MUNICIPALITY OF PEÑABLANCA (CAGAYAN), Historical Data of Part 1 - Philippine Historical Data MUNICIPALITY OF PEÑABLANCA (CAGAYAN), Historical Data of Part 1 - Philippine Historical Data


Municipality of Penablanca, Cagayan



About these Historical Data

[Cover page]

Division of Cagayan
District of Iguig
Peña. Elementary School



April 20, 1953
Peñablanca, Cagayan

[Table of Contents]

T A B L E   O F   C O N T E N T S

A. The history and cultural life of the town of Peñablanca

Part one: History
Part two: Folkways
Part three: Other Information
Pages 1-12
Pages 12-24
Pages 24-25

B. The history and cultural life of the barrio of:

(1) Aggugaddan
(2) Bical
(3) Bugatay
(4) Callao
(5) Dodan
(6) Lagum
(7) Lapi
(8) Malibabag


April 20, 1953
Peñablanca, Cagayan

[p. 1]

Division of Cagayan
District of Iguig

Peñablanca, a town nine kilometers east of Tuguegarao, the capital of Cagayan, was once upon a time a wilderness. About the middle of the eighteenth century, this place was part of Tuguegarao as one of its barrios. It was, then, named "Barrio de Bubug." The Spanish authorities of Tuguegarao were very mucn interested in the place because of its excellent hunting grounds, which provided them meat of deer, wild hogs, and carabaos. The ruler, known as a gobernadorcillo, used to send hunters to the place to hunt. The very first batch of hunters that was sent settled in the place now called Alimannao. This place was mostly grazing lands. When the batch of hunters arrived in the place, they inquired from the one in charge of the cows who the owner was. The one in charge answered then in the Itawes language, "Cua ya Aliman yao," meaning "these are for a German." From the answer given, the hunters called the place Aliman yao, and it was later changed to Alimannao.

The hunters, in their efforts to look for some more game, moved further southward. They then came to the place now called "Camasi." It is interesting to note how this place happened to be called by such a name. The hunters, while wandering to

[p. 2]

look for some more game, were surprised to find all around them plenty of wild tomatoes. This variety is found in form and as big as the tip of the thumb. They enjoyed gathering as many as they could for they appeared palatable to them. Right at the moment when they sat down under a big tree to eat their luncheon, the idea of naming the place "Camasi" sprang from their minds. Camasi, in the Ibanag language, means tomatoes. Since then, it has been called by such a name.

As time went on, more and more people from Tuguegarao became interested in coming to the place. Some people from Pallua, Cataggamman, Annafunan, and Caggay, all barrios of Tuguegarao, immigrated to the place. They came on horseback, bringing with them their spears, hunting nets, and dogs, as there were no shotguns in those days. They also brought with them some of their farm implements such as bolos, mattocks, shovels, and crowbars. They came to the place with two purposes, namely — to hunt and to make some clearings in the wilderness for them to till. They used the kaingin method of farming. From Camasi, they penetrated farther eastward and then came to a place now called Poblacion or Centro. Then, they made more and bigger clearings and planted them to highland rice. They also started to make some temporary huts for them to shelter. It may be of interest to know that one of the very first settlers to arrive in the Poblacion was a man from Pallua, a barrio of Tuguegarao, by the name of Pedro Obispo, the late father of Don Antonio T. Obispo, who later on had served for two terms as municipal president of the town. Later on came the Tuliaos, the Guzmans, the Gayagoys, and the Tuddaos from Ca-

[p. 3]

taggaman; the Lagundis, the Cusipags, and the Narags from Annafunan; the Tabaos, the Sorianos, and the de la Cuestas from Caggay; and the Taguinods, the Lasams, the Carags, the Pagalilauans and the Pelagios from the centro of Tuguegarao.

As more immigrants poured in and as they gradually multiplied in number, the desire of making the place a pueblo or a town came up in their minds. In 1892, the time when the Spanish rule over the Philippines was nearing its end, the settlers' dreams became realized. A Spanish friar by the name of Rev. J. Florentino came to the place to spread the Catholic religion among the settlers. This priest later on became the parish priest or, rather, the first cura parroco of the place. As per the suggestion of Friar Tolentino, the place was christened PEÑA BLANCA, basing the name on the white rocks conspicuously seen on top of the mountains somewhere in the northeastern pary of the place. A chief executive was appointed with the title of teniente absoluto. The one appointed was the late Don Agustin Saguing. He held the office of teniente absoluto for a period of two years. During his incumbency, the first Catholic church in the Poblacion was erected. The materials used in the construction, together with the different church paraphernalia, were donated by the late Jacinto Turingan, a prominent man from Tuguegarao.

