HISTORY of the TOWN of SAN JOSE
HISTORY OF SAN JOSE
By Rudy Candelario
The history of San Jose had started even before the Spaniards arrived in the Philippines. The inhabitants of the two old barrios of this town, Iling and Mangarin were already trading with the Chinese merchants as early as the 14th century. This is proved by the various kinds of jars, figurines and artifacts of the Yuan or Ming dynasty excavated and found in different sitios and in a cave in the middle of Iling Island. It can be added that one other proof is that two places in the southern part of San Jose are of Chinese names: Kuomintang which is near the sitio of Cusol, Brgy. Mapaya; and Mandarin which is now Brgy. Mangarin.
An old Spanish document of 1572 stated that an expedition composed of fifteen boats loaded with Filipino and Spanish warriors led by Captain Juan de Salcedo reached the Island of Iling or Elem. The people, according to the record, were quiet and kind and believed to belong to the Ratagnon tribe.
In the early months of the 17th century, several Chinese records mentioned one special kind of tree (brazil-wood) which was a source of dye for cloths. This and other things which attracted the Chinese to go to Iling were exchanged for the Chinese jars, utensils and figurines.
Also mentioned in an old Spanish document was that in 1666, a group of Jesuit priests baptized some people in Iling. In 1683, Mangarin became the center of religious activities when the Order of Augustinian Recollects established a parish there.
The old settlements of Iling and Mangarin were then very slow in progress because of the frequent Moro attacks. The results of the Mindoro census of 1749 showed that two hundred eighty five people only lived in Mangarin and its sitios.
In a report of Mindoro Provincial Governor Francisco Fernandez in 1871, mention was made that he visited the Island of Iling and discovered that there were only four houses there. The people even left their houses because when they saw the boat of the governor approaching, they ran to the mountains. They thought that the Moro pirates had come.
In 1765, the Order of Augustinian Recollects left Mindoro because of the lack of missionaries, difficulty of the work and the fear of Moro attacks. The people of Iling and Mangarin then sent a petition to the Spanish government to send them a priest and some weapons, that they may be able to defend themselves against the pirates. It was possible that their petition was granted because in 1829, an old document of the Spaniards recorded that Iling had already two cannons and Mangarin had one and another weapon used to hurl stones.
An old map of the Island of Mindoro in 1800 clearly indicated where to find the locations of Iling and Mangarin. This clearly proved that it was only in these two places where the people had settled.
In 1804, the governor of Mindoro, Nicolas de Torres together with Fr. Fabian Macapagal, went to Mangarin and convinced the twenty three Mangyan families who lived separately from the Christians, to transfer to the lowlands within the barrio. The following year, Governor Torres returned and persuaded the Mangyans of Mangarin and Iling to join his soldiers to search for the Moro pirates. One hundred sixty (160) Mangyan armed with arrows, then joined the governor’s soldiers. They went to Sta. Cruz and in the river there, found the pirates. In a bloody encounter, they eventually defeated the Moros.
During those times, aside from the Moro pirates, there were also groups of bandits molesting and killing people in different places in Mindoro, including Mangarin. One of these groups was that led by Agustin Tilano. It took many years of searching by a Spanish captain and his Filipino soldiers before they were able to find and kill Agustin Tilano.
According to a census conducted by the Spanish government in 1829, Mangarin had a population of one hundred seventy five, while Iling had three hundred fifty.
On January 12, 1843 four boatloads of Moro pirates invaded Mangarin. Nevertheless, with their four cannons provided by the government, the people of Mangarin fought with all courage and might. When the pirates saw that two of them were killed, they retreated back to sea.
The Augustinian Recollect missionaries returned to Mindoro on August 23, 1843 and assigned one priest in Mangarin. On February 12, 1844 Fr. Pedro Soto de San Juan Bautista arrived. He urged the people to construct a fort. When the fort was finished, a guard was assigned there to watch day and night and announce if some pirates were sighted. The remains and ruins of that old fort could still be seen today in the old barrio site of Mangarin.
In 1850, Fr. Pablo Bienzobas de San Antonio de Padua was assigned as parish priest of Mangarin. With the help of the people, he built a stronghold near the river of Palanghiran, particularly on the spot that at that time was called Kuomintang by the residents of Mangarin. Up to the present, the remnants of that structure and the place where it used to stand are now a part of Brgy. Mapaya.
Mangarin was a busy port for merchant ships by 1860. Even General Emilio Aguinaldo who at that time was but a young merchant, came to trade in Mangarin. Beforehand, his large sailboat named San Bartolome, loaded with such merchandise as salt and bolos made in Kawit, would sail from Cavite to Mindoro and sold his goods to the people of Mangarin. In return, he would buy cattle and carabaos, nigeng pandampol (used for dyeing fishnets), rattan and diliman (a vine like product used in tying together the bamboo pieces of the fish trap and pagkit that is used to light the images of saints in the towns.
In May of 1866, Fr. Valentin Diaz delos Sagrados Corazones de Jesus y Maria was assigned in Mangarin. After seeing the situation of the settlement and knowing the problem of the people, he, together with the people requested the Spanish government for permission to transfer Mangarin to a better site because it was between two rivers that often flooded their place. Their request was granted by the government, hence, Mangarin was relocated on the site where it is at present.
In 1886, the Order of the Augustinian Recollects asked the government that the vast tract of land between Mangarin and Iriron be entrusted to their management. This area was composed of twenty three thousand, two hundred sixty six (23,266) hectares. They then named this La Hacienda or Hacienda de San Jose. Migrants from Luzon and the Visayas began to settle here and the settlements of Bubog and San Agustin came about.
When the Filipinos rose in arms in a revolution against the Spaniards in the Philippines in 1898, all Spanish priests in Mindoro, including Bernardino Vasquez del Rosario who was assigned in Mangarin; Father Crisanto Azpilcueta dela Santisima Trinidad who was assigned in San Jose but lived in Bubog; and Fr. Isidro Sanz de San Jose, the spiritual caretaker of the workers in the ranch of the friars in Magarang, were arrested by the revolutionaries from Sablayan and Calintaan. They were affiliated with the group led by Captain Mariano Abeleda and Captain Agustin Liboro. The priests were imprisoned in Taysan, Batangas and were released only in 1900.
II – DURING THE AMERICAN REGIME
In the later part of 1901, after the Americans had conquered Eastern Mindoro, they proceeded to invade Western Mindoro where they burned Mangarin and placed all settlements in this part of Mindoro under their control.
The Filipinos under the Americans by 1904, had to abide by a new land regulation imposed on them. The La Hacienda de San Jose was bought by the Spanish government from the Archdiocese of Manila and called it the San Jose Estate. After the ownership of this land was transferred to the Americans, a group of capitalists organized the Mindoro Development Company. They bought a portion of San Jose Estate and made it a sugarcane plantation. They constructed an irrigation system with Busuanga River as the source of water. They then built a sugar mill and a railroad track that ran between the sugar central and Caminawit. They purchased trains that transported workers and supplies from their wharf in Caminawit to Central.
Near the wharf at Caminawit, the company built a canteen and storehouse for sugar. Sugar was shipped out whenever the ships anchored at the wharf. To facilitate matters, the company expanded the railroads, reaching plantations where sugarcane had to be loaded and brought to the sugar mill in Central. Aside from the trains, the company also owned trolleys for the transportation of employees from Central to Caminawit. .
When the Mindoro Development Company which was later on renamed Mindoro Sugar Company or Philippine Milling Company was established, many seasonal workers known as sacadas, from different places came to Mindoro to work in the haciendas. The areas planted to sugarcane by that time were what is now Adela, San Pedro, Sto. Niño, Pitogo and Aguas in the town of Rizal. In the south, the plantations were in such places now as San Agustin, Bubog, Bagong Sikat and San Isidro in the town of San Jose. Added to these, there were landowners who were sugarcane producers. They supplied the sugar mill with sugarcane; hence, the railroads had to be extended to reach these places, such as: what is now Murtha, Magbay, La Curva and Mabini. That time, Central, the center of the company was the most progressive barrio in San Jose.
Meanwhile, as written in a book authored by Professor Macario Landicho, when San Jose was still only a presidencia, Agustin Quijano was designated president. The presidencia or government building that was located in Mangarin during the Spanish times, was transferred to Sta. Teresa. This happened in 1908 during the American occupation. The following year, the presidencia was transferred to Caminawit.
According to some elderly, at the time when the government under the Americans was still not yet fully organized, Narciso Salazar was appointed president of San Jose. He was one of the acknowledged leaders of a group of migrants from Antique who settled in Brgy. Caguray during the last years of the Spanish times.
In 1910, Pandurucan which was only a sitio was made the seat of the municipal government. (Pandurucan is a Mangyan word that means a place where felled trees including their stumps are gathered and piled up prior to their burning as in a kaingin.) Don German Ramirez was designated as the first alcalde of San Jose under the Americans. One memorable achievement of the alcalde was the preservation and maintenance of peace and order. He however found so much difficulty in improving the town because of the lack of sufficient income.
