MUNICIPALITY OF ABULUG (CAGAYAN), Historical Data of - Philippine Historical Data MUNICIPALITY OF ABULUG (CAGAYAN), Historical Data of - Philippine Historical Data


Municipality of Abulog, Cagayan

About these Historical Data

[Cover page]

Historical Data
The Municipality of Abulug
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[p. 1]

Division of Cagayan
Ballesteros District
Abulug Elementary School

School – Abulug Elementary School Date – April 17, 1953
Part I: History

The present official name of this town is Abulug. The priest who founded the town named it Abulug because he wanted to name it after the name of the town, Abulug, where he came from in Spain. Abulug is one of the towns first founded in the province of Cagayan. Long before Nueva Segovia (now Lal-lo) was founded, Legaspi's grandson, Juan Salcedo, visited the mouth of the Abulug River in 1572 and contacted the chief of the place.

Abulug, formerly called "Tulug," was made a settlement by the Dominican Fathers in 1596. The Spanish missionary at Pata (now a barrio of Claveria) took charge of the mission at Tulag from 1596 to 1600, and later Father Miguel de San Jacinto. In the laws of 1629, Tulag was already called Abulug. No authentic explanation can be given as to why Abulug was formerly called Tulag. It is said, however, that when Juan Salcedo reached the mouth of the Abulug River, his interpreter, when asked by Salcedo about the name of the place, answered "Tullar," although the place was then called Tulag.

The exact date of the establishment of the town is not exactly known. However, the mouth of the Abulug River was first visited by Juan Salcedo in 1572. A Spanish missionary took charge of a mission at Tulag from 1596 to 1600. In the laws of 1629, Tulag was already called Abulug.

The founder of Abulug was a Spanish priest whose name cannot now be remembered. The names of persons who held leading official positions in the community in the early days were:

1. Florentino Itay
2. Clemente Gabaoan
3. Ambrosio Perez
4. Padre Romualdo
5. Maximo Mariano
6. Servando Montealegre
Capitan Municipal
Teniente Absoluto
Cura Parroco
Juez de Sementera
Maestro Municipal

The dates of the tenures of office of the above-named officials cannot now be remembered. The other governadorcillos were Macario Doran, Roque Laddaran, and Pedro Laddaran. The other high local officials who were designated as "principales" were Don Filomeno Morales, Don Luis Arnedo, Don Florentino Sebello Laddaran, Don Juan Morales, Don Baldomero Buncab, Don Nemesio Ifurung, Don Vicente Ifurung, and Don Pedro Arnedo. These officials held office as long as the priest wanted them to do so.

[p. 2]

During the early American regime, the following persons held the official positions set opposite their names:
Don Juan Sagguilig
Don Clemente Gabbaoan
Don Hilario Regiz
Don Pedro Perez
Juan Morales
Angel Dabbay
Agapito Paraggua
Guido Regiz
Esteban Beltran
Nemesio Desa
Felix Carrao
Baldomero Puncab
Estaban Garingan
Baldomero Bangalan
Juan Alameda
Bonifacio Cortez
Aurelio Temporal
Maximo Mariano
Justice of the Peace
Justice of the Peace
Chief of Police

Some of the historical sites in the poblacion are the "trinchera" or trenches dug by the Abulug Katipuneros along the seashore, where they waited in hiding for their enemies during the Philippine Revolution; the camp on the northern part of the town where the American soldiers stayed when they occupied the Philippines after the war with Spain. In the camp, one can still see traces of American occupation such as bottles dug in the ground.

There are no old structures or ruins in the town, as the site of the town had been moved several times due to the erosion of the riverbank. However, the ruins of the old Spanish church, which the river swallowed in one of the erosions, are still found on the other side of the Abulug River at the former site of the town which grew up on the delta.

There were interesting facts, incidents or events during the Spanish occupation. It is said that the priests who ruled in the early days were very strict and powerful. When one was caught not praying during the vester in the evening, he would be whipped severely on the palms of his hands and on the buttocks. People took turns in going to fish or hunt wild game or deer for the daily viands of the priest. It is said that the priest would refuse to accept little chickens or lean pigs or deer.

