MARIA GEMMA A. SUGUITAN-SAN JOSE c.2014
Where in the world is this place? Why was it named Talolong, why was the province called Tayabas? Why was it renamed Lopez, and the province, Quezon? And that’s not all. There are so many questions that we need to answer in our lifetime. But first, the bases.
Reference No. 1: HISTORICAL DATA OF LOPEZ, QUEZON
The President of the Philippines, desiring the replacement of lost historical data regarding barrios, towns, cities, and provinces; issued E.O. 486 on 07 December 1951; and the Director of Public Schools, seeking the enrichment and vitalization of the curriculum issued General Memorandum No. 34 s. 1952 for the school officials and teachers to prepare a manuscript in compliance with the E.O. and that it should be given wide use in all classrooms. It was on this premise that Mariano Salumbides, District Supervisor, with the help of a District Committee created for this purpose, prepared a manuscript from the data secured in the locality. The committee was composed of classroom teachers Rafael O. Masaganda, Tirso N. Barrameda, and then Principal Pedro C. Requina.
In one of the first pages, an illustration of Don Mateo Lopez, “Founder of Lopez, Quezon” in his famous and only photograph available, is printed. But what do we know about him? Does anybody know the biography of the town’s “founder” aside from what’s been written that he came from Tayabas? Was it Tayabas the town, or the province? He was said to be the first Capitan Municipal under the Spanish Regime. Really? But he became Capitan Municipal in 1860 and Talolong became a town three years earlier when the town’s leader was Antonio Olivares. When or why was Talolong renamed Lopez? Was it really from Don Mateo, or another Lopez? My statements are not meant to disregard him as ‘founder’ but we need to know the details.
In 1795, the town of Lopez was known as Visita Talolong and part of Gumaca, Tayabas. The term “Talolong” came from the river that meandered, and still meanders, its way to the south, east, and north thereof. “In 1860, the village became an independent municipality because of its population, size, and income. The town of Lopez that was once Visita Talolong became the leading municipality in the second district of Quezon.” But Lopez did not become a town in 1860. Neither was it separated from its mother town Gumaca in 1856 as we have known for the longest time. Lopez, according to the Spanish record Expediente at the National Archives, became a town by virtue of a decree by the Governor General of the Philippines Fernando Norzagaray on 30 June 1857.
During the Japanese occupation, the town of Lopez played an important role in the underground movement. In spite of the presence of a strong Japanese garrison, Guerrilla General Gaudencio V. Vera succeeded in leading a guerrilla force called the Vera’s Party. During the liberation campaign, the people of Lopez and nearby towns flew from Japanese atrocities and sought refuge in their guerrilla camps where the temporary government was organized. On 12 March 1945, the Japanese garrison in Lopez was furiously attacked by Vera’s Party and following the bloody encounter and subsequent retreat of the Japanese troops, the town was razed to the ground, reducing to rubble all public buildings and civilian houses.
The townspeople immediately began to rebuild their homes after liberation in the hope of restoring the beauty of their town and resuming business activities that Lopez used to have during pre-war days.
LIST OF BARRIO LIEUTENANTS IN VISITA TALOLONG
1796 Don Francisco de San Jose
1797 Don Joaquin de San Luis
1798 Don Miguel de los Santos
1799 Don Diego Almonte
1800 Don Jose Protacio
1801 Don Juan Capistrano
1802 Don Josef de San Juan
1803 Don Ventura Bno.
1804 Don Fernando Geronimo
1805 Don Tomas Am. O. Dom.
1806 Don Mateo de San Juan
1807 Don Domingo Torres
1808 Don Francisco de San Diego
1809 Don Ignacio Quirino
1810 Don Tomas Am. O. Dom. (also in 1805)
1811 Don Ventura Bno. (also in 1803)
1812 Don Joaquin de San Luis (also in 1797)
1813 Don Lorenzo Villalva
1814 Don Antonio Oracillo
1815 Don Manuel Joaquin
1816 Don Pedro Geronimo (also in 1817)
1818 Don Josef Enriquez
1819 Don Juan de San Luis
1820 Don Juan Diego Evangelista
1821 Don Ignacio Quirino
1822 Don Josef Valencia
1823 Don Juan de San Luis (also in 1819)
1824 Don Fernando de San Juan (also in 1825)
1826 Don Manuel Antonio
1827 Don Manuel de los Santos
1828 Don Juan de la Cruz
1829 Don Pedro Geronimo
1830 Don Isidro Teodoro
1831 Don Fernando de San Juan
1832 Don Rufino de los Santos
1833 Don Francisco Vicente
1834 Don Felipe de los Santos
1835 Don Bnov. A. de San Luis
1836 Don Roque Bnvo. O. Dom.
1837 Don Manuel Florencio de San Buenaventura
1838 Don Fernando de San Juan (also in 1831)
1839 Don Felipe de los Santos (also in 1834)
1840 Don Gualberto de los Santos
1841 Don Leon Bno. O. Bernardino
1842 Don Francisco Evangelista
1843 Don Apolonio Fernando (also in 1844)
1845 Don Mariano Benedicto
1846 Don Luis de San Josef
1847 Don Miguel Antonio Lopez
1848 Don Jose Alejandro
1849 Don Antonio Basilio
1850 Don Timoteo Vidal
1851 Don Juan Villanueva
1852 Don Antonio Enriquez
1853 Don Pedro Arguelles
1854 Don Protacio Eugenio
1855 Don Antonio Olivares
1856 Don Carlos Matriano
After 1856 on 30 June 1857 Lopez became a town so the leader was already called Capitan, equivalent to mayor at the present time.