At about this time, the term alcalde was replaced by the term mayor. When Mayor Ramirez term ended in 1919, Juan Abique became tha mayor. Mayor Abique endeavored to establish a primary school in Pandurucan, hence, Grade I and Grade II were opened.
During Mayor Abique’s time, the municipal cemetery was located on the spot where now stand the San Jose Gymnasium, the swimming pool, the tennis court, the office of the Department of Agriculture, the Multi-Purpose Hall and the station of the fire department.
The succeeding mayor of San Jose was Lino Macalalad. During his term, the road between Pandurucan and Caminawit was proposed. He did not succeed in its construction, however, for lack of funds. He transferred the post office from Central to Pandurucan. One big achievement attributed to him was the construction of the municipal building.
In 1929, Maximino Papa was elected for a four year term. His term being over in 1933, he transferred to Sablayan where, again, he became mayor. Sad to say, however, since Mayor Papa had a Japanese friend, he was assassinated by a Filipino guerrilla.
The next mayor of San Jose was Mayor Bonifacio Gomez of Caminawit. His one great concern was helping poor inhabitants. He is well remembered for his dedication to service and for being a hard working mayor.
Mayor Fermin Barretto succeeded Gomez. He lived in Pandurucan and was well loved by the people specially the Visayans who came from the region where he came from. He managed to construct an imposing municipal hall.
San Jose used to be a vast municipality. It encompassed the present towns of Magsaysay and Rizal. Travel was difficult and was to be by boat, horses or by walking. The only barrios with schools were Iling Proper, Caminawit, Sta. Teresa, Caguray and Central. Central was the most developed, it being managed by the Philippine Milling Company. It boasted of its hospital, movie house, chapel, electric plant, swimming pool, bowling house, tennis courts, cockpits and schools. Prior to its transfer to Pandurucan, the Post Office was in Central in 1911 and stayed there for fifteen years. The company, also, had an airstrip where small airplanes were used by high ranking employees in going to and from Manila.
Part of the policy of attraction used by the company was the frequent holding of dances, cockfighting, athletic competitions and film showing. To top them all was the Annual Harvest Festival, which amidst its pomp, visitors from Negros and Iloilo enjoyed. It was observed that more and more sacadas flocked to Central. They worked as sugarcane planters and, later on, cutters.
It was noted that the trains used by the company to transport people, sugarcane, sugar and others, were ran by carbon. The means of passenger transportation was called diesel. It was probably because, by some later time, diesel was already used to run the engine. On the other hand, it was the kalamazoo that was used by the high officials of the company like the manager. Unlike the diesel, this was smaller but quite fast. If the officials or visitors did not exceed four, it was the booda that was used. This was the fastest means of transportation then, although it was topless.
From various different places in San Jose, horses, carabaos and cows were used to transport products to Central. On land, when one had nothing heavy to carry, people traveled by foot. They used small boats when traveling by sea. Usually they landed at San Agustin and traveled by land to Central.
A very significant event took place in 1934 because of the visit in Central of Bishop William Finnemann, SVD, DD then the Auxiliary Bishop of Manila. He was warmly received by the more than seven thousand laborers of the company. Within three days, His Excellency, together with Father Roos and Fr. Beck, busied himself by celebrating holy masses, hearing confessions and administering the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Malaria, the scourge of the migrants from other places, were in most cases the reason why many sacadas left Central and found new homes along the coast of San Jose. Here, they either worked as fishermen, farmers or loggers. Railroad ties (traviesa) were a good source of income, specially by concessionaires like Pedro Cuden, Isabelo Abeleda and Vivencio Ronquillo. These businessmen had their logging concessions in the island of Iling.
Those laborers who suffered from malaria in Central and who, with their families found new homes near the shores, constituted largely the population of the sitios of Bubog, Caminawit, Labangan Iling, Ambulong, Adela and Sta. Teresa.
On December 7, 1941 Japanese planes bombed the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The United States immediately declared war against Japan and the Philippines being a U.S. colony was involved. The horror of World War II had started. Barely three months after Pearl Harbor, on April 16, 1942 Japanese soldiers landed in Caminawit and San Agustin. They imprisoned the Filipinos whom they suspected as guerrillas or those whom collaborators or makapilis pointed. They made the Caminawit Elementary School their garrison. They converted Siete Central Farm School not only as their second garrison but also a prison.
The Philippine Milling Company was ordered to stop operation in April 1942, so much so that all the people of Central, employees and laborers alike, were rendered helpless and jobless. Life for them and for all people in San Jose for that matter became miserable and under constant fear. All houses in Pandurucan were set on fire. It is a mystery up to now that the Japanese did not burn the two room schoolhouse and the beautiful municipal hall.
Mayor Fermin Barretto were among those whom the Japanese imprisoned in Central. He was maltreated and forced to reveal the whereabouts of his four sons and other guerrillas he knew. Despite the threat and the torture, he remained steadfast in his silence and not betraying his sons’ and his countrymen’s cause. This being so, Mayor Barretto and his fellow prisoners whom the collaborators and makapilis had betrayed, were herded towards the bank of the Busuanga River and ordered to dig a large grave, ordered to stand beside that hole and were all shot to death. This was on the fateful day of April 29, 1942.
Later on, the Japanese assigned as temporary mayors Celso Lobregat, the manager of the Philippine Milling Company. His assistant manager was Cecilio Jimenez. Both served for only a few months and former Mayor Bonifacio Gomez was designated mayor. He had the very difficult task of governing because he was caught between the will of the Japanese and the suspicion of the guerrillas in the mountains.
It being wartime and even before the coming of the Japanese in San Jose, several guerrilla groups were already organized. Three of the guerrilla organizations were led by Flaviano Ramirez of Pandurucan, Vincent Fortune of Bubog and Lawrence Cooper of Central. When Fortune was assassinated, Jose Garcia of Caguray took over and continued their cause in Oriental Mindoro. All three groups had their camps in the hills and mountains.
Of the three groups, it was Fortune’s guerrillas who were aggressive in the fight against the enemies. It was the Fortune guerrillas who attacked the Japanese garrison in Caminawit and they also tried to ambush a supply train plying its route from Caminawit to Central. However, not much had been said about those two sorties. It was said that they sank a Japanese motorboat in the Caguray River. This boat was supposed to load some vegetables from the hacienda of Yutivo & Sons Corporation in the place now called Sitio Toong of Magsaysay. This ambush killed the machinist of the boat and blinded one eye of his companion – a certain officer named Captain Kimar.
In retaliation, the Japanese soldiers in Caminawit rushed to Caguray and burned all the houses there. Then, they proceeded to Pandurucan and burned all the houses.
It is sad to note that while all three guerrilla organizations were one in their goal, they were jealous of each other, if not having some misunderstanding among themselves. As a result, Captain Vincent Fortune was treacherously shot while bathing in a river near Sitio Nalwak which is now under Brgy. Purnaga, Magsaysay. August 15, 1943 marked the end of the courageous guerrilla leader, Captain Vincent Fortune.
IV – AFTER WORLD WAR II
Liberation Day came on December 15, 1944. The long awaited Allied Armed Forces under Brigadier General William C. Dunckel landed in San Jose from Leyte. There were about one hundred twenty (120) warships involved. Along the shores of Caminawit, Pandurucan, Bubog and San Agustin were lined the landing crafts or LSTs. All other warships anchored nearby, while the large aircraft carriers loomed in the distance. Before the actual landing of men and supplies, the bombardment took place. The warships directed their guns towards Caminawit, Pandurucan, Bubog and San Agustin and started strafing these places to kill the Japanese. The Japanese garrison which was the Caminawit Elementary School was demolished almost entirely. The San Jose Municipal Hall and the primary school in Pandurucan were also demolished. The Japanese soldier numbering about two hundred (200), including those in Central, ran for their lives in the mountains, only to surrender or be captured later on. Only two of them were killed in Caminawit.
In the almost eight month stay of the Allied Forces in San Jose, they constructed many roads and bridges. The longest road they built was between Caminawit and Central. Next to this was the road leading to Murtha. Pandurucan was crisscrossed with roads that was never there before. The airbases built in San Jose served as the launching area of warplanes that bombed Iwo Jima and Okinawa, Japan. There had been a time that the men of the Allied Forces in San Jose numbered about seventy five thousand (75,000). What constituted this big number of men were those of the marines, navy, infantry, army, air force and health care.
At this time that the Americans were in San Jose, the local government which totally died during the American occupation was restored and was temporarily aided by the Philippine Civilian Affairs Unit of PCAU. There was a time when this unit was chaired by the late Sgt. Reynaldo Curva.
Meantime that the Philippines was not yet entirely liberated, the Americans designated some temporary mayors in San Jose in the persons of former Mayors Bonifacio Gomez, Isabelo Abeleda and Pedro Cuden, Sr.
