histroysablayan Link to Occ Mindoro History Homepage
HISTORY of the TOWN of SABLAYAN
By Rudy Candelario
I – DURING THE SPANISH REGIME
The place which is a part of Sablayan at present where people first settled prior to the coming of the Spaniards to the Philippines was Dongon, a coastal village named after a kind of hardwood which grew in this area. In an old map drawn by Fr. Murillo Velarde, this village was indicated in the place where Brgy. San Nicolas is located at present.[i]
It was stated in one document stored in the archives of the Order of Augustinian Recollects, researched by Dutch researcher Antoon Postma, that in 1665, a group of adults from this village hiked towards Naujan to receive the Sacrament of Baptism from a Jesuit priest doing mission work there.
In 1666, in a report of the Jesuit priest to the head of his congregation, it was stated that they visited Dongon during the last leg of their five month mission work around Mindoro.
In 1670, the parish priest of Baco who was a Recollect missionary, reported that he was able to baptize sixty two (62) Mangyans in Dongon. In 1749, based also on the report of a missionary, Dongon appeared to be the biggest village in the whole island of Mindoro in terms of population, since the total number of inhabitants in this place was six hundred ninety five (695), bigger than the population of Bongabong which was six hundred forty five (645), Calapan, five hundred sixty five (565) and Naujan, four hundred (400).[ii]
It was only in 1733 when Sablayan was mentioned in the old documents of the Spaniards. It was stated in the report of a missionary that many people from Panay settled in this place which could be found north of Dongon. To answer their spiritual needs, a temporary convent and church were built in that place by the Order of Augustinian Recollects.
When Fr. Jose dela Concepcion was assigned in Dongon in 1750, he convinced the villagers to build a stone fort in order that they could defend themselves against the Moro pirates. However, he was not able to convince the people on the importance of the project. As a result, it was the head of the Order of the Augustinian Recollects who requested the Spanish government to construct a fort in Dongon. No action was taken by the government on the request.
In 1752, it was reported that a Spanish missionary, Fr. Joseph dela Asuncion, died of tabardillo or high fever in Dongon.
In 1754, month of August, great damage was brought by the pirates to Dongon. A group of them aboard six bancas attacked this small village. They burned the church after divesting it of its books and ornaments made of silver. They cut off the head and arms of the statues of the saints, destroyed the ready to harvest palay in the fields, mercilessly killed the forty five (45) men and women and captured the ninety eight (98) able bodied men.[iii]
In 1768, it was mentioned in a report that a certain Jose de San Antonio was able to construct a fort in Dongon. The exact place where the fort was constructed could not be determined because even its ruins could not be found in San Nicolas, the barangay existing now at the place where Dongon was located in the past.
From more than six hundred inhabitants, the population of Dongon decreased to ninety eight (98) in 1791 due to the attacks of pirates. After four years, it increased by thirteen (13) only. It was reported that in 1795, the total number of inhabitants in this village reached one hundred eleven (111).
II – DONGON BECAME THE CENTER OF THE GOVERNMENT
IN WEST MINDORO
In 1800, the Corregidor or head of the island of Mindoro based in Calapan, proposed that Dongon be made as the residence of a Comandante Subalterno who would manage the whole West Mindoro or the villages from Iling up to Calavite. The said comandante was second only to the corregidor in power and placed under him were a sergeant, two corporals and twelve soldiers.
In 1802, it was mentioned that Diego Martinez, the Teniente Corregidor of West Mindoro was residing in Dongon. With his soldiers, he attacked the Moro pirates in their hideouts on the mountains. He ordered the construction of bancas which they used in pursuing the pirates in Amnay River.
Perhaps due to their frequent crossing of the rivers, hardships encountered in traversing the forests and mountains and the dreaded malaria disease, the soldiers of Teniente Corregidor Martinez died after a few years. The young soldiers who were appointed as replacements refused to be assigned in Dongon for fear that they would also die. When a few of them were forced to go to Dongon they decided to resign from military service.
In 1802, Corregidor Nicolas de Torres requested the head of the Spanish government in the Philippines to send persons with no permanent jobs to Dongon in order that its number of inhabitants would increase.
The following year, Diego Martinez, who during that time was in charge of men of the navy in West Mindoro, requested Corregidor de Torres that one of the falua or sea vessel of the Spaniards be stationed in Dongon in order that it could be used to visit the newly created pueblo of Mamburao, including the villages of Iling and Mangarin. Corregidor de Torres indorsed the request to the Governor General of the Philippines and it was approved.
That same year, Corregidor Torres visited Dongon and assigned there a troop of marines under the command of a captain. He ordered them to go up the mountains, force the Mangyans to come down and settle permanently in Dongon. After three days the marines returned empty handed.
In 1806, Corregidor Torres reported that the climate in Dongon was not favorable to good health that’s why many soldiers died there, including a teniente corregidor. He added that the soldiers refused to be assigned there and when forced they decoded to resign from military service.
The following year, Corregidor de Torres recommended to the national government the appointment of Blas Ortiz as teniente corregidor of West Mindoro. The government approved the recommendation but Ortiz did not accept the position stating that his poor health could not withstand the unfavorable climate of Dongon. With the refusal of Ortiz, Corregidor de Torres recommended Joseph de Silva. The governor general approved the recommendation.
That same year, de Torres recommended that Mansalay be made as the residence of the teniente corregidor instead of Dongon. He reasoned out that the climate in Dongon was unhealthy for a person sick of calenturas or malaria. He added that the few inhabitants of Dongon often got sick.[iv]
III – DONGON DURING THE EARLY PART OF THE 19TH CENTURY
It was mentioned in a Spanish document that Gobernadorcillo Francisco Magluay, the leader whose rank is similar to a barangay captain at present, requested the Governor General to send women who would become the wives of the men in Dongon. He explained that since there were more women than men in Boac, Marinduque the excess women should be sent to Dongon in order that they would become useful to God and the King.
The Governor General rejected the request that the excess women in Boac, Marinduque be forced to live in Dongon in order that the men in the last mentioned village would have wives. He explained that a woman would not want to marry that way. Instead the government hinted that it would favor the request if the prostitutes in Tondo and women with criminal records would be sent to Dongon in exchange for the removal of their responsibility before the law. It was not mentioned in the document if such kind of request was made by the gobernadorcillo and granted by the governor general.
On April 21, 1812 the gobernadorcillo justicia of Dongon reported to Corregidor de Torres that pirates who destroyed the coastal village in the island of Semirara passed West Mindoro aboard nine vintas. De Torres ordered the soldiers of the Spanish Navy to search for the pirates who might be hiding in the rivers at the western part of the island.
That same year, Juan Cobarrubias, the teniente corregidor of Dongon died. He was succeeded by Jose de Silva.
In 1813, Agustin Tilano of Dongon organized a group of bandits. They robbed and sowed extreme fear to the residents of the village. As a result, many villagers transferred to other places.
Teniente Corregidor de Silva immediately led his soldiers in hunting Tilano and members of his group. After months of tracking down the chief bandit, they caught him.
In 1814, when the gobernadorcillo of Dongon died, its inhabitants started to transfer to Sablayan. The new corregidor of Mindoro, Joseph Manuel Gruet, did not like what happened. He ordered the burning of the houses in Sablayan and the arrest of the officials of Dongon for they had been lax towards the people. However, the order of Corregidor Gruet was not carried out.
On August 28, 1815 Corregidor Gruet reported through the Spanish authorities in Manila his visit in Dongon, due to the escape of Tilano and his fellow bandits. The corregidor sent messages to the leaders of the different communities and he left in Dongon seven soldiers led by a sergeant. It was not reported if Tilano and the other bandits were recaptured.[v]
IV - THE DISAPPEARANCE OF DONGON AND THE APPEARANCE
OF THE VILLAGE OF SABLAYAN
The following years, the inhabitants of Dongon left the place, gradually, due to their extreme fear of the Moro pirates, the bandits and the dreaded malaria disease. This place was last mentioned on a map drawn in 1829 where the following words were written -- a visita of Calapan no longer inhabited by people.[vi]
With the disappearance of Dongon, the village of Sablayan grew. According to a story of the old pioneers of this place, their big sailboat or batel from Panay was about to enter the river of Sablayan when they saw the big waves breaking over the rocks on the shore. They likened the white waves on the rocks to white clothes being hung on a clothesline. Since in their dialect, the act of hanging clothes is sablay and the place where clothes are being hung is called sablayan, they named the village which they established in this area as Sablayan.[vii]
Years later, well-off individuals from Cavite who were looking for vacant agricultural lands and grassy areas where they could raise cattle arrived in Sablayan. Two of them were Pedro Fernandez and Juan Daño. They two bought agricultural estates and pasturelands. The herds of cattle raised by them multiplied in number that they employed workers from Cavite and Palawan. Unfortunately, in 1904, an epidemic of animal disease broke out in Mindoro and hundreds of their cattle died. Discouraged by what happened, Pedro Fernandez and Juan Daño sold portions of their estates to the families of Aguinaldo and Leviste, respectively.
In 1832, the missionary friar who was assigned in Sablayan requested the head of the Spanish government that the people of this place be exempted from paying taxes within a period of two to three years because they were building a church, convent and fort. The request might have been granted for the cannon of the fort could still be found on the hill where it was installed and the old Spanish church which was repaired by the Catholic faithful is still being used at present.
The names of some leaders or cabeza de barangay of Sablayan were mentioned in a written complaint of the people against a priest which was submitted to the government authorities. They were Josef Leonardo, Agustin del Rosario, Eusebio de Leon, Leocario Manuel, Ignacio Carpio, Juan Salvador, Vicente Salvador, Juan Solit, Estanislao dela Cruz and Remigio Valenciano.[viii]
Based on the researches of Antoon Postma, some of the Spanish friars who were assigned in Sablayan were Fr. Fulgencio Blanco de San Jose, Fr. Pedro Muro de San Agustin, Fr. Domingo Cabrejas del Santo Cristo dela Columna and Fr. Pedro de San Vicente. It was also mentioned that in 1896, the bells for the church of Sablayan were brought there by Fr. Javier Sesma, an energetic missionary assigned in Naujan who was always going around the island of Mindoro.
V – GEN. EMILIO AGUINALDO TRADING WITH THE PEOPLE OF SABLAYAN
In his autobiography, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo wrote that he traded with the people in the different communities of Mindoro, including the inhabitants of Sablayan. In one portion, here is the author’s translation of what the general originally wrote in Tagalog:
“We thought of buying a big sailboat weighing ten tons in Malabon, Tambobong which during that time was a part of Manila. Together with
my two elder brothers, Benigno and Crispulo, we sailed towards Paluan,
Mindoro. When we arrived in Sablayan, my brother Benigno was left
behind to buy ‘nigeng pandampol,’ rattan and ‘diliman’ which were used
in sea corrals and beeswax used as candles for lighting the statues of
saints in the towns.”[ix]
However, the general mentioned sadly that as a result of their trade with the people of Mindoro, one of his brothers got sick. Written below was the author’s translation in English of what the general originally wrote in Tagalog:
“Afterwards we returned to Sablayan and here we fully loaded the
sailboat with ‘nige, diliman’ and beeswax. Although this occupation
could be considered as a lucrative one, we have to stay there for
more than a month. Its so sad to say that we brought back our brother
Benigno seriously afflicted with malaria which caused his death in
Pilar, Bataan, his wife Esperanza and his children by his side.”[x]
VI – REVOLT OF THE FILIPINOS AGAINST THE SPANIARDS
Due to his business dealings with the people of Sablayan, Gen. Aguinaldo befriended Capitan Pedro Fernandez who was the capitan del pueblo of the place in 1896. When the Filipinos revolted against Spain, the said leader organized a group of revolutionaries. Among the members of the group formed by Capitan Fernandez were cabezas de barangay Vicente Gallembas, Tiago Dangeros, Carpo Urieta, Docoy Eniega, Vicente Dangcoding, Tiago Dantayana and Paeng Dawates. They coordinated with the group of revolutionaries in Iriron and Magarang which were composed of seventy five (75) men. The group of revolutionaries in Iriron was led by Capitan Isidro Zamora, Pedro Dapil and Marcelino Vitang while the group in Magarang was led by Capitan Espiridion Jimenez.[xi]
The group of revolutionaries from Sablayan, Iriron and Magarang joined forces and they captured the Spanish friars in their respective places of assignments, including those from Bubog and Mangarin. The missionaries captured by the revolutionaries were Fr. Pedro San Vicente of Sablayan, Fr. Pedro Sanz de San Jose of Magarang, Fr. Crsanto Azpilcueta dela Santisima Trinidad of Bubog and Fr. Bernardino Vasquez del Rosario of Mangarin. They were temporarily imprisoned in Paluan and afterwards were brought to Taysan, Batangas.
