CITY OF CANDON, History and Cultural Life of - Philippine Historical Data CITY OF CANDON, History and Cultural Life of - Philippine Historical Data

CITY OF CANDON, History and Cultural Life of

City of Candon

About these Historical Data

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By Miguel G. Abaya

Long before the coming of the Spaniards to the Philippines, the shores bordering the China Sea were the landing grounds of the Malayans who came in their big boats called the barangays. These Malayans came in groups and it is certain that they did not arrive at the same time. Every barangay that arrived brought in a colony that must have been under one supreme leader and might not have been related [to] nor known by the first arrivals or immediately ahead in the same shore. It is certain that a wave of arrivals may have driven away, after a fight, those who had arrived ahead. And the survivals [i.e. those who survived] of the defeated clan might have moved eastward and inward into the mountainous region of the country, particularly, the Mountain Province now.

It is not known when was the year when the people ruled by the family of Abay-a and Calin-yo came to the region which is now called Sagada. It is safe, however, to assume that it must have been long before the Spaniards came to the Philippines when these rulers had their powers flourished and had implanted an appreciably well-run village so far as it was in those days.

The region of Sagada was, and is, mountainous. At the time of these two rulers, the region was not sufficient to grow crops for the population. For then, rice terraces were not yet in existence at that time in that region. Abay-a and his brother, Calin-yo, had gradually come to note that something must be done to relieve the

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situation — that more area should be cultivated to cope with the inadequacy of food produced for the growing population. With this economic problem that confronted them, these two leaders called their younger constituents to a meeting to solve the situation.

In their desperation, various angles had been considered. And then, after many days of deliberation, they struck upon an idea that they should search for a region to suit the fast growing population. Abay-a and Calin-yo had a particular region in mind. At least once a year, these two leaders came down to the seashore to barter their mountain products with the then very widely separated lowlanders. They had to make these trips in order to secure the "ingredient of life" — salt. In their subsequent trips to the seashore, they had been accustomed to stop for rest and shelter under a big tree named Kandong. This tree was the rendezvous of travellers in those pre-Philippine historical days. When the Sagada folks under the rule of the two brothers had their serious consideration to locate a new home for their people, their two leaders had an unspeakable thrill in their hearts when they remembered Kandong. This big luxuriant tree, which afforded them safe abode in their travels to the seashore and in which they met some other travellers like themselves, had conquered their imagination and choice.

The following year, these pre-Philippine historic people had desperate efforts to build their new homes in the low level land around Kandong. They had brought all the animals and household

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belongings that they could take with them. They were enthusiastic in their efforts and in a considerably short time, they had their new village — named after their idol big tree, Kandong.

It may be parenthetically stated that almost simultaneously, another group of arrivals, also from the mountainous east region, came to settle in the vicinity of Kandong. A robust, energetic ruler named Mad-lang must have been confronted with the same economic problem. It is known that he came from a village named Besaw, somewhere in the now Mountain Province. Soon afterwards, it came out that these two groups of newcomes were rivalrous and, in some instances, were hostile toward each other. It was fortunate, however, that in their misery and in their hectic days of wants due to their newness in their new abode, they devoted their precious time in building their homes instead of fighting the rival group.

Howver, the three leaders, Abay-a and Calin-yo of the northern group, and Mad-lang of the southern, could not find a point of agreement as to how to divide the new country among themselves. In one instance, they almost came to blows. Profound respect should be accorded these three pioneers of Candon, for in spite of being unschooled, and comparatively uncivilized, they could hold their temper and found a peaceful means to settle their difficulties. It was Mad-lang who came out to offer a challenge that a gab-bu (wrestling) bout should settle the dispute. Mad-lang was sure of his victory because he was the unbeaten man of that sport in his days. Besides, he had [a] more rounded body, more muscular than either of the two brothers, Abay-a and Calin-yo. The two brothers had to accept the challenge. Abay-a,

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who was the older of the two, and more physically developed than Calin-yo must be the contender of Mad-lang. [A] Certain period of the day was set aside for the bout. For several days, Abay-a had shown agility and skill to counter-fight his adversary. However, on the fifth day, the combatants had to amend their agreement — that they should continue wrestling the whole day, without eating, until either of them was defeated. They, however, agreed that they might have a drink at their camp when either of them needed to. Abay-a was then sure of defeat. But the night previous to the last day of the bout, he was in deep thought and had [a] secret agreement with his brother.

The fifth day of the fight came. At mid-afternoon, both combatants were worn out and weak. Abay-a was the weaker of the two. As agreed upon, Abay-a had to be allowed to drink. Both agreed and ran to their respective camps to drink. In a separate signal, the two resumed their wrestling. Wonder of wonders, and to the discomfiture of Mad-lang, Abay-a had grown much stronger and easily outdid Mad-lang. Before the sunset of the fifth day, Mad-lang had to give up an accepted an unconditional defeat. Mad-lang had never known that he was wrestling with Calin-yo, who disguised [himself] as Abay-a in the very last phase of the wrestling bout. Thus, the division of the land was facilitated.

While all these events were taking place, another phase of the history of Candon must be mentioned here. Abay-a was graced with a beautiful daughter named Aneng. She was taught early in her childhood to take care of the house and to behave as a "lady," especially

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that she was the daughter of a ruler. Aneng once met a young man that did not belong to her barangay. They became intimate friends and Aneng found out that the young man was the son of Mad-lang. Eventually, they were engaged. It is known that the wedding between Aneng and Bal-lis was the first and most significant marriage in Candong. It amalgamated the brotherhood of the once two hostile groups who came to settle in Candon.

It is know known how long since Candon had become a village of importance in this region of Northern Luzon when Salcedo, the nephew of Legaspi, the conquistator of Northern Luzon, came to subjugate this part of Luzon. It is handed down from generation to generation that when Salcedo came, there were many houses in this village of Candon. The big tree, Kandong, which we regret of its cutting down, was hewn down. It is believed that the lumber derived from it had been used by the early settlers of Candon to build a church. It is even mentioned that the location of the present church building was where the Kandong tree was.

Since then, Candon had thrived. The Spanish regime had its full swing. It is still fresh in the minds of Filipinos, especially the older set how, once in a while, the Spaniards abused the Filipinos in various ways. The people of Candon were not spared from these abuses. During the time of Diego Silang, the people of Candon had a hand in the success of routing the Spaniards in Ilocos. It must have been inculcated by our forefathers that we should love peace and hate abuses in any form. So, on March 25, 1898, the people of Candon,

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under the leadership of the late Don Isabelo Abaya and Don Fernando Guirnalda, headed a revolution to overthrow the local Spanish rulers in Candon. They succeeded in some measures. Some of the Spaniards whose actions were resented were deposed. The priests who were enemies of the people were shot.

Since then, Candon had a name, if not in the Philippines, in the region of Luzon. The people of Candon are peaceful and law-abiding; they, like other righteous people, abhor and fight abuses and uphold righteousness.

Respectfully submitted:

Principal Teacher

Transcribed from:
The History of Candon, 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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