The Allied Armed Forces put up a supply base and airstrips in San Jose. Two small airfields were constructed for light planes at Sitio Sta. Fe of Brgy. Central and Little Baguio on a plateau southeast of Lower Mangyan or Canwaling which is now Brgy. San Isidro.
The present San Jose Airport, a little north of San Roque, used to be the McGuire Airstrip which was primarily the base for four engine heavy bombers or B-24’s. The airbase for the two engine bombers was built near Upper Mangyan, now Brgy. Murtha, while that of the fast pursuits like the P-51’s and P-47’s was the strip between Sta. Monica and El Progresso.
The Japanese air raids early in the liberation of San Jose caused very little damage to the Allied Forces. The construction of airports, roads and bridges and other infrastructures continued unhampered. Military camps with tents and quonset huts for shelter filled San Jose – from Caminawit, Pandurucan, Magbay, Murtha, La Curva, San Roque, Bagong Sikat, Bubog, San Isidro, Central and San Agustin. These places nurtured the seventy five thousand (75,000) servicemen of the Allies.
As a significant help in the complete liberation of Occidental Mindoro and other provinces still under the Japanese, the guerrillas led by Captain Lawrence Cooper were formally trained for combat by Captain Chiongco, one of the officers of the Allied Forces. The Cooper guerrillas became the "A" Company of the Romblon Special
Liberation Forces. They joined in the liberation of Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro; Coron, Palawan; and the islands of Sibuyan and Tablas in Romblon. Unfortunately, on March 23, 1945 Capt. Cooper was killed when he tried to save his men from a Japanese grenade. This was in a bloody encounter near Sitio Cogon and Sawang, Romblon.
In the middle of 1945, a group of educators led by Gabriel Fabella, Sr., Felix Gabriel and Federico Castillo founded a high school at Central. They named it the Southern Mindoro Academy (SMA), the first high school in Western Mindoro. World War II being over, the Allied Forces left San Jose and the founders of SMA bought a lot and a large quonset building in Pandurucan. The new high school was then transferred. Students delayed by the war and new elementary graduates had their chance to acquire secondary education without going to Manila or elsewhere.
Before the Allied Forces eventually departed from San Jose, they sold their buildings, machineries and other materials. The several quonset huts, sold or donated, were afterwards used as chapel, municipal building, schoolhouses, hotel and residences. An electric generator was donated to the municipality of San Jose.
San Jose progressed rapidly since Liberation Day specially because farm families flocked to this town from various provinces. Ilocano families with their carabaos, carts and farm implements came for good. The Visayans from Panay, Negros and Iloilo arrived in droves too. They applied for homesteads. In addition, they petitioned the government to award to them the lands abandoned by Sebastian Dylo, and Yu Kee Tay which is now Magsaysay and Hacienda Waterous in Brgy. Mapaya. Not long after, in granting the petitions of various farmer groups’ desire to own land they could call their own, and in keeping with the land for the landless program of the government, said lands were purchased by the government and subsequently allotted to the settlers.
In 1946, in the very first election held after the war, Isabelo Abeleda, Sr. was elected as the mayor of San Jose. One of his accomplishments was the improvement of the pier at Caminawit and the municipal plaza. He also helped the migrants in their problems regarding lands to own and attracted more settlers. His term lasted up to 1951.
As regards the propagation of the Catholic religion, the church leaders decided to divide into two the vast territory within the scope of the San Jose-Central Parish – in the north, the Parish of San Jose-Central; and in the south, the San Jose-Pandurucan. This was in 1950 and the first parish priest of San Jose-Pandurucan was the German missionary, Fr. Carlos Brendel, SVD.
The Philippine Milling Company reopened its sugar central in 1950. The new managers were Francisco Gomez and Hector Torres. In order to have ample capital to finance the operation, the two acquired a loan from the Philippine National Bank. Nevertheless, the hacienda planted to sugarcane was no longer as wide as before. The holding of parties and expensive fiestas were regulated. What continued was the hiring of sacadas from Palawan and Panay during harvest season.
V – AFTER THE CREATION OF THE PROVINCE OF OCCIDENTAL MINDORO
On June 13, 1950 President Elpidio Quirino signed the bill that divided Mindoro into two provinces – Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro. Thereafter, the headquarters of the Philippine Constabulary (PC) was allocated a seven hectare lot near the shore of Brgy. San Roque. Major Olegario de Joya was the first commander of the PC in San Jose.
In the election of 1950, a citizen of San Jose, Federico Castillo, emerged winner for the governorship of Occidental Mindoro. In the first months of his term, San Jose was the temporary capital of the province. After a few months or in January 1951, due to its strategic location, Mamburao was chosen capital of Occidental Mindoro.
The erstwhile McGuire Airstrip was made into the San Jose Airport. The national government renovated it and was inaugurated by President Quirino in 1951.
Another high school in San Jose was opened by Fr. Carlos Brendel, SVD in July 1951. Named St. Joseph School, its mission was the teaching of Christian education, good moral conduct and the giving of a high level education to the students.
1951 also was the year when Bibiano Gaudiano Gaudiel was elected mayor of San Jose. Mayor Gaudiel was subsequently chosen president of the Mayors’ League of Occidental Mindoro. Unfortunately, however, hardly had he served for five months when he died of heart failure. His vice mayor, Ricardo Pascasio, Sr., succeeded and within the two years of his term, the health welfare of the people had been his primary concern.
The Salt Industry of the Philippines or Salt Phil. Inc. was established on April 27, 1955. It rented the eight hundred hectares land of the Philippine Milling Company. It was situated between Bubog and San Agustin. Aside from refined salt, Salt Phil. also produced milkfishes and prawns. It built a factory for industrial vacuum pan salt. By 1958, Salt Phil. had produced and exported to Manila nineteen thousand (19,000) metric tons of refined salt.
A market building was built in the early part of 1956. After two years of its existence, it was gutted by fire. Meantime, the market vendors used the papag temporarily to sell their goods.
The third high school in San Jose was founded by Fr. Tomas Pacano, SVD and he named it Holy Family Academy (HFA). This is a Catholic school in Central. Students in Central and nearby barrios had an opportunity to study here. Unlike the Southern Mindoro Academy and the St. Joseph School, the HFA still exists and continue giving secondary education in Central.
Dr. Felix Gabriel became mayor in 1959. During his term, the streets in San Jose were given their names, lifted from the names of heroes and national & local prominent officials. He finished the municipal hall and transferred there all the government offices formerly lodged in the quonset municipal building. A new market building was one of his projects.
In 1960, the SVD bought the Southern Mindoro Academy. After a year, it was renamed Divine Word College which offered complete elementary, high school and different courses in college. Its high school department was exclusively for boys while St. Joseph School was exclusively for girls.
The Philippine Milling Company continued to be a losing proposition, and its managers could not pay their loan with the Philippine National Bank (PNB). So in 1960, the company was foreclosed by the PNB. Alfredo Gaborro, Jr., who was a sugarcane plantation owner in Murtha was designated by the bank as its new manager.
A new and impressive church was constructed by the successor of Fr. Brendel as parish priest of San Jose, Fr. George Koschinski, SVD. Before this, the chapel of San Jose was a quonset hut of the Allied Forces vintage. The new parish church was built with the help of German and Filipino Catholics. It was blessed by the vicar apostolic of Mindoro, Bishop William Duschak, SVD, DD on September 30, 1962.
In 1964, Tirso Abeleda was elected mayor of San Jose. He transferred the cemetery to the southwestern part of Brgy. San Roque. He also transferred some people who lived near the old cemetery. They were relocated somewhere in what is now Brgy. Pag-asa. He constructed a basketball court where basketball leagues were held and occasionally served as a venue for town affairs such as the coronation of queens and princesses.
When Pedro Medalla, Sr. was elected congressman of Occidental Mindoro in 1965, one of his projects in San Jose was the construction of the concrete Pandurucan bridge. The bridge made possible the smooth and fast flow of traffic between Pandurucan and the places in the north.
Meanwhile, Alfredo Gaborro, Jr. failed to save the Philippine Milling Company, so much so that in 1966, the National Investment Development Corporation (NIDC) took over. Jose dela Cruz was assigned as the new manager and the planting of sugarcane was renewed although at a smaller scale. A portion of the hacienda was rented out to farmers who paid their dues to the NIDC.
With the proliferation of barrio high schools in the Philippines in 1966, the Parents Teachers Association in Pandurucan (Poblacion) petitioned the government to establish a public high school at the town’s center. This being so, a building owned by the San Jose Pilot School was used. Remedios Cacho was its first officer in charge.
That same year, by virtue of Resolution No. 23 passed by the municipal council and approved by Mayor Tirso Abeleda, the new public high school was named San Jose Municipal High School Its interim principal was Bernabe Macarig, Sr.
Also in 1966, the NIDC stopped the planting of sugarcane. The hacienda of sugarcane was converted into ricefields. NIDC purchased agricultural machineries and also built a hospital for the workers in Central.