When the Americans came to the Philippines after the Spanish-American War, the people in Abulug were very afraid of them. The people ran or evacuated to the nipa swamps or other interior places. Of interest to see after the natives had become acquainted with the Americans were the big American horses of the cavalry division. The Americans had their camp in front of the convent and the northern part of the town. Later, the Americans were very friendly to the people. They gave them some of their rations. There were plenty of leftovers after the American soldiers ate their meals and the people came to get these for feed for their dogs and pigs.

[p. 3]

In the last World War II, the Japanese Imperial Army took the Philippines and occupied it with much resistance from the outnumbered Philippine Army. The Japanese Imperial Army occupied the Philippines from December 1941 up to the landing of the Americans in 1945. The Americans landed at Abulug on June 13, 1945. These were the 37th Division and 27th Post Company. Abulug was a supply point when the 37th Division fought and drove the Japanese soldiers from Aparri and other parts of Cagayan.

During the Japanese occupation, the people of Abulug evacuated to the nipa swamps and to the forests because the Japanese soldiers were harsh or cruel. They would kill anybody whom they suspected as spies for the Americans. There was forced labor in making trenches and dugouts on the seashore and in placing barbed wire entanglements. The Japanese also confiscated foodstuffs from the people without paying for them, or if they did, they gave the people very little amounts.

All January 23 1943, American bombers (the B-29) bombed the Japanese headquarters and installations in Abulug. Because of this bombing and machine-gunning, following persons were killed in the Centro:

1. Ardiente Biggayan
2. Alejandro Biggayan
3. Maria Dabbay
4. Israel A. Tacorda
5. Justa B. de Ayuban
6. Marta Tangonan
7. Raymundo Telan
8. Amelia T. Rubio

On march 7, 43 there was another bombing of Abulug by U.S. planes. Thinking that there were still japanese soldiers in the Central School Building, planes bombed it directly and it was totally demolished.

After the Philippines had been regained by the American Army from the Japanese Imperial Army, and after the reestablishment of the Philippine Commonwealth Government, steps were taken by the United States government toward the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Philippines. The U.S. government was very generous in awarding war damage money not only for the reconstruction of damage government buildings, but also for the rehabilitation of the people from their war losses. Thousands of money were awarded or given to individual persons in payment for their war losses.

Part II: Folkways

The people of Abulug have interesting traditions, customs, and practices in domestic and social life in relation to birth, courtship, marriage, death, visits, festivals, and punishments. A few of the most interesting things will be mentioned in this report.

[p. 4]

When a woman is about to give birth, all trunks in the house will be opened in the belief that the child will easily be born and the mother will suffer little. The belt of Saint Mary is also worn around the waist of the woman during labor, so she will give birth easily. If the first born is a boy, he brings good luck to the family. The mother stays in a closed room with drapery around to shield her from the wind.

A child is baptized on the day following its birth. This is done in order that the evil spirits will not do any harm on the unbaptized child.

Courtship is still carried in the formal old way. The parents of a young man sends a love letter to the lady whom their son wants to marry. The letter is carried by several prominent citizens, preferably local ex-officials or actual officials, and they are followed by the band. This is usually done on red letter days. After the sending of the love letter, the parents of the suitor give gifts to the parents of the girl in the form of delicious foods. Then, the suitor serves the family of the girl. Daily, he must help in the house in such work as carrying water and fuel, pounding rice, and other routinary work. This, he does as long as the courtship, usually from one year to 7 years or more, lasts.

Before the real marriage, there is what we call the prenuptial formalities, called "pasingan" in the Ibanag language. The prospective bride and groom dress in their near-best and go to church for three consecutive Saturdays. After this, marriage comes on a day set aside or decided by the parents of the bride. The bride and groom are accompanied to the church by the band. After the marriage ceremony in the church, they are taken home by the same band, usually to the home of the bride where the wedding feast is held for one whole day and one whole night. In the afternoon of the day, they do the traditional dowry or giving of gifts in the form of money, jewelry, carabaos, lands, or houses. These form the capital of the newlyweds. After the marriage celebration, they usually live independently from their parents.