The independence attained by the people of Mindoro in 1898 was short-lived. In 1901, the American soldiers occupied Sablayan and this pueblo was made as a barrio of Mamburao.[xii]
VI – ESTABLISHMENT OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF SABLAYAN
In 1902, by virtue of Act 547 of the Philippine Commission, Sablayan was created as a municipality. The leaders appointed as municipal presidents by the American government were Capitan Pedro Fernandez, Juan Daño, Rufino Papa, Santiago Dangeros, Policarpio Urieta, Benigno Lontoc, Maximino Papa, Pedro Gonzales, Lucas Fernandez, Hermogenes Daño and Primitivo Zamora.[xiii]
During the American regime, the government opened an elementary school in Sablayan. The first school building was constructed in Lumangbayan, then, the center of the municipal government. Although it took many years, primary schools were gradually opened in the different barrios of Sablayan.
In the report he sent to Bishop Alfredo Verzosa of Lipa, Batangas, Fr. Julian Duval, the chaplain of Philippine Milling Company in Central, narrated his visit to Sablayan on January 18, 1920. According to him, on the said date he boarded a sailboat in Calintaan at nine o’clock in the evening. However, since there was no wind, it was already four o’clock in the afternoon of the following day when they arrived in Sablayan. He described the old chapel there as made of nipa and there were four bells on the belfry. He also reported that the books of the church, including some of its materials were brought by Fr. Javier Sesma to Lubang.
The missionary reported that when he arrived in Sablayan, the people were celebrating the fiesta in honor of San Sebastian, their patron saint. Municipal President Policarpio Urieta took charge of the decoration of the church and the fiesta celebration. The said town leader also led the procession.
Included in the report of Fr. Duval was his sketched map of Sablayan, including the sitios under its jurisdiction. Indicated there were the sitios of Balababoc which has 8 houses; Tulaon, 5 houses; Jalaojawan, 12 houses; Pasugui, 4 houses; Bonsoungan, one house; and Bignac, 2 houses. Barrio Iriron was also indicated in the map. Written at the lower portion of the map was the number of hours a traveler has to walk from one sitio to another.[xiv]
When the title of the highest official of a municipality was changed from municipal president to municipal mayor, Hon. Paulino Legaspi was the first leader elected to this position in Sablayan. It was difficult for the said mayor to visit the barrios under his jurisdiction, during that time, for there were no good roads and included among the far flung barrios of Sablayan is the present barangay of Poblacion, Calintaan.
VII – DURING THE JAPANESE OCCUPATION OF MINDORO
In the election held in December 1940, Pedro Gonzales was elected as the municipal mayor of Sablayan. He has only served his town mates for eleven months when World War II broke out.[xv]
Mayor Gonzales narrated that during the war, one of the leaders who served as mayor of Sablayan, Hon. Maximino Papa was killed by the guerrillas for he was suspected of being a collaborator of the enemies. He added that after he has brought his family to Looc, he was caught by the Japanese soldiers upon his return to Sablayan. He was imprisoned by the enemies, forcing him to reveal the identities of the members of the guerrilla movement in Sablayan. The said mayor insisted that he knew nothing, for the enemies of the Japanese soldiers who visited his town came from other places. Mayor Gonzales got sick of dysentery inside the garrison but despite his illness he was able to escape and return to Sablayan.[xvi]
In the history written by a teacher about Brgy. Ligaya, Sablayan, it was mentioned that a bloody encounter occurred between a troop of Japanese soldiers and a group of guerrillas at Sitio Kabigunan of the aforementioned barangay in 1943. The Japanese killed Lt. Sergio Barretto, the leader of the guerrillas. The slain leader was one of the sons of Mayor Fermin Barretto of San Jose who was also killed by the Japanese soldiers at the bank of Busuanga River, in 1942.[xvii]
IX – AFTER WORLD WAR II
When peace was restored, Mayor Gonzales worked for the survey of the wide public land in Sablayan in order that land titles could be issued to the buyers. He convinced the farmers from other places to live in this municipality.
In 1951, Mayor Loreto Urieta was elected as the mayor of Sablayan. During his term of office, a lighthouse was constructed by the government on top of the hill where the Spaniards installed the two bronze cannons used by the people of Sablayan in defending themselves against the Moro pirates.
Mayor Urieta strived to increase the number of inhabitants in his municipality. He went to other towns and provinces like Antique, Bulacan, Ilocos Sur, and Pangasinan and convinced the people there to live in Sablayan for it has wide vacant lands which could be made productive by industrious farmers. As a result of the mayor‘s one man campaign, the following years, many families of farmers from Luzon and the Visayas transferred to Sablayan. Additional barrios were created in this municipality. Some of the barrios were Pag-asa, Burgos, Lagnas and San Agustin.[xviii]
In 1954, Fr. Adeodato Malabanan and Fr. Erich Stottok, both SVD missionaries were assigned in Sablayan. With the help of the Catholic faithful, they were able to repair the old church constructed by the Spaniards at Lumangbayan and it was used again as a house of worship.[xix]
In line with the program of the government for the rehabilitation of the prisoners, the late President Ramon Magsaysay signed on January 15, 1955, Proclamation No. 72 which established Sablayan Penal Colony and Farm (SPCF). That same year, the first batch of sixty eight (68) prisoners from New Bilibid Prisons was transferred to the place reserved for them located northeast of Poblacion, Sablayan. Appointed by Prisons Director Alfredo Bunye as the first administrator of SPCF was Supt. Candido Bagaoisan. In this place the prisoners studied handicrafts, raised domesticated animals and planted various plants. They also helped in taking care of the forests and wildlife inside SPCF, including the tamaraw.[xx]
In 1955, when Fr. Albert Cook became the parish priest of Sablayan, he opened in this place a kindergarten and high school called San Sebastian High School. When the said priest was transferred to another parish in 1958, Fr. Luis Halasz, SVD succeeded him. Under the management of Fr. Halasz, additional school buildings were constructed and the Catholic school grew. It is now known as Colegio de San Sebastian.[xxi]
In the election held in 1956, the post of the municipal mayor was entrusted by the people of Sablayan to Leoncio Ordenes. From Lumangbayan, the said mayor transferred the seat of the municipal government to Buenavista. With the assistance of the provincial government, he was able to construct in the said barangay a new municipal building. He improved the plaza and the road at the town’s center.[xxii]
After the term of office of Mayor Ordenes, the people of Sablayan reelected Mayor Loreto Urieta as the head of the municipal government. Under his administration, a concrete pier was constructed at Lumangbayan and bridges were built at the town’s center. He declared as historical park the hill where the two cannons of the Spaniards were installed, including the area where the old church was built. A concrete fence was constructed around the historical park. Moreover, Mayor Urieta worked for the official registration of the barrios formed by the pioneers and those established by the new arrivals from other provinces.[xxiii]
During this period, families from other towns of Occidental Mindoro looking for vacant land to cultivate, transferred to Sablayan.
The wide agricultural estates owned by Aguinaldo, Suntay, Leviste and Baluyot which for many years remained uncultivated, were occupied by the farmers. The poor farmers requested the government to buy the land from its owners and distribute it to them, in compliance with the Land for the Landless program of the government. Although it took years for the farmers to fight for the right to own the uncultivated land which they occupied, they succeeded in their endeavor.[xxiv] .
On June 18, 1966 by virtue of Republic Act No. 4732 which was sponsored in Congress by Congressman Pedro Medalla, Sr., Calintaan was separated from Sablayan and created as another municipality. Despite the creation of Calintaan, among the municipalities in Occidental Mindoro, Sablayan remained as the town with the biggest land area --- bigger than the provinces of Bataan and Cavite.[xxv]
Despite the existence of a secondary school in their town, the parents and teachers still requested the authorities at the Department of Education Culture & Sports for the opening of a public high school in Sablayan. In 1970, Sablayan Barrio High School was opened. A few years later, barrio high schools were also opened at Ligaya, San Vicente and Victoria.
In 1970, Mayor Gonzales was again elected as mayor of Sablayan. He implemented the national government’s program of building roads and bridges from the town’s center to the barrios. Through the assistance of Congressman Pedro Medalla, Sr. and Assemblyman Pedro Mendiola, Sr. concrete bridges at the portion of the provincial highway which passed through Sablayan were constructed.[xxvi]
X – MARTIAL LAW PERIOD
After the declaration of martial law by the late President Ferdinand Marcos in 1972, Mayor Gonzales remained as the head of the municipal government of Sablayan. During this period, the government intensified the implementation of the infrastructure projects for the widening and improvement of the roads in the different municipalities of Occidental Mindoro, including the construction of concrete bridges. Sablayan was one of the municipalities which benefited from the infrastructure projects.[xxvii]
The management of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) established a palay plantation at Sitio Balocbaloc. Despite the dike constructed by the government at Amnay & Patrick Rivers to protect the plantation from flood, it suffered financial losses. As a result, the project was stopped.
The people of Sablayan extended the term of office of Mayor Gonzales when election was held in 1980. The mayor worked for the opening of municipal offices of national agencies like the Department of Environment & Natural Resources which took care of Apo Reef and the forest; Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform and National Irrigation Administration which constructed irrigation systems for the farmers. Among the barangays which benefited from the irrigation systems were Pag-asa, San Francisco, San Vicente, Sta. Lucia, Ligaya, Lagnas and Burgos.[xxviii]
During the last part of the term of office of Mayor Gonzales, the national government was able to build the long bridge over Amnay River, the natural boundary of Sablayan and Sta. Cruz. Bridges were also built over the rivers of Patrick, Mompong and Busuangan. The last mentioned river is the natural boundary of Sablayan and Calintaan. As a result, the fast flow of land transportation vehicles, goods and services between Sablayan and other municipalities of the province brought economic progress.[xxix]
The active leaders and members of the different religions helped improved the standard of living of the people of Sablayan, particularly the indigenous people belonging to the Tau-Buhid and Alangan tribes. Some religious ministers, priests and nuns lived with the indigenous people in the mountain. They encouraged the indigenous people to preserve their culture and be proud of it. They supported some tribe members who fought for their rights over their ancestral lands. They encouraged the Mangyan youth to study and unite in activities which would improve their standard of living.[xxx]
The Catholic Church also tried to help the poor of Sablayan. Through the financial assistance of a funding agency abroad, a hospital was constructed at Brgy. Lumangbayan and it was placed under the management of the Dominican sisters. The lay workers of the livelihood movement of the church formed cooperatives and gave appropriate seminars and trainings to the members. They trained the farmers in Integrated Pest Management, a system of farming which does not use poisonous chemicals.[xxxi]
Mayor Gonzales served the people of Sablayan until President Cory Aquino ordered the replacement of all local officials in the country, in June 1986.
XI – AFTER THE PEACEFUL EDSA REVOLUTION
President Aquino did not immediately appoint the replacement of Mayor Gonzales in Sablayan. For a period of one month, Mrs. Mila G. Cipriano, head of the office of the Department of Interior & Local Government in this municipality performed the duties of the municipal mayor.
OIC Mayor Godofredo Mintu was appointed by President Aquino as replacement of Sablayan Mayor Pedro Gonzales. OIC Mayor Mintu did his job well that in 1987, the people of Sablayan voted to retain him in his position as chief executive of the municipality.
Mayor Mintu worked for the reclassification of the town of Sablayan. From a fourth class municipality, he was able to raise it to second class. Through his efforts, additional buildings were constructed inside the compound of the municipal hall and offices of the different government agencies were housed there. A sports complex was built and it was called Sablayan Astrodome. He improved the municipal plaza. Concrete roads were constructed at the town’s center and Lumangbayan. With the assistance of the provincial government, the portion of the national highway which passed through Sablayan was asphalted.
