal hall was constructed.[23]

 

            In the election held in 1971, Mr. Leonardo Jovenal was elected as municipal mayor of Magsaysay.  He initiated the construction of the municipal plaza and the building of the public market.  Unfortunately, he was not able to finish his term of office.  His town mates were shocked when he suddenly died on December 1, 1978.  After three days, Vice Mayor Cesar Tria took his oath of office as the third mayor of Magsaysay.  He constructed the concrete fence around the plaza and repaired the roads in the different barrios of the municipality.[24]

 

            Meanwhile, the provincial government under the leadership of Gov. Arsenio Villaroza assisted in funding the construction of the roads in Magsaysay.  The road from Paclolo to Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro was finished and passenger vehicles used it every summer season.[25]

 

            In 1982, a road for the irrigation system was constructed by the National Irrigation Administration or NIA at the part of Caguray River which is between Paclolo and Purnaga.  The total length of the canal built by NIA for irrigating the farms was forty five kilometers.  Twenty one percent (21%) of the agricultural lands in Magsaysay benefited from the irrigation system project.[26]

 

            In 1984, the elected representative of Occidental Mindoro, Assemblyman Pedro Mendiola, Sr., constructed the concrete bridge over Caguray River.  He also assisted the municipal government in funding the construction of schoolhouses and other public buildings in Magsaysay. 

 

 

VI – AFTER THE PEACEFUL EDSA REVOLUTION

 

 

            Five months after the peaceful revolution in EDSA and the installation of Hon. Corazon Aquino as president, the municipal officials of Magsaysay were replaced.  On July 1, 1986 Jose Norella, Sr., took his oath of office as mayor of this municipality.  He endeavored to maintain the peace and order situation in his town by strengthening the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU), police force and groups of barangay tanod.[27]

 

            OIC Mayor Norella served for ten months.  After this period, local elections were held and Mayor Cesar Tria was again elected as chief executive of Magsaysay.  During that period, rebels belonging to the New Peoples Army (NPA) intensified their military activities in Mindoro.

 

            In 1988, a group of NPA rebels attacked the police headquarters and the municipal hall of Magsaysay.  They stopped the hearing presided by Judge Josefino Garillo in the municipal hall and captured two members of the police force.  The policemen were released after a lengthy negotiation between the leader of the NPA and the relatives of the victims, together with the municipal officials.  That same year, a group of government soldiers was ambushed by the rebels at Brgy. Gapasan, resulting to the death of Philippine Constabulary Captain Victor Narciso.[28]

 

            The Armed Forces of the Philippines intensified its military operation against the rebels and its information campaign in remote areas regarding the advantage of having a democratic system of government.  As a result, the influence of the NPA in Magsaysay greatly diminished.  The projects of the government were implemented in this municipality, like the reforestation project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the electrification project of the National Electrification Administration.  As a component of the last project mentioned above, a thermal plant was built in Sitio Emoc, Brgy. Paclolo.  However, the operation of the thermal plant was stopped because after three weeks, all the tress around the sitio were cut and used as fuel of the plant’s electric generator.[29]

 

            During the term of office of Mayor Cesar Tria, he transferred the market site to the northeastern side of Poblacion, Magsaysay.  With the assistance of Governor Peter Medalla, he constructed the municipal gymnasium and the seawall which serves as protection against the big waves of Brgy. Sta. Teresa.  When Governor Josephine Ramirez-Sato was elected as chief executive of Occidental Mindoro, she built a more than one kilometer concrete road near the town’s center.

 

Dr. Franco Barrera was elected municipal mayor of Magsaysay during the national and local elections held in 1995.  Among his many accomplishments were the purchase of a big truck for hauling garbage, construction of buildings to be used as municipal police station, offices of different agencies and public library.  He also improved the municipal plaza and constructed additional rooms in the municipal hall.[30]

 

So solve the problem regarding potable drinking water of residents of Brgy. Calawag and Laste, a water system was constructed by Congressman Jose Villarosa in the two barangays.  The source of the drinking water is the spring at nearby Sitio Bukal, Brgy. Nicolas.

 

Congressman Villarosa also improved the provincial highway connecting Brgy. Nicolas, Magsaysay and Brgy. Milagrosa, Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro.  Up to the present time, the road is being repaired and improved to make it passable even after days of heavy rains.[31]

 

A year before the end of his second term as chief executive of Magsaysay, Mayor Barrera died.  He was succeeded by Vice Mayor Hernando Aban.  The said mayor continued the implementation of the projects of his predecessor.

 

During the 2001 Elections, Marleo Barrera, the son of the late Mayor Franco Barrera was elected as mayor of Magsaysay.  Under his administration, improvements in the infrastructure projects started by his father were made.  He attended to the needs of his constituents, thus, he was reelected during the election held in 2004.

 

The Catholic Church and non-government organizations helped in the improvement of the living condition of the people.  Since the creation of Mabuting Pastol Parish in 1974, the parish priests assigned here helped the indigenous people.  Deserving Mangyan youth were sent to school through the financial assistance of benevolent individuals here and abroad.  A water system for safe drinking water was installed at the community of the indigenous people in Sitio Malutoc, Brgy. Gapasan.  A farmers’ cooperative was formed and a reforestation project was implemented in the mountains of Magsaysay.  On the other hand, PLAN International, a charitable organization, extended financial assistance in the construction of barangay halls, health centers and school buildings, It financed the studies of hundreds of elementary pupils and high school students.  The said institution also improved the road going to Brgy. Caguray.[32]

 

At present, under the leadership of Mayor Marleo Barrera, the local officials and the inhabitants are trying their best to make Magsaysay known not only as the municipality with the widest area of fishpond and salt farm in Occidental Mindoro byt also as a leading producer of agricultural products. 