LIST OF CAPITANES IN VISITA TALOLONG (note that it should be PUEBLO already and no longer visita)
1857 Don Antonio Olivares
1858 Don Roque Sanchez
1859 Don Apolonio Villamor
1860 Don Mateo Lopez (see? he was not the first Capitan Municipal when the town of Lopez gained autonomy as a town)
1861 Don Jose Targa
1862 Don Pedro Arguelles
1863- 1864 Don Placido Almadrones
1865-1866 Don Francisco Matriano
1867-1868 Don Antonio Olivares
1869-1870 Don Prudencio Arroyo
1871-1872 Don Anacleto Sanchez
1873-1874 Don Mariano Villapando
1875-1876 Don Eustacio Argosino
1877- 1878 Don Gregorio Villamor
1879- 1880 Don Clemente Serga
1881-1882 Don Eugenio Noscal
1883 Don Eustacio Argosino (Estefania)
1884-1886 Don Eustacio Argosino
1887-1888 Don Romualdo Alano
1889-1891 Don Lorenzo Mondragon
1892-1897 Don Pio Salumbides
The town was enclosed with trunks of anahaw trees when on Holy Tuesday on April 1897, insurrectos who wore red bands and had long bolos came to Lopez and succeeded in recruiting members. They did not hurt anyone but scattered the goods that were being sold by the Chinese. Citizens picked up the goods and took it for themselves. When the insurrectos left, the Spanish Governor arrived with the soldiers called casadores. They gathered all those insurrectos who were left in the town and had them tied within the convento. Because of this, those insurrectos who left came back and the fighting went on. Many died on convento grounds. They were buried in the tianggihan and those who were tied within the convent area were shot to death. After August 13, 1897, the Philippines got its temporary freedom.
LIST OF MUNICIPAL PRESIDENTS
1897 Don Pedro V. Florido
1898-1899 Don Deogracias Argosino
On 03 April (or April 13?) 1900, Father Isabelo Martinez was captured by the Americans in Barrio Cawayan Ibaba. He was brought to Atimonan, though the local government was in the barrio. Then on 09 April 1900, Americans arrived in Lopez. The citizens ran to the forests. On December 14, 1900, other prominent people in the town of Lopez were captured by the Americans and kept in the convent. On the third day they were also brought to Atimonan. Those who were kept in captivity were freed the day before Christmas that same year.
“Matapos makapaghuramanto, magulo pa rin” because there were still several banahao soldiers in the barrios. They were always being attacked in the forests and in the barrios. When American soldiers left, “dumating ang mga sundalong iskaut.” They also attacked the barrios and made the people go back to the town.
01 January 1901 Don Pio Salumbides was elected provisional president.
27 May 1901, the American Governor came to Lopez and a new election for municipal president was held. Sr. Nicanor Alano was elected but he only served for the entire month of May. “Siya ay nagbitiw ng Kargo at naging Pangulo de Sanidad.”
1901-1903 Don Francisco N. Yngente. It was during this period that amilyaramiento for the land was started.
1903 was the year when there were councilors. They had their own district assignments. This was because “may nanggugulo sa kabukiran at hinuhuli ng tagalabas.”
01 January 1904-1905 Don Emilio Salumbides “Sa panahong ito ipinag-utos ang pagbabahay ng pook na kung tawagin ay agrupacion.” On 23 September 1905, a typhoon destroyed the roof of the Catholic Church.
1906-1907 Don Liberato V. Florido. On 19 May 1907, a strong earthquake destroyed the Catholic Church. Father Marcelo Vellon (called balong-balong) had another church reconstructed. It was also during this year that a school was constructed “sa ibaba nitong bayan sa pamamagitan ng ambagan ng buong bayan.”
1908 Don Florentino Vilar did not finish his term because Liga Popular Lopenze talked to him. His term was continued by Don Francisco Yngente, who was the municipal presidente the following year, 1909.
1910-1912 Don Uldarico Villamor. It was during this year that the “kapistahan ng pamahalaang bayan” started every 30th of April. So this clearly shows that April 30 doesn’t necessarily mean that it was the town’s Foundation Day as we have believed for the longest time.
1911 “Nagpatabon ng Calle Anda” by talking to the people in the poblacion area. 1912, “ipinabago ang kusina at ipinatayong tanggapan ng bahay pamahalaan.
1913-14 Don Ildefonso Jugueta “naipatapos ang pagpapatabon ng Calle Anda at Calle Real. Nagkaroon ng Cementerio Municipal. 1914 “pinasimulan ang pagpapasukat ng railroad.”
1915-1916 Don Mariano Matriano “naipabago ang bubong ng pamahalaan at nagpalagay ng medya agua na yari sa yero. Nagpahukay ng malalim sa likuran ng presidencia at nagpalagay ng mga tubo sa imburnal. 1916, nagpatabon ng calle patungo sa camposanto ng romano at kalyeng dulo ng San Antonio going to the railroad.
