MUNICIPALITY OF SAN JUAN, Historical Data - Philippine Historical Data MUNICIPALITY OF SAN JUAN, Historical Data - Philippine Historical Data


Municipality of San Juan

About these Historical Data

[Cover Page.]


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I. History:

Before 1880, the present seat of the Poblacion was called Ganagan, named after the head of the family that settled first and made clearings in this place. It was a thick forest then and had been a pleasant abode of animals such as deer, wild hogs, monkeys, wild cats, wild chickens, birds and a variety of snakes. Because Ganagan wanted this place to become a Rancheria, he joined it to the Lagañgilang. Hence, it became Rancheria de Ganagan.

As the years rolled by, Rancheria de Ganagan became, little by little, a better place to live in. The forest was cleared and better dwellings were built. The forest animals gave way to the people that flocked to the place. Ganagan, the founder and chief of the place, designated the places for his children, relatives and in-laws and named the places after them such as Guimba after his son Guimba; Colobaoan after his nephew Colobaoan; Samao after another nephew Samao; Culiong after his brother-in-law Culiong. The other places or barrios which composed San Juan at present were named in the same way. At first, the head seat was hereditary and, later, the strongest and bravest were selected. The families multiplied and the natural resources were developed. Soon, the place could stand by itself without Lagañgilang and other places. Rancheria de Ganagan was later named only Ganagan for obvious reason.

In search for better living, people from other places flocked to this place, either to trade or abide with the Tinguians, the natives of this place. Aside from the people from Ilocos Sur, Tagalogs and Visayans came, too, when the Spaniards took this place and baptized the Tinguians. The name Ganagan was changed to Pueblo de San Juan in honor of the first baptized Tinguian, Capitan Tañgiday, on December 27, 1884. This was in coincidence with the date of St. John the Evangelist, the Patron Saint of Pueblo de San Juan.

For whatever progress or improvements this town had, the town chief executives at different periods from 1880 up to date have been responsible.

Cabezas de Barangay, 1880 - 1881

Bagani de San Juan
Degay de Colobaoan
Sagasay de Coling
Agabas de Abualan
Pandi de Quidaoen
Bon-ao de Dumagdag
I - ta de Ba - y
Quellaoan de Agsiman
Silbao de Pang-ot
Tungad de Calañgat
Sagibo de Alawa
Saboy de Lacub
Palangdao de Caganayan
Curao de Lanec
Teniente Mayor Capitan Municipal
Cirilo Ayala
Juan Tañgiday
Mario Llaneza
Crisanto Valera
Pedro Balmaceda
Mario Llaneza
Rafael Gulam Lucas
Presidente Local
Rafael Gulam Lucas
Agaoan Baga

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In 1907, San Juan became a barrio of Dolores through the influence of political bigwigs during those days until 1929, when it became a Municipality with the sponsorship of Honorable Quintin Paredes, Assemblyman for Abra at that time.

Presidente Municipal

Primitivo Rioja (appointed)
Gregorio Saygo Taverner (elected)
Manuel Magala

Alcalde Municipal

Baltazar Eduarte
Torribio Lazo

Military Mayor

Isidro Taverner
Marcos Guzman
Severino Ta-a
July 1944-Nov. 20, 1944
Nov. 20, 1944-July, 1945
Aug. 1945- (and the last executive under the Philippine Commonwealth.)

Municipal Mayor

Severino Ta-a

Gregorio Taverner
Gregorio Brillantes
July, 1946-First Mayor under the Philippine Republic
Jan. 1948 to Dec. 1951
Jan. 1952 to July 1952

Due to the untimely death of late Mayor Gregorio Brillantes, the Vice- Mayor Herey D. Dickson succeeded him.

San Juan is the seat of many beliefs or religions; Roman Catholic; two groups of Aglipayans; Seventh Day Adventists; Pentecostal; Methodist; Iglesia Ni Cristo; Witnesses of Jehovah; Paganism.