In a hotly contested election in 1967, Juan Santos, Sr., emerged victorious as the new mayor. His first achievement among others was the improvement and concreting of roads within the town.
As fate would have it, the public market building put up during Mayor Gabriel’s time was razed to ashes. As a temporary measure, an agreement was arrived into by Mayor Santos and the market vendors association that the latter will each construct their market stalls and their expenses will be shouldered by the local government by their not paying market fees.
In 1969, through the initiative of Congressman Pedro Medalla, Sr., two new municipalities were created in localities formerly owned by San Jose. These two towns were Magsaysay and Rizal – the former was created by Republic Act No. 5459 and the latter by Republic Act No. 5460. Both were established as independent municipalities on April 3, 1969. Because of the separation of these two localities, the former land area of San Jose which was 98,785 hectares was reduced to 44,870 hectares. San Jose lost more than one half of its land area. However, its population of 44,761 increased in the year 1970 by 24% compared to its population in 1960.
In the same year (1969), by virtue of Republic Act No. 6568, sponsored by Congressman Medalla, San Jose Municipal High School was converted into the San Jose National High School. At the same time, a new college was founded – the San Jose Community College – through the coordinated efforts of Teofilo Lacibar, Sr., Bernabe Macaraig, Sr., Gaudioso delos Santos, Sr., and Sergio Manongol I. The new college was to offer a Midwifery course aside from a few other courses.
Congressman Medalla planned that offices under the national government in Pandurucan should be transferred to Brgy. Murtha. Buildings were constructed in this regard, such as those of the District Hospital, Bureau of Lands and Bureau of Plant Industry. In this connection, since Mindoro was to host the athletic competition sponsored by the Southern Tagalog Athletic Competition (STAA) in 1970, Congressman Medalla constructed a grandstand in Murtha. Except for the District Hospital, the two bureaus did not stay long in Murtha and returned to Pandurucan.
Late in 1960, an altruistic organization, the World Vision International started to hold office in San Jose. It helped poor people in the islands of Iling and Ambulong. They also financed livelihood projects and gave financial capital to some islanders. However, despite its good performance in the management of projects, the World Vision International saw it fit to transfer to some other places in 1970.
Meanwhile, the teachers and parents in Iling and Ambulong felt the pressing need for a high school in Iling Proper. As a result, a barrio high school was established there in 1970, giving a chance to the elementary graduates of both islands to acquire a secondary education without having to go to other places.
In the same year, the DZYM, a radio station owned by the Philippine Radio Corporation was opened in Caminawit. After several years, its transmitter and broadcast studio were transferred to Brgy. Pag-asa.
Then, too, in the year 1970, two companies owned by Japanese businessmen joined a group of investors which established a sugar factory in Calinog, Lambunao, Iloilo. They bought the old machineries and other equipment of the Philippine Milling Company. These and the iron rails that formerly were the railroad tracts were brought to the new sugar mill in Iloilo.
Another institution was founded in 1971. This was the San Jose National Agricultural and Industrial School (SJNAIS). This agricultural school is government owned and located in Murtha. Students whose inclination is agriculture and other industrial courses enroll here. They may also acquire expertise in scientific ways of taking care of animals and plants.
1971 also was the year when the Salt Industry of the Philippines stopped operation. Instead, Filipinas Aquaculture, Inc. or Aqua-Phil., its new owner, invested in the production of prawns and a prawn nursery.
When Martial Law was declared in 1972, Mayor Santos was still in power and managed to continue the cementing of roads and beautification of the municipal plaza.
The NIDC management decided to stop operation sometime in 1972. Their ricefields were laid idle in what formerly were sugarcane fields of Central. They hired guards to watch the abandoned fields and other property of NIDC. Despite this, farmers started to enter and till the fields. Later on, several farmer groups petitioned the government to apportion the lands to them. After a long negotiation and after, at times, bloody encounter among rival farmers themselves, the land was finally apportioned to the petitioners.
The military rule was hardly felt in San Jose, it being a peaceful town and of peace loving people. An electric cooperative was organized to light Occidental Mindoro. The National Electric Administration or NEA located its power plant in Sitio Pulang Lupa, Central. The new cooperative was and still is, the Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative or OMECO.
Through the request of Mayor Santos, Retired Col. Zoilo Perez established the San Jose Water District (SJWD). Funded by a loan with the government and largely through its manager, Col. Perez, the SJWD succeeded in supplying potable and healthful water to the households of San Jose.
In the election of 1980, Ernesto Jaravata succeeded Mayor Santos. Mayor Jaravata’s term was characterized by his helping students to take up midwifery and agriculture. He also constructed one more building of the public market.
St. Joseph School which was founded and headed by its director Fr. Carlos Brendel and was transferred to the management of the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSpS) in 1960 was closed. Many parents and alumni lamented this sad ending of a school that had established a good reputation and had given quality education to its students.
With the advice and guidance of the Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD), the Senior Citizens Association of San Jose was organized by the former Vice Governor Felix Gabriel in April, 1982. After two months, he established the National Federation of Senior Citizens Associations in Manila. He was outright elected as its president. The federation agitated for a legislation benefiting the old citizens of the entire Philippines; and Congress heeding the need, passed a law that now gives due importance, help and benefits to the senior citizens.
In 1982, Congressman Pedro Mendiola, Sr. and Mayor Ernesto Jaravata persuaded Col. Perez of the San Jose Water District to also manage the OMECO. Agreeing, the retired colonel improved the servicing of electricity in San Jose and other towns. He likewise stabilized the financial status of the electric cooperative.
On Januray 27, 1983 the late Pope John Paul II approved the division of the island of Mindoro into two vicariates – the Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan covering all the towns in Occidental Mindoro and the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose which is composed of the twelve parishes in the eleven towns of Occidental Mindoro. The spiritual welfare of the Catholics in Oriental Mindoro remained under the governance of Bishop Simeon Valerio, SVD, DD but that of Occidental Mindoro was entrusted to Bishop Vicente Manuel, SVD, DD. Bishop Manuel was officially installed on July 1, 1983 in a ceremony officiated by the representative of the pope in the Philippines, Archbishop Bruno Torpiglianni, DD. From that time, the parish church of San Jose was converted into a cathedral.
By virtue of Republic Act No. 531, sponsored by Congressman Pedro Mendiola, Sr., the San Jose National High School was elevated to a step higher and made into the present Occidental Mindoro National College or OMNC on June 24, 1988. Part of the services of the OMNC is to bring to the barrios the same education it renders in the town. In pursuance, the Damayan Center in Brgy. San Isidro was opened the following year and started providing high school students learning in agriculture.
VII – AFTER THE EDSA I REVOLUTION
After the bloodless EDSA Revolution in 1986, Alvin Arevalo was appointed Officer in Charge (OIC) of San Jose by President Corazon Aquino. Mayor Arevalo’s achievement among others was the concreting of roads within the town and the construction of two buildings of the public market. He proposed to the municipal council to give the right of catching bangus fries at the mouths of rivers in San Jose to cooperative for that purpose but his proposal was disapproved.
When another election was held in 1987, Mayor Santos was voted back to office. It was during this time that Peter Medalla, Jr., was appointed governor. With funds coming from the national government, Governor Medalla ordered the concreting of the road linking Pandurucan and Caminawit and improved & built a concrete pier at Caminawit.
That same year, 1987, the New People’s Army (NPA) became more aggressive in their struggle against the government. Some NPAs raided the police station of Abra de Ilog, Sablayan and Calintaan. From then on, the number of soldiers of the Philippine Constabulary in San Jose was increased. When the reinforcements arrived, they were sent to various places in the province to preempt the spread of the NPAs. There were bloody encounters between the military and the rebels. One instance was the four hour fight in Brgy. Murtha, where several casualties were inflicted on the rebel’s side. One of the major casualties on the government side was the death of Captain Antonio Alinarte, the commanding officer of the Regional Special Action Force or RSAF.
Because of the disorder created by the encounter by the government forces and the NPAs in Quezon and other provinces, many families from these places decided to migrate to San Jose. They built their houses near the shores of Bubog and Ambulong.
On March 7, 1988, the building of the St. Joseph College Seminary in Labangan Poblacion was blessed and inaugurated by His Excellency Bruno Torpiglianni, DD the representative of Pope John Paul II in the Philippines. The seminary was founded by Bishop Manuel during his second year as head of the church in Occidental Mindoro.
Two powerful typhoons, Unsang and Yoling, one after the other devastated hundreds of hectares of rice in San Jose, in November, 1988. Aside from this damage, the town of San Jose was flooded causing destruction to many houses in Riverside, Brgy. 4, Poblacion. To give shelter to the victims of the typhoons, the Department of Social Welfare and Development built small houses in Brgy. Bagong Sikat.
In 1989, due to the conversion of the public high school in the center of Pandurucan into the Occidental Mindoro National College, Congressman Mario Gene Mendiola founded another school – the Pedro T. Mendiola Sr. Memorial Technical and Vocational School on Bagong Sikat, in memory of the two time representative of Occidental Mindoro, Congressman Pedro T. Mendiola, Sr. The succeeding year, one more high school was founded by Governor Peter Medalla, Jr. and named it the San Jose National High School, also in Bagong Sikat.