 

 

 

HISTORY OF THE TWELVE BARANGAYS OF MAGSAYSAY

 

 

1.  ALIBOG

 

 

            The old residents of Alibog believe that their barangay got its name from a humorous event which happened during the American occupation of Mindoro.  One day two American soldiers took a walk at the beach of this village.  They met a Visayan speaking farmer who could not understand English.  The soldiers asked the farmer:  “What’s the name of this place?”  The farmer merely looked at the foreigners.  The soldiers asked the question repeatedly.  Exasperated with the insistent questioning of the foreigners, the Visayan speaking farmer blurted:  Galibog ang ulo ko,  meaning, I am confused.  One of the soldiers mistook the word Galibog to Alibog so he said to his companion:  “The name of this place is Alibog.”      

 

            The first inhabitants of Alibog were the indigenous people belonging to the tribe of Ratagnons.  Years later, fishermen from the island of Agutaya, Palawan and belonging to Zabanal family settled here.  They built huts near the seashore and lived by means of fishing and the kaingin system of farming.

 

            The second group of settlers who settled in Alibog was composed of the families of Delos Santos, Paz and Patricio who came from Sibay, Caluya, Antique.  Like the first group of settlers, they lived by fishing and farming.  Sometimes, they worked in the logging concession of Mr. Arturo Salas, a well off Spaniard who resided in Bating, a village which was a part of the municipality of Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro.

 

            Despite the presence of the dreaded malaria illness and the difficulties encountered by the pioneers, the population of this village grew.  Alibog was already considered a barrio when World War II broke out.  This was one of the places visited by the Japanese soldiers who were looking for members of the guerrilla movement.

 

            In 1950, the people of Alibog requested the officials of the provincial government and the authorities in the education department that a teacher be assigned in their place.  Their request was granted.  As years passed, the number of teachers increased and from a primary school, the institution of learning in this barrio became an elementary school.

 

            Since the sea near Alibog abound with fishes, fishermen from Samar and Masbate came to fish here.  Their income grew that they decided to stay permanently.  As a result, even the formerly uninhabited island of Garza which is a part of Alibog became a settlement of fishermen.

 

            In order that visitors from the town proper of Magsaysay could reach Alibog by land, the municipal & provincial government continued the construction of the existing  road from Brgy. Nicolas to Alibog.  However, only motorcycles could pass through the extended road during summer.

            The Catholic Church also helped the people living in this barangay.  At present, the electric generator which the barangay officials use in lighting Alibog was a donation of kind hearted Japanese who were friends of Fr. Ryu Ishikawa, SVD the former parish priest of Sta. Teresa de Avila Parish, the ecclesiastical territory which has jurisdiction over this community with regards to spiritual matters.

 

            The persons who served as teniente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Alibog were Agustin Zabanal, Romano delos Santos, Alejandro Patricio, Casiano Liboro, Pedro Roldan, Arsenio Saulong, Cenon Paz, Alejo Zabanal, Ross Paz, Isidro Paz, Gaudioso delos Santos, Jovencio delos Reyes, Angelo delos Santos and Ericson Paz.  The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Rolly Rosas.[33]

 

 

2.  CAGURAY  

 

 

            Caguray was one of the oldest barrio in Occidental Mindoro.  In an old Spanish document, it was mentioned that the Jesuit priests baptized many adults in this place, in 1666.  Historians believed that the persons who were baptized belonged to the tribe of Ratagnon, the indigenous people who, during that time, were living in the plains of the southwestern portion of the island of Mindoro. 

 

            Before World War II broke out, Caguray was a part of the hacienda owned by Yu Kee Tay of Yutivo & Sons Corporation.  Various plants were grown in that vast tract of land which was called Hacienda Caguray.

 

            In the latter part of 1920, in the report sent by Fr. Julian Duval, the chaplain of Mindoro Sugar Company and acting parish priest of St. Joseph Parish-Central, to Bishop Alfredo Verzosa of Lipa, Batangas, he mentioned that he visited Caguray on January 6, 1920.  He reported that he only saw thirty houses in the barrio and that he stayed in the house of Sebastian Dylo.  He reported also that he saw the bell of the chapel at the house of Capitan Eduardo Lualhati.  Among the Spanish letters engraved at the interior of the bell were Año 1896.

 

            The area which was selected to be the barrio site of Caguray was called by the natives as Kasiitan.  It got its name from the thorny bushes growing there.  However, when an American named Engr. Watt, surveyed this place in 1901, he called  it as Caguray, from the name given by the indigenous people to the river, the mouth of which could be found in this community. 

 

            A primary school was opened in Caguray in 1937.  The children from the nearby sitios studied there, including the offspring of the laborers in the hacienda owned by Yu Kee Tay.

 

            During the Japanese occupation of Occidental Mindoro, Caguray was one of the barrios which was frequently visited by the patrolling soldiers of the enemy.  On April 11, 1942 a group of guerrillas, locally known as boluntaryo ambushed the launch which would get vegetables from the hacienda of Yu Kee Tay, in the place known today as Sitio Toong, Magsaysay.  The ambush resulted to the sinking of the water vessel, the death of the machinist and the blinding of an eye of Captain Kimar, its commanding officer.

 

            After the war, Yu Kee Tay abandoned Hacienda Caguray.  In 1955, a group of farmers from Luzon who were looking for vacant land to till, petitioned then President Ramon Magsaysay that the hacienda be bought by the government, subdivided and distributed to members of their group.  In 1957, the president approved the purchase of the hacienda by Land Tenure Administration, its subdivision and its sale by installment to legitimate farmers. As a result of that historic event, the number of families living in the former hacienda increased, including that of the main barrio of Caguray.

 

            When Magsaysay was created as a municipality on April 3, 1969 Caguray was one of the barrios which was placed under its jurisdiction.

 

            The persons who served as teniente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Caguray were Pioquinto Dimailig, Pablo Decena, Deogracias Rea, Celestino Lualhati, Guillermo Salazar, Pedro Ladero, Modesta Lualhati, Porfirio Diamilig, Ramon Decena, Armando Prangue and Israel Decena.  The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Samuel Barrios.[34]

 

                   

3.  CALAWAG

 

 

            Residents of this barangay are not sure of the origin of the name of their community.  Some said that it came from the Tagalog word kalawang or rust, a corrosive substance the color of which is the same as the color of the water drawn from this place. Others believed that the name was taken from a kind of rootcrop, called calawag by natives of the province of Quezon,

 

            Like other areas in the southern portion of the island of Mindoro, the indigenous people belonging to the Ratagnon tribe were the early inhabitants of this place.  However, when World War II broke out, Sebastian Dylo, a Chinese merchant, used this area as grazing ground for his cattle.  The indigenous people transferred to the mountains. 