After a lapse of two years, an election took place. The one elected was the late Don Tiburcio Soriano. The election was not done by secret ballot. It was done merely by standing. Four councilors were also elected. The chief executive still had the title teniente absoluto. They held their respective of-

[p. 4]

fices for a period of three years. During the latter part of their terms, the Philippine Revolution against Spain broke out. Another election again took place. The one elected was the late Don Mariano Taguinod. Beginning with the him, the title of the chief executive became Municipal President. During the early part of his term, the town roads were laid out and named. During this time, a private school was established under the late Jacinto Maggay as Maestro Particular. The Caton, Gramatica Castellana, and Doctrina Christiana were the subjects taught. After a lapse of two years, the Filipino-American War came. This was in the year 1898. The war lasted for almost two years. Then, another election took place. The one elected was the late Don Severino Perez. In 1900, when the Americans took complete control of the Islands, the first public school in the Poblacion was opened and the first and only teacher appointed was the late Don Severino Pagalilauan, who later on became a very successful businessman in the town. The other municipal presidents that followed in succession were the late Don Pedro Marallag; the late Don Dalmacio Guillermo; Don Severino Taguinod; the late Don Luis Alonzo; the late Don Francisco Carag; Don Gerardo Perez; the late Don Jose Pelagio, who could not finish his whole term because death came to him and he was succeeded by his Vice-President, Don Pedro Tuliao; then came Don Antonio T. Obispo and Don Eriverto S. Obispo. At present, the chief executive is no other than Atty. Crescenciano L. Saguing.

During the early part of 1945, the Japanese Imperial

[p. 5]

forces made the town as their last stand against the liberating American forces. Aside from the Japanese atrocities, the American forces, in their efforts to expel the enemy through the use of their planes and cannons, caused heavy casualties and damages to both lives and properties. Peñablanca was occupied by the Japanese on December 14, 1941; and was only liberated on June 25, 1945. Ninety-nine per cent of the houses in the Poblacion were bombed and reduced to ashes. The first mass bombing made in the town took place on February 14, 1945. Several civilians and Japanese officers and soldiers were directly struck by the bombs and killed. The parish priest of the town, who was actually performing a baptismal ceremony inside the church, was struck by some shrapnel of a bomb that fell twenty meters north of the church. He was struck in the knees and suffered for quite a number of years. Thank God, he is alive. He is no other than Rev. J. Fontanilla, the actual parish priest of the town of Piat, Cagayan. The three-year stay of the Japanese forces in the town did not, however, affect the customs and traditions of the people of the Poblacion and the barrios.

Just as the town was liberated by the American forces, all the people gradually went back to their respective homes, only to find that their dwellings had been reduced to ashes. One could see the pitiful conditions of the people scattered here and there without shelter of any kind. They did not only suffer from a shortage of foodstuffs, but also from clothing and medicines. Some of the people had to resort to some wild root crops for food. The kind American soldiers found the people

[p. 6]

in miserable and critical situations. Immediate steps were taken by them for the distribution of foodstuffs, clothing, medicines, etc. Canned goods, bread, biscuits, blankets, GI suits, shoes, and medicines were distributed. The suffering people owed so much gratitude to those kind liberating American forces.

Today, in spite of the ravages of the last war, both to lives and properties, the town has made gradual progress. At present, the town has a total population of around 10,000, a town peaceful as can be, famous for its rich and abundant natural resources such as fertile agricultural lands, vast areas of excellent grazing lands, and thick forests rich in first class timber, bojos, rattan, and almaciga.

The town has also advanced in education. A complete elementary school is established in each of the Poblacion, and the barrios of Callao, Aggugaddan, and Lagum. A complete primary school is also opened in each of the barrios of Bical, Bugatay, Dodan, and Lapi. All in all, the town has a total school population of 1,248 primary and 425 intermediate pupils. As an effect of the advancement made in education, the people are gradually getting away from some of their undesirable superstitious beliefs. Most of them are gradually becoming science-minded. This is evidenced by the fact that when one gets sick in the family, the services of quack doctors are no longer resorted to. Instead, the services of physicians are sought. The patients are sometimes confined in hospitals.

In agriculture, the people are learning to use the scientific methods of farming. They now realize the importance

[p. 7]

of proper seed selection, cultivation, crop rotation, companion cropping, and the use of fertilizers. Better corn and rice crops are obtained yearly through the use of imported fertilizers.

At present, the town is inhabited by people with four different religious beliefs, namely: 55 per cent Roman Catholics, 35 per cent Aglipayans, 4 per cent Jehovah's Witnesses, and 2 per cent Protestants. In the Poblacion are found churches for the Roman Catholics and the Aglipayans, the Kingdom Hall for the Jehovah's Witnesses. In the barrio of Dodan is found the chapel for the Protestants, while in the barrio of Malibabag is found another church for the Aglipayans.

In this connection, it is worthwhile to mention here an important event that took place sometime in the early part of the American regime.

Long before Peñablanca was made a town, Catholicism predominated in the place. After a lapse of time came the introduction of the Aglipayan religion. The barrios of Dodan, Macusi, and Sisim were inhabited by Catholics and Aglipayans. To a Catholic or an Aglipayan, one cannot go along with his religious beliefs without the possession of some idols and images. So, the people of these barrios had plenty of them (idols and images). A corner in every house known as the family altar is arranged where these images and idols are placed. The members of a family gather together in this corner in the evening to say their solemn prayers. The people possessing these idols and images strongly believe in their power and miracles. The mere forgetting of not putting any light in front of these idols and images in the eve-


Transcribed from:
History and Cultural Life of Peñablanca, Cagayan, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
Next Post Previous Post