In 1990, Bishop Vicente Manuel started to establish a Catholic radio station in San Jose. This radio station became possible because of the Catholic population of San Jose, the country and other countries. The following year, on March 6, 1991 amidst the joyful participation of the whole Christian community or the Pamayanang Kristiyano, Radio Station DZVT was blessed and inaugurated by the Archbishop of Cebu, His Eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, DD. It started broadcasting in Labangan Poblacion.
Sometime in 1992, the public market of San Jose was again burned. Since the local government have not enough funds for the construction of a new building, Mayor Santos permitted the market vendors whose stalls were burned to put up their own respective stalls.
In the election held in 1992, Mayor Santos was reelected and for the first time in the history of Occidental Mindoro, the elected governor was born in San Jose – Governor Josephine Ramirez-Sato. For congressman, Jose T. Villarosa was chosen by the people.
Mayor Santos, meanwhile, continued making improvements in San Jose. One of them was the expanding of the municipal hall. He ordered the concreting of other streets in the poblacion and transferred the slaughterhouse near the market to Brgy. Pag-asa. The provincial government, on the other hand, made the dirt road from San Roque to Bagong Sikat concrete. Also concreted was the highway in Labangan Poblacion, a thoroughfare for vehicles from the poblacion to the neighboring town of Magsaysay and barangays to the northeast.
The former fishpond of the Philippine Milling Company in Sitio Curanta which was used by SaltPhil in the production of salt, and utilized by AquaPhil for nursery of prawns and prawn production, was transformed into milkfish fishpond of the Mindoro Aquatic Resources Corporation or MINARCO. By means of modern technology, MINARCO produced boneless bangus which it exports to Manila and other provinces.
The Island Power Corporation (IPC) came to existence when in 1994 its electric plant was built in Bubog. Now, a large portion of the electricity supplied by OMECO to households and business establishments in Occidental Mindoro came from IPC.
Once again, San Jose reelected Mayor Santos in 1995. He constructed the new building of the public market. The Hall of Justice started to rise in front of the municipal hall at the plaza, but it was discontinued after the people protested.
Mayor Santos has to face a case filed with the Provincial Board. This stemmed from the fact that in 1996, the owner of the land where the municipality has been dumping garbage, sued him. Pending the final resolution of the case, the Provincial Board suspended him for six months. Vice Mayor Dennis Sy took over. President Fidel Ramos, thinking that the suspension of six months was too long, commuted it to three months. When the case was brought to its final resolution, Mayor Santos was absolved by the Provincial Board.
Another improvement in San Jose was the San Jose Gymnasium which was jointly funded by the provincial government and the local government of San Jose. Finished in 1996, the gymnasium is the venue for basketball competitions and other community affairs.
Sometime in the middle of 1997, due to the joint endeavor of the local government and the charitable institution of PLAN International, the new building of the Rural Health Unit was built. The Health Center serves the poor people by rendering medical services and giving advice that these poor people may maintain their health and physical welfare.
In March of 1996, the first ever historical society in the province was organized; the Occidental Mindoro Historical Society or OMHS. It had its inception when Dr. Felix Gabriel, its adviser, Governor Josephine Ramirez-Sato and Gil Manuel decided to call a meeting for the purpose. When it assembled at the Sikatuna Beach Resort, the meeting was so effective that right there the officers were elected. Gil Manuel was chosen president. The provincial board with Governor Ramirez-Sato at the helm, provides the OMHS with initial funds for its functions. One of the several aims of the Society is to write and publish the history of Occidental Mindoro and all its towns and barangays. On August 15, 1997 the OMHS and Philippine Centennial Movement (PCM) of Occidental Mindoro Chapter were temporarily merged in making preparations in line with the centennial celebration of Philippine Independence. The officers of the PCM are also the officers of the OMHS and they were sworn into office by former Vice President Salvador Laurel, chair of the National Centennial Commission. This was held in the San Jose Gymnasium.
In the election held in May, 1998 Mario Gene Mendiola was elected as mayor of San Jose. Among the tangible accomplishments during his term were: with the assistance of the provincial government, the Municipal Hall was renovated and improved. A session hall for the Sangguniang Bayan was added at the back of the building. In addition, the farm to market road from Brgy. San Agustin to Central was improved and the Aroma Beach Resort was beautified.
Gaudencio Espiritu succeeded Mario Gene Mendiola as mayor of San Jose in 2001. Among his visible accomplishments as chief executive of the municipality were the intensification of the cleanliness drive at the center of the town, market and the municipal beach resort; transfer of the slaughterhouse from Brgy. Pag-asa to Brgy. Magbay, improvement of the farm to market road from Brgy. San Agustin to Central and the strict implementation of the municipal ordinance concerning the operation of the market.
In 2004, Romulo Festin was elected as mayor of San Jose. He continued constructing the infrastructure projects started by his predecessors. Since his installation as mayor, he saw to it that the celebration of the fiesta in honor of the patron saint would be joyful and memorable. He is the chief executive of the municipality up to the present time.
HISTORY OF THE THIRTY EIGHT BARANGAYS OF SAN JOSE
The name of the barangay or the island where it is located came from a kind of plant which is similar to a nipa palm. Other old residents insist that the name came from Ang Bulong, two words from the Visayan dialect which mean The Medicine. They called the island by that name for during the early days, a big tree grew here, the leaves of which were used as medicine by the islanders.
The potteries, utensils and figurines dug in some parts of this place show that people already lived here during the period when our ancestors were bartering goods with Chinese traders.
In the history written by Antoon Postma, a Dutch researcher, he mentioned that this island became a part of the Parish of Mangarin which was erected by the Order of the Augustinian Recollects in 1683. This island was one of the places which was visited by the Spanish missionaries who went around West Mindoro during the Spanish regime.
In 1849, Ambulong was mentioned in an article which was published in a magazine in Singapore. It was stated there that warships of the Spanish soldiers visited Iling and Ambulong, annually, for the canals of these two islands were made as hiding places of the vintas of Moro pirates.
In 1901, during the American regime, the government constructed a lighthouse in Ambulong. In 1910, when many families of fishermen from Palawan and Panay settled here, this place was made as a barrio.
It was mentioned in the report to Bishop Alfredo Verzosa of Lipa, by Fr. Julian Duval, the second chaplain of Philippine Milling Company that in 1920, the second week of January, 1920 he visited Ambulong. In the map which he sketched and attached to his report, the priest wrote that twelve houses could be found in Ambulong and ten were in Palag, one of the sitios in the island.
In 1921, the primary school in Ambulong was opened. The youth in this island were given the opportunity to learn how to read and write. After several years, the elementary school was completed and at present extension classes were held in Sitio Minanga and Bulwang.
In 1925, through the cooperative effort of the Catholic faithful, a chapel made of nipa, bamboo and wood was built in Ambulong. It was used for a long time. In 1970, it was repaired, made bigger and stronger by Fr. George Koschinski, SVD.
During the Japanese occupation, although the soldiers rarely visited Ambulong, the inhabitants of this place still hid in the forests of the island. To survive they also ate nami, a kind of rootcrop and yuro the dried juice from the trunk of buri palms.
When peace was restored, the people of Ambulong tried to make their barrio progressive. The Catholic Church helped by organizing a cooperative. A Japanese missionary, Fr. Ryu Ishikawa, SVD requested his benevolent friends abroad to dinate an electric generator and to finance the construction of a potable water in the barangay.
The leaders who served as teniente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Ambulong were Joaquin Pandiño, Melecio Ero, Lino Macalalad, Lucio Encila, Jose Garcia, Sr., Jacinto Erandio, Aulfiano Ero, Demetrio Abos, Sr., Gabriel Ramos, Recto Encarguez and Magie Pacaldo. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Rodelo Abos.
In a map drawn by Fr. Julian Duval in 1920, Sitio Angsiray was indicated and it was written that one house could be found in this place.
When World War II broke out in 1940, a few families who lived in Barrio Caminawit hid in Angsiray due to their great fear of the Japanese soldiers. Since thick forests surrounded the sitio, the Japanese soldiers did not visit this place.
Among the families who hid in Anssiray during the war was the family of Angel Casidsid. He liked this place that after the war he decided to stay here. He applied for a homestead in this sitio. When his relatives and the fishermen from Leyte, Samar, Masbate and Antique came, he let them till portions of the homestead which he could not clear and cultivate. Since Angsiray was a hilly and rocky area, they planted bamboos, coconuts, sineguelas and other fruit bearing trees.
As years passed, the letter "g" was removed from the name of the sitio and it became Ansiray. Since this place was a sitio of Iling Proper, the leaders of the said barrio were the ones who looked after the welfare of the people living here. When Labangan Iling was made a barrio of San Jose, Sitio Ansiray was placed under its jurisdiction.