 

            After the war, some wealthy businessmen abandoned their landholdings in West Mindoro.  One of them was Sebastian Dylo.  They sold their land to the government and in turn it would be sold to the people.  Groups of farmers from the Visayan Region decided to purchase agricultural land in this southwestern portion of Occidental Mindoro and settled here.  Later on, Calawag became a sitio of the barrio of Sta. Teresa.

 

            Since the water drawn from the wells of Calawag was like rust in color, the second group of pioneers from the island of Ambil, municipality of Looc built their houses at the nearby sitio of Panaga.  The name of the sitio came from the term used to describe the offering of the indigenous people to their gods or anitos.

 

            In 1960, the residents of Calawag requested the municipal government of San Jose that their community be made as a barrio.  At the same time, they requested for the opening of a primary school in their place.  Their requests were approved.  That same year, the municipal government opened a primary school in this community and Calawag was registered as one of the barrios of San Jose.

 

            As years passed, the number of houses in Calawag and Panaga increased and the two communities were joined as one.  At present, the barrio site of Calawag could be found in an area which was formerly under the jurisdiction of Panaga.

 

            Meanwhile, the swamps which are parts of this barrio were converted into fishponds by well off families who are living in other places.  As a result, many fishermen who used to fish in the swamps were not allowed to fish in the fishponds.

 

            When Magsaysay was created as a municipality on April 3, 1969 Calawag was one of the barrios which was placed under its jurisdiction.  Gradually, roads were constructed and improved and the basic services were extended to the residents of this place.  PLAN International, a charitable institution helped in sending children of poor families in Calawag to school.  With the support of the said institution, the leaders of the barrio were able to construct school buildings and barangay hall.

 

            In 1994, due to the problem of potable water in Calawag and the adjacent barangay of Laste, the residents of the two barrios now called barangays, requested Congressman Jose Villaroza to construct a water system in their place. The said official was able to construct the project and the source of drinking water was from a spring at the hilly portion of nearby Brgy. Nicolas.       

 

            The persons who served as teniente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Calawag were Pedro Barrios, Gregorio Tabor, Cristituto Garzon, Isaias Monding and Domingo Praxidio.  The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Antonio Aldave.[35]

 

 

4.  GAPASAN

 

 

            This barangay was once an abandoned pastureland at the eastern portion of  Barrio Sta. Teresa, municipality of San Jose.  At the northern portion of this place, big trees could be found and in the south, thick cogon and other wild grasses.

 

            The indigenous people belonging to the Hanunoo tribe used to cut bamboos and cogon in this place.  They called this area as Nahugutang Kugon.

 

            In the early months of 1948, Mr. Epifnio Nicolas, called Reverend by the followers of the religious sect which he founded, frequently cut cogon in this place.  Since the indigenous people saw him here cutting cogon, almost daily, they gave this area another name and that was Gapasan, meaning the place where cogon are being cut.

 

            Mr. Nicolas saw that the area of the abandoned land was vast and it could be planted with palay.  He went home to Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija and convinced his relatives to settle in this portion of the municipality of San Jose.  Thirty families went with him when he returned to Occidental Mindoro.  They applied for homesteads, cleared the forests and converted it to productive land.

 

            Mr. Nicolas served as the leader of the group of farmers.  In 1950, he requested the Bureau of Lands to give them a barrio site.  His request was granted and the following year, the barrio site was surveyed and subdivided into three hundred residential lots, aside from the spaces which were set aside as school campus and barrio plaza. 

 

            In 1952, Mr. Nicolas was elected as the first teniente del barrio of Gapasan.  Under his leadership, the residents were able to build schoolhouses and chapel.  In recognition of the valuable service rendered by their first leader, members of the barrio council, approved the motion of Kagawad Lorenzo Bautista that the official name of their barrio would be Gapasan instead of Nahugutang Kugon.

 

            The indigenous people who frequently went to the barrio when this place was still an area full of bamboos and wild grasses lived on the mountains which are at the eastern portion of Gapasan.  Their community became a sitio of the barrio.  They called it as Malutok, a Hanunoo word meaning muddy.  Fr. Wim Leijendekker, an SVD missionary, installed in the said sitio a water system for potable water and helped the indigenous people uplift their living condition.

 

            On April 3, 1969 when Magsaysay was created as a municipality, Gapasan was one of the barrios which was placed under its jurisdiction.

 

            The residents of Gapasan decided to celebrate the fiesta of their barrio now called barangay, every 25th day of April.  Upon the suggestion of Fr. Pedro Medina, SVD San Marcos was selected as the patron saint of the barangay.

 

            Gapasan was one of the places where a group of people with different ideology became active.  The ambush by members of the New Peoples Army or NPA of the group of government soldiers led by Captain Victor Narciso occurred in this place.  The said military official died in that tragic incident.

 

            Aside from Mr. Epifanio Nicolas, the persons who served as teniente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Gapasan were Pedro Bautista, Solomon Navaluna, Agapito Bautista, Eufracio Bautista, Eusebio Bautista and Raul Tria.  The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Diosdado Navaluna.[36]

 

5.  LASTE

 

 

            A few years before the outbreak of World War II, the area where the barangay is located at present was a part of the wide pastureland of Sebastiasn Dylo.  However, through the persistent efforts of farmers who were looking for land to till, the pastureland was returned to the government and declared as public land.  As a result, families settled permanently in this place.  It included the indigenous people belonging to the tribe of Ratagnon.

 

            During the early days, mangrove trees abound at the river and swamps of this place.  From the sea, boats could enter the area through Bulalo River.  The said river got its name from the huge eyes of the crocodiles living here which according to settlers from Lubang were as big as bulalo or kneecap.