1917-1919 Don Eustacio Escobar First time that there was railroad travel. “dito nagbago ang tasa ng amilyar at nagpatabon ng kalyeng patungo sa train station and calle municipal. Started the construction of mercado publico. Sa panahong ito nagkamatay, trangkaso, bulutong at cholera epidemic. Census at nagpatabon ng Calle Magallanes. Nagutom ang mga taong bayan at nag-agawan ng pagbili ng bigas sa presidencia.
16 October 1919-1921 Don Espiridion V. Siazon “pagkahalik at iwinagayway ang Philippine flag recognized by the Americans by letting it hang under the American flag. School was started to be built near Bocboc. Sa panahong ito ginawa ang tangke ng palengke.
19 October 1922-1924 Don Marcelo Masaganda. July 1923 “dumating ang maraming balang. Sa panahong ito nagpatapos ng dalawang kuwarto ng bahay-paaralan sa bandang Bocboc. Dito pinasimulan ang pagpapagawa ng presidenciang cemento and the monument of Rizal.
How about 1925?
1926-1928 Don Marcelo Masaganda (also in 1922-1924)
1931-1934 Don Marcos Malabanan. On 07 July 1932, Tomas de Leon, a guard who was a policeman was killed in Hondagua because of a “basag-ulo.” It was during this term that fiesta of the local government and that of patronal were spent on 07 October 1933. It was also during this time that the school in Lalaguna was constructed.
LIST OF MUNICIPAL MAYORS
1934- 1940 Don Tomas V. Florido Dito nagpasimula ang patubig. It was during this time that community tax cedula was charged. The Parish Priest at that time was Rev. Fr. Lorenzo Menorca. On 14 December 1937 there was an election for Municipal President who shall be called mayor. It was also during this term that nagpatawad ng amilyar sa mga taong lumipas sa takdang panahon. 1939 December, Father Lagumen was succeeded by Fr. Nicolas Endencia. In the year 1940, different classes of residence certificates were charged at the following rates: Php 0.21, Php 0.50, Php 1.00, and Php 5.00. On 24 May 1940, former Municipal President Espiridion Siazon was interred.
1941 Dr. Alberto M. Aguila until 24 December 1941. When the Japanese arrived in Lopez, the civilians went into the barrios. On February 1942, a new municipal president Jose Vilar took charge until April of 1944. It was during those times that there was chaos in town. Many were captured by the Japanese and held in captivity at the house of Julian Ondoy, upon the orders of Ganap whose leader was Lamberto San Juan. Among those captured, some survived and others were killed by the Japanese. Many were killed, only a few survived. The guerrillas in the barrios became fierce because of what the Japanese did. They also killed those who were collaborating with the Japanese Forces. General Gaudencio V. Vera was the leader of these guerrillas called Vera’s Party. “Itong kabukiran ng Lopez ay binagsakan ng bomba ng mga salipawpaw ng Hapon.” Many Japanese were killed in Bebito. The Japanese were led by Capt. Chigiwa.
1944, Municipal Mayor was Atty. Vicente Salumbides. It was in the month of October that the American Forces dropped a bomb (from an airplane) in the town of Lopez.
1945 Appointed Mayor Juan T. Tabien, Vice Mayor was Efigenio Panganiban, Councilors were: Eustacio A. Escobar, Pedro Masaganda, Mauro Pilarca, Pedro Cantillana, Potenciano Desembrana, Marcelino Noscal, Perpetuo Valencia, and Jose Arriero. Secretary was Marcelo D. Masaganda, Treasurer was Eustacio S. Cruz. They held office at the camp in Lalaguna. The Japanese were already being defeated by both the guerrillas and the Americans, they burned the houses and they all gathered at the municipal hall. This took place on 11 March 1945. It was there that the guerrillas shoot the Japanese. It was then that they retreated. On 01 July 1945, the office of the municipal government was transferred in the poblacion at the house of Ramon Mopera which was the only house that was not burned. After sometime, they transferred the government office to the soldiers’ camp.
1946-1947 Juan T. Tabien (also in 1945) This year the government office was transferred to the house of Mrs. Patrocinio Vda. de Florido. September 1947, “binangon ang mga haligi ng bahay pamahalaan sa harap ng Plaza Quezon. A new election was called this month of September through the leadership of Gaudencio V. Vera and the citizens agreed to have a municipal government without opponents. On 25 December 1947, a strong typhoon left houses in destruction. The roof of “simbahang bato” was destroyed, so Rev. Father Juan Rapinan had a new church reconstructed.
These were the “elected” municipal officials: 1948 President Efigenio Panganiban, Vice President Maximino Orlanda, Councilors Julio Imperio, Hermogenes Escobar, Leon Salumbides, Federico Barros, Tolentino Torres, Jesus Libranda, Graciano Barreno, and Ubaldo Merjudio.
1948-1952 Efigenio Panganiban. 1949 the road “tinampo” going to Catanauan was started. On 01 January 1952, Vice Mayor Primitivo Canete became mayor. He served until 17 February 1952. There was a protest against the winning of Efigenio Panganiban and Ceferino Osuna won this protest. He was declared the winner in the past election and sworn to office by Governor Constantino in Lucena City on 18 February 1952.
1952 Mayor Ceferino Osuna, Vice MayorPrimitivo Canete, Councilors Jacinto Valencia, Felipe Cargar, Jesus Libranda, Manuel Bitoin, Dionisio Basila, Miguel Florido, Serapio Requinto, and Santiago V. Reyes.
