CATMON MAP & THE LEGEND OF THE BARANGAYS
Corazon is a barrio located within the poblacion together with barangay Flores and San Jose; they formed the nucleus of the town.
Formerly, a greater part of Corazon was called Pilapil. Collectively, those sitios were referred to as “Ilaya”. So, Pilapil was strategically located on the border lie working the boundary (so to speak) between Ilawod (now Flores) to the east and Ilaya to the west. The name persisted for along time.
Then came Fr. Miguel. In his zealous campaign to bring the people closer to God, he decreed that the villagers should consecrate their worship on the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Since then the barrio was called Corazon, (Yes, de Jesus of course!).
In the olden days, barangay Flores was known as “Ilawod”. Situated along the coastline, the barrio was flanked by sitios Suba to the end south at the estuary of Naghalin River, and Looc to the north where now stand the Multi-Purpose Building, CCF and KKK Building. Old-aged tradition said that since time immemorial the coral reefs and cavernous cliffs under the sea at Looc and Suba points were sanctuaries of sea nymphs, mermaids, and other evil sea creatures. The story goes that every time the villagers held thanksgiving feasts for the plentiful harvest of their farms, a child or two would mysteriously disappear. Few days later, their bloated bodies were retrieve by the villagers at the bottom of the sea. That indicated, the “Tambalan” or local spirit medium would boldly interpret, that the sea nymphs envied the farmers’ ritual. The Lords of the sea needed an offering too. So, to appease their wrath, the people made special offerings. They threw handful of coins to the sea every time they went out to fish. On rare cases, they roasted white chickens and pigs, cooked the finest rice and set them adrift at the bay on a small bamboo raft or balsa.
When Fr. Miguel became the parish priest of the town, he put an end to the unscriptural practice of the barrio people. He instead spurred them on to dedicate and consecrate their offering to the Blessed Virgin Mary and not to consign themselves to the devil. Thus, in 1910 the first Flores de Mayo offering was made at the Roman Catholic Church. Led by then Manang Inting Oro and Maestra Tinay Adelan “both deceased” the little children of Ilawod marched happily in a broken line to the church, their little hands holding the sweet multi-colored bouquets of fresh “FLORES”. On parochial order, the barrio was renamed “FLORES” meaning flowers.
SAN JOSE/CATADMAN (Poblacion)
In the olden days barrio Catadman was known as “Catagman”. The name was taken from the word “Tagam” which means, “abstain from further action due to an unfavorable reaction”. The connotation of the name itself is hideous and frightful. The following versions, however, may well clarify and justify:
One version said that, during the Philippines Revolution, the Spanish soldiers on patrol usually suffered a heavy casualty in the barrio now known as Catadman. The Filipino insurgents, trickily positioned on the rocky hills overlooking the narrow pass that led to sitio Punod, had the greatest advantage in the combat, shooting and killing the Spaniards almost at will. Since then, the Spanish military government refrained from further sending foot patrol to the area.
Another version that emerged and gained popularity at the turn of the 19th century was more of bad times story for children. Nevertheless, it was as interesting one, and worthy of listening to. The following is a recapitulation of the tale.
One moonlight night a group of young men went out to serenade a lady in Catagman. After an hour of evening music under the lady’s window, the boys bid goodbye and headed for home. But upon reaching Sitio Punod, they were met by a tall figure of a woman in white. They halted and took a good look at the spectral form. The mysterious woman was slowly moving towards them, her long black hair touching the heels. The boys stood motionless for one horrifying moment. But before the woman could reach them, they scampered and ran away as fast as their heels could carry them leaving behind Pantaleon who was terribly shocked and never regained his good wits again. Since then, no youngster dared to go out in Catagman during moonlight nights.
Catagman was later known as “Catadman”. No reason was given for change. Some researchers, however, believed it to be an error in pronunciation and articulation. As per consensus of the barrio folks, a resolution requesting the higher authorities to change the name of their barangay to “SAN JOSE”, in honor of their patron saint was passed.