 

            One source of income of the first settlers of this community was the cutting of trees which they converted to raja or firewood.  Big sailboats or batel from Lubang were used to transport it to other places.  Before entering Bulalo River, boatmen load big stones to the sailboat to make it more stable.  In Tagalog dialect the stones were called lastre.  Upon reaching the portion of the river where firewood would be loaded to the big boat, the boatmen would unload the lastre.  The spot where the lastre were unloaded served as signpost of the boatmen who took time to go around the community and nearby areas.  When asked on where would they see each other on the date of the departure of the big boat, the boatmen would answer:  At the lastre.  After a few years, the word lastre became laste.  It was used as the name of the community.          

 

            Aside from the indigenous people, the first settlers of Laste were the Salde Family from Mindanao, Tañedo from Lubang and Delos Angeles from the Visayas.  As years passed, the number of families from Lubang increased and Laste became one of the sitios of Barrio Sta. Teresa.

 

            When World War II broke out, the inhabitants of Sitio Laste evacuated to their respective places of origin and to the mountains of Magsaysay.  They only returned to this sitio after four years.

 

            In 1950, due to the desire of the parents that their children would be able to study, they requested the provincial government that a primary school be opened in their place.  It was granted.  At first, the house of the leader of the barrio was used as a schoolhouse.  After two years, Jesus Tañedo and Pablo Insigne donated portion of their lands as school campus.  In 1960, the first school building was constructed in Laste and after seven years, the first graduation ceremony for Grade Six pupils was held in the elementary school of the barrio.

 

            In 1961, together with many communities in Occidental Mindoro, Laste was registered at the provincial capitol as a barrio of San Jose.

 

When Magsaysay was created as a municipality on April 3, 1969 Laste was one of the barrios which was placed under its jurisdiction.  Through the efforts of the barrio leaders, the support of the local and provincial officials, roads were constructed & improved and the basic services of the government reached the barrio which during martial law period was called as barangay.  With the financial assistance of PLAN International, leaders of Laste were able to construct a barangay hall.

 

            The persons who served as teniente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Laste were Jesus Tañedo, Antonio Tañedo, Rondeo Laudet, Beato dela Torre, Jesus Villeza, Ernest Zurita, Enoly Aguilar, Prudencio dela Torre, Marcial Bacani and Ednor Legazpi.  The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Yennie Tañedo.[37]

 

 

6.  LOURDES

 

 

            The name of the barangay came from the title of the Blessed Virgin who was selected as patron saint of the people who settled here in 1950:  Our Lady of Lourdes. The image of the saint was brought to this place by Mrs. Florentina Mangubat Chan.  Fr. Carlos Brendel, SVD then the parish priest of St. Joseph Parish-Pandurucan helped her get the image from his fellow priests in Manila.

 

            The original name of the barangay was Otuyan.  According to old residents of Lourdes, ir came from the couple Otuy & Iyan who with fellow Hanunoo tribe members, lived in this place for a long time.

 

            A few years before the outbreak of World War II, a group of families from Caguray transferred to this settlement.  The leader of the group was Mr. Nazario Dimailig who was appointed by the provincial government of Mindoro as the governor of the indigenous people.  The early settlers of this place transferred to the mountains when the damoong or lowlanders came.

 

            The settlers from Caguray and the next group of families who came from the Ilocos Region, Zambales, Panay and Mindanao cleared the forested plains of Lourdes and planted it with palay and corn.  They planted with fruit trees the hills around the sitio.  They placed the barrio site on higher grounds.

 

            Mr. Narciso Dimailig who was elected as the first teniente del barrio of Lourdes strived to open an elementary school in this place.  At first, classes were up to Garde IV only but due to the efforts of the succeeding barrio leaders and the increase in enrolment, classes reached up to Grade VI.

 

            The population of the barrio grew.  Settlers from the Bicol Region settled on the hills near the barrio.  At present, the community of the Bicolanos is already a sitio of Lourdes and is called Sto. Cristo.

 

            In 1969, when Magsaysay was separated from San Jose and created as another municipality, Lourdes was one of the barrios which was placed under its jurisdiction.  In the election held after the creation of the new town, Mr. Nazario Dimailig was entrusted by the people to serve as their first vice mayor.

 

            The residents of Lourdes cooperated with the work of the missionary priest who took care of their spiritual welfare.  Due to their cooperation, Fr. George Koschinski, SVD constructed a concrete chapel in the barrio during the latter part of 1960’s.  The said missionary also opened a kindergarten in the barrio.         

 

            Since Lourdes was a secluded place surrounded with mountains, during the time of President Marcos this settlement was frequently visited by a group of people with a different ideology.  Government soldiers also visited this place, thus, the residents of the barrio now called a barangay feared that one day a bloody encounter between the two groups would occur.  Luckily what they feared did not happen.

 

            The farmers on the barrio strived to build an irrigation sustem for their farm.  Through cooperative work or bayanihan, they succeeded in irrigating the ricefields which are located in the lowland.

 

            The persons who strived to improve their barangay and served as teniente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Lourdes were Nazario Dimailig, Eufemio Fernandez, Eusebio Rozon, Damaso Guarin, Leoncio Chan, Agripino Serrano, Teofilo Festin, Paulino Serrano, Jose Serrano, and Alejandro Eje.  The present leader of the barangay  who is trying to improve the living condition of the people of Lourdes is Brgy. Captain Rogelio Mangubat.[38] 

 

 

7.  NICOLAS

 

 

            Before the outbreak of World War II, in the area where Brgy. Nicolas is located at present, a small community of the indigenous people could be found.  The settlement was called Madlingin, the name of a Mangyan couple who lived there.  Although there were patches of kaingin in the area, a great part of it was a forest.

 

            A few years after the war, the families of Saulong, Roldan and Jover from the Visayan Region settled in this place.  They cleared the forests and converted it into cornfields and ricefields.