Due to the progress attained by Sablayan under the administration of Mayor Mintu, the businessmen opened groceries, rice mills, warehouses and other commercial establishments in this town. A tourist resort was opened by a foreign capitalist in Pandan, an island of Sablayan. At present, this island and Apo Reef are two favorite tourist destinations in Occidental Mindoro.[xxxii]
Like other municipalities of Occidental Mindoro, members of the rebel group were also active in Sablayan. In 1987, a group of them popularly known as New Peoples Army (NPA) composed of forty (40) armed men attacked the police station of this municipality. Caught unaware, the policemen were captured and one M60 machinegun was confiscated from them.[xxxiii]
The NPA threat on peace and political stability of Sablayan lasted for a few years. However, like other towns in the island of Mindoro, the influence of the said rebel group was weakened by the intensified armed campaign of the law enforcers and the frequent giving of seminars regarding the advantages of a democratic system of government to the people living in the remote sitios and barangays.
In 1991, in answer to the appeal of President Corazon Aquino, a resettlement area was set aside by the provincial government for the victims of the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo at Sitio Yapang, Brgy. Batongbuhay, Sablayan. More than a hundred families transferred to this place. The provincial government helped them recover by constructing an irrigation system, opening schools for the elementary & secondary level and by teaching them skills for livelihood projects. Nevertheless, years later, almost all of them returned to their hometown or transferred to other progressive places.[xxxiv]
In 1993, by virtue of an executive order of President Aquino, each barrio or barangay high school in the Philippines was elevated to the status of a national high school. As a result, five high schools in Sablayan benefited from the executive order, namely; the public high schools in Brgy. Ligaya, Sto. Niño, San Vicente, Victoria and Yapang.
That same year, a private high school was opened by the Seventh Day Adventist Church at Brgy. Sta. Lucia, Sablayan. It was D’Shep Foundation Academy. Although the secondary school was established for the youth who are members of the said religious sect, it also accepted students who professed other religions.[xxxv]
In his desire that the people could avail of the fastest means of transportation from Manila to Sablayan, Mayor Mintu constructed an airfield for small airplanes at Sitio Payompon Brgy. Sta. Lucia. At present, the airfield is being used, sometimes, by businessmen with small airplanes who visit Sablayan.[xxxvi]
In 1998, Mayor Mintu ran for the position of vice governor of Occidental Mindoro. Mayor Andres Dangeros succeeded him as head of the municipal government of Sablayan. The said mayor continued the implementation of the development projects in this municipality.
In the election held in 2001, then Vice Governor Mintu ran again as mayor of Sablayan. Once more, the people entrusted to him that position. Like in the past years, he showed his worth as head of the municipal government by constructing a much bigger municipal hall, building concrete roads and improving the town plaza.
At present, Mayor Mintu is still the chief executive of the municipality of Sablayan.
HISTORY OF THE TWENTY TWO BARANGAYS OF SABLAYAN
1. Batong Buhay
The indigenous people lived in this place during the Spanish regime. They were the group of people seen as settlers in this area by the Igorots and Ilocanos, the first workers at the cattle ranch of the Arellano family.
Years later, the indigenous people transferred to the mountains. Left behind were the Ilocanos and Igorots who cultivated the land in some parts of the pastureland.
Ten years after World War II, farmers from the Visayas, as well as the Tagalog and Ilocos Regions came to this place. Since the family of Arellano was the owner of the land which they occupied, they called their community as Arellano.
On September 26, 1954 by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 72, Sablayan Penal Colony & Farm or SPCF was created by President Ramon Magsaysay. On June 15, 1955 the first group of officials and employees, including the sixty eight (68) prisoners of SPCF from Iwahig Penal Colony arrived. The institution was managed by Superintendent Candido Bagaoisan.
The center of the said institution was established in one part of Arellano. At the census conducted in 1960, the prisoners of SPCF were included in the population of the barrio. It continued until 1982 when Brgy. Malisbong was created. Since the newly created barangay was nearer to SPCF than Arellano, the number of prisoners in this institution was included in the population of Malisbong.
In the early part of 1960, Arellano became a barrio. The inhabitants decided to change its name to Batong Buhay due to the huge stone in one part of Mompong River which serves as protection of the barrio, every time floods occur. That same year, the primary school for children was opened at Batong Buhay.
Placed under the jurisdiction of Batong Buhay was Sitio Tuban, one of the oldest settlement in the island of Mindoro where Muslim traders bartered goods with the indigenous people, prior to the arrival of the Spaniards in the Philippines. At first, the total land area of Batong Buhay was wide but when Brgy. Malisbong and Brgy. Tibag were created, its land area was greatly reduced.
During martial law, under the Comprehensive Land Reform Program or CARP, Hacienda Arellano was bought by the government and distributed to the farmers. Members of a rebel group frequently visited the inhabitants of this place. Luckily, the life of the residents of Batong Buhay remained peaceful.
When Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991, Sitio Yapang of Brgy. Batong Buhay was made as a resettlement area of the victims of the said calamity. Many families transferred to this place. The national government constructed houses, school buildings and other structures for them. It also constructed an irrigation system and improved the national highway which passed through this sitio. In order that the children of the victims of Mt. Pinatubo could study, the Department of Education Culture & Sports opened Yapang National High School.
The individuals who served as leaders of Brgy. Batong Buhay were Salvador Domocmat, Archangel Cadapan, Maria Comde, Romy Ramile, Henry Domocmat, Juliana Esmelo, Hilario Pascual, Samson Domocmat and Richard Mitra. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Alex Conde.[xxxvii]
During the Spanish regime, Payompon was the name of the area where Buenavista is located at present. The wide land was owned by well off families and the biggest landowner was Don Daniel Alvarez. Only a few families settled in this grass-covered land, thus, this place was made as grazing ground of goats, cows and carabaos.
In 1916, when Don Santiago Dangeros was appointed as municipal president of Sablayan, he and his brother in law, Don Daniel Alvarez donated one and a half hectare for the primary school of Payompon. However, it was only in 1928 when the first schoolhouse made of nipa and bamboo was constructed in this place. It happened when Don Hermogenes Daño was the municipal president of Sablayan.
In 1931, the next municipal president of Sablayan, Don Lucas Fernandez, constructed a bamboo bridge for the primary school pupils of Payompon.
When Don Maximino Papa was the municipal president of Sablayan, he led the municipal councilors in requesting members of the Philippine Congress that Payompon be created as a barrio and its official name be changed to Buenavista. The request was granted. On Septmber 8, 1936 by virtue of Commonwealth Act No. 28, Buenavista became the official name of Barrio Payompon.
During the term of office of Teniente del Barrio Celestino Dapito, he talked with the leader of the adjacent barrio of Sto. Niño and they set the boundary between the two communities.
When Hon. Leoncio Ordenes was the mayor of Sablayan, he built the new municipal hall at Buenavista. Due to this development, roads and bridges were constructed in the barrio and small stores appeared in the area.
In 1961, Hon. Crispin Ordenes was elected as the leader of Buenavista. By that time, the title of barrio leaders was changed to capitan del barrio. Capitan del Barrio Ordenes talked with the leader of Sto. Niño and they changed the border of the two places, the boundary which is being followed up to the present time.
When barrio high schools were opened throughout the country, parents and teachers of Sablayan requested officials of the education department to establish public high schools in the municipality. It was realized in 1970. The first building of the barrio high school of Buenavista was constructed inside the municipal compound.
During martial law, under the administration of Mayor Pedro Gonzales, the concrete highway constructed by the national government in Sablayan, passed through the center of Buenavista. Concrete bridges were built in this barangay.
When Hon. Godofredo Mintu served as the mayor of Sablayan, rapid progress took place in Buenavista. This barangay became the new center of the municipality. New buildings were constructed inside the municipal compound. A municipal gymnasium was built, the plaza, market and wharf for motorboats were improved. Due to these developments, big stores and commercial establishments appeared in Buenavista.
In 1994, during the term of office of Brgy. Captain Narciso Fernandez, a barangay hall, day care center and fish port were constructed in Buenavista. He opened new roads in the sitios under the jurisdiction of the barangay and he tried his best to make Buenavista a constant winner in the Clean & Green Program of the municipality.
Aside from the aforementioned leaders, those who served as barangay captain of Buenavista were Pacifico Dañopoc (1968-1982) and Diomedes Dangeros (1983-1993). The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Narciso Fernandez.[xxxviii]
During the American regime, the indigenous people belonging to the Batangan or Tau-Buhid tribe established a settlement near the bank of a river, almost fifteen kilometers north of Calintaan. They named their settlement Buswangan, since in their dialect, the word means a flowing river. The patches of kaingin near their settlement were planted with rootcrops, palay and corn.
The leader of the indigenous people in Buswangan were Victor Baclawman and Gorio Yakama. Since they were good leaders, the families of indigenous people in this place increased in number. Later on, Buswangan became a sitio of Barrio Ligaya.
In 1931, a group of Visayan settlers led by Herbacio Damiray arrived in this sitio. They cleared the forested area and planted it with palay and corn. They peacefully co-existed with the indigenous people in this place.
When World War II broke out, the Visayan settlers and the indigenous people hid in the forested hills of this sitio. The Japanese soldiers who sometimes hunted the group of guerrillas headed by Sgt. Sergio Barretto did not discover their hiding place
Five years after the war, the first group of farmers from the Ilocos Region, composed of the families of Adsuara, Obtinalla, Castil, Nagal, Bergonia, Perlata and Fabrigas arrived in Buswangan. The once forested wide plain at the sitio of the indigenous people was converted into ricefields and cornfields.
In 1952, the Tau-Buhid left the plains of Buswangan. They established another settlement on the distant hills of the sitio. Since their new settlement was also near the river, they again called it Buswangan.
In 1954, the Visayan and Ilocano settlers of Buswangan decided to change the name of the sitio. They agreed to name it Burgos, in honor of the three patriotic Filipino priests who were executed by the Spaniards.
The inhabitants of Burgos sent a petition to the municipal council of Sablayan, requesting that their sitio be created as a barrio. In 1956, members of the municipal approved the petition.
One of the first action of the barrio council was to request the national government that the portion of the wide agricultural land reserved by the late President Ramon Magsaysay for the rehabilitation of prisoners in Sablayan Penal Colony & Farm which they have cleared and cultivated be distributed to them. After experiencing much tension brought by years of negotiating with the proper authorities, the parcels of land which the petitioners tilled were awarded to them.
Through cooperative labor, the farmers were able to build an irrigation system for their farm. The said irrigation system was improved by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).
During martial law period, the provincial government widened and improved the highway linking Mamburao to San Jose. The said major thoroughfare passes through Burgos. In addition, the wooden bridge over Buswangan River was replaced by a concrete one. Due to these improvements, the number of buses and passenger jeeps passing through this barangay increased.
The leaders who served as teniente del barrio of Burgos were Andres Adsuara, Gregorio Pascua and Macario Bergonia. Those who served as barangay captain were Juancho Dangeros, Domingo Laderas, Eusebio Lampa, Conrado Jubilado, Tomoy Nilo, Benjamin Morena, Francisco Obtinalla and Plaridel Daprosa. The leader of the barangay at present, Brgy. Captain Aurora Castil, has served Burgos before but was again entrusted with the same responsibility by his barrio mates.
Since many indigenous people belonging to the Tau-Buhid tribe are living on the hills of Burgos, the inhabitants of the barangay give them a chance to be represented in the barangay council. At present, the representative of the Tau-Buhids to the barangay council of Burgos is Eddie Peregrina.[xxxix]
4. CLAUDIO SALGADO
A big tree which the indigenous people called Baloc-Baloc grew in this forested plain near the sea. It later on became the name of the community established by the first settlers in the area.
Five years before the outbreak of World War II, Dr. Benito Leviste bought this coastal plain and converted it into a coconut plantation. He hired forty five laborers from Romblon, Masbate and Cebu City and convinced them to live in his plantation. He also encouraged them to plant palay in one portion of his agricultural estate which the indigenous people still called Baloc-Baloc but he named it as El Dorado Plantation. He built a palay warehouse which could store three thousand cavans of rice.