On the previous page, the old map of Lopez was shown. It had a barrio called General Luna at the Lopez-Gumaca boundary, adjacent to Mal-ay, Sugod and Jongo. But we don’t have that Bo. or Brgy. General Luna now. What happened? Also looking at the map, one could see that in 1952 there were already a lot of schools within the municipality, even in remote barrios.
GROWTH OF EDUCATION IN LOPEZ
In the olden times, very few Lopenzes could recognize the alphabet. Later on, some who worked as helpers of the Spaniards were able to acquire sufficient knowledge of the cartilla and caton, which then might be called pre-primer respectively. When Lopenzes went to town to pay their tributos or buwis; to go to church, which was obligatory; or to buy simple household necessities, they had occasion to have contact with people from other places, such as Pitogo, Unisan, and Alabat. That thus afforded them opportunities to learn the ways of the people from other places.
In spite of the lack of genuine desire on the part of the masses to acquire even the rudiments of the three R’s, the people saw the need, whether they liked it or not, to acquire even a smattering of Spanish and to be able to read and write even in a small way the Tagalog language. Few copies of the cartilla and caton were borrowed by half-interested parents for their children’s use. After the children had learned it, most parents would not attempt further education for their children, saying that further education was plain katarayan or coquetry. There were, however, an isolated few, with vision and foresight who viewed education levels for themselves in order to help their fellowmen along this line. They constituted the first batch of maestros and maestras who taught in their homes and later in parochial and semi-parochial schools established in the poblacion as early as 1860 under Spanish friars. Maestrong Pendong and Maestrang Sabel under the supervision of Maestrong Iniego Barranta, were among the early tutors of half-interested pupils; some of them were already young men and women. It was said that after a few weeks of tutorship, these early pupils not only learned a lot but they also changed their attitude towards education from half-hearted enthusiasm to genuine interest, so much so that some of them excelled their teachers in certain lines.
HOW THE STREETS CAME TO BE NAMED 1. ANDA, one of the longest streets where most of the people pass by in going to several barrios, got its name from Spanish Governor Anda. 2. SAN ISIDRO was derived from San Isidro the saint. This was the street where the first procession passed by when the Saint’s day was celebrated on 15 May 1856 (1586 in the reference). 3. SAN FRANCISCO also came from a saint’s name. The image of St. Francis was kept in a house on this street . 4. ROSARIO, the street that ends at the church compound, was named after the patron saint of Lopez, Nuestra Senora del Rosario. 5. SAN ROQUE after the saint 6. MAGALLANES in memory of Magellan who “disccovered” the Philippines (for Spain, so they say) 7. IZQUIERDO after Spanish Lt. Izquierdo who built a strong fence along the west side of the town proper, to protect the town from moro pirates. 8. SAN ANTONIO from Saint Anthony, whose local image was owned by Cabesa Fermin Verdera. 9. SAN JOSE from St. Joseph, the image was brought here by a priest named calabasa during the Spanish time. 10. CONVENTO in front of the old convent of the Roman Catholic Church 11. GAINZA ends at a brook where there were many geese. Gainza is the Spanish equivalent of the term. 12. DEL VAL was from the family name of a Spanish priest. 13. VILLANUEVA from a prominent citizen who lived in that street, Mariano Villanueva. 14. LOPEZ from the founder of the municipality, Don Mateo Lopez 15. REAL when Lopez was newly founded during the Spanish Regime, it was the longest and the busiest of all streets. It still is, up to the present time. 16. MUNICIPAL from the old municipal building, as this street passes just in front of it. 17. CALLE JON was named after a short Spanish lieutenant commonly called by the townspeople at that time as Tinyente Jon. 18. DOLORES after the daughter of a prominent citizen Capitan Tasio. 19. COPI from Commission on Public Improvement sponsored by all barrio lieutenants during the presidency of Tomas V. Florido. 20. NOSCAL from Don Eugenio Noscal who was a prominent man and had been a capitan of the municipality. 21. EMBARCADERO was the place where boats loaded and unloaded their cargoes.
In 1952, there were only 87 barrios. Today, there are 95 barangays. 88 are rural, and 7 are in the poblacion area. Back then, population was 24, 917. Today, it is roughly a hundred thousand. It was located in a rolling mountain terrain mostly covered with forest and part of which had been cleared and planted mostly with coconut trees. People cultivated the highlands and the narrow valleys. We still have forests, I guess. Well, I’m not sure.
NOTES ABOUT THE BARRIOS: HISTORY/ LEGEND
Lopez is the town in Quezon Province with the most number of barangays. Nobody can even go around all those 95 barrios in a day.
As one travels eastward on the newly-made Vera Road, one will reach the small and peaceful village of Bacungan after about half an hour. According to the stories handed down from the past to the present generation, the barrio got its name from a local plant called “bakong” which was found growing in abundance along a small brook running from the northern to the southern part of the barrio. This brook is gone and is now part of good-producing ricefields.
For a short period during the Spanish Regime, this barrio had for its cabezas notable personages in the name of cabesang Pascual Arias, Pedro Zamora, and Regino Villanueva. They had no definite terms of office and one was succeeded only until incapacity took over him and when the people saw the need for a change of cabesa.