With the American aid that poured in after the last war, a sort of water system was put up in this town. This town is believed to have the greatest number of privately-owned artesian wells, especially in the barrio of Lam-ag. The two bulldozers owned by two private persons have been very instrumental in leveling and widening a number of cultivable lands around at present. There are also four privately-owned rice and corn mills. A sort of irrigation system made cooperatively by the people.

One can also find here "borikan" bamboos with stripes of yellow, green, white and sometimes pink. Because of its supernatural spirit, it was [said to be] responsible in saving the natives from the onslaught of the Alzadoes (fierce people from the highlands) who tried to invade and rob the people of their belongings, food, animals, etc. One of the invaders fell into the precipice where this bamboo grove is found. Thus, the other members of the group took it as a bad omen and did not at all attempt to continue their dirty scheme.

The people ,conscious of their moral obligations in the upliftment of the education of their children, seconded once and for all the move to put up a High

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School in this town. At present, a complete private high school is on the go. It was formerly called "San Juan Junior High School." But now it is named "St. John Memorial Institute."

II. Folkways:

The Tinguians, natives of this town, have a peculiar way of courtship. In any gathering of the natives, they have what was called "Bakomosta," wherein the young man expresses in verse or rhyme his love to a young woman. The young woman, in turn, does the same or gives the response. The response may either be in the negative or positive, depending upon the degree or how well the young man expressed himself in order to win over the woman. This practice needs the wit of a good and sound mind and one must be well prepared, otherwise the trust and confidence of the other woman will be lost. In the course of the activity, the other members of the group will bear witness to this public pronouncement of their love. Once a mutual agreement will be met, the parents of both parties will meet and decide on things that will make the wedding ceremony a pompous and hilaricus one. The ceremony is usually done in the house of the woman or bride and the parents of the bride are the ones responsible in entertaining the guests, that is, all expenses incident to the ceremony will be borne by the parents of the girl. The ceremony is performed by a group of prominent natives, the cacapitans, and not at all by a priest or justice of the peace.

Death and Burial: When one dies, an old woman or man shall immediately catch a small chick. The chick is killed and the feathers are burned to drive away the anitos. If a capitan, (one who had been executive of the town) dies, a couple on horseback will go around to the barrios or to other towns and inform all the people of the death of the capitan. In the absence of a couple, two men may do, and one of them will dress himself with a woman's attire. The widow will just wear [a] tapis and wrap herself with a white blanket and place [it] in one of the corners of the house hidden by a curtain. She only shows up when she mourns for her departed one.

Birth: When a child is born, a certain rite called "wakwakit" is being performed in order to give a name to the child. This is sort of a party where many are invited and may last for a day and a half.

Punishments: [This section should have been named "Superstitions."] (1) When one sneezes as you leave the house, it is a sign of bad omen. (2) Meeting a snake on the way is a sign of good luck, but if it is a crocodile, it is just the opposite. (3) If you are traveling and a bird called "labeg" crosses your way, with its usual way of making noise, you may meet trouble on the way; you may be bitten by a snake, a dog, or that bad luck will always befall on you. (4) Planting or sowing any seed on days when the night is starry or the sky is bedecked with innumerable stars, the harvest will be good. (5) Planting when the moon is in the east a day or two after full moon {lenned) is bad as the harvest will be poor or that the plants will not be good.

Measuring Time: The position of the sun is still considered one way of telling time and also the crowing of roosters.

Songs: The oggayam, dalleng, and ballagoyos are still considered the popular songs of the natives. These songs are usually sung during a wedding ceremony; in celebration of the anniversary of the dead; [or/and] in entertaining visitors to the place.

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Riddles: (1) It is said to be well of the eagle and although how much you dip and brush it with your hands it is always clear (coconut). (2) During the days it appears to be like [a] hole, but at night it appears as if it is patched (window). (3) It is said to be a big boar from China with its body full of nails {jackfruit). (4) Other riddles are found in other pages.

III. Other Information:

Other information could be given hereunder.
Submmitted by:
Transcribed from:
History and Cultural Life of the Municipality of San Juan, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections. The pagination in this transcription is as they appear in the original document.
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