During the war, majority of the laborers of El Dorado Plantation returned to the provinces where they came from, or evacuated to other places. Only eight families were left and when peace was restored, they settled permanently in this place. They were the families of Nicodemus Danhembro, Leonardo Mangarin, Rosario Eldama, Teresa Osorio, Rufino Dangeros, Buenaventura Acosta, Fruto Romero and Arsenio Romero. Leonardo Mangarin was appointed as the administrator of El Dorado Plantation.
Years later, the number of inhabitants of El Dorado or Baloc-Baloc increased. An elementary school was opened by the government in this place. Mr. Benjamin Cansino was one of the teachers assigned here. Later on, he became the teacher in charge (TIC) of the elementary school.
Residents of this place still remember that when smuggling became rampant in the later part of Decade 60’s, the school building of Baloc-Baloc was made as a warehouse of smuggled items by the smugglers. TIC Cansino couldn’t prevent this unlawful practice, for the smugglers have firearms.
It was also during this period when Baloc-Baloc became a part of the logging concession of a certain Mr. Camacho, Leonardo Daplas and Lee de Dios. The big trees in the area were felled and as a result, flood occurred frequently in this place.
Another coconut plantation was bought by Mr. Claudio Salgado in Pandan, a sitio adjacent to Baloc-Baloc. The said owner of the plantation was benevolent, thus, when the residents of Sitio Pandan and Sitio Baloc-Baloc agreed to form a barrio in this place, they decided to name it Claudio Salgado. They petitioned the municipal government to approve the creation of a barrio in the area. It was approved during the martial law period. Hon. Armando Insigne was appointed as the first barangay captain.
During martial law period, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) bought El Dorado Plantation and converted it into a palay plantation. Due to the frequent occurrence of flood in this place, the late President Ferdinand Marcos ordered the construction of a flood control dike. Unfortunately, floodwaters from Amnay River destroyed the dike and not only Claudio Salgado but also other barangays were affected by the flood.
Dr. Leviste sold to Mr. Fernando Arrascuso another portion of his agricultural estate which he did not sell to PLDT. Unluckily, Mr. Arrascuco failed to visit the land frequently. It was included in the area occupied by groups of farmers who lived inside the palay plantation of PLDT when the said company abandoned the land due to heavy financial losses.
Armando Insigne served as barangay captain of Claudio Salgado for almost twenty years. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Ferdinand Urieta.[xl]
5. GEN. EMILIO AGUINALDO
This place was once a part of the vast agricultural estate of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. However, when the said military leader was still alive, he failed to make this land productive, thus, it remained a forest where thorny bushes abound. Plants locally known as tambo and dungon grew abundantly in this area. When fishermen from Panay came and built huts near the seashore, they called this place as Tambungon, from the words tambo and dungon.
The fishermen noticed that nobody took care of this agricultural estate. They dared to clear the forests and gradually a wide portion of it was planted to palay and corn. One day, Gen. Aguinaldo, aboard a helicopter, arrived. He ordered the farmers not to cultivate the land. The farmers followed but after a few months, since nobody was taking care of the land, they continued cutting the trees in the area. They converted the forest into productive ricefields and cornfields.
The first settlers of Tambungon were the Bernabe and Montillano families from Panay; the Terrado and Guarda families from Manila. Despite the presence of the deadly disease of malaria, they remained in this place and encouraged their relatives to live here.
It was in the year 1967 when the number of settlers in Tambungon increased. Since Aguinaldo Estate was a part of the wide plain where Barrio Sta. Lucia is located, Tambungon was made as a sitio of the said barrio. The residents of this sitio requested the officials of the Department of Education to open a primary school here. The farmers petitioned the Department of Agrarian Reform to buy Aguinaldo Estate and distribute it to them since they are the actual occupants and tillers.
After three years, the Department of Education assigned Mr. Federico Pacheco as the first teacher of Tambungon. Through cooperative labor, the parents were able to build a schoolhouse made of lumber, cogon and bamboo. In 1974, the primary school became a complete elementary school and a concrete building was constructed by the government.
During martial law period, the irrigation system constructed by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) at Brgy. Malisbong reached Tambungon. However, the group of farmers in this sitio constructed other irrigation systems. Their sources of water were the springs at the hills which protect their community from the strong easterly wind.
Since Tambungon is near Sablayan Prison and Penal Farms, many ex-convicts decided to lead a new life in this place. They convinced their families to settle here permanently.
Although Tambungon was not yet a full fledged barrio, the former mayors of Sablayan assigned here teniente del barrios, the title of the barrio leaders during that time. The first barrio leader assigned here was Vicente Ofema. He was followed by Rosalina Tiburana and Diosdado Terrado who served twice. It was during his term of office when the barangay hall was constructed.
Tambungon was separated from Sta. Lucia and was made as a barangay in 1982. Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo was registered as its official name. Jerry Esteves was elected as its first barangay captain.
In 1994, the leader of the barangay was Sotero Salazar. During his term of office, the number of teachers at Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo Elementary School increased.
The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Escolastico Francisco.[xli]
This place was a forest when Mindoro was under foreign domination. Persons who entered the forest in this area, to cut big trees or hunt for wildlife, oftentimes caught monkeys and wild pigs.
After World War II, the leaders who served as mayors of Sablayan tried their best to convince people to settle in this municipality. One of them was Mayor Loreto Urieta who went to the provinces of Antique, Bulacan, Ilocos Sur and Pangasinan, to convince the people there to transfer and live permanently in Sablayan, since there were plenty of vacant lands which could be made productive by industrious farmers. The following years, as a result of Mayor Urieta’s campaign, many farmers from Luzon and the Visayas transferred to Sablayan. The number of barrios in this municipality increased. Some of the places where the families settled were Sitio Katuray and its adjacent communities.
When Sitio Katuray became Barrio San Vicente in 1954, a few Ilocano and Igorot families who transferred to Sablayan from Central Luzon and Mountain Province settled in a wide plain near the barrio where buri plants abound. One day, they saw a group of Visayan youth who were cutting buri plants to get its pith. When asked what they were removing from the buri plants the youth answered: UBOD, meaning its pith. What the Ilocano and Igorot heard was IBUD. From that time on, they called their settlement Ibud. Years later, it became a sitio of Brgy. San Vicente.
A few years before the declaration of martial law in our country, due to the hardships endured by their children who walked from Ibud to the elementary school of San Vicente, in order to attend classes, the parents petitioned the officials of the Department of Education to open a primary school in their sitio. Their request was granted and from a group of pupils in Grade I, the number of schoolchildren increased gradually until the primary school became a complete elementary school.
In 1975, the inhabitants of Ibud requested the municipal government of Sablayan that their sitio be elevated to the status of a barangay. The request was granted and the following year, Barangay Ibud was created. Simeon Bitongan was elected as its first barangay captain.
Through the efforts of Brgy. Capt. Bitongan and the succeeding leaders of the barangay, the road from the provincial highway to Ibud was improved. Moreover, the barangay hall, day care center and children’s playground at the plaza of the community were constructed.
Aside from Brgy. Capt. Bitongan, those who served as leaders of Ibud were Eufemio Ramos, Jaime Ramos, Pio Cologan and Jelson Javillonar. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Capt. Virgilio Baoan.[xlii]
This place was a wide plain full of cogon and other tall grasses when Sablayan was created as a municipality by the American government. John Howell, an American landowner, purchased this agricultural estate. He registered this particular property in the land registration office of Sablayan as Selina Estate. However, like many landowners during that time, he was not able to cultivate and plant his agricultural estate with fruit bearing trees or other productive plants. As a result, wild pigs, deer, tamaraw and other wild animals lived and freely roamed this place.
Ten years after World War II, families of farmers from other parts of the country arrived in this abandoned estate. They cut the tall grasses and cultivated the land. Since municipal records stated that the name of the wide plain was Selina Estate, when the number of its inhabitants increased and it became a sitio, the settlers called it as Selina.
In 1964, led by Domingo Estrada, the inhabitants of this sitio requested the government to buy Selina Estate from its owner and distribute it to the actual occupants and tillers of the land. After a few years, their request was granted.
After establishing their rights to their respective farms, the farmers under the leadership of Domingo Estrada requested the Department of Education to open a primary school in their sitio. The education officials, through the municipal government, granted their request. A primary school was opened and a concrete schoolhouse was built in Selina. The number of pupils increased and years later, the primary school became Selina Elementary School.
As a sitio, Selina was placed under the jurisdiction of the barangay officials of Victoria. Due to the desire of the barangay captain that a leader residing in Selina would take care of the needs of his fellow community members, he appointed a sitio leader. Juan Ramirez was appointed to this position. He served as the leader of Selina until 1970, when the sitio was separated from Victoria and created as another barangay. Elected as the first barangay captain of Selina was Avelino Umalla.
That same year, the residents held a general assembly and they decided to change the name of their barangay. From the various names suggested by the people, a great majority favored Ilvita --- from the first two letters of the three types of inhabitants of the barangay: the Ilocanos, Visayans and Tagalogs. The name was unanimously approved and starting year 1970, Selina was officially known as Ilvita.
During martial law period, an irrigation system was constructed by National Irrigation Administration (NIA) at Ilvita and its adjacent barangays.
Two events caused great stress to the people of Ilvita during the martial law period. The first one was the occasional visits of members of a rebel group to the community and the second one was the great flood which occurred in the municipality of Sablayan in 1976. In the said flood, a wide area of ricefields was eroded and covered with sand. Nevertheless, the farmers tried to regain what they lost by working hard and showing unwavering faith in the Divine Providence.
Aside from the aforementioned leaders, those who served as barangay captain of Ilvita were Norberto Capillo, Celso Gonzales, Ester Alfaro, Domingo Estrada and Yolanda Zurita. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Capt. Apolinario Fajada.[xliii]
Lagnas is located between two rivers -- Amnay and Balingkawing. The wide fertile plain of this place was formed, through the years, by tons of eroded soil from the mountains which were carried by the strong current of the said rivers. Residents of the community considered the eroded soil as a part of the natural resources of the mountains.
The indigenous people belonging to the Alangan tribe were the first settlers of the wide plain. Usually, in their dialect, they call the plain formed by eroded soil from the mountains as Lagnas, hence, the name of their settlement. They selected some portions of this place as sites of their kaingin.
Before the outbreak of World War II, this wide plain was bought by Sotero Baluyot, one of the influential people during that time. People started calling Lagnas as Baluyot Estate. However, like other owners of vast agricultural estates, Sotero Baluyot did not develop his land.
After the war, families of farmers from Central Luzon arrived. They occupied Baluyot Estate, cleared the forested areas and turned it into ricefields and cornfields. They petitioned the government to buy the estate and distribute it to the actual occupants and tillers. Since the main program of the government during that time was Land for the Landless, the public officials helped the farmer leaders in negotiating with the owner of the estate. After seeing that the provisions of the Land Reform Law were strictly followed by the group of petitioners, Sotero Baluyot sold his agricultural estate to the government for distribution to the farmers.
The farmers again called the wide plain as Lagnas. They were able to turn into productive farms the more or less one thousand hectares in the area. They built an irrigation system for their farm. At present, during summer, they could irrigate twenty five percent of their ricefields.
When farmers from Central Luzon arrived in Lagnas, the indigenour people transferred to the nearby hill, called Guitong.Hill by the lowlanders. The said hill served not only as home for the indigenous people but also as protection of the residents of Lagnas from the strong easterly wind.
After a few years, families of farmers from Panay arrived, followed by groups of settlers from other provinces. The number of inhabitants in Lagnas increased. The people decided to choose their leader. In 1970, Leonardo Abon was chosen. As leader of Lagnas, he served until 1975.
Lagnas became a sitio of Paetan during the term of office of Brgy. Captain Juan de Jesus. The said barangay leader appointed five sitio leaders in Lagnas. They were Virgilio Daguinotas, Sr., Tomas Hermosa, Antonio Bonus, Mauro Sison, Sr., and Leopoldo Samillano.
On September 1, 1975 through the cooperative labor of the residents of this place, the first building of Baluyot Elementary School was constructed. Only fifteen pupils, from Grade I to Grade V were the first enrollees of this school. Nevertheless, as years passed, the number of enrollees increased gradually.