With the advent of the early part of American Regime, several prominent residents of the barrio took the reigns of rural government. Worth mentioning were Bonifacio Comentan, Silvino Anacion, Bernardino Perion, Rafael Pilarca, Lorenzon Comentan, and Exequiel Zamora. All of whom were referred to as teniente del barrio. Just before the Pacific War broke out, such men as Restituto Anacion, Gregorio Anacion, Benito Taba and Paulino Alano held the same position. The first post-war and who held the position in time of this writing was Marcos Alano. In his incumbency, valuable community improvements had been achieved, namely: the bahay nayon and the barrio chapel ermita just along the road. These two houses are situated at the foot of a mountain. Further up this mountain lies the boundary of Pamampangin and this barrio. North of Bacungan lies Maguilayan, San Roque, Canda, and Bebito. To the south is the barrio of Penafrancia and a part of Danlagan.
There are no enchanted places in this barrio nor are there stories of supernatural happenings. The barrio folks are contented of being farmers. In addition, the people make mats, fans, hats, and copra. The latter provides income for the family expenditures. The barrio’s produce are rice, vegetables, camote, cassave, poultry products, and coconuts. Approximately, the barrio yields 500 cavans of palay in one harvest.
To reach Bagacay from Lopez, one had to take the train to Hondagua. From Hondagua Railroad Station, one had to hike southward for he had to continue to travel by walking about three kilometers more, making a total of about ten kilometers from Lopez poblacion.
Bagacay got its name from the thriving bamboo groves called bagacay. The dense growth of these plants made the place so well known locally . In 1917, Luis Villasaya became the first barrio lieutenant. Victorino Solano was the barrio lieutenant at the time the manuscript was made.
Farming was the most important industry of the people. Copra, rice, vegetables, bananas, and root crops were some of its products.
Banabahin is a barrio named so because of the presence of big banaba trees. Banabahin means plenty of banaba. Founders were Diego Erandio, Julian Maqueda, Francisco Maravilla, juan Quival, Alejandro Villasanta, and Agustin Mella. The barrio lieutenants from 1908 -1911 were Eusebio Danas, Francisco Valencia, Leon Alano, Armenio Valencia, Santiago Arandela, and Gavino Villegas. From then, the leadership was tansferred to the younger generation.
Banabahin is seven kilometers from the town. People travelled by foot and animal’s back. A road from the town to Lalaguna had been built. The inhabitants, numbering about 6oo, are mostly farmers. Rice and copra are the most important products. During dry season people engage in weaving anahaw fans, buri mats, bags, and in other home industries.
There is a primary school where the children of the farmers in this and neighboring barrios attend. The school site is located where it is easily accessible from the homes of the children attending classes.
This barrio was divided into two barrios, ilaya and ibaba.
This barrio was named after a common fruit named bayabas or guava which grew aplenty in the place. Old folks related that the name was adapted by non-Christian tribes long ago. In the heart of this place there grew along a pond, a very big bayabas tree which trunk had extraordinary circumference.
This barrio was estimated to be six kilometers away from the poblacion. As compared with its neighboring barrios, Bayabas has the least land area consisting only of 44 hectares. Inspite of its meager area, the people are self-sufficient, which is largely due to the ever productive rice fields and abundant-bearing coconut trees. Women weave anahaw fans. It had 258 inhabitants and 88 registered voters.
A kilometer northeast of Lopez lies Bebito. The name was derived from a species of clam or bibe in the local dialect. It had been said that when a Spaniard asked a native whom he met on the hill between Canda and Bebito for the name of the place, the native who was selling bibe said, “Bibe ito, Senior.” (This is bibe/ clam, sir). Since then the hill had always been referred to as Bebito.
Bebito became a barrio during the early part of American Regime. This was formerly a part of a great barangay.
A road south of Lopez was constructed by the Spaniards during their time. It passed through the hill of Bebito. Many people built their homes along the road. The people of Guihay found new homes there. The fields and hills were cultivated and rice and coconuts were planted.
When Americans came, local government was reorganized. An order was issued to the effect that any village having a population of thirty or more families may be made a barrio. The people along the road to Bebito took advantage of this order. They made a bahay nayon and took St. John the Baptist for their patron saint. Saturnino Angeles was elected the first barrio lieutenant. The name of the hill was adapted for the new barrio and made it its part. The hill between Guihay and Bebito divides the two barrios.
Rice and copra were the two chief products of Bebito. Anahaw were abundant. Nipa grew in its swamps. Anahaw fans were made and nipa roofings sold. Illiteracy was fairly low in this barrio. The children attend schools in the poblacion while others go to the school in Canda.
One hundred thirty-three families resided in the barrio, many of which are tenants and immigrants, from the Bicol Region.
Bigajo was so named from the native plant biga and from the word ho which is a command for the carabao to stop walking. It was said that a Spaniard who met a native in that place asked the latter about the name of the place and the native muttered, “biga” “ho”.
Bigajo has been called by that name since 1901. Francisco Gonzales was the first barrio lieutenant. At the time of writing the manuscript, it was Justo Villasaya.
This barrio is about eight kilometers away from the poblacion. Most of the people were farmers, some were fishermen. Copra, fish, rice, vegetables, root crops such as gabi, ubi, etc., were the leading products.