 

            Meanwhile, in a sitio near Madlingin, the families of Aldave, Insigne, Poblete, Tañeca and Villaflores from the island of Lubang came to settle permanently.  Aside from cultivating riceland, they took care of domestic animals, mostly baby carabaos which in the Tagalog dialect are called bulo.  Later on, the name of their sitio became Bulo.

 

            In 1960, Mr. Epifanio Nicolas, the acknowledged founder of Brgy. Gapasan lived in Bulo.  He put up a pastureland on a piece of land which he had bought from the government, in the nearby sitio of Madlingin.

 

            In 1965, the residents of Bulo requested the municipal government of San Jose that an elementary school be opened in their sitio.  Since there was no vacant lot in the sitio, the school campus was placed in Madlingin on the land donated by Mr. Nicolas.  That same year, the people requested that the municipal officials of San Jose create Bulo as a barrio.  The request was granted but no landowner in the sitio wanted to donate a portion of their ricefield as barrio site. 

 

            When Mr. Nicolas heard about the problem, he contacted Congressman Pedro Medalla, Sr., when the latter visited the newly created municipality of Magsaysay in 1969.  He told the representative that he is willing to donate his seven hectare land in Madlingin as barrio site of Bulo.  Congressman Medalla accepted the donation, thus, the barrio site of Bulo was placed in Madlingin.  When Bulo was registered as a barrio, its official name became Nicolas.

 

            Gradually, the number of families who built houses in Madlingin increased.  The barrio is known today as Barangay Nicolas.  The tribe of Ratagnon who lived there transferred to the mountains.

 

            Since Nicolas is near the mountains, this barangay was frequently visited by groups of people with a different ideology, specially during the martial law period.  The teachers who were assigned here lived in anxiety.  Luckily, no bloody encounter between the government soldiers and the armed leftist group occurred in this place.

 

            To solve the probem of the residents of Brgys. Laste & Calawag concerning potable water, ex-Congressman Jose Villaroza installed a water system and the source of drinking water is Sitio Bukal of Brgy. Nicolas.  Aside from the said project, the aforementioned representative hastened the construction of the national road connecting the two Mindoro provinces which passed through Brgy. Nicolas.

 

            The charitable institution PLAN International and the Catholic Church helped in  forming a cooperative in the barangay.  PLAN also extended financial assistance in the construction of a concrete stage and barangay hall.

 

            The persons who served as teniente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Nicolas were Isidro Saulong, Epifanio Nicolas, Pedro Buenaventura, Jerry Lualhati and Tomas Enero, Sr.  The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Gregorio Billones, Sr.[39]       

 

 

 

 

 

8.  PACLOLO

 

 

            The name of the barangay was given by the indigenous people belonging to the Hanunoo tribe who were the first settlers of this place.  The meaning of the word in their dialect could not be ascertained by the tribe members.  They believed that the word has an important meaning a very long time ago, that’s why their ancestors used it in naming a river near their settlement.   

 

            Before the outbreak of World War II, the families of Gauran, Sanglitan and Moises from the Visayan Region arrived and settled in this place.  They cleared the forest which was not occupied by the indigenous people and converted it into riceland.  They befriended Tokak, a Hanunoo farmer, and his relatives in the nearby sitio of Emok.  They also befriended the family of Dagyan in another nearby sitio of Canabang which is popularly known at present as Lablabog.

 

            When World War II broke out, the greater portion of Paclolo was still a forest.  Members of the guerrilla movement hid here.  With the help of the indigenous people, they have learned how to survive in the forests and mountains.

 

            Five years after the war or in 1949, ex-President Elpidio Quirino published in the newspapers that public lands in Mindoro and Mindanao are now open to people who would like to cultivate it.  That same year, the families of Alvaro & Madrid from Nueva Ecija and Pangasinan, together with the Montilla Family from the Visayan Region, came to Paclolo and applied for homesteads.  

 

            The number of settlers in Paclolo increased.  In 1950, they requested the municipal council of San Jose that their sitio be created as a barrio.  When it was granted, the barrio folks requested again that an elementary school be opened for their children and the offspring of the indigenous people.

 

            When the national government constructed the first national road connecting the provinces of Occidental & Oriental Mindoro, during the term of office of President Diosdado Macapagal, it passed through the barrio of Paclolo.  The project gave employment opportunities to the residents of this place.  When the dam of the irrigation system was constructed in Caguray River, the natural boundary between the barrios of Paclolo and Purnaga, during the incumbency of President Ferdinand Marcos, many able bodied men of Paclolo also worked there.  The irrigation system benefited not only  Paclolo & Purnaga but also other barangays of the municipality of Magsaysay.

 

            In 1988, the government put up an electric power plant in a sito of Paclolo.  The generator of the said plant used wood as fuel.  However, the government realized that the operation of the power plant could not be sustained when after only two weeks, almost all of the trees around the sitio were cut and used as fuel.  The power plant was closed and the project was abandoned.

 

            Through the initiative and hard work of the barangay officials and inhabitants, including the indigenous people, Paclolo at present has a health center, barangay hall, concrete stage and a complete elementary school.  In addition, a concrete fence was constructed around the barangay plaza.      

 

            The persons who served as teniente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Paclolo were Onofre Madrid, Juan Alvaro, Lutgardo Cabrera, Dominador Sanglitan, Alfredo Gonzales, Bonifacio Alvaro, Glicerio Gaspar, Sujito Mina, Esperidion Montilla and Apolonio Rivera.  The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Edgardo Eliscupidez.[40]

 

 

9.  POBLACION

              

 

            The site where Poblacion, Magsaysay is located at present was once a part of Hacienda Caguray.  The hacienda was owned by Yu Kee Tay of Yutivo & Sons Corporation.  This place was called Bagaas.  After World War II, the hacienda was abandoned by its owners.  Four groups of petitioners, led by Ex-Governor Mariano Tajonera, Ex-Mayor Isabelo Abeleda, Sr., Ex-Judge Leandro Reyes and a certain Mr. Mariano requested the president of the Philippines that the abandoned land be bought by the government and distributed to the people.  The members of the four groups of petitioners did not succeed in acquiring the vast tract of land.