When Sitio Lagnas was elevated to the status of a barangay in 1981, Mauro Sison, Sr., was elected as its first barangay captain. The said leader served for six years.
After the peaceful EDSA revolution, Rogelio Arquero was appointed as OIC Brgy. Captain. He was succeeded by Brgy. Captain Tomas Ramos who won during the 1988 elections.
Since 1994 up to the present time, the leader of Lagnas is Brgy. Captain Virgilio Daguinotas, Sr.[xliv]
The first name given to this place by the indigenous people belonging to the Tau-Buhid tribe was Pianga, from the name of the river located at the southern portion of their settlement. When farmers from Panay arrived, years before the outbreak of World War II, they called this place as Sampaloc due to the abundance of tamarind trees in the area. It was only in 1948 when Ligaya was adopted as the official name of this community.
Aside from the indigenous people, the lowlanders who were the first settlers of this place were the families of De Dios, Mateo, Cervantes and Francisco from the island of Panay; and Lastra family from Abra de Ilog.
When the Japanese soldiers occupied Mindoro in 1942, a group of guerrillas established their headquarters at Bangcoro, one of the sitios of Ligaya at present. A group of Japanese soldiers were sent to hunt them. Unexpectedly, the two groups met at Sitio Kabigunan. A bloody encounter took place. With superior firepower, the Japanese troop defeated the guerrillas.
After the war, many families of farmers from other provinces arrived in Ligaya. Due to the great increase in the number of inhabitants, the residents requested the municipal government of Sablayan for the elevation of their settlement to the status of a barrio and the opening of a primary school for their children. Their requests were granted and in 1948, upon the creation of Barrio Ligaya, a primary school was opened in the community.
Crispulo de Dios was elected as the first teniente del barrio of Ligaya. During his term of office he worked for the completion of an elementary school in his community.
In 1958, the third wave of settlers arrived in Ligaya. Additional sitios along the coast were formed. Among them were Buswangan, Tambungon and Garo-Garo which became Brgys. Burgos, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo and San Nicolas, respectively.
When barrio high schools were opened in different parts of the country, with the approval of the officials of the Department of Education, teachers and parents in Ligaya also opened the same type of school in their barrio.
During martial law period, the national government vigorously implemented the construction of roads and bridges in Occidental Mindoro. One community which benefited from the infrastructure projects was Ligaya because the road from the highway to the barrio was widened and improved
Ligaya was one of the barangays which was frequently visited by members of the New Peoples Army (NPA), in the early part of Decade 80’s. Luckily, no violent encounter occurred between government troops and rebel groups in the barangay.
A few years before the peaceful revolution in EDSA, an irrigation system was constructed by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) in Ligaya and its adjacent barangays. Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative (OMECO) was able to provide electricity for lighting, cooking and other purposes to households of members of the cooperative in Ligaya.
Aside from Teniente del Barrio de Dios, the leaders who served as teniente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Ligaya were Segundo Belamide, Policarpio Palomo, Servillano Santos, Maximiano Belamide, Someo Dawates and Salvador Cadiao. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Mariano Ani, Sr.[xlv]
This place was a part of the agricultural estate of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo during the American regime. However, the wide plain was not cultivated for the laborers of the late military leader refused to live in this forested area for fear of malaria, the dreaded disease during that time. Only a few families of indigenous people belonging to the Tau-Buhid tribe dared to settle here.
Three of the indigenous people who engaged in the kaingin system of agriculture in this place were Maliksi, Malisol and Tembong. When five families of farmers from Panay came and settled here, the three Tau-Buhids continued tilling their kaingin and lived with the lowlanders.
According to Alfonso Samonte, the leader of the five families, the three Tau-Buhids became their friends. Their group took care of the indigenous people and when the three died, they buried their remains at the southwest portion of their kaingin. Years later, the ground where the three were buried rose until it became a hill. To perpetuate the memory of Maliksi, Malisol and Tembong, the place where they lived was called Malisbong.
The group from Panay who first settled in Malisbong were the families of Samonte, Blancaflor, Francisco, Castillo and Cadapan. They cleared the forest and turned it into productive farms. When large groups of families from Luzon and the Visayas region arrived and settled in this place, Malisbong became a sitio of Barrio Ligaya. The inhabitants decided to elect a delegate to the barrio council of Ligaya. Alfonso Samonte was elected to this position. The said leader did his job for many years.
In 1972, based on the provisions of the Agrarian Reform Law, the land occupied by the farmers was surveyed. It was only during that tine when the settlers of Malisbong knew that the land they cultivated was part of Aguinaldo Estate. Due to this discovery, the jurisdiction of the sitio was removed from Brgy. Ligaya and placed under Brgy. Sta. Lucia, since the latter community was also a part of the said estate.
During the early years of martial law, officials of the Department of Education assigned teachers who would teach the children of Sitio Malisbong. Through cooperative labor, parents built the first schoolhouse which was made of cogon, bamboos and lumber. The Catholic faithful also constructed their chapel. They agreed to enthrone San Blas as the patron saint of their sitio. The residents decided to celebrate the first fiesta in honor of their patron saint in 1985.
Although Malisbong was not yet a full fledged barangay, the residents elected a teniente del barrio. They entrusted this position to Alfonso Samonte.
In 1982, The people of Malisbong requested the government authorities to separate their community from Sta. Lucia and elevate it to the status of a barangay. They also requested for the construction of a concrete school building ant the assignment of additional teachers. That same year, their requests were granted.
Since Malisbong is near Sablayan Prison & Penal Farm, many prisoners who reformed their lives decided to settle in this place, together with their families.
With the assistance of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), the ricefields of the farmers of Malisbong were irrigated. It greatly helped towards the betterment of the living condition of the people in the community.
Aside from the aforementioned leader, those who served as barangay captains of Malisbong were Ethel Yasay, Merlinda Rodrigues and Teodorico Samonte. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Milagros Teña.[xlvi]
11. PAETAN .
This place was a forested plain land where tamaraws and wild pigs abound when Sablayan was created as a municipality during the American regime. The indigenous people and farmers from other sitios used to hunt for wildlife here.
During the Japanese occupation of Mindoro, the enemies did not find any settler in this area. No bloody encounter between the Japanese soldiers and Filipino guerrillas took place in this part of Sablayan.
After the war, the forest in this plain land became a part of the logging concession awarded by the government to an influential individual of Sablayan. Truckloads of lumber used by the pioneers in building their houses at the center of the municipality came from the forest of this place.
In the early part of 1960, families of farmers from Bulacan who were avoiding the conflict between a rebel group and the government troops settled in this place. Despite the presence of malaria, they stayed in this forested but quiet area.
The farmers cleared the forests and converted it into ricefields and cornfields. Once, while looking for food, a group of farmers came near Viga River. They found out that the river abound with a kind of fish locally known as paet. They could easily catch the fishes using a system of fishing known to the indigenous people as atas.
Since the fish called paet served as food of many families during months of scarcity, they agreed to call their settlement as Paetan. Like other communities, this settlement started as a sitio. With the continuous growth of the number of inhabitants, this community was elevated to the status of a barrio in 1968.
Almario Manzon was elected as the first capitan del barrio of Paetan. Through his efforts and with the cooperation of the inhabitants, an elementary school was opened in the barrio.
In 1970, the number of settlers in Paetan grew due to the arrival of families of farmers from the Ilocos and Visayan region. Aside from planting palay, corn and vegetables, fishing was the main source of livelihood of the settlers.
In recognition of the great role played by paet for their survival, the residents decided to carve the image of the fish on the stone which they displayed above the steel gate of their school.
During martial law period, a group of rebels frequently visited Paetan, convincing the residents to join the leftist movement. Nevertheless, the farmers decided to remain loyal to the government and lived as peace loving citizens.
Years later, through the efforts of the barrio leaders, the assistance of the local officials and the people as a whole, a road linking Paetan with the national highway was constructed. A barangay hall and children’s playground were also built.
Aside from Capitan del Barrio Manzon, those who served as barangay captain of Paetan were Juan de Jesus, Domingo Castro and Rodolfo Pablo. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Fernando de Jesus.[xlvii]
The indigenous people belonging to the Alangan tribe gave the name Tuong to this place. It was the term they used to describe the merging of the waters of Amnay and Rayusan River at the western portion of the plains in this area.
A few years after World War II, many families of farmers from the Ilocos region who were looking for vacant lands to till, arrived in this place. They occupied Tuong and they requested the national government to distribute the land to them. Since during that time the main program of the late President Ramon Magsaysay was Land for the Landless, the agricultural land occupied by the farmers were awarded to them.
The population of Tuong grew until it became a sitio of Brgy. Victoria. The number of inhabitants continued to multiply and in 1958 the settlers requested the municipal council of Sablayan to separate their community from Victoria and elevate it to the status of a barrio.
When the people of Tuong decided to change the name of their barrio, an old man suggested calling the place Magsaysay. Another old settler proposed Rang-ayan, an Ilocano word which means Hope in English and Pag-asa in Tagalog. The settlers agreed on Rang-ayan but when their leaders were about to register the name at the municipal office, the late Mayor Leoncio Ordenes suggested that since majority of the people of Sablayan understand Tagalog, its much better if Pag-asa would be the official name of their community. The barrio leaders were convinced by the suggestion of the late mayor. Nevertheless, up to the present time, some inhabitants of this place still call their community as Rang-ayan.
The creation of the barrio and the opening of an elementary school in Pag-asa happened simultaneously. The number of schoolchildren grew until the administrators of Sablayan National High School decided to open extension classes of their secondary school in this barrio.
At the time of its creation as a barrio, Pag-asa has six sitios, namely; Guitong, Selina, Tiloy, Manamlay, Pulong Gugo and Lagnas. At present, since Selina (Ilvita) and Manamlay (San Agustin) were created as separate barangays, Pag-asa has only three sitios left, namely; De Leon, Guitong and Villacruz.
When the improvement of the national highway from Mamburao to San Jose took place, it passed through Pag-asa. Due to this development, the barrio became a temporary resting place of the drivers and conductors of passenger jeeps and buses. The farmers were able to sell their agricultural products to the passengers of the land transportation vehicles.
Pag-asa was also one of the places heavily damaged by the flood which occurred in Sablayan in 1989. The crops of the farmers were destroyed. A wide area of ricefields and cornfields were eroded by the strong current of the river and were covered with sand.
During martial law period, Pag-asa was one of the communities frequently visited by members of a rebel group. Fortunately, no bloody encounter occurred between the government soldiers and the rebels in this place.
A training center for the indigenous people was constructed by the Catholic Church in Pag-asa in 1995. The said building also served as training center for lay leaders and catechists after St. Joseph the Worker Parish-Pag-asa was created in 2002. Through the efforts of its first parish priest, Fr. Edgar Javier, SVD a concrete road from the national highway to the center of the barangay was constructed.
The leaders who served as capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Pag-asa were Pedro Tarinay, Marcelino Tarinay, Bonifacio Pimentel, Prudencio Gadiano, Juanito Bicera, Sr., Eduardo Gadiano and Juanito Esteban, Jr. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Samuel Agualin.[xlviii]
This place which was then the center of the municipality of Sablayan was first mentioned in the old documents of the Spaniards, in 1779. It was mentioned as a community of the Mangyans, the indigenous people of Mindoro. However, when the farmers from the island of Panay and the province of Cavite arrived, the indigenous people transferred to the mountains.
In 1829, it was indicated in an old map drawn by a Spanish missionary that the persons living in this place have two cannons which they used in fighting the Moro pirates.
In 1832, the missionary friar assigned in this community requested the governor general that the people in this community be exempted from paying taxes for two or three years since they were building the church, convent and fort. It was presumed that the request was granted for the cannons of fort were still on the hill where the weapons were installed and the old church was repaired by the Catholic faithful and is still being used at present.
That same year, in a written complaint against a priest which was sent by the people to the head of the Spanish government, the names of those who served as cabeza de barangay of this community were mentioned. They were Josef Leonardo, Agustin del Rosario, Eusebio de Leon, Leocario Manuel, Ignacio Carpio, Juan Salvador, Vicente Salvador, Juan Solit, Estanislao dela Cruz and Remegio Valenciano.