BINAHIAN A, B, C
Binahian came from the word bahi, the trunk of an anahaw tree. During the later part of the Spanish rule, the aetas settled in this place. Most of them were hunters. Bows and arrows were made from bahi. One day, they made a lot of bows and arrows that when they left the place they called it pinagbahian. The term gradually became binahian. Later, this term applied to the whole settlement which was divided into three barrios, Binahian A, Binahian B, and Binahian C.
The barrio of Bocboc was founded in 1896. It was named after a tiny insect that destroys wood, bukbuk. This barrio started with only ten families under the administration of Brigido Sena. The people were engaged in farming. Some are engaged in fishing while most of the women were fan and hat weavers. Some of its crops are corn, rice, fruits, and vegetables.
The first inhabitants of these barrios were aetas. They lived in makeshift homes and had no permanent settlement. After a clearing had been made use of and grass began to grow, they moved to another place. These settlers called this barrio kabutagin, the name having been derived from the betel nut butag, growing in abundance in that place.
As the first group of people who were resigned to stay permanently came, the aetas were driven far in the interior parts which were then a thick forest. The newcomers named this barrio tigas which meant hard. The barrio was composed mainly of lowlands where the water was deep on rainy months and the earth soft and sticky. During the dry season however, the earth was hard. Later on a new name was adopted. A story came to pass that there lived in that barrio a very beautiful lady who was as white as the silver moon, with flowing hair and natural red lips. She was as alluring and as dainty as a dew. All the menfolks young or old would just want to have a glimpse of this heavenly creation that they sighed “What a nice woman and a magnificent view.” Buenavista, a Spanish word that meant good view, came to be adopted and still is the name the barrio carries.
Among the first cabesas of the barrio were Agapito Oriel and Patricio Osena. The teniente de barrio at the time the manuscript was written was Meliton Albarado. The Villasanta family were considered among the prominent residents of the barrio. Buenavista is approximately six kilometers from the poblacion, about an hour and a half walk would be needed to reach the place, via Pamampangin.
There was no school in this barrio. Pupils attended classes in Samat and Pamampangin barrio schools which are the immediate neighboring barrios. People were mostly farmers. Copra-making ranked second. Other minor industries included mat, hat, bay-ong and fan-weaving, fresh-water fishing, and poultry raising. These minor industries provide a good source of income for most families, especially after the harvest and planting seasons. Not much palay was raised here, as the greater parts of the ricefields were submerged for a long time on rainy months, thus hindering the production of rice.
Among the important products of this barrio were rice, coconuts, cassava, various root crops, fresh water fish, bananas, and some vegetables. Resins were tapped in large quantities and brought to town. It had no place of historical importance but the wild ducks that live in its swampy lands afford the hunter an excellent hunting ground.
Buyacanin came from the word buya that means overeating, and canin means rice. According to a legend the first settlers of the village always had an abundant supply of rice every year, so that the people called the place buyacanin. During the early times Buyacanin was a big barrio which included Villamonte and Samat. In the latter part of the Spanish Regime, the settlers of these two barrios worked hard for their separation. The first cabesa was known as Cabesang Bio.
Buyacanin is about three and a half kilometers away from the poblacion. It lies in a fertile agricultural region with an area of about 400 has. Half of the land area is rolling hills covered by coconuts. One-fourth was a rich rice valley. The rest are marshes. Copra making and rice planting were the leading industries of the people. It had a population of about 150 inhabitants. The people were respectful and hospitable.
Long ago, most of the people living in this barrio were the Catabagans and negritoes. Their houses were built along the river and some were at the foot of the mountains. During those times there were plenty of big frogs in the river which the people called cabacab. Those were good to eat and when the natives had no food, they just went to the river to catch some frogs. At night, it was said that no sound could be heard but noise of those cabacab. This place was then fittingly called cabacab.
When the Spaniards came to the Philippines and scattered to different places, some came to this place. When they asked the natives about the name of this barrio, the natives invariably said that it was the barrio of cabacab. The Spaniards modified the name and since then it came to be called cagacag.
This barrio is a scenic one because of the river flowing through its center, taking a course from Ilaya to Ibaba. Different plants grew along this river.
Not long afterward, many people came to settle on this barrio. People from other barrios moved here because planting palay was very favorable. They built more houses along the bank of the river, and they formed the village of Cagacag.
One of the very first steps taken by the Americans when they arrived was to establish schools throughout the islands. Cagacag was lucky to have the first barrio school in this municipality.
During the early days there were only about thirty houses. At the time of writing there were 67.
During the Japanese Occupation, Cagacag was the first barrio in Lopez where the Japanese soldiers and the Vera’s guerrillas had an encounter.
The most important occupation of the people here was farming. Plenty of palay were harvested every year. After their work in the field they engage in copra-making. The women are good weavers of fans, which were exported to Manila. There are different plants like bananas, sugar cane, and vegetables. This barrio is eight kilometers from the town.
Calantipayan is about two and a half kilometers from the town. It is along the road, which makes travel easy. It is accessible by means of land transportation. The people here are always busy tilling the soil and making copra. Oftentimes they gather calantipays for viand, the plant from which the name of this barrio was derived.
CANDA ILAYA, IBABA
During the later part of the Spanish Regime, three men from Gumaca came to the present barrio of Canda. They came by boat to Hayupag and hiked to the place, and established their settlement on the bank of a small river near the present school of Canda. They cleared the land and planted rice and coconuts. These men were the founders of Canda Ibaba and Canda Ilaya.