When a person is agonizing or about to die, and while he is still in his senses, a member of the family or any other relative reads to him what we call, in Ibanag, "Anggufun." This is a sort of prayer to God wherein the agonizing person asks for forgiveness for all his sins and asks also for a happy death and for a happy life hereafter in heaven. After the dead is buried, the relatives cross the grave without looking around. Before this, relatives and other attendants each throws a pinch of earth into the grave, before it is covered up.

When someone makes a visit, especially if he is a young man visiting a young lady, must be very courteous. In speaking to the girl, we must use a language known by the father or mother of the girl. One of the girl's parents must always be in the visiting room and at a hearing distance from the visitor and the one visited. The visitor must not stay long. And hour's visit is already long, and when this is extended by the visitor, the parent of the girl usually asks the visitor what time it is or looks at the clock, if there is a wall clock in the visiting room, and cleverly tells the time to the visitor to insinuate to him that the visit is already too long and that he should leave the house.

[p. 5]

The people of Abulug are fond of festivals. The day of the patron saint is celebrated yearly with pompous activities such as beauty queen contests, literary-musical programs, dramas, circuses, athletic games, and the national Filipino game, the cockpit, for three or four days.

Punishment for misdemeanors is still the rule in every Abulug home. When a child misbehaves, he is punished by scolding and whipping. After the whipping, the child is made to kneel in front of the images and hold his hands outstretched like in the crucifix. Punishments for heavy offenses usually consist of kneeling on grains of rice on the floor and with the hands outstretched.

The people of Abulug have interesting myths, legends, interpretations, and superstitions.

When there is thunder, the people say that that is the voice of God reprimanding them for their sins. When there is an earthquake, they say that God, San Salvador, who holds the globe on the palm of his hands, shakes the globe because he has grown tired of our heavy sins.

During the fiesta or a holiday, they let a pigeon fly at a certain part of the Mass, and there is a belief that when the bird flies high, there will be a big flood; when it flies low, there will be drought.

When a star is near the moon, especially when it is near the tip of its pointed crescent, people admonish their friends not to stay near animals that have horns as they may be gored by the animals. Stabbings are also frequent when this sign or position of the new moon and a star appears in the sky.

Of superstitions, there are many. Among the common ones are the belief that 13 is an unlucky number. In a group that has 13 persons, as in a supper, in a boating party, the belief is that one of the persons will die as he may be the 13th apostle of Jesus Christ, or Christ Himself.

Some people believe that the origin of the world was when the sea and sky fought and the sky dropped plenty of earth that became the land now surrounded by oceans.

The old people believe that when there is an eclipse, some great men may die soon or some calamity or catastrophe may soon happen.

People believe that the first man and woman came from the inside of a bamboo that cracked when a bird pecked at it.

The belief is also that when twins are born, the mother must have eaten twin bananas, or two bananas that are usually attached to each other.

There is a belief that some women have the supernatural power to make your stomach ache just by looking at you. Your stomach ache is cured only by massaging done by the witch.

[p. 6]

The popular songs in Abulug consist of long songs in the local languages, Ilocano and Ibanag. The most popular game in the olden days which we are trying to revive is the "sipa." Other amusements of the Abulug people are serenading and playing such old games, besides the "sipa," as the "San Pedro," "Hide and Seek," "Allay," "Songka," "Pit," and "Sigay."

The people have many interesting puzzles and riddles, proverbs and sayings which teach good moral lessons. These were submitted in a separate report under the heading "REPORT ON PROVERBS, RIDDLES SONGS, STORIES, AND LOCAL HISTORY" sometime last November, 1952.

In the absence of a timepiece, the people measured time by the crowing of the cocks or the positions of the stars. There is also a certain bird in the mountain called "calao" that makes a prominent call or sound at certain hours of the night.

Part Three: Other Information

There are no books and other documents written locally which treats of the Philippines.

There are no Filipino authors born or residing in the community.



Submitted by:
Principal Teacher


Supervising Principal

Transcribed from:
History and Cultural Life of Abulug, Cagayan, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
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