Agsuwao comes from the word suwaw or sulaw, which means, “dazzling light”. Nestled among the hills and mountaintops, is the progressive barrio of Agsuwao. It is nineteen kilometers (19km) away from the heart of the town. Rising a few hundred meters above the sea level, the place is hot during the daytime but extremely cold at night.
In the beginning, only a handful of settlers lived in the place. It was attributed to the great mountain ranges that cut them off from contact with other settlements. Fearing of being isolated from the rest of the world, some pioneers shifted their gaze to other places of greener pastures.
Then, time came when vast lowland was filled with people. Settlers from the valleys begun to set their eyes at the lofty mountain of what is now known as Agsuwao. The crescent moon that seemed to nestle snugly at he temple of the tall mountain began to fascinate them. No more did the dazzling light of the noon sun that stood at the zenith of the highest peak ever dazed and disheartened them. The search for greener pastures for them and children gave them the death-defying endurance. So, as they journeyed towards the grand mountain, they kept on saying to their children: “Anha kita mamuyo nianang bukid nga hilabihang pagkasuwao.” (We will live in that mountain where the dazzling light is at its fierciest).
At fist, the place was known as Masuwao, meaning “excessively brilliant”. Later, it was called Agsuwao.
Amancion is the remotest barrio of the town. It is approximately thirty kilometers (30 km) southwest from the poblacion. Some put it as an “edge barrio”. The barrio is posted at the edge of the municipality, so to say, like a sentinel guarding the municipal boundary. Records on how the barrio got its name is scanty and almost unavailable. The only information on the barrio’s origin is the following account:
During the early part of the commonwealth era the civil government of every municipal began to establish their territorial boundaries. The representatives of the municipalities of Catmon and Carmen in the eastern coast, and Tuburan and Austurias in the western coast went to the farthest mountain to determine and agree on the extent of land within the jurisdiction. At the last page of their survey, they came upon a hut of a lowly farmer and his wife. The couple was poor but were exceedingly hospitable. They treated and welcomed their visitors the best they could. For days they stayed with couple. When the final graph of the sketch map was made, the surveying team named the place “Amancion” in honor of the poor but kind and gentle couple “Amancio and Asancion”
Anapog is barrio in a western edge of the municipality. Literally, the name means, “lime or limestone”. Yet, amazing enough, the soil of the place is not calcareous enough to justify the name. The following details, however, give us the logical basis:
Long before the introduction of toothbrush and toothpaste in the country, the Filipinos were already observing dental hygiene. Conscious of the importance of the organ for biting and chewing, they followed some laws of sanitation to preserve their teeth. Some chewed betel-nut to stiffen the gums that hold the teeth. They used boiled leaves and bark of trees as mouth wash. Still others, the immaculate and meticulous ones, polished their teeth with lime to make them gleamingly white.
So it went that the absence of lime or calcareous earth in the barrio known as Anapog posed a great problem to the villagers. They searched every nook for the prized rock. At last they found a spring flowing out from a crack of a solid lime rock. The place where the lone limestone was found was called Anapog. Later, the name was applied to the whole barrio.
“Bactas” is a Cebuano word for “short-cut”. How the barrio got its name, the following legend tells us of its origin. In the early days of the Spanish conquest the seat of the municipal government, was established in what is now known as Catmondaan. The place was by then, called Catmon, and the terminal word is “daan” meaning old, was only suffixed after the new pueblo was founded and established in its present site.
As stated, the first seat of the Spanish municipal government was established in Catmondaan. No doubt, the place also becomes the center of trade business. People from the hinterland and barangays like Amancion, Agsuwao, Bongyas, Ginabucan, and other far-flung barrios found Catmondaan to be a good market for their farm products. So, they raced towards the place every market day with the farm yields. Remarkably, enough, the only way to reach the market via the shortest route was through a place that rose steeply from the seacoast and lying chiefly on a mountain slope. Since then the place was called “Bactas” meaning “short-cut” or “short route”.
“Basak” is a Cebuano word for “rice paddies”.
