Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Town by the Jal-o River: A Time Line

Some dear friends have been asking how far have I progressed in my research of our local history and I answered vaguely, "I'm still hiking along the muddy trail of Guanko".

The research commenced in 1998 under the administration of Mayor Bobby Calizo when Balete was considering the centennial celebration of the so called "El Tiroteo de Agtawagon", literally, "The Skirmish in the Hill of Agtawagon" but was popularized as "The Battle of Agtawagon". The officials then were hard put in conceptualizing what sort of celebration they ought to launch for lack of materials (historical data) to work on. They recalled that the teachers had some stage play presented regaling that "glorious past" but when the teachers admitted that that was but a product of a pregnant imagination, they hesitated to proceed. They thus resorted to organizing a research team which they divided into two. The first was consisted by Ng. Mila Jimera Andrade, then Vice Gov. Rodriguez, then SP Member Gabrielle V. Calizo, then SB Member Eduardo Villanueva and his better half, Evelyn Villanueva. That team was responsible for interviewing key personality, such as the late Bingo Altavas of the Jose Cortes Altavas Foundation. Ng Mila managed to photocopy portion of the "Mi Diario" of the Baleten-on Senator and some old souvenir programs of the municipalities of Batan and Altavas, all rich with information concerning local history of the contiguous municipalities of Altavas, Balete, Batan and New Washington.

The other team, if you would call that a team, was composed by me and my pen and ink (can't afford laptop then). I elected to visit the University of San Agustin in Iloilo, the National Archives, the National Library and the National Historical Institute as part of my expedition into the Baleten-on past. I also interviewed a number of venerable residents and managed to have some of their manuscripts.

Combining those findings with the current research I have been having this year, let me present to you the timeline of the pueblo of Balete of the Province of Capiz:

1591 - The village by the Jal-o River was part of the Encomienda of Batan under Miguel Rodriguez. Batan was one of the 9 big villages in the Province of Panay--Panay was one of the two provinces in Panay Island, the other being Octon;
1703 - Alcaldia System was introduced (Although the law was passed as early as 1583). The provinces of Capiz, Yloylo and Hamtic were established. Pueblos and Barrios were created.
1714 - Jalo was mentioned as part of the visitas of the Parish of Batan under the Augustinian missionaries. The whole Panay Is. then was under the bishopric of Cebu
1758 - the Augustinian Recollects took turn in shepherding the faithful of Batan and Jalo
1789 - The Recoletos turned over Batan to the Diocesan Priests (although Bishop Romualdo Jimeno was himself a Dominican)
1792 - The bishop of Cebu made pastoral visit in Batan. This was followed by 12 pastoral visits up to the time of Bishop Jimeno who was ambushed and killed along the trail on his way to Dumalag (17 March 1872). We learned later that the place where he fatally fell was named after him.
1804 - Balete, Capiz. Population - 3,089.
1856 - Rev. Fr. Diego Albao replaced the late Rev. Fr. Matias Piansay as Parish Priest of Balete. Bishop Jimeno was responsible for the assignment of Fr. Albao.
1882 - Rev. Fr. Vicente Guanco was the Parish Priest of Balete; Don. Adriano Calizo acted as the gobernadorcillo; Don. Alejo Eliserio was the Capitan Pasado while D. Agapito Borromeo and D. Juan Oquendo were the Cabeza Actual then.
1882 - Balete suffered an epidemic which caused the lives of some 144 souls.
1884 - Maura Law. Governadorcillo was replaced by the title, Capitan Municipal with the cura parocco still being the appointing authority.
1888 - Balete had total land area of 15,525 hectares. It produced 200 cavans of rice per cropping.
1889 - Capitan Municipal was changed into Presidente Municipal and was now elected by the landed few-the principalia in a pueblo.
1891 - The Diocese of Jaro was established.
1893 - The Barrios of Balete were as follows:
a. Sidman - D. Jose Feliciano, Teniente
b. Pulajan - D. Pascual Lumio, Teniente
c. Matanat - D. Pio Casong, Teniente
d. Rivera - D. Mariano Perez, Teniente
e. Bulun-agan - ....
f. Tigbao - ...

(Elecciones de Gobernadorcillos de Capiz narrated that there were eleven barrios then, the other names were lost, sadly)

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