The children of the inhabitants of Ansiray have to walk almost four kilometers to be able to attend classes at Labangan Iling Elementary School. Seeing the hardships being endured by their children, the parents petitioned the government that an elementary school be opened in their sitio. In 1957, when Ansiray became a barrio of San Jose, a primary school was opened in this place.
The first barrio lieutenant of Ansiray was Armando Malanao. With the cooperation of his barrio mates, he was able to construct a school building made of nipa, bamboos and lumber. Later on, a building made of strong materials was constructed by the government in this barrio.
In 1964, Mr. Delfin Deyta became the leader of the barrio. Through his initiative, a deep well where the barrio folks could draw drinking water was dug. During his term, a concrete chapel was built by Fr. George Koschinski, SVD in Ansiray.
Through the efforts of the next barrio leader, Mr. Victorino Enano, a small concrete pier for motorboats was constructed in this place, in 1968. An additional deep well was dug, a donation of a small electric generator was received from the local government and a day care center and barrio hall were built during his term of office.
Barrio Ansiray was already called a barangay when Mr. Florentino Sampilo became its leader. The title of barrio captain was changed to barangay captain. Among his visible accomplishments were the building of a concrete road in one portion of the barangay and the construction of the chapel of the Salvation Army Ansiray Corps.
In the year 2003, Brgy. Captain Esmeraldo Casidsid was elected. He worked for the concreting of the road going to the artesian well at the southern portion of Ansiray and the construction of a barangay outpost at the small pier for motorboats. Up to the present time, he is still the leader of the barangay.
During the Spanish regime, this place was also a part of La Hacienda de San Jose, the wide agricultural land which was entrusted by the government to the Order of Augustinian Recollects in 1886. However, aside from a few indigenous people, belonging to the tribe of Ratagnons who sometimes cultivated their small patches of kaingin in this area, no other group of people inhabited this place. A river called Tubaon by the Ratagnons passed through this place, thus, the indigenous people called the location of their kaingin by that name.
In 1910, when Mindoro Sugar Company was established, the railroad track which was laid by the American engineers from Central, the main office of the company, to the port of Caminawit, passed through Tubaon. A few families of seasonal workers who worked in the sugar cane plantation settled here.
After ten years, a certain Angel Delano asked the Bureau of Lands to make Tubaon his homestead. He submitted the necessary application papers and complied with the requirements of the bureau. His application was approved. However, Delano did not cultivate his homestead. It remained a forested area.
In 1938, a group of families from Laur, Nueva Ecija decided to settle in Tubaon. It consisted of the families of Panugao, Eugenio, Sagsagat, Bañaga and Baydid. They cleared the forested area and converted it into ricefields and cornfields.
When the group of settlers found out that Tubaon was a homestead of Delano, they requested the Bureau of Lands to cancel the approved application of the said person for he did not cultivate the area. After several months, the request of the group was granted. They immediately applied for ownership of the land.
The first harvest of the farmers in Tubaon was bountiful. It was great news to other group of settlers in the neighboring areas and their system of farming became the topic of conversation in other villages of San Jose. In addition, the children of the families in Tubaon who were studying in the elementary schools of Caminawit and Caguray became famous due to their intelligence. In Tagalog, the equivalent of the word famous is sikat, thus, the new settlers decided to change the name of Sitio Tubaon to Sitio Bagong Sikat.
In 1943, during Japanese occupation, soldiers of the enemy visited Bagong Sikat to ask for food. The residents provided them food for fear that the Japanese soldiers might imprison or punish them.
When peace was restored, relatives and friends of the group of farmers in Bagong Sikat arrived. The population grew. In 1950, it became a barrio of San Jose. Mr. Basilio Bernardo served as its first Teniente del Barrio. He strived that an elementary school be opened in Bagong Sikat and it was realized after two years.
In 1965, when the construction of the highway from Mamburao to San Jose was completed, it passed through Bagong Sikat. The highway greatly contributed to the rapid progress of this barrio for rice traders built rice mills and warehouses here.
In the early part of Decade Nineties, two public schools; the Pedro T. Mendiola Sr. Technological & Polytechnic College and San Jose National High School was opened in Bagong Sikat. The provincial government constructed concrete roads in this barrio, now called as Barangay Bagong Sikat. Additional commercial establishments which were built in this place contributed to its progress.
Aside from Mr. Bernardo, the leaders who served as teniente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Bagong Sikat were Saturnino Torres, Mamerto Castillo, Lazaro Castillo, Silvestre Macabeo, Reynaldo Sagnip, Lee dela Fuente, Felipe Castillo, Gregorio Pille and Julito Lucero. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Antonio Espiritu.
In the map of Iling Island drawn by Fr. Julian Duval in 1920, the location of Sitio Bangkal was indicated. The said map was attached by the missionary priest in his report to Bishop Alfredo Verzosa of the Diocese of Lipa. In that report, Fr. Duval narrated his visits to the different communities of Iling Island on January 9, 1920.
It was also mentioned in the report that only a few children were baptized by Fr. Duval because a year ago, Fr. Javier Sesma who was assigned at the eastern side of Mindoro visited the communities of Iling Island.
During World War II the Japanese soldiers were not able to reach Bangkal, thus, the inhabitants of this place were spared from the cruelty of the enemies.
After the war, other inhabitants of Ambulong Island transferred to Bangkal. They also formed another community at the lower portion of the sitio and they called it as Pagi, the name of a kind of fish which they used to catch within the territorial waters of the place.
The inhabitants of the two sitios of Bangkal and Pagi petitioned the municipal government of San Jose for the opening of an elementary school in their place. In the early part of 1950, the petition was approved by the municipal council. The residents of the two places built a school building made of nipa, lumber and bamboos at Sitio Bangkal. Mr. Ranulfo Frias, the first teacher who was assigned there, lived at Sitio Pagi. He found it hard to traverse the more than one kilometer distance from Sitio Pagi to Sitio Bangkal, specially during rainy season.
Four years before the year 1960, the municipal government of San Jose sent iron sheets, steel bars and cement for the construction of a concrete school building in Bangkal. Mr. Frias, the teacher who was assigned there, convinced the residents of the two sitios that the structure be built at Sitio Pagi. The people were in favor of the idea. The school building was built at Sitio Pagi and it was called Bangkal Elementary School. As a result, when Sitio Pagi became a barrio in 1957, its official name was registered as Bangkal.
After securing the necessary permits from the government, the swamps in Bangkal were converted into fishponds by well-off families who live in other places. As a result, the number of mangrove trees which served as protection of the barrio from big waved was further reduced. In an attempt to restore the environment to its original state, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources sponsored the planting of mangrove seedlings by non-government organizations and residents of the barrio at the shallow portion of the swamp which was not converted into fishponds.
The leaders who served as teniente del barrio, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Bangkal were Bernardino Robles, Feliciano Barrios, Teofilo Serna, Melecio abos, Sr., and Leopoldo Gozar. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Melecio Abos, Jr.
The indigenous people belonging to the Buhid tribe were the first inhabitants of this place during the American regime. According to two Buhid elders, Ama Laureano and Ama Abo, their huts were built at the banks of Busuanga Rivar and Manus Creek, the two sources of irrigation water for the agricultural land of farmers at present. Baltas was the leader of their tribe.
Baltas was a kind and just leader. The people who lived or happened to visit this sitio during that time, when asked where they came from usually answered "from the territory of Baltas."
In 1916 a cholera epidemic broke out. Many indigenous people got sick in this sitio. They called the epidemic balentong, a Buhid term which means "fell down" for this was what happened to every person who got sick of cholera.
The indigenous people believe up to the present time that sickness occur when their gods are angry. To avoid the anger of their gods, when they got sick they leave their huts and transfer to other places. This was what happened to the sitio of Baltas. The indigenous people left the place after the cholera epidemic and transferred to the mountains.
In 1932, a group of forty farmers led by Mr. Manuel Romero decided to settle in the sitio left by the indigenous people. Many got sick of malaria. Some families who feared the dreaded disease left the place. Those who survived malaria remained. They continued clearing the forest and converted it into productive agricultural land.
In the early part of 1940, many families from the Visayan region came and settled in this place. They called this old sitio of the Buhid as Batasan, in memory of Baltas, the leader of the indigenous people. They also selected the name because in the Visayan dialect, the meaning of the word batasan is manners and usually when used to describe a person, it means good manners.
When World War II broke out, the people living in Batasan hid at the sitio of the indigenous people in the mountains. The Japanese soldiers did not reach their hiding place due to the dense forest which separated Batasan from the other barrios of the municipality of San Jose, particularly Upper Mangyan, now called Barangay Murtha.
In 1955, Batasan was made as a barrio of San Jose. Elected as its first leader was Teniente del Barrio Santiago Romero. He requested the municipal government of San Jose to assign a teacher in his barrio in order that somebody would teach the children who were of school age.