The legend goes that, in early days of Spanish occupation, a group of Spanish soldiers and some Filipinos guardia civiles came to the place. Following a trail leading west from Panalipan, they come upon a group of natives gaily working and wallowing in the mud. They were surprised to see the natives’ faces covered with wet and slimy mire. So, in a disdainful tone, the Spaniards asked in Castilian: “What are you doing there?” The natives did not answer. They did not understand. The Spaniards motioned to the Filipino guide to translate his question into the native dialect. The guide went forward and blurted: “Nag-unsa kono kamo diha?” the natives feeling relieved, meekly answered: “Nagbuhat kamig basak”. (We are building rice paddies).
Since then, the place was called Basak.
Binongkalan is taken from the Cebuano word “bungkal” which means “strike with heavy repeated blows so as demolish or impair”. The story of how this barrio got its name is more of a fact than fiction.
During the early part of the American regime in the 1900’s, Binongkalan was then a part of Panalipan. Only a handful settlers who lived by fishing dwelt along its irregular and rugged coastline. The topography of the place is precipitous. Crops hardly grew in the area. A thin layer of soil masked the ugly massive rocks and boulders hidden beneath the surface. Owing to the hostility of the land area, the dwellers depended on the sea for a living.
When the Americans finally opened the road to the north of the province, the progress of the work was temporarily halted at what is now known as Binongkalan. The engineers were held at bay by the treacherous cliffs and boulders and stock like natural barriers. Tens of thousands of dynamite sticks were used to blow up the big boulders. The blasting registered a new façade of the place.
The road was then completed. Wheeled vehicles started to open a route to the north. Sitios were then established along the highway. But travelers and commuters who happened to pass by the sitio where the blasting took place called the place“Binongkalan” which literally means “batted area”.
Once there lived among the hills two fierce tribes of heathen natives. Each differed in ideology and worship of gods and deities. The tribe on the higher mountain thrived on meat of wild animals in the forest. Thus, they were always at war with each other.
One evening the chieftain of the taller mountain called his subjects to a meeting. We will show to the people of the lower mountain that “Bathalang Laan” is more powerful than their God. We will ask him to transform the trees that covered our mountaintops into papaya trees so we will not have a hard time searching for these much needed stuff in distant places. The food will then be within our easy reach. “Their God heard their plea. In due time the tall mountain was covered with verdant papaya trees bearing luscious and succulent fruits.
The tribe of the lower hills looked up at the grand mountain. The tinkling of the cymbals and rhythmic beat of the tom-tom tunes up to a savage melody fascinated their ears. It was the night of thanksgiving to Bathalang Laan of the taller mountain tribe.
The chieftain of the lower mountain gritted his teeth. “ We will show to the people up there that our God is the most powerful God of all. We will ask him to transform this lower mountain into a dense forest, which will be a sanctuary and habitat of all animals of the forest. We will no longer be hunting games in distant forest.”
The God of the lower mountain tribe heard their supplication. He opened the gates of heaven and sent down torrential rain of Bongyas seeds that soon sprouted and grew to be huge bongyas tree. The war of the gods was fought in the hearts of men.
Then came the Sword and the Cross. The white men introduced Christianity to the island. The true and living God showed his omnipotence. He caused the total extinction of the bongyas and papaya trees of the two mountains. Yet, today the people still call the lower mountain “Bongyas” and the higher mountain Mt. Kapayas.
Some eight or nine kilometers from the town of Catmon is the barrio of Cabungaan. The place is locked up from the surrounding barrios by high mountains and deep gorge and gullies.
Cabungaan got its name from “bunga”, a kind of palm tree with a round trunk and a crown of feather shape leaves. This variety of tropical palm known in the East Indies as Areca palm is prized for its nut-seed (or betel-nut) which when chewed with shell lime and betel leaf, make up an excellent cud among natives.
It is said that long before the Spanish domain, native warriors were trained to chew this connection as a special mixture to give them strength and stamina in battles. Their “babaylan” or witch doctor prescribed this compound for the much-needed endurance in wars and struggles. It also blackened their teeth to give them a stern and surly look. So, the betel-nut and betel leaf were valued stuffs in those days.