In one part of the autobiography of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo he mentioned that he exchanged goods with the people of Sablayan. Once when they went to this community the general recalled: when we arrived in Sablayan, my brother Benigno was left there to buy ‘nigeng pandampol’, rattan and ‘diliman’ used in fish corrals and beeswax used for lighting the saints in towns.
When the Filipinos revolted against the Spaniards in 1896, a group of revolutionaries was formed in this place by Capitan Pedro Fernandez, the capitan del pueblo of Sablayan. His group arrested Fr. Pedro Vicente, the Spanish friar who was assigned to this community during that time. The said priest, together with the other Spanish friars in West Mindoro was imprisoned in Taysan, Batangas and was only released when the Americans occupied the Philippines.
In 1901, during the American regime, this place was made as a barrio of Mamburao. After a year, the community was made as the center of the municipality of Sablayan which was created by virtue of Act 1280 of the Philippine Commission. The municipal building of the town was constructed in this place.
In 1955, Fr. Albert Cook, SVD opened in the Poblacion a kindergarten and high school. The school grew rapidly under the management of his successor, Fr. Luis Halasz, SVD. At present, it is called Colegio de San Sebastian.
When Hon. Leoncio Ordenes served as mayor of Sablayan, he constructed a new municipal building for the local government at the adjacent barangay of Buenavista.
During the term of office of Mayor Loreto Urieta, a concrete pier was constructed in Poblacion. A hospital was built by the Catholic Church in this place. At present, the said hospital is under he management of the religious sisters who are members of the Dominican Sisters of Sienna.
The persons who served as leaders of Poblacion, Sablayan were Andres de Jesus, Lucio Martinez, Aurelio Gonzales, Avelino Zamora and Rosauro Pasajol. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Amable Urieta, Sr.[xlix]
14. SAN AGUSTIN
Manamlay was the name given by the indigenous people belonging to the Alangan tribe to this forested area which abound with wild pigs and giant bats called million fruit bats by hunters and environmentalists alike..
In 1958, the families of Benavidez, Felipe, Acosta, Diaz and Martin arrived in this place from Tarlac, followed by the families of Gomintong, Tayaben, Gordulan, Patingan and Inogacio. These groups petitioned the Bureau of Forestry to reclassify as agricultural land the wide forested area of Manamlay.
It was in the year 1960 when Manamlay became a sitio of Barrio Rang-ayan, the present Brgy. Pag-asa. The old residents of this place, led by Federico Martin requested Rang-ayan Teniente del Barrio Prudencio Gadiano to separate Manamlay from Rang-ayan and elevate it to the status of a barrio. In 1964, the barangay council of Rang-ayan approved the request and it was confirmed later on by the municipal council of Sablayan and the provincial board of Occidental Mindoro.
That same year, Federico Martin was elected as the first teniente del barrio of this community. During his term of office a private school for elementary pupils was opened by the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Manamlay. Nevertheless, the parents still requested then Congressman Pedro Medalla, Sr. to open a public school in this place. Not long afterwards, the first elementary school building was constructed and a teacher was assigned in this community.
In 1966, Agustin Cuaresma was elected as teniente del barrio of Manamlay. Upon the recommendation of Sablayan Mayor Loreto Urieta, the name of the barrio was changed to San Agustin.
In 1970, Florendo Banite won the election for teniente del barrio. During his term of office, some of the roads going to the farm were constructed and many families from Central & Northern Luzon flocked to this place.
In the election held for Kabataang Barangay in 1975, Yolanda Baagin was elected as Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Chairman. Rosemia Gatchalian succeeded her in 1978.
On May 17, 1982 Dionisio Dupagan the position of barangay captain was entrusted by the people of San Agustin. He formed the group of unmarried youth and it was led by Tito Diasan. The next leader of the group was Florentino Villanueva.
During martial law period, a long concrete bridge was built over Patrick River. Due to this development, the national highway passed through San Agustin. The main road in the barrio was widened and improved. The people greatly benefited from the fast flow of goods and services in their barangay.
It was during the last year of service of Brgy. Captain Dupagan, specifically the month of September 1987, when Typhoon Unsang wrought havoc to the barangay. Water overflowed from the banks of the rivers, the land was eroded and a great portion of the once productive farm was turned to gravel filled land. As a result, many families transferred to other barangays.
In 1988, Samuel Agualin was elected as barangay captain of this community. Through his efforts, concrete roads and a concrete basketball court were constructed and the building of the barangay hall was started. However, it was during his term of office when the hunting of the million fruit bats at the lake of San Agustin was intensified. As a result, the giant bats transferred to other forested areas.
In the election held for Kabataang Barangay on December 4, 1992 Noli Pascua won as SK Chairman. He and his council were able to build a concrete waiting shed and public toilet and sponsored a sports tournament. After his term of office, he was succeeded by Edwin Eugenio.
Yolanda Baagin Patingan served as the barangay captain of San Agustin from 1997 to 2001. She continued implementing the development projects for her barangay. She was succeeded by Brgy. Captain Siodor Ponceja.
A tragic incident happened in San Agustin during the 2004 Elections. A week before actual voting took place, Brgy. Captain Ponceja was shot by unidentified gunmen. Many believed that it was a politically motivated killing. Unfortunately, the crime remained unsolved up to the present time.
The leader of San Agustin at present is Brgy. Captain Edwin Dangeros who assumed office by right of succession, being the incumbent first Sangguniang Barangay member during the term of office of the late Brgy. Capt. Ponceja.[l]
15. SAN FRANCISCO
The indigenous people belonging to the Alangan tribe were the first inhabitants of this place. They built their huts around the lake found here which they called Lalaguna. Hunting, fishing and the kaingin system of agriculture were their sources of livelihood. Since a kind of grass locally known as bacong-bacong grew abundantly in the area, they called their settlement as Cabacungan.
Aside from the lake, a small river could be found in Cabacungan. The tamaraw and other wild animals quenched their thirst here, thus, the river was called Turawan by the indigenous people.
After World War II, a great number of families of farmers from other provinces of the Philippines came to Cabacungan. They occupied the kaingin of the Alangan. Being peace loving people, the indigenous people transferred to the mountains. The new arrivals cleared the forests, cultivated it and turned it into ricefields and cornfields.
The settlement grew and Cabacungan became a sitio of San Vicente. After a few years, a member of the barrio council named Francisco Sarzate tried his best to elevate the sitio to the status of a barrio. When it was realized in 1970, the residents of Cabacungan showed their appreciation by registering San Francisco as the official name of their barrio.
Another benevolent individual of San Francisco, Carlos Quiton, donated the land where the classrooms of the elementary school were constructed. When he died, some residents proposed to change the name of their barrio to San Carlos. However, the proposal was turned down by the municipal council for aside from being its registered name, San Francisco was already widely known by people not only from Sablayan but also from other places.
After a few years, the number of houses in San Francisco increased. Building concrete houses was not costly for gravel and sand abound in this barrio. The tax that the barrio officials charged for every truckload of gravel & sand hauled by contractors from the riverbed within the jurisdiction of their community constitutes the main source of fund being spent for the projects of San Francisco.
Every summer season, buses and passenger jeeps going to Mamburao from Sablayan and other municipalities at the southern part of Occidental Mindoro, passed by San Francisco. The frequent passage of land transportation vehicles greatly helped the farmers in marketing their products. It also contributed to the progress of the barrio now called a barangay.
During martial law period, the road and bridges in the barrio were improved. The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) constructed an irrigation system for the ricefields of the farmers. As a result, production of palay and corn increased.
Since San Francisco is located near Patrick River, when a wide area of the municipality of Sablayan was flooded in 1989, a great portion of this barangay was submerged in water. The ricefields of the farmers were heavily damaged. Some families evacuated to higher grounds. Nevertheless, after the calamity, the residents strived hard to recover what they lost.
Through the efforts of its local officials and the cooperation of the people in the community, the barangay at present has an improved plaza, a concrete stage, multi-purpose pavement, barangay hall and day care center.
The leaders who served as barangay captain of San Francisco were Joaquin Santos, Armando Amores, Carlos dela Cruz and Cesar Pascual. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Romeo Mara, Jr.[li]
16. SAN NICOLAS
In an old map drawn by Fr. Murillo Velarde, a Spanish friar, the place where the progressive community of Dongon was located during the Spanish regime is also the location of Brgy. San Nicolas at present. The map showed that people were already living in this place, even before the creation of the province of Mindoro.
Based on the researches of Antoon Postma, Dongon was first mentioned in history in 1665. It was mentioned in the report of an Augustinian Recollect missionary that a group of men living in this village walked for days towards Naujan to receive the sacrament of Baptism from the Jesuit priest doing mission work there.
In 1749, based on the report of a missionary, it appeared that Dongon was the biggest village in the island of Mindoro, since the number of people residing here reached 695, bigger than the population of Bongabong which was 645, Calapan – 565 and Naujan – 400.
In 1754, month of August, a big group of pirates aboard six boats attacked the progressive village of Dongon. They burned the church after removing there the books and materials made of silver. They cut off the heads and arms of the statues of saints, destroyed the ricefields of the farmers, mercilessly killed 45 men and women and captured 98 able bodied inhabitants.
Despite the danger brought by piratical raids, in 1802 Dongon was made as the residence of the Comandante Subalterno. The power of the comandante was second only to the corregidor which is equivalent to the governor of the island of Mindoro, at present.
Dongon as residence of the Comandante Subalterno lasted only for more than twenty years. People gradually disappeared from this village due to their extreme fear of Moro pirates, the fugitives from the law and the dreaded disease of malaria. This place was last mentioned in a map drawn in 1829, where the following words were written: Dongon, a visita of Calapan no longer inhabited by people.
During the American regime, a group of fishermen from Maningning, an island of the province of Antique, lived in the former village of Dongon. However, since the indigenous people belonging to the Tau-Buhid tribe called the river near the place where they built huts as Garo-Garo, they also called their settlement by that name.
Years later, Garo-Garo became a sitio of Barrio Sta. Lucia since like the said barrio, Tambungon and Malisbong, this place was also a part of Aguinaldo Estate. It lasted for many years. However, the people of Garo-Garo found it hard to go to Sta. Lucia especially during rainy season when Mompong River usually overflow its banks. They requested the local officials of Sablayan that the jurisdiction over their sitio be transferred to Barrio Ligaya. Their request was granted.
The Department of Education opened an elementary school in the sitio. In 1982, since it met the requirements needed for the elevation of its status to a barrio, Garo-Garo was separated from Ligaya and created as another barrio. The residents agreed to change the name of their community to San Nicolas, in honor of a teacher who was assigned in this place.
In 1989, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) constructed an irrigation system in San Nicolas. The said government agency also helped in the construction of the road from the barrio to the highway. The said infrastructure projects helped in the progress of the community.
The persons who served as barangay captain of San Nicolas were Lorenzo Evangelista, Leopoldo Martinez, Resureccion Ibuna and Lucrecia dela Cruz. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Bruno Calcaña.[lii]
17. STA. LUCIA
The part of Sta. Lucia where people first settled before the outbreak of World War II was Halawhawan. The name of the settlement came from a significant meeting which took place in this community. During the said meeting, the group of people from Capiz and Antique thoroughly discussed and laid the policies which they would follow in their new settlement. In the Tagalog dialect the said activity was called halaw, thus, the place where it happened was called Halawhawan.
In the map drawn by Fr. Julian Duval, the chaplain of Mindoro Sugar Company who visited this place in 1920, it was indicated that the number of houses in Halawhawan was twelve. Two sitios, namely; Idarag, a sitio of the indigenous people and Buswangan, now Brgy. Burgos, were placed under the jurisdiction of Halawhawan.
During the American regime, Halawhawan together with the wide plains where Tambungon, San Nicolas and Malisbong are located at present became the agricultural estate of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. When the general died, the estate was inherited by her daughter Cristina Aguinaldo Suntay.
Since the heiress could not take care of the estate tall trees and grasses grew on the wide plains. Families of fishermen from Palawan and the island of Maningning, Antique arrived and built huts along the coastal areas of the sitios of Tambungon, Garo-Garo, Payompon and Halawhawan. They cleared the forests and converted it into ricefields and cornfields. The heiress of Gen. Aguinaldo was not able to prevent the entry of the settlers into her agricultural estate.