Since there was no school building yet when a teacher came to Batasan in 1957, Teniente Del Barrio Romero allowed the use of the rooms in his house as temporary classrooms. It lasted for two years. In 1959, during the term of office of Capitan del Barrio Juan Laquiores, a concrete school building was built by the government in Batasan.
The provincial government constructed the road in this barrio, during the latter part of Decade Sixties when the highway from San Jose to Mamburao passed through this place. Later on, a concrete bridge was built over Busuanga River, the natural boundary between the municipalities of Rizal and San Jose. The said bridge was located at Bato-ili, a sitio of the indigenous people which during that time was still a part of Batasan.
During the term of office of Brgy. Captain Juan Javier, the electrification of Batasan was realized.
Aside from the abovementioned leaders, those who served as capitan del barrio and barangay captains of Batasan were Bienvenido Gernalin, Teodoro Lacibar, Joselito Cruz and Wilfredo Reyes. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain June Palmares.
A few families of indigenous people belonging to the Hanunoo tribe were living in this forested and rolling area during the Spanish occupation of Mindoro. Food was not a problem for wildlife and fishes abound in the forests and creeks of this place.
During the American occupation, families of lowlanders arrived. However, a few of them only bought land or applied for homestead but did not settle here permanently. They were afraid of malaria, the dreaded disease during that time. Two of the well-off individuals who bought land in this place belong to the Dela Roca and Ramirez Family.
Before the outbreak of World War II, a group of families of farmers from the Ilocos Ragion arrived in this place. Among them were the Olarte and Vallejos Family. They cleared the forest and converted it into agricultural land planted with palay, corn and vegetables.
Viand was not a problem to the settlers for small fishes abound in the creeks found in this place. In the Ilocano dialect, the small fishes are called botobot. Their settlement became known as the area where there were plenty of botobot. Later on, the word botobot evolved to bayotbot and it became the name of their settlement.
In 1942, when the Japanese soldiers occupied San Jose, some residents of the municipality hid in Bayotbot which during that time was already a sitio. Like the indigenous people who transferred to the hills of this place, the lowlanders survived during the war by eating nami and other root crops.
After the war, the inhabitants of Bayotbot increased in number. They requested the municipal councilors of San Jose that their sitio be elevated to the status of a barrio. Their request was granted and in 1947, Bayotbot became a barrio of San Jose.
That same year, the government assigned a teacher in this barrio in order that the seven year old children could study in Grade 1, instead of going with their older brothers and sisters who were attending classes at Brgy. Magbay. Through cooperative effort or bayanihan, the parents of the schoolchildren built a schoolhouse. After a few years, the primary school became a complete elementary school.
Life was peaceful for the residents of this place. They did not expect that there would come a time when their barrio would become the center of bloody encounters between government soldiers and a group of rebellious youth whose parents were perceived to be victims of injustices. These regretful incidents happened in 1981
In one encounter, two officers of the Philippine Constabulary (PC), Major Coloma and Captain Marasigan, were killed by Boy Clarin, a sharpshooter and ex-sergeant of the Philippine Marines. The said ex-soldier was killed by the members of the military unit where he was once a respected leader. The tragic event happened after almost a day of fighting at Brgy. Magbay, months after the two PC officers were killed by Clarin.
Despite the abovementioned untoward incidents, the individuals who served as leaders of this community worked for the improvement of their barangay. They beautified the plaza of Bayotbot, constructed the barangay hall and day care center, improved their roads and built the concrete bridge which connected their place to the adjacent barangay of Magbay. They were assisted by the officials of the municipal and provincial government. The Catholic Church also helped them by organizing farmers’ cooperatives.
The leaders who served as teniente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Bayotbot since its creation were Abelardo Olarte, Sr., Herminigildo Obaña, Sr., and Pedro Refugia. The head of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Bituin Manguerra.
A big tree grew at the seashore of this place, during the Spanish times. The said tree served as the signpost of the fishermen who were returning to shore, specially during inclement weather.
The settlers who came from the Visayan region called the tree bubog. It eventually became the name of the coastal area where it grew. Its location, during that time, was about two hundred meters where San Jose Airport is located today.
In an article written by Antoon Postma, a researcher from Holland, it was mentioned that in 1894, Fr. Crisanto Azpilcueta dela Santisima Trinidad, a Spanish missionary who was assigned at El Pueblo de Magarang, a progressive settlement located about two kilometers south of Lumintao River, resided in Bubog.
When Mindoro Sugar Company started its operation in 1911, the seasonal workers at the sugarcane plantation who got sick of malaria, stayed in this place, for they believed that the breeze from the sea helped cure the dreaded disease.
In 1930, a group of farmers from Camiling, Tarlac, led by Pedro Luis came to this place. He was the one who convinced his fellow farmers to make San Isidro Labrador the patron saint of Bubog.
When World War II broke out, twenty two lepers who escaped from Culion, Palawan came to this place. Unfortunately, they were captured by the Japanese soldiers and were shot to death. They were buried inside a big hole in one part of Bubog which is called Purok Sto. Niño at present.
On December 15, 1944 the battleships of the Allied Forces appeared at the southern part of Mindoro Strait, to liberate San Jose from Japanese occupation. A battalion of soldiers landed in Bubog. They cleaned this place and encamped here. Unfortunately, among the trees they felled was the big tree called bubog.
When peace was restored, a great number of families from Antique and Nueva Ecija settled in Bubog. They petitioned the government that this place be made as a barrio of the municipality of San Jose. In 1949, San Jose Mayor Isabelo Abeleda, Sr. approved their petition. Pedro Luis was appointed as the first barrio lieutenant. With the assistance of his barriomates, he converted as schoolhouse the house of an American couple who settled in this barrio, for years.
In 1955, when Salt Industry of the Philippines or SaltPhil was established, a portion of Bubog was converted into saltbeds and fishpond. Many male residents of the barrio were employed as company workers.
In the middle part of 1968, big waves destroyed the chapel of Bubog, including the houses of twenty five families. Gripped by fear, the residents of the barrio asked the administrator of SaltPhil to allow them to build houses on the land owned by the company which is far from the seashore. They were given permission and after ten years the land were given to the occupants.
In 1987, a number of families from Quezon province who avoided the bloody clashes between the government soldiers and rebel groups, transferred to Bubog and settled in the coastal area at the southern end of the barrio.
In 1994, the big power plant of the Island Power Corporation was constructed in Bubog. As years passed, dozens of houses were built near the power plant.
The leaders who served as barrio lieutenant, barrio captain and barangay captain of Bubog were Leoncio Chan, Ernesto Espiritu, Enrique Perez, Sr., Teofilo Tumpalan, Mateo Alorro, Pantaleon Novio, Magno Corpuz and Nemesio Yap. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Aquino Acla, Jr.
The name of the barangay came from buri plants which grew abundantly in this settlement which is presently located at a higher portion of Iling Island. Families from the Visayan region were the first settlers of this place.
Chinese merchants were already bartering goods with the ancestors of the residents of this place, prior to the arrival of the Spaniards in Mindoro. This was proved by the figurines, potteries and other utensils of the Chinese which were excavated from this settlement.
According to the stories of the old folks in the island of Iling, Buri was one of the hiding places of their ancestors, during the time when the communities in the island were attacked by the pirates. The guards who warned the islanders, every time they saw from afar the vintas of the pirates, were stationed here.
The Villaram & Enelda Families from Agutaya, Palawan and Caluya, Antique, respectively, were the first inhabitant of this place during the American occupation of Mindoro. Although they have to walk the one kilometer distance to get drinking water from the eastern part of the island, they decided to stay here due to the productive wide plains atop the hills found in this place. Aside from raising domestic animals they could plant fruit bearing trees and during rainy season, palay and corn.
The inhabitants of Buri increased in number when additional families from other parts of San Jose settled here. Like other settlers in various parts of the island, aside from farming and fishing, cutting of trees which they convert into railroad ties, charcoal and firewood, were the source of livelihood of the people living in the area.
Before the outbreak of World War II, Buri was already a sitio of Iling Proper. Whenever the inhabitants of the sitio have important matters to discuss with the barrio leaders, they have to walk for one half hour. The pupils did this, almost daily, so that they could attend classes at Iling Primary School.
When World War II broke out, although the Japanese soldiers did not go to Buri, the people of the sitio experienced eating rootcrops and yuro, the dried sap from the trunk of buri plants.
Five years after the war, Buri became a barrio of San Jose. Among its sitios were Ipil which is now a barrio and Bunlao, the place where almost all inhabitants of the four barangays at the eastern side of Iling Island get their drinking water.
In 1952, the government opened a primary school in Buri. After several years, the primary school became a complete elementary school.
Through the efforts of the barrio leaders, a concrete mini-pier was constructed by the local government of San Jose in Bunlao, a sitio of Buri. It also installed pipes at the spring in the upper portion of the sitio. The pipes hastened the flow of fresh water from its source. As a result, it became easier for the islander to get drinking water from Bunlao.