Time came that the betel-nut became scare. The chieftain was alarmed. So he set out his men to search for the much-needed stuff. The quest went on for months to no avail. At last they came to a place surrounded by steep hills and deep ravines. They gaped in amazement. Amidst the tall mountains that locked up a little valley stood the prize of their quest: tens of thousands of area palm trees with their feather-shaped leaves gaily swaying in the early afternoon breeze. Since then the place was called “Cabungaan” meaning “the place were bunga (fruit) trees are abundant”.
Locked up by the barrios of Bongyas, Cabungaan, Bactas, and Ginabucan are the mountains barangay of Cambangkaya. How the barrio got its name is not certain. Some people, however, claimed it to have been derived from a tree.
It is said that during the early years of the Spanish conquest of the island, the people of what is now known as Cabungaan and Basak lived in abundance. The soil was fertile. Rain was plentiful and the weather followed a definite pattern. No wonder that the village people enjoyed a life of comfort, peace and contentment.
But one moonlight night, the big round moon grew dim by a swarm of ugly-looking bats, a nocturnal flying mammal that plundered and ravaged the farmers’ orchard. The winged creatures pillaged the peoples’ bananas, mangoes, atis avocados, plums and other delicious fruits leaving nothing but the bare stalks and stems.
The people were angry. Before the first streak of dawn they set out in groups to avenge the winged culprits. They were bent the hill of all the bats that depredated their village. At midday, they came upon a spring baffling with crystal-clear water. The weary searchers dashed forward and scooped the water with their cupped hands to quench their thirst. But when they looked up the huge Cambangkaya tree at the spring source, they were horrified upon seeing hundreds of thousands of sleeping bats hanging lazily on the branches of the tree. Armed with clubs, thorny twigs, spines and thistle, they stealthily climbed up the tree and annihilated the foul-smelling creatures.
Since then, the sitio when the spring was located was named “MACABOG” meaning plenty of bats. The name of the tree that came to be sanctuary of the depredating bats was given to the entire barrio. Hence the name Cambangkaya.
Can-ibuang is only six kilometers west of the poblacion. It is situated among the hills and rocky mountain overlooking the sea. Varied tales on how the place got its name were handed down from generations to generation. Some claimed it was due to the two streams that met on a little lowland before emptying into the sea. The opposing forces of the two bodies of water that met created a small riptide. Hence, the place was called “gibuwangan” or “the point where the collision took place.” But recent investigations proved the legend to be unfounded. No opposing streams were found in the area. No whirlpool could attest to the veracity of the claimed. The following version however, earned much wider acceptance:
Long before the American took over in 1898, there lived among the hills in what is now known as Can-ibuang an old woman named Cani. Nobody knew were she came from; nobody took time in tracing her origin. The only thing that the people knew was her name. She lived by planting root crops like gabi, camote, and ubi. A good portion of the land was also planted with corn and vegetables.
But as the days went on, the people of the barrio noticed a strange and weird behavior of the old woman. Every time the moon turned round and red Cani stand by her window and faced the east. Then taking a handful of boiled corn and camote, she would throw them to the moon. “Take your share, oh moon!” she would usually say.
The people were frightened. They began to stay away from the woman. They didn’t know it was an Ilocano ritual of thanksgiving. They believed the woman to be “buang” or lunatic. They even suspected her to be a sorcerer, practicing the secret art of witchcraft and sorcery. They deserted the place and left the old woman alone in her hut among the hills. The unfortunate woman died alone, uncared and forsaken.
As years went by, the hills were once stood the lonely hut of the poor woman was called “Can-ibuang” meaning Cani, the lunatic. Later , it was called Can-ibuang.
Long ago, Catmondaan was once a dreamy settlement of heathen natives. It was nothing more than a cluster of native cogon huts that queued like mushrooms in the glade beneath the tall trees that stood like green palisade along the hillsides and the long stretch of sandy beaches. The only bustling sound that echoed in the hills was the strange and weird commingling of the native drums and cymbals every time the “Datu” called his subjects to a forum.