When World War II broke out, the people of Halawhawan evacuated to the sitios of Ligaya, Borot-borotan and Concepcion. After the war, many of the evacuees did not leave the place where they hid. As a result, a new settlement was formed in Borot-borotan, in the land owned by Nicasio Urieta. The name of the said settlement came from a kind of rootcrop which served as food of the evacuees when rice was scarce.
When Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm (SPPF) was established during the early part of 1955, the prison officials received at the coast of Halawhawan the first batch of prisoners from Manila. Since from that time up to the present, the reception of prisoners happens annually, the name Halawhawan was changed to Receiving.
In 1955, due to the big number of families living at Sitio Borot-borotan, a primary school was opened in this place. It was named Sta. Lucia Primary School. During the latter part of the same year, Borot-borotan became a barrio. Sta. Lucia was registered as its official name. Elected as its first teniente del barrio was Benedicto Urieta. Placed under his jurisdiction were the sitios of Payompon and Receiving, including Idarag, Barucan, Sahing and Lulo which are settlements of the indigenous people.
When Cristino Urieta was the barangay captain of Sta. Lucia, he opened an extension of Sta. Lucia Elementary School at Sitio Receiving.
In 1994, the authorities of a Protestant sect, the Seventh Day Adventist, opened D’Shep Academy at Receiving. The said private school offered complete secondary education not only to members of their religion but also to the youth professing other religious beliefs.
Aside from the aforementioned leaders, the persons who served as teniente del barrio, teniente consejal and barangay captain of Sta. Lucia were Ruperto Urieta, Eduardo Lastra, Alejandro Daprosa, Miguel Lastra, Faustino Urieta, Gervacio Magbanua, Leoncio Soriano, Montano Lastra, Silvino Diomante, Lucio de Dios, Nicasio Urieta, Leoncio Urieta, Nuadulado Urieta, Anastacio Maranas, Amable Urieta and Rufio Lastra. The leader of the barangay at present is Napoleon Silva.[liii]
18. STO. NIÑO
Only a few individuals owned the wide plains in this place during the American regime. They were Vicente Gatchalian, Paulino Legazpi, Sr., Casiano Salvo, Vicente Poblete, Jesus Poblete, Raymundo Gallimbas and the families of Cabantugan and Caballes. The laborers of the abovementioned owners settled in this place.
The community got its name when two young men who were rivals for the love of a beautiful maiden decided to settle their rivalry by means of a duel. Armed with bolos, they fought. Unfortunately, both of them died. Due to that tragic incident, people called the area where the duel took place as Pinagtag-an.
Pinagtag-an was already a sitio when Sablayan was created as a municipality in 1902. However, people from other settlements could only reach this place by means of man made trails. After many years, groups of farmers from other provinces came and settled here. They were composed of the families of Nicanor, Acosta, Caballes, Daquingquing, Dapat, Romaquin, Danseco, Aguilar, Cabantugan, Dawan, Apolinario and Iniego. Since they settled in a remote area, whenever a member of their family got sick, they would call Felicisimo Acosta, an herb doctor, to treat the sick person.
Despite the hardships they encountered, the families of farmers persevered. Through the assistance of the local officials of Barrio Buenavista, they requested the government for the opening of a school in their sitio. Despite the absence of a schoolhouse, the first teacher of Pinagtag-an, Emily Tangcalles, was assigned to teach Grade 1 pupils. Temporarily, classes were held in the house of Cabantugan family.
In 1939, although Pinagtag-an was not yet officially created as a barrio, Feliz Dawis was appointed as its first teniente del barrio. Since during that time, this community was still under the jurisdiction of the barrio officials of Buenavista, Teniente del Barrio Dawis coordinate coordinated with them in managing the affairs of his sitio.
During the war, the people of Pinagtag-an hid in the forested areas of their barrio. They survived by eating nami, a kind of rootcrop, and yuro, the dried sap from the trunk of buri. Luckily, the Japanese soldiers were not able to reach their hiding places.
In 1949, Hilarion Cabantugan was appointed as the second teniente del barrio of Pinagtag-an. A second teacher for primary school pupils, Lorenzo Torregoza was assigned in this place.
A Catholic chapel was built in Pinagtag-an in 1952. Mariano Aguilar was appointed as its teniente del barrio. Through District Supervisor Primo Poblete, Pablo Silva, a benevolent farm owner, donated a one hectare land for the schoolhouse and campus of the primary school. Additional teachers were assigned and they were Emelie Sumbad and Miguela Catalino. Eight years later, the primary school became a complete elementary school.
In 1955, Pinagtag-an was separated from Buenavista and officially created as a barrio. Five sitios were placed under its jurisdiction, namely; Bisay, Tulaong, Agsuli, Balud and Macambang. In honor of its patron saint, Sto. Niño was registered as the official name of the community.
When the highway linking Mamburao to San Jose was constructed during the term of office of Governor Arsenio Villaroza, it passed through Sto. Niño. The said highway was widened and improved during martial law period and concrete bridges were constructed.
During the second term of office of Hon. Godofredo Mintu as mayor of Sablayan, the main road of Sto. Niño was covered with asphalt. He constructed in this barangay the building of Sablayan National High School and the Sablayan Sports Complex. Due to these improvements the number of commercial establishments in this place increased.
Aside from the aforementioned leaders, the individuals who served as barangay captain of Sto. Niño were Ludovico Nicanor, Roberto Aguilar, Ricardo Silva and Jose Lising. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Leonilo Nicanor.[liv]
19. SAN VICENTE
This place was a forested area which served as sanctuary of the tamaraw during the American regime. In one part of the forest, a big tree locally known as katuray grew. The indigenous people who hunted for wildlife in this area used to rest under the shade of the big tree.
A year after World War II, many families of farmers from Luzon and the Visayas arrived and settled in this place. They cleared the forested area and converted it into ricefields and cornfields.
Since the pioneers of this place also used to rest under the shade of the katuray tree, they named their settlement as Katuray. It became a sitio of Sablayan.
In 1946, heeding the request of its inhabitants, the municipal council of Sablayan elevated Katuray to the status of a barrio. Teodulo Urietawas appointed as the first teniente del barrio. During his term of office he strived for the opening of a primary school in this barrio although its first classrooms were made of lumber, bamboo and cogon.
In 1958, District Supervisor Vicente de Guzman of the Bureau of Public Schools visited Katuray. He was the first high ranking official of the Department of Education to visit this place, thus, the people felt extremely happy and honored. Due to that memorable visit, when the people through the leadership of Teniente del Barrio Victoriano Bernabe requested the municipal council of Sablayan to change the name of their barrio, they agreed to call it San Vicente. The request was granted and starting that year Katuray became San Vicente.
When the highway from Mamburao to San Jose was constructed during the early part of Decade 60’s, it passed through San Vicente. The highway was widened and improved during martial law period. Concrete bridges were constructed. As a result, passenger jeeps and buses frequently pass through this place.
In 1970, when barrio high schools were established in different parts of the Philippines, a public high school was opened in San Vicente. The number of students increased that, years later, San Vicente Barrio High School became San Vicente National High School.
That same year, National Irrigation Administration (NIA) established its municipal office in San Vicente. The said agency constructed an irrigation system for the ricefields not only in this barrio but also in other adjacent barangays and sitios. The said project brought progress to the farmers.
A tragic incident happened in San Vicente in April 1986, when the representative of Occidental Mindoro to the Interim Batasang Pambansa, Assemblyman Pedro Mendiola, Sr. was shot and killed by an unidentified gunman while delivering his speech at the plaza of the barangay. The residents and leaders of the barangay were deeply shocked and saddened with that unfortunate incident.
With the assistance of the local and national officials, the plaza of the barangay was improved and the barangay hall, day care center and children’s playground were constructed.
Aside from the aforementioned leaders, the persons who served San Vicente were Federico Biagtan, Florentino Fernandez, Benjamin Clarin, Cesar Urieta, Pablo Perez, Teodulo Gordulan, Jose Nazareno, Aquilina delos Reyes and Ronilo Mateo. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Catalino Antolin, Jr.[lv]
Manamok, the old name of this place came from lamok, the Tagalog word for mosquito. The pioneers of this community said that when they arrived in this place, swarms of mosquitoes greeted them. In order that they would not get sick of malaria, they drained the stagnant water from the breeding places of mosquitoes and drove out the insects by means of thick smoke coming from bonfires of fresh twigs and leaves.
Until 1945, a great portion of this place was a thick forest where wild pigs, monkeys, tamaraws and deer abound. Only a few families dared to live at the undeveloped homesteads granted to them by the government. The group was composed of the families of Salgado, Advincula, Dantayana, Eniego, Daprosa, Damiray and Macalalad.
In 1950, led by Ignacio Lorenzo, thirty seven families arrived at Balagbag Damo, the wide plain adjacent to Manamok. The group cultivated the grassy plain and cleared the forest of Manamok. Ricefields and cornfields gradually appeared.
Six years later, groups of farmers from other parts of the country arrived in Manamok and Balagbag Damo. They occupied the vacant land not only of the two settlements but also near the rivers of Balingkawing, Viga and Asis. The population of the two places grew until Manamok and Balagbag Damo became sitios of Barrio Claudio Salgado.
In order that their children would be able to study, the parents requested the local officials of Sablayan that a primary school be established in Manamok. Upon the approval of their request, the parents, through cooperative labor constructed a schoolhouse made of cogon, lumber and bamboo for the multi-grade school. Through the passing of years, the number of pupils increased until the multi-grade school in Manamok evolved into a complete elementary school. The first schoolhouse of light materials became concrete school buildings.
In 1963, with the approval of Republic Act No. 3590, popularly known as the Revised Barrio Charter, Sitio Manamok was separated from Claudio Salgado and created as another barrio of Sablayan. Aniceto Abistado was appointed as its first teniente del barrio.
Aside from the barrio proper, placed under the jurisdiction of Manamok were the sitios of Balagbag Damo, Bulawan, Libho, Viga and Pinagtapunan. The farmers of the said places tried their best to increase their palay harvest and they were able to achieve it. Due to their bountiful harvest, Manamok was dubbed as the rice granary of Sablayan. The farmers were greatly pleased with the title given to their barrio that they decided to change the name of Manamok to Tagumpay a Tagalog word which means Victory. They registered it as the official name of their barrio.
During martial law period, a dike was constructed by Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) along Amnay River to prevent the frequent overflowing of the floodwater at the palay plantation of the company in Claudio Salgado. Unfortunately, when rainy season came, the floodwater from the river entered the adjacent barangays, including Tagumpay.
The most disastrous flood occurred in this place in 1989. The barrio proper of Tagumpay was destroyed by the strong current of the water. Due to that unfortunate incident, many families transferred to other places.
Aside from Teniente del Barrio Abistado, the persons who served as leaders of Tagumpy were Carlos Fabros, Francisco Tangalin, Samuel dela Cruz and Fernando Bautista. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Benigno Garces.[lvi]
According to the story which was handed down orally from one generation to another by the old residents of Tuban, prior to the coming of the Spaniards to the Philippines, the Muslim traders were already bartering goods with the ancestors of the indigenous people living in this place. Since the two groups used to meet here, they called this settlement as Tutuban which means meeting place. Many years later, the name was shortened and became Tuban.
During the American regime, the number of indigenous people living in Tuban decreased. On the other hand, the wide plain adjacent to this settlement became the agricultural estate of Arellano family. Herds of cattle and carabaos were raised in the estate. Some indigenous people were hired as helpers of the cattle raiser. Nevertheless, after a few years they transferred to the mountains.
After World War II, groups of Igorot and Ilocano farmers arrived at Arellano Estate. Due to the increase in the number of inhabitants, the estate became a barrio called Arellano and Tuban was classified as a sitio under its jurisdiction. Later on the name of Barrio Arellano was changed to Batong Buhay.
When bloody encounters between government troops and members of the Hukbalahap movement erupted in Central Luzon many families of farmers from Central Luzon transferred to Sablayan. Tuban was one of the places where they settled. Families of Igorots and those from the Visayan and Tagalog regions who were looking for vacant lands to till also arrived and settled here.