 

            In 1955, despite the failure of the four groups of petitioners to acquire the land, Mr. Urbano Olivares, together with his relatives, friends and acquaintances also filed a petition requesting the president of the country that Hacienda Caguray be subdivided and distributed to them.  He personally talked with President Ramon Magsaysay.  After many months of seemingly discouraging results, difficulties of travel, weeks spent in negotiating with the authorities and almost dried up financial resources, Mr. Olivares succeeded in having the hacienda released and distributed to the farmers through the Land Tenure Administration or LTA. 

 

            President Magsaysay signed the executive order distributing the land to the farmers on March 15, 1957.  His successor, President Carlos Garcia personally witnessed the transfer of the management of Hacienda Caguray from the LTA to OLIMA Farmers Association in September, 1957.  The historic event took place in the town hall of San Jose.  To show their profound gratitude to the chief executive who helped them, members of OLIMA Farmers Association, named the portion of the hacienda formerly known as Bagaas, as Magsaysay.

 

            Meanwhile, the number of residents at the other side of Caguray River, where the agricultural land is located, increased.  They constructed a structure made of cogon, bamboos and wood which would be used as classrooms of their children.  At the same time, under the leadership of Mr. Cenon Facunla, the parents requested the government that the materials from the abandoned warehouse of the Chinese merchant be used in building classrooms.  When their request was granted, through cooperative effort or bayanihan, they were able to construct at the site where the town center is located today, a schoolbuilding made of strong materials.  Teachers were assigned in this place by then San Jose Mayor Felix Gabriel.  The said mayor constructed additional buildings and as a result, the school at the other side of Caguray River was transferred to the present location of Magsaysay Central School.

 

            In 1962, the residents of Magsaysay requested the municipal government of San Jose that their community be created as a barrio.  Their request was granted.  In the first election held in the new barrio, Mr. Cenon Facunla was elected as the first teniente del barrio.

 

            Through the efforts of Teniente del Barrio Facunla and the support of Congressman Pedro Medalla, Sr., Magsaysay Barangay High School was established in 1965.  It was elevated to the status of a municipal high school in 1972 and a national high school in 1993.

 

            On April 3, 1969 Magsaysay was separated from San Jose and created as another municipality.  The sitio formerly known as Bagaas became the poblacion of the new town.

 

            Aside from Mr. Facunla, the persons who served as teniente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Poblacion were Santiago Reyes, Rafaek Kirio, Manuel Galindo, Maximo Quilit and Rudy Ramos.  The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Julio Moralla.[41]   

 

 

10.  PURNAGA

 

 

            A group of indigenous people belonging to the Hanunoo tribe were the first settlers of this place.  Narra trees abound here during that time, thus, the early settlers called their settlement Poro Naga, meaning a forest of narra. 

 

            The indigenous people converted the nearby forested hills into kaingin where they planted corn, palay and fruit trees.  However, when a group of farmers composed of the families of Norella, Bagay and Lizada came to settle in Poro Naga, the indigenous people transferred their huts to the kaingin on the hills.

 

            When World War II broke out, the mountains and forests of Poro Naga served as hiding places for members of the guerrilla movement and the individuals who avoided contact with Japanese soldiers.   Unfortunately, the treacherous killing on August 15, 1943 of Captain Vincent Fortune, a brave guerrilla leader, by a member of another group who opposed his leadership, happened in Nalwak, a sitio of Purnaga today. 

 

            After the war, many families who were searching for land to till flocked to this place.  The newcomers were composed of four groups; Bisaya, Ilocano, Tagalog and from Pangasinan.

 

            In 1954, the residents of Poro Naga requested the municipal government of San Jose that their place be created as a barrio.  The request was granted.  The residents agreed that since there are four groups of settlers in their barrio, its official name would be Purnaga.

 

            Through the efforts of the inhabitants and the barrio leaders, an elementary school was opened in Purnaga.  Since there was a continuous increase in the number of graduates in the elementary school of this place, in 2001, the principal of Magsaysay National High School decided to open here an extension class for first year students.  The enrolment grew that at present there are classes for first year up to fourth year students in Pyrnaga. 

 

            When Magsaysay was separated from San Jose and created as another municipality, in 1969, Purnaga was one of the barrios which was placed under its jurisdiction.  The local officials and the administrator of National Irrigation Administration or NIA constructed a road from Poblacion, Magsaysay up to this barangay.

 

            When NIA implemented the irrigation system project in Magsaysay in 1982, a spillway type irrigation dam was constructed in one part of Caguray which is between Brgy. Purnaga and Paclolo.  As part of the project, the construction of irrigation canals in the different barangays of Magsaysay followed.  The total length of the irrigation canal constructed by NIA in this municipality is forty five kilometers. 

 

The hills and mountains of Purnaga were chosen as sites of the reforestation project of the Department of Environment & Natural Resources or DENR.  The employees of the said government agency requested the assistance of the indigenous people in taking care of the remaining forest in the area.  However, for unkbown reasons, the implementation of the said project was stopped.   

 

            The persons who served as teniente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of DENR were Pedro Agmata, Angel Lizada, Gregorio Macadaeg, Marcelino Torres, Inocencio Guarin, Geronimo Panugao, Gerardo Maliwat, Emeterio Torres, Emiliano Layco and Armando Decena, Sr.  the leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Loreto Nicolas.[42]   

 

 

           

11.  STA. TERESA

 

 

            The name of this community came from the patron saint of its inhabitants, Sta. Teresa de Avila.  According to pioneers of this place, Sta. Teresa was created as a barrio in 1901.

 

            Before the occupation of the Spaniards of Mindoro, the settlers of Sta. Teresa were indigenous people belonging to the tribe of Ratagnon.

            In 1901, Captain Robert Offley, the American army officer who was appointed as governor of Mindoro established a community of Ratagnon in Sta. Teresa.  He called the community as Lalawigan and he appointed two officials who would manage the place.  He also built a school for the Ratagnon.  However, after a few years the community was dissolved for its residents, being free loving indigenous people, transferred to other places.  The once thriving community of the Ratagnon is now called Sitio Cagarin by the inhabitants of Sta. Teresa.