One day, during the early part of the Spanish colonization, a group of Spaniards from the city of “Zebu” (City of Cebu) came to the place. They were then heading for the northern tip of the province. The white men came upon a native who was sitting on a gnarled root of a big tree, watching his carabao gaily chewing the cud while enjoying a cool noon bath in a mud pool. The strangers got off from their horses and fanned themselves with their handkerchiefs. The leader looked up at the spreading branches of the big tree and exclaimed: “Good God, the beautiful tree has sheltered us from the scorching heat of the noon sun. The summer heat is killing me! Then turning to the stunned native, he asked in a deep Castilian accent: “What’s the name of this place, Indio?”
The Indio or native was stupefied. He did not understand what the foreigner said. But contemplating on the white man’s gestures and motions, the native conjectured that the foreigner was asking for the name of the spready Catmon Tree under whose shade they sheltered on. So they said: “CATMON!.” Since then, the place was called Catmondaan derived from the name Catmon tree that can be seen growing in the poblacion and in the hinterlands. The terminal word “DAAN” (meaning old) was only suffixed after the new pueblo was founded and established in its present site.
About six or seven kilometers west of the Poblacion is the barrio of Duyan. The topography of the place is rugged. The only access to the barrio is the feeder road that cut across the treacherous ravines and rocky terrain. One can reach the hillside and precipitous slopes and gorges.
Paradoxically, however, the name of the place has a pleasant meaning. Literally, “DUYAN” means, “a swing or hammock.” In the olden days, the barrio now known as Duyan was a vast wilderness. It used to be the haven of wild animals that once roamed under the humid slopes and gullies shielded from sunlight by the enormous limbs of huge forest trees. The place was a veritable source of forest products, such as rattan beeswax, lumber and wild life. No wonder then, that the place was also a haven for the lowland hunters.
The hunters found Duyan as exciting hunting ground. Nature has endowed the place with wonderful appurtenances. Besides the seemingly inexhaustible wild life, it has also a hot spring, which gave them a strain-relieving bath after the days hunt. But what fascinated them most were the unusual vines with their two ends fastened to the trees overhead and its loop hanging down, so that a person could sit in the loop and swing. So it became a part of the routine that at the close of the hunting day, the hunters climbed up the vines to refresh themselves by swinging to and fro in the air. Since then the place was called Duyan.
“Hinabucan” is a conjugation. The verb is “tabok” meaning to cross a river, lake, sea channel, etc…
During the early days of the American regime, the Americans adopted the policy of attraction. Schools were built and roads were opened. Parks were constructed and old plazas with Spanish touch were renovated. The people readily accepted the social and political changes introduced to them by their new masters.
The people in the mountain were lured to come down. They availed the opportunity of sending their children to school. For the first time, the Filipinos experienced a different way of life – by that time a pleasant one.
No wonder then the people of the mountain barrios came pouring into the town during civic and religious festivities. However, the only accessible route that gave them the shorter way down is by crossing two rivers: one that lead to sitio Banaban and other that lead to sitio Ginhabitan. Interestingly enough, crossing the river that lead to Ginhabitan was chosen and more preferred transmit by most mountaineers to the other route.
Since then the river was called “Ginabucan River” meaning “a river that many chose to wade across.” Later on name was given to the entire place.
Macaas is a derivation from, and or chapped up form of the word “macalas” which means “wasteful or extravagant expenditure.” The name itself is unique for it connotes licentiousness, luxury and extravagance. How the place got its name, the old folks of the barrio offered varied and dissenting but beautiful and interesting versions. The following account, however, is the most popular tradition.
At the turn of the 18th century, the barrio, which is presently known as Macaas, earned the reputation of having the fairest women of the land. Unlike the women from the neighboring barrios, maidens of Macaas were fair-complexioned sported blonde hair and beautiful European noses. It was attributed to the fact that during the Spanish regime the native lasses bore offspring’s from handsome Spanish conquistadors who wooed and lured them. Thus, the children of those tall white men grew to be the exact facsimiles of their European ancestors.