Years later, immigrants came and found homes near the settlement. These people lived happily together. After a bountiful harvest one day, the settlers gathered to thank God for it. They adopted St. Barbara for their patron saint, patron of thunder and lightning, so that they may be spared from these elements. A prayer was composed thus, “Ako Virgen Gloriosa, Alibughang si Barbara, Sa paraiso ay rosa, Nang castidad bula Canda.”
From this prayer, Canda was taken to name this settlement. As it grew bigger, the villagers were formed for mutual defense against their enemy. These villagers were to become the nuclei of the four barrios of Maguilayan, San Roque, and the two Candas,
Canda became a barrio in American Regime. It is along the national road three and a half kilometers north of Lopez. Canda Ibaba is a kilometer farther north, having separated from Canda Ilaya a few years ago.
Farming is the chief industry and is the main source of livelihood of some 400 inhabitants of these barrios. The children go to Canda Elementary School, perched atop a hill facing the national road.
In the early part of the 17th century, there was a negrito village on a small river valley. An adventurer from the municipality of Gumaca who was only known by the surname of Garganta passed by this valley on his way to Piris. He was a dealer of beeswax which was made into candles. He married a woman from Piris (now Buenavista, Quezon). The couple settled on this valley which was inhabited by the aetas only. Out of this happy wedlock was born Severino, their first child.
Severino Garganta was of an inquisitive nature. He inquired about the name of the river but the aetas could not supply him with the necessary information, so he asked the head of the aetas to accompany him up to the mountains in search of the source of the river. There they found a big clump of bamboo cawayan, so that the name cawayan was given to the river. Later, the whole barrio was called Cawayan.
The descendants of Severino Garganta figured permanently in the development of the barrio of Cawayan were Jorge, Roman, and Severino Garganta II, named after the first son of Cawayan. The last was 66 years old on February 22, 1952.
Years passed. A great number of people came to settle in the barrio of Cawayan. The influx of new settlers in this barrio caused one of the leaders, Isidro Garganta, to ponder about the division of the barrio. The northern part was Ibaba while the southern part was Cawayan Ilaya. Later on, Cawayan Ilaya became Veronica in honor of patron saint Veronica, and Cawayan Ibaba became only Cawayan. The latter’s patron was San Roque.
Cawayan is in the southeastern part of the municipality of Lopez, eight kilometers away from the poblacion with 300 inhabitants. The barrio lieutenant was Vicente Tabien, also a descendant of the Garganta family. The principal industry is farming, with coconut and rice as the major products. Some of the former cabezas were Silvino Barreno, Nicolas Valencia, and Juan Erandio. Some of the former barrio tenientes were Fructoso Desembrana, Apolinar Garganta, and Julio Verdera.
Cogrin got its name from cogon grass. Cogorin mountain is noted for its interesting folklore about the lake at its summit and the unexplored caves facing the west. The division of barrio Cogorin into Ilaya and Ibaba took place in 1902.
COGORIN IBABA. Avelino Zamora was the first barrio lieutenant on this place. It had a population of about 300 inhabitants. The chief industry was farming. Coconuts and rice are the principal products in this barrio.
COGORIN ILAYA had Isidro Valencia as the first barrio lieutenant. Most of the inhabitants were engaged in farming. Coconuts, abaca, and rice were raised on this place. The forest bordering along its boundary was rich in commercial timber and rattan. Its rivers, lakes, and forests are good hunting and fishing grounds. This barrio had a population of around 250 inhabitants.
Tinalpok was the former name of Concepcion. It was said that the change took place when Mariano Barrameda became one of the councilors of Lopez in 1902. At that time Pedro Barros owned a large coconut plantation in that place. Because of his political influence and official capacity, Mr. Barros was able to change Tinalpok to Concepcion in honor of his beautiful daughter Concepcion who is still living now (1952).
The first barrio lieutenant in Concepcion was Hilario Arena. At the time of writing it was Antonio Alazo. There were a few inhabitants in this barrio but they were hardworking, engaged in farming, making copra, and raising poultry. The important products were rice, copra, vegetables, and chickens. Concepcion is about ten kilometers from the poblacion.
Legend has it that there was a place in Lopez frequented by people from other places for its mudfish. The usual conversation in ancient time was said to be like this: “Saan kayo pupunta?” (Where are you all going?) “Diyan lang sa dalagan.” (There, where mudfish abound.). Today, when somebody asks, “Saan kayo pupunta?” The answer would be, “Sa Danlagan, sisimba sa mongha.” Of course, it’s the priest who celebrates Holy Mass. It’s just that we tend to shorten sentences and we understand one another with that, as the statement actually meant, “We’re going to Danlagan to attend mass at the Monastery of St. Clare.” That sacred place is the most visited spot these days in Brgy. Danlagan, which has become part of the town proper. It can be reached by land transportation, even by a tricycle.