 

            After many years, the families of Casidsid, Endencia, Aguilar and Barrios from the nearby island of Iling transferred to this place.  From the island of Lubang,  Tria  family arrived.

 

            In his report to his superior, Bishop Alfredo Verzosa of Lipa, Batangas, Fr. Julian Duval chaplain of Mindoro Sugar Company and acting parish priest of St. Joseph Parish-Central, narrated his visit to Sta. Teresa on January 5, 1920.  He mentioned that there were twelve houses in the barrio and a chapel made of wood.

 

            Fr. Duval also reported that Sta. Teresa was also visited by Fr. Javier Sesma, the missionary priest assigned in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro.  However, the last visit of Fr. Javier occurred, five years before the visit of Fr. Duval to this place.

 

            When World War II broke out, Sta. Teresa was one of the barrios which was visited by Japanese soldiers.  This barrio served as the Japanese interrogation center of nearby sitio leaders who were asked concerning the identity and whereabouts of members of the guerrilla movement.  The zoning and possible torturing of some men in this barrio almost happened.  It was only prevented by the sudden arrival of tha U.S. led Allied Forces which liberated the municipality of San Jose from Japanese occupation on December 15, 1944.

 

            After the war, hundreds of families looking for land to cultivate, flocked to the southwestern part of Occidental Mindoro.  Many sitios emerged in Sta. Teresa.  Some of those sitios were Laste, Sibalat, Calawag, Nicolas and Gapasan which later on were created as barrios.

 

            The engineers of the Bureau of Mines discovered that  rich deposits of limestone, the raw material for manufacturing cement exist in the mountains of Sta. Teresa.  A mining company started to build a wharf and other structures for its mining operation during the latter part of Decade Sixties but for an unknown reason, the project was stopped.

 

            In their desire that the youth of this barrio could acquire secondary education, the parents and teachers of Sta. Teresa petitioned the authorities of the education department that a barrio high school be opened in their community.  The petition was approved and in 1968, Sta. Teresa Barrio High School opened a class for first year students.  Its first administrator was Mr. Reynaldo Agnas.  Unfortunately, in 1970 due to lack of funds the school was closed.  In 1976, in response to the request of the parents and the representations made by Mrs. Ofelia Soberano and Mrs. Yolanda Tividad, the high school was reopened.  Under the management of Mrs. Yolanda Tividad, the enrolment of the school increased and in 1993 it became Sta. Teresa National High School.

 

            The persons who served as teniente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Sta. Teresa were Cosme Tria, Alejandro Aguilar, Lucas Endencia, Carlos Tividad, Agustin Tividad, Servando Sy, Felix dela Cruz, Isidro Roldan and Andran Dizon.  The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Jesus Serna, Sr.[43]        

 

 

12.  SIBALAT

 

 

            Based on the story of the old folks in the barrio, during the early days in the place where Sibalat is located at present, there lived a beautiful maiden with a big birthmark on her face.  The birthmark was prominent that instead of calling the maiden by her name, the people would refer to her in the Tagalog dialect as Si Balat. 

 

Every morning, the maiden would walk along the seashore.  Whenever fishermen saw her approaching they would say:  Si Balat is coming!  Here comes Si Balat!  These words were frequently heard that later on, the place where the maiden lived was called Sibalat.

 

The group of people who first settled in this place were composed of the family of Cipres from Sta. Teresa and the families of Zabanal, Serna and Prangue from Palawan.  Fishing and farming were their means of livelihood.  They cleared this area from trees and turned it into cornfields and ricefields. They converted into fishponds the swamps found here.

 

Before the outbreak of World War II, Sibalat was already a sitio of Sta. Teresa.  This sitio has no school, thus, the pupils have to walk the two kilometer distance from their houses to Sta. Teresa to be able to study.  To reach San Jose, the people rode on sailboats. 

 

During World War II, many inhabitants of Sibalat evacuated to the islands of Iling and Panay.  To avoid the Japanese soldiers, those who remained in the sitio, hid on the nearby mountains.

After the war, those who evacuated to other places returned to the sitio.  The Ilocanos and Tagalogs from Luzon also arrived.  Gradually, the number of families in the sitio increased.  The leaders of Sibalat felt that their place should be separated from Sta. Teresa and created as another barrio.  It was realized in the middle part of Decade Sixties.     

 

            When Magsaysay became another municipality, Sibalat was one of the barrios which was placed under its jurisdiction.

 

            In 1969, the inhabitants of Sibalat, led by Mr. Filoteo Barrios requested the municipal government of Magsaysay to help them acquire a barrio site.  Their request was granted and during the first week of January, upon the order of President Ferdinand Marcos, Mr. Filoteo Barrios was paid two thousand pesos for the two hectare land which he sold to the government as barrio site of Sibalat.  Sixty six residential lots were surveyed for the families who stayed at the center of the barrio.  One half hectare was set aside as campus of the elementary school.  Lots were also segregated for the plaza and the chapel.

 

            Progress came gradually to Sibalat.  Charitable institutions helped the leaders of the barrio like PLAN International which extended financial assistance for the construction of the barrio hall now called barangay hall.  Through the efforts of the residents and the assistance of the government, the barangay captain was able to build a day care center, repair the stage and construct a concrete fence around the plaza. 

 

            On January 10, 1997 under the leadership of Brgy. Captain Jesus Baco, the residents of Sibalat celebrated the first barangay day of their place.  The said occasion which commemorated the foundation day of Sibalat was declared by the barangay council as an annual celebration.