As the population of Tuban grew, some leaders of the community talked with the local officials of Sablayan and requested to elevate the sitio to the status of a barangay. Among the leaders who requested the separation of this community from Batong Buhay were Solon Dantay, Pablo Malano, Alberto Cacho and Felipe Magno.
For various reasons, the dream of the said leaders of the sitio to separate Tuban from Batong Buhay was not realized. During the latter part of 1990, two other leaders of the sitio revived the said request to the municipal officials of Sablayan. They were Pedro dela Cruz and Alberto Cacho. This time the request was given attention. On February 8, 1991, on motion of Councilor Lising seconded by Councilor Silva, members of the Municipal Council of Sablayan approved the resolution creating the barangay of Tuban. The said resolution was approved by Mayor Godofredo Mintu. When it was forwarded to the provincial government, it was immediately approved by the members of the provincial board and Governor Pedro Medalla, Jr.
In the 1991 Election, Pedro dela Cruz was elected as the first barangay captain of Tuban. The sitios placed under his jurisdiction were Buscad, Parang, Magsaysay, Tuban Proper, Cayatas, Tagbungan and Tabtaban.
During the term of office of Brgy. Captain dela Cruz, a survey was conducted on the barangay site where residential houses were constructed. The building of the barangay hall was started and the wooden bridge in Cayatas was constructed.
When Brgy. Captain dela Cruz suddenly died, Brgy. Kagawad Delia Cachola succeeded him as the leader of the barangay. In 1994, she was elected by the people. Among her visible accomplishments were: the completion of the construction of the barangay hall; the building of Phase I of the Brgy. Health Center, two waiting sheds, basketball court, double barrel box culvert, barangay road and flagpole.
Ligaya National High School opened extension classes in Tuban during the early part of Decade 90’s. Years later, the school became independent and is now known as Tuban National High School..
In 1997, Rolando Perez was elected as barangay captain of Tuban. Some of his projects were the painting of the barangay hall, construction of classrooms for the public high school and the day care center. Brgy. Capt. Perez was reelected as the barangay captain of Tuban, the position he holds up to the present time.[lvii]
During the American regime, this place was one of the sources of bamboos and lumber used by the people of Sablayan in building their houses. This was also one of the areas which served as sanctuary of wild animals.
Three years before the outbreak of World War II, a few families of farmers from Panay dared to live here. They called this place as Barobo, the name of a towering tree in the area. Since their settlement was near a river, the settlers used banca in going to the center of Sablayan.
After World War II, some relatives of the pioneers of Barobo decided to settle in this place and converted the forested area into productive agricultural land. The number of inhabitants increased and the settlement became a sitio of Pandan, now known as Claudio Salgado.
In 1955, during the term of office of Hon. Loreto Urieta as mayor of Sablayan, he elevated Barobo to the status of a barrio. At the same time, he constructed the building for a primary school in this community. While the building was under construction, the wife of the mayor gave birth to a baby girl. The child was named Victoria. When the leaders of Barobo decided to register the official name of their barrio, they agreed on the name Victoria, as a gesture of gratitude to the projects implemented by Mayor Urieta in their community.
Through the cooperation of the inhabitants and Ms. Elena Maycong, the first teacher assigned in this place, the number of pupils increased until the primary school became a complete elementary school. In 1966, when barrio high schools were opened in various parts of the country, through the leadership of Ms. Mila Villena, the parents and teachers requested the Department of Education to open a barrio high school in Victoria. The request was approved and as a result, elementary school graduates of Victoria and the nearby sitios were given opportunity to acquire secondary education. In 1996, the barrio high school became Victoria National High School.
During martial law period, an irrigation system was constructed by National Irrigation Administration (NIA) in this place. When their ricefields were irrigated the farmers were able to harvest palay twice a year.
The rapid economic growth of Victoria was cut short by the great flood which occurred on the barrios north of Sablayan, in 1976. That year, the water of Balingkawing & Rayusan Rivers merged. The cornfields and ricefields which were not eroded were covered with sand. Due to that calamity, many families left Victoria and transferred to other communities.
The river near Victoria became shallow after the flood. Motorboats could no longer pass through it. Hence, the transport of their agricultural products from the barangay to the center of Sablayan emerged as a problem of the farmers.
The persons who served as leaders of Victoria were Antonio Dangeros, Laureano Urieta, Mariano Pasion, Mariano Valdez, Joselito Alfaro, Andres Mendoza, Artemio Manzano, Angel Cadic, Angel Dangeros and Manuel Tadeo. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Severino Martinez.[lviii]
[iii] Antoon Postma: Historical Data on the Greater San Jose Parish of Occidental Mindoro, 1983,p. 4
[iv] A. Postma: Dongon: A Lost Town in West Mindoro, 1997, p. 5
[v] A. Postma: Dongon: A Lost Town in West Mindoro, 1997, p. 6
[vii] Macario Landicho: The Mindoro Yearbook,1952, p. 511
[viii] Gregoria V. Cordova: History of Calintaan, 1998, p. 3
[ix] “Naisipan naman namin na bumili ng isang paraw na may sampung tonelada ang laki sa Malabon,
Tambobong na noo’y sakp pa ng Maynila. Ito’y aming ipinaglakbay agad sa Paluan, Mindoro kasama
ko ang dalawa kong kapatid na natanda, Benigno at Crispulo. Pagdating namin sa Sablayan naiwan
ang kapatid kong si Benigno upang bumili ng nigeng pandampol, uway at diliman na gamit sa baklad, at
pagkit na gamit sa pag-ilaw sa mga santo sa bayan-bayan.” Original text from Emilio Aguinaldo: Mga
Gunita ng Himagsikan, 1948, p. 20.
[x] “Pagkatapos ay nagbalik kami sa Sablayan at dito’y nilulanan ang paraw ng tigib na tigib ng nige,
diliman at pagkit. Bagama’t ito’y maibibilang sa hanapbuhay na malaki ang pakinabang, ay inaabot
naman kami roon ng mahihit na tatlong buwan. Kalungkot-lungkot na sabihin na ang aming kapatid na
si Benigno ay iniuwi namin na mabigat ang sakit na malaria na siya niyang ikinamatay sa Pilar, Bataan
sa piling ng kanyang maybahay, Esperanza Monzon at mga anak.” Original text from Emilio
Aguinaldo: Mga Gunita ng Himagsikan, 1948, p. 22
[xi] G. Cordova: History of Calintaan, 1998, p. 4
[xii] M. Ladicho: The Mindoro Yearbook, 1952, p. 102
[xiii] Editorial Staff: STAA Souvenir Program, 1970, p. 155
[xiv] A. Postma: San Jose Central A.D. 1920m as described by Padre Julian Duval, 1983, p. 357
[xv] Interview with Ex-Mayor Pedro Gonzales, December 12, 1997
[xvii] Department of Education: History of Ligaya, 1950, p. 10
[xviii] Interview with SB Kag. Elmer Urieta, December 12, 1997
[xix] Interview with Fr. Adeodato Malabanan, SVD, June 18, 1997
[xx] Editorial Staff: STAA Souvenir Program, 1970, p. 168
[xxi] Interview with Fr. Adeodato Malabanan, SVD, June 18, 1997
[xxii] Interview with SB Kag. Elmer Urieta, December 12, 1997
[xxiv] Brgy. Capt. Virgilio Dagunotas, Sr.: Kasaysayan ng Brgy. Lagnas, 1997, p. 1
[xxv] Editorial Staff: STAA Souvenir Program, 1970, p. 168
[xxvi] Interview with Ex-Mayor Pedro Gonzales, December 12, 1997
[xxviii] Interview with LCR Ben Eugenio, December 12, 1997
[xxix] Interview with Ex-SB Kag. Francisco Pido, February 12, 1995
[xxx] Interview with LCR Ben Eugenio, December 12, 1997
[xxxi] AVSJ Staff: History of the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose, 1997, p. 3
[xxxii] Report to DZVT of Mr. Jun Ramos, August 5, 1997
[xxxiii] P/Supt. Remy Santiago Macaspac: Historical Background of Occ. Mindoro Provincial Office, 1997, p. 3
[xxxiv] Interview with Gov. Josephine Ramirez-Sato, July 8, 1996
[xxxv] Interview with Mrs. Noemi Magdaluyo, December 12, 1997
[xxxvi] Interview with LCR Ben Eugenio, December 12, 1997
[xxxvii] Interview with Brgy. Captain Richard Mitra
[xxxviii] Interview with Brgy. Capt. Narciso Fernandez
[xxxix] Interview with Brgy. Capt. Plaridel Daprosa & Brgy. Kag. Rodolfo Obtinalla
[xl] Interview with Brgy. Capt. Ferdinand Urieta
[xli] Interview with Ms. Sannie de Jesus
[xlii] Interview with Brgy. Captain Virgilio Baoan
[xliii] Interview with Brgy. Captain Apolinario Fajada
[xliv] Interview with Brgy. Captain Virgilio Daguinotas, Sr.
[xlv] Interview with Mr. Policarpio Palomo & Mr. Peter Maat
[xlvi] Interview with Mr. Alfonso Samonte
[xlvii] Interview with BrgyÿÿCaptain Feÿÿndo deÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ
[l] Interview with Brgy. Kag. Noli Pascua
[li] Interview with Brgy. Captain Romeo Mara
[lii] Interview with Brgy. Captain Lucrecia de Jesus
[liii] Interview with Brgy. Captain Rufio Lastra
[liv] Interview with Brgy. Captain Leonilo Nicanor
[lv] Interview with Brgy. Captain Catalino Antolin, Jr.
[lvi] Interview with Brgy. Captain Fernando Bautista
[lvii] Interview with Brgy. Captain Tolando Perez
[lviii] Interview with Brgy. Captain Severino Martinez & Artemio Martizano
- Published Materials:
1. Aguinaldo, Emilio 4. Editorial Staff
1948: Mga Gunita ng Himagsikan 1970: STAA Souvenir
2. Landicho, Macario Program
1950: The Mindoro Yearbook 5. National Statistics Office
3. Postma, Antoon 1985Census of
1983: San Jose Central A.D. as Population
Described by Padre Julian Duval
1997: Dongon: A Lost Town in West Mindoro
B. Unpublished Materials:
1. Dept. of Education Culture & Sports 5. Cordova, Gregoria
1950: History of Ligaya 1998: History of Calintaan
2. Brgy. Capt. Virgilio Daguinotas, Sr.
1997: Kasaysayan ng Brgy. Lagnas
3. P/Supt. Remy Santiago Macaspac
1997: Historical Background of Occidental Mindoro Police Office
4. AVSJ Staff
1997: History of the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose
C. Resource Persons:
1. Gov. Josephine Ramirez-Sato 18. Brgy. Capt. Romeo Mara
2. Ex-Mayor Pedro Gonzales 19. Brgy. Capt. Lucrecia de Jesus
3. Ex-SB Kagawad Francisco Pido 20. Brgy. Capt. Rufo Lastra
4. Es-SB Kagawad Elmer Urieta 21. Brgy. Capt. Leonilo Nicanor
5. Fr. Adeodato Malabanan, SVD 22. Brgy. Capt. Catalino Antolin, Jr.
6. Brgy. Capt. Richard Mitra 23. Brgy. Capt. Fernando Bautista
7. Brgy. Capt. Narciso Fernandez 24. Brgy. Capt. Rolando Perez
8. Brgy. Capt. Plaridel Daprosa 25. Brgy. Capt. Severino Martines
9. Brgy. Capt. Ferdinand Urieta 26. Mr. Jun Ramos
10. Brgy. Capt. Apolinario Fajada 27. Mr. Peter Maat
11. Brgy. Capt. Virgilio Baoan 28. Mr. Policarpio Palomo
12. Brgy. Capt. Virgilio Daguinotas, Sr. 29. Mr. Alfonso Samonte
13. Brgy. Capt. Fernando de Jesus 30. Mr. Ben Eugenio
14. Brgy. Capt. Juanito Esteban, Jr. 31. Ms. Noemi Magdaluyo
15. Brgy. Capt. Amable Urieta, Sr. 32. Mr. Artemio Martizano
16. Brgy. Kag. Rodolfo Obtinalla 33. Ms. Sannie de Jesus
17. Brgy. Kag. Noli Pascua