DE LA PAZ
This barrio is situated in the narrow valley bounded on the north by Pandanan River and lofty hills on three sides. Sturdy homesteaders cleared the forests and swamps with the help of friendly aetas. De La Paz was once part of a barrio called Ginabihan founded in 1894. This place was known to the aetas as Ginotosan. It was made a separate barrio in 1910 and was named De La Paz after their patron Saint Nuestra Senora de la Paz y Buenviaje. First barrio lieutenant was Ramon Olea. There were few inhabitants, just numbering sixty people. Four-fifths of its lands belong to the Aguila, Matriano, Siazon, and Enteria families. The people send their school-aged children to Esperanza Ibaba where the school is located. Rice is raised in the valley and its fertile hills are planted with coconuts. the residents get some clams and fish from nearby river. Little weaving of mats was done at home.
De la Paz is about six kilometers from poblacion and reached either by a boat from Inalakanan or by hiking through Vera Road via Pamampangin or Maguilayan; or Canda via San Roque and Maguilayan.
During the Spanish time, there was a small village just outside the poblacion of Lopez. There were only a few families living there. the people derived the name Inubakan from the three women who were abused by some men.
In 1910 through the efforts of Vicente Villapando, one of the early inhabitants in the barrio, a resolution was submitted to the municipal council to change the name to Del Pilar. With the help of former councilor Telesforo Arella, the resolution was approved and so since then the barrio was called Del Pilar.
Before the outbreak of World War in 1941, this place was covered with tall balete trees with thick foliage believed to be inhabited by large snakes. Down the mountain is a lake where crocodiles lived. The most astonishing fact according to the old folks is that thousands of cats lived there, which disappeared all of a sudden. All the cats had one color, pitch black with white. They lived in a cave near the mountain where they readily vanished in view when people came. This had been the reason why the place was called such. There were stories of sickness that struck people who tried to clear the place. When it was used as guerrilla camp, the Japanese bombed Campo Pusa. After that, the place became desolate and barren. The only remnant was the house whose owner thought that maybe the cats protected it, or the supernatural beings protected them from harm.
On June 24, 1997, another jar was unearthed but it was full of human bones and skull. I wonder if the bones and skull were kept or thrown away. Because Lalaguna could be an early settlement site even before the coming of the Spaniards, those bones could unearth great historical findings. I wish I had more time to do these things! But with regards to the cats, how can the mystery be explained? Its legendary lore is here to stay.
Would you donate 3,411 square meters of land for a Veteran’s Park/ Guerrilla Shrine? She actually did, eight years ago on February 16, 2005. I was there when she presented the Deed of Donation to Vera’s Tayabas Guerrillas, then represented by the Commander of 4th Quezon Veterans District, Domingo T. Abellera. Her husband Roberto Rojas also signed the Deed of Donation, for marital consent. What a touching gesture from a kababayan who has so much respect for history and foresight of the future!
Eco-tourism park, museum, library, and a statue of General Gaudencio Verdadero Vera riding his mola are some of those in the blueprint. When she was interviewed by my daughter for “The Light” in 2007, Col. Rojas said that since she was born in Lalaguna (where her ancestors lived) and where Vera’s Tayabas Guerrilla (VTG) Central Camp was located in World War II; she donated the lot to honor the great soldiers who died and the commander-in-chief of VTG, so that the young generation who haven’t seen them nor felt the harrowing experience and wrath of war will know what transpired in the past and treasure what those great men have fought for.
I fondly call her Tita Vener. Her grandfather Ato was a revolutionary soldier, while her two brothers Cristito and Godofredo were guerrilla members. Godo died in combat while fighting with the Japanese Forces in the vicinity of what is now Lopez National Comprehensive High School. His body was never recovered.
Col. Rojas of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) retired from service in 1987. She was a young nurse when she volunteered to join the PHILCAG contingent to South Vietnam as member of the surgical team, and recipient of several awards, like the Philippine Republic Merit Award of the Presidential Republic of Vietnam and Campaign medal and Ribbon PHILCON Awards. She is an Outstanding Alumna of LNCHS, active organizer of Batch 1956; Outstanding Lopezeño. Asked about what advice she could give to the young, she had these to say: “Destiny plays a part in our lives but thinking right in decision making is most important. Dream, then work for it to achieve your ambition. Don’t waste time but be patient. Do not act on impulse. Listen to good advice. Excel. Grab opportunities. Remember, health is wealth. Take good care of your health. Be guided by the Lord, always.” It was through her that a chapel was built to honor St. John the Baptist. (From “A Soldier in War and Peace” by Queen Sroges Rochelle S. San Jose, The New Light 2007).
Lopez has been so blessed having Tita Vener around. Until the present time, she still helps kababayans, especially the veterans, as much as she could. The first historical marker from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines was already installed on May 2014.
The statue of the brave man who led the guerrillas in Bondoc Peninsula had been enshrined at the future eco-park in Brgy. Lalaguna. Thanks to our kababayan, Col. Vener Rojas, who believes that history should be seen in the future!
SAN MIGUEL (DAO)
The settlement of Dao was organized in 1896. It was sparsely populated then. In 1913, Batanguenos explored the wilderness of Dao. Soon thereafter more and more of them were attracted to settle there. People were mostly farmers. Some engaged in poultry and hog raising. Coconuts, rice, bananas, corn, coffee, and vegetables were raised there.
Dao got its name from the tree, because of the abundance of this tree. Later on it was divided into two by authorities of the municipalities of Lopez and Catanauan. The southern portion was named Santa Maria under the jurisdiction of Catanauan, and the other portion bordering the Hogakhok River was named San Miguel, its patron saint. The latter is under the jurisdiction of Lopez.