 

            The persons who served as tenuente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Sibalat were Filoteo Barrios, Zenecio Barrios, and Fernando Cipres.  The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Jesus Baco.[44]

      



ENDNOTES/SOURCES OF INFORMATION:

 

[1] Antoon Postma, Historical Data on the Greater San Jose Parish of Occidental Mindoro, 1983, p. 1

[2] Volker Schult, A Social History of the Philippine Island in the 20th Century, 1991, p. 76

[3] A. Postma, Historical Data ….Occidental Mindoro, 1993, p. 16

[4] Dept. of Education, Culture & Sports, 1950, p. 20 Historical Data of Occidental Mindoro, 1950, p. 20

[5] Interview with Retired Sgt. Ramon Decena, Sept. 8, 1997

[6] A. Postma, San Jose Central A.D. 1920 as described by Padre Julian Duval, 1993, p. 354

[7] Interview with Sotero Montajes, October 4, 1997

[8] Interview with Ex-Brgy. Capt. Angelo delos Santos, August 5, 1997

[9] Interview with Brgy. Kag. Modesta Lualhati, Sept. 8, 1997

[10] Interview with Ex-Brgy. Capt. Beato dela Torre, July 5, 1997

[11] A. Schult, Mindoro: A Social History …. 20th Century, 1991, p. 115

[12] Rodolfo Acebes, The Mindoro Guardian Special Edition, 1994, p. 29

[13] Interview with Retired Sgt. Ramon Decena, Sept. 8, 1997

[14] Interview with Rex Gonzales, Bureau of Fisheries & Aquatic Resoyrces-San Jose, Oct. 10, 1997

[15] Interview with Mr. Urbano Olivares, July 20, 1997

[16] Magsaysay Town Fiesta Souvenir Program, 1996, p. 10

[17] Interview with Ex-SB Kag. Cenon Facunla, June 6, 1997

[18] Ellen Mapili, History of Magsaysay National High School, 1994, p. 2

[19] Interview with Mrs. Yolanda Tividad, June 15, 1997

[20] Interview with Ex-SB Kag. Magno Sy, June 10, 1997

[21] Interview with Ex-SB Kag. Cenon Facunla, June 6, 1997

[22] National Statistics Office: 1970 Census of Population & Its Economic Activities, p. 1

[23] Interview with Brgy. Capt. Israel Decena, September 8, 1997

[24] Magsaysay Municipal Planning & Development Office (MPDO) Report, 1978, p. 2

[25] Interview with Mr. Sotero Montajes, September 8, 1997

[26] Magsaysay MPDO Report, 1998, p. 4

[27] Interview with Brgy. Capt. Israel Decena, Sept. 8, 1997

[28] P/Supt. Remy Santiago Macaspac, Historical Background of Occidental Mindoro Provincial

    Police Office, 1997, p. 4

[29] Interview with Ex-SB Kag. Magno Sy, June 10, 1997

[30] Interview with Brgy. Capt. Israel Decena, June 18, 1997

[31] Interview with Mrs. Luzviminda dela Cruz, June 18, 1997

[32] Interview with Brgy. Kag. Modesta Lualhati, Sept. 8, 1997

 

[33] Information supplied by Brgy. Kagawad Eufemia Cesar & Ex-Brg. Captain Angelo delos Santos

[34] Interview with Retired Sgt. Ramon Decena & Brgy. Captain Israel Decena

[35] Interview with Brgy. Capt. Antonio Aldave & Luzviminda Nicolas dela Cruz

[36] Information supplied by Geraldine Gonzales

[37] Interview with Ex-Brgy. Captain Beato dela Torre & Ms. Nora Nuestro-Orsos

[38] Interview with Brgy. Captain Rogelio Nicolas

[39] Interview with Luzviminda Nicolas dela Cruz

[40] Information supplied by Brgy. Capt. Esperidion Montilla & Brgy. Sec. Elmer Montilla

[41] Interview with Urbano Olivarea, Sr., and Ex-SB Kag. Cenon Facunla

[42] Information supplied by Brgy. Capt. Armando Decena, Sr., Gregorio Macadaeg

    & Brgy. Sec. Ana Luisa Ganal

[43] Interview with Orly Orsos

[44] Information supplied by Brgy. Capt. Jesus Baco, Brgy. Kag. Eprila Villas & Eufemia Bandiola

 

 

REFERENCES

 

 

A.  Published Materials

 

     1.  Dept. of Education Culture & Sports

          1950:  Historical Data of Occidental Mindoro

     2.  National Statistics Office

          1995 Census of Population

     3.  Postma, Antoon

          1993:  San Jose Central A.D. 1920, as Described by Fr. Julian Duval

     4.  Schult, Volker

          1991:  Mindoro, A Social History of the Phil. Island in the 20th Century

 

B.  Unpublished Materials

 

      1.  Magsaysay Mun. Planning & Development Office

           1978:  Magsaysay MPDO Report

      2.  Postma, Antoon

           1983:  Historical Data on the Greater San Jose Parish of Occ. Mindoro

      3.  P/Supt. Remy Santiago Macaspac

           1997:  Historical Background of Occ. Mindoro Provincial Police Office

 

C.  Resource Persons

 

      1.  Gov. Josephine Ramirez-Sato                        13.  Brgy. Kagawad Eprila Villas 

      2.  Ex-SB Kagawad Cenon Facunla                     14.  Brgy. Sec. Elmer Montilla

      3.  Ex-SB Kagawad Magno Sy                             15.  Brgy. Sec. Ana Luisa Ganal

      4.  Brgy. Captain Israel Decena                           16.  Ex-PC Sgt. Ramon Decena

      5.  Brgy. Captain Armando Decena, Sr.        17.  Hanunoo Elder Sotero Montajes

      6.  Brgy. Captain Jesus Baco                                  18.  Mr. Urbano Olivares

      7.  Brgy. Captain Antonio Aldave                        19.  Ms. Noralyn Nuestro-Orsos

      8.  Brgy. Captain Rogelio Mangubat                   20.  Ms.  Luzviminda dela Cruz

      9.  Brgy. Captain Esperidion Montilla                 21.  Ms. Geraldine Gonzales

    10.  Ex-Brgy. Capt. Angelo delos Santos              22.  Mr.  Gregorio Macadaeg

    11.  Ex-Brgy. Capt. Beato dela Rorre                    23.  Mr. Orly Orsos

    12.  Brgy. Kagawad Modesta Lualhati                  24.  Ms.  Eufemia Bandiola