No wonder then, that the men far and near went half-crazed with love for the lovely maidens. Suitors from far-flung island came and visited the pretty damsels. They bought precious gifts for the girls just to earn the nod and approval of the parents. The parents on the other hand thought otherwise. Seeing the great fortune the good looks of their daughters could bring them they demanded big dowries from anybody who proposed marriage. Dowries such as costly jewelries, earthenwares, Chinese platters, Porcelain jars, kitchen utensils, and piece of gold were required. Some affluent few were able to put up. But the majority of the suitors were not. They denounced with disdain and contempt the unsavory practice of the parents. Since then, no man dared trudge along its shorelines in search for marriage mate. For when a young man begins to look for a bride and sets his gaze at what is now known as Macaas his father usually warns him saying: “Ayaw lang dihang dapita (referred to Macaas) kay makalas ang pagpangsawa diha”, (Not in that place because it is expressive to marry there). The place was called MACAAS since then.
The recent archeological excavation authenticates the veracity of this version. The dig yielded a good number of artifacts and relics such as porcelain jars, platters, earthenwares, daggers and kitchen utensils. The radiocarbon clock estimated the relics to be 300 to 500 year old.
Panalipan is a coastal barrio nine kilometers south of the poblacion. How the place got its name is an interesting tale.
Panalipan was once a dry and barren place. Bulging out from its bare mountainside, were the sharp granite and the heavy mass of hard rocks. Like Binongkalan who shared a similar topography, Panalipan has no inch of land suitable for vegetation. The thin layer of superficial soil that covered the rocky crust could not hold enough water to sustain the living process of plants. Rice and corn would long wither before they could bear their grain.
Amazingly enough, the place was covered by a rare variety of forest trees called “PANALIPAN”. Despite the hostility of the environment those wonderful trees thrived in rocks and boulders. Their strong roots grew stubbornly downward breaking the hard granite and piercing through every fissure of the earth.
The people were angry. “Why did God created these useless trees?” they shouted in protest. “Why not give us plants we need for our daily subsistence?” And they cut down and burned the thicket of panalipan trees amidst the pleading of the Insi Andrea who had asked them to spare the trees.
Today not a single panalipan tree can be found in the barrio. The curse of the people continued up to this day. But before Insi Andrea, the “herbolaria”, of the village, died for some four scores ago she told the villagers that panalipan tree was the source of medicine she concocted in curing practically all sorts of ailments of the barrio people. Feeling a deep sense of guilt within themselves the village people remorsefully called the place Panalipan.
Tabili is a name given to a small four-legged reptile with a long scaly body. It is known in scheme parts of the island as “ibid” or “manabili” a kind of tree lizard with a deep clive-green color. Why the place was named after a creeping animal, the following version may well explain.
In on of the Lenten days when doctors of medicine were yet in the country, a group of “herbelario” or quack doctors went up the mountain to look for medicinal herbs and roots. It was their belief that medicinal plants are most potent when prepared and concocted during the Lent season particularly on a Good Friday.
After passing through rocks and rills, they came into dense forest. They were jolted at the entrance when all of a sudden thousands of iguana-looking reptiles started scampering for egress in a great hysteria. The intruders were startled upon seeing their amazing swinging and jumping from tree to tree like acrobats doing aerial stunts on a trapeze. Since then, the place was called Tabili.
“Tinabyonan” is a Cebuano term. The root word is “tabyon” meaning “away back and forth as in a cradle.” Long before the coming of the Spaniards, the place presently known Tinabyonan was covered with “bamban”, a cryptogamous plant with long and slender fronds. The fronds or leaves of these plants are used in weaving mats, hats, and bags.
One day, a mat weaver went to the mountain noted for bamban plants. Enlivened by the great quantity of the plants that abound the area, he bundled the fronds into two large bales. That was too much for his frail body. He was benighted on his way home. Weary and exhausted, he came upon a hut on a hilltop. He was served food by an old couple. After the simple meal, the couple begged him to stay for the night. At midnight, he was awakened by a steady swaying of the house. The chilly winds blowing from the four directions rocked the hut gently like a cradle.
From that time on, the place was called Tinabyonan meaning “rocked gently so as to soothed or put to sleep.”