In their desire to restore the seacoast of Buri to its original state, the leaders of the barrio now called barangay, formed a group of fishermen who planted and took care of mangrove trees. At present, mangrove trees grow abundantly at the seacoast of Buri, providing shelter to small fishes and other marine lives.
The leaders who served as barrio lieutenants, barrio captains & barangay captains of Buri were Espiridion Asuncion, Generoso Orgercia, Felimaco Orsos, Nicolas Villaram, Clemente Enelda and Recedillo Indap. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Reynaldo Villaram.
The indigenous people belonging to the Hanunoo tribe were the original inhabitants of the wide plains at the eastern part of San Jose. Since there was no title or other proof of ownership over the land they occupied, the Hanunoo just agreed among themselves the area of the kaingin which they would till. As a sort of title, they affix the word kang to the name of the occupant and the kaingin would be identified that way. For example, the name of the occupant is Biswer, his kaingin would be called Kangbiswer, if it is Waling, it would be Kangwaling.
Buray was the name of the Hanunoo whose kaingin is the site of Brgy. Camburay at present. The place was called Kangburay. Later on, the name became Camburay.
In 1910, when the American capitalists established Mindoro Sugar Company which later on became Philippine Milling Company, Camburay became a part of the sugarcane plantation. Aside from the seasonal workers or sacadas from the Visayan region, some of the laborers in the sugarcane plantation were the Hanunoo who lived at Upper Mangyan or Brgy. Murtha at present, and Lower Mangyan, the old name of what is known as Brgy. San Isidro today.
In 1930, the management of Philippine Milling Company reduced the area planted to sugarcane. Camburay was one of those places not planted with sugarcane anymore. As a result, some families of former laborers of the company occupied this place.
Like Murtha which is located nearby, Camburay became a part of the military camp of the Allied Forces which liberated Occidental Mindoro and other parts of the Philippines. The flight and landing of fighter planes at the airfield of Murtha were considered ordinary events by the first settlers of Camburay.
After the war, the inhabitants requested the municipal council of San Jose that Camburay be elevated to the status of a barrio. In 1947, their request was granted. Camburay was registered as the official name of the barrio. That year, Emeterio Personal was elected as the first barrio lieutenant. The said leader opened a primary school in the barrio.
In the latter part of Decade Sixties, a building which served as training center of farmer-leaders was constructed by the Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) atop a hill of Camburay. The FFF used the training center for a few years but when martial law was declared in 1972, the building was abandoned. It was eventually destroyed by termites and the elements of nature.
When Bishop Vicente Manuel, SVD, DD was installed as the vicar apostolic of the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose in 1983, one of the first projects he implemented was the renovation and beautification of the former farmer-leaders training center. When the building was blessed in 1988, it was called San Lorenzo Ruiz Formation Center.
The Catholic Church and PLAN International, an altruistic group, helped the farmers of Camburay in organizing a cooperative. PLAN also helped in sending poor pupils to school and in building the barangay hall.
Aside from the aforementioned first leader, those who served as barrio lieutenant, barrio captain and barangay captain of Camburay were Clemente Supetran, Mario Santos, Mario Cruz, Benigno Sorel, Norma Cariazo and Abelardo Zapanta, Jr. The leader of this community at present is Brgy. Captain Ernesto Juan.
Although Caminawit was not mentioned in historical records during the Spanish regime, it was a part of the pier in Mangarin which was already well known to Muslim and Chinese traders who bartered goods with our ancestors, since the 10th century.
The late Juan Zubiri, an old resident of this community, mentioned that the big sailboat or batel of Gen. Amilio Aguinaldo, loaded with merchandise from Cavite used to drop anchor near the wooden wharf built in this place, in 1890. That year, the said general was just a young merchant.
Caminawit which during that time was also called Mangarin, became known during the American occupation of Mindoro. A lighthouse was built here by the government. Together with Iling Proper, Central and Sta. Teresa, the American government opened an elementary school in this place. Old folks still remember that this community became the presidencia or center of the municipal government in 1910.
Before Mindoro Sugar Company started its operation in 1911, American engineers built a railroad track that ran between the sugar central and Caminawit. This was done to facilitate the transport of supplies from Caminawit wharf to the company’s warehouse in Central and of thousands of bags of sugar from the sugar mill to the wharf. Near the wharf, the company built a canteen and storehouse for sugar.
This place got its name as a result of the inconvenience suffered by passengers from Manila who have to wait for the train that would bring them to Central. While waiting, the Americans used to remark "You come and wait." Those words were frequently uttered that, eventually, "come and wait" merged and became Caminawit.
In 1942, Japanese soldiers occupied Caminawit. They converted the canteen of Mindoro Sugar Company into a garrison. In 1943, a group of guerrillas led by Captain Vincent Fortune attacked the garrison but they retreated upon realizing that the enemies outnumber them and have superior weapons.
On December 15, 1944 warships of the Allied Forces bombarded Caminawit and destroyed the garrison of the Japanese soldiers. Two soldiers of the enemies were killed.
When peace was restored, the pier in Caminawit became busy because thousands of families of farmers from Luzon and other parts of the country, who decided to settle permanently in West Mindoro, disembarked here. Due to its great importance in trade and commerce, the concreting of the pier became one of the priority projects of the local officials of San Jose and Occidental Mindoro. After several years, the project was implemented and the concrete pier became a reality.
In 1964, when Philippine Milling Company stopped its operation due to heavy losses, the railroad track connecting Caminawit and Central was dismantled.
As years passed, the coastline of Caminawit changed. As a result, the lighthouse was destroyed due to the continuous battering of big waves.
In 1970, Radio Station DZVT was built in Caminawit. After a few years, it was transferred to Brgy. Pag-asa.
Before the term of office of Governor Peter Medalla, Jr. ended in 1991, the concrete pier in Caminawit was dredged and expanded. The concreting of the road from Poblacion, San Jose to the pier, followed.
The leaders who served as barrio lieutenant, barrio captain and barangay captain of Caminawit were Andres Barboza, Angel Reyes, Florentino Reyes, Francisco Evangelio, Crispin Mariano, Leah Mariano, Dominador Pastrana, Emmanuel Agustin and Leonardo Quirante. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Danilo Centeno.
Plenty of sea urchins could be gathered from the coast of this barangay during low tide. In the Visayan dialect, sea urchins are called tayong, hence, due to the abundance of this kind of marine life in this place, its name became Catayungan.
Like other parts of the island of Iling, Chinese potteries, figurines and kitchen utensils were excavated from this place, proofs that our ancestors bartered goods with merchants from China, prior to the coming of the Spaniards in Mindoro.
During the Spanish occupation of Mindoro, due to their extreme fear of pirates, the first settlers of Catayungan transferred to other villages. The settlement became a forested area again.
During the American regime, the forest of Catayungan was a part of the logging concession awarded by the government to the families of Cuden, Abeleda and Ronquillo. Some laborers of the concessionaires built their huts here, while cutting trees which were converted into railroad ties and firewood.
Those who settled in Catayungan during the American regime belonged to the Serna, Pacaul, Alvarez and Fausto Family. Later on, fishermen from Panay and Palawan came, the number of inhabitants increased and Catayungan became a sitio of Iling Proper.
In 1942, during the Japanese occupation, Catayungan was elevated to the status of a barrio. Mamerto Serna, one of the pioneers and founder of the barrio was appointed as the first teniente del barrio.
The people of the barrio immediately petitioned the government that a primary school be opened in their place. The petition was approved but it was implemented only in 1945, a year after the U.S. led Allied Forces liberated San Jose from the Japanese soldiers.
The fourth leader of Catayungan, Teniente del Barrio Maximo Fausto donated a piece of land for the school campus and barrio site.
Drinking water was a problem in Catayungan, thus, leaders of the barrio sponsored the digging of a deep well. Unfortunately, water drawn from the well was salty and could only be used for bathing and washing clothes. Up to the present time, the people of Catayungan still get their drinking water from Sitio Bunlao.
When Pascual Serna was the barangay captain of Catayungan, a small but concrete wharf for motorboats was constructed in this place. Together with the members of the municipal council, he initiated the massive reforestation of mangrove swamps. At present, the trees they planted are already providing shelter to small fishes and other marine life.
Several years ago, the people of Catayungan discovered that culturing seaweeds, popularly called tambalang was a good source of income. Businessmen buy this type of seaweeds, when properly dried, for it can be processed into fertilizers and industrial chemicals. As a result of this discovery, families of fishermen culture tambalang at the shallow portion of the sea every summer season.
Aside from the aforementioned leaders, those who served as barrio lieutenant, barrio captain and barangay captain of Catayungan were Severo Pacaul, Pedro Pacaul, Cecilio Alvarez, Ramon Pacaul and Andres Pacaul. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Eddie Eguillon.
In 1904, the American government bought from the Spanish authorities La Hacienda de San Jose, a vast agricultural land which at present is from Brgy. Caguray, Magsaysay up to Brgy. Iriron, Calintaan. Six years later, a group of American capitalists formed Mindoro Sugar Company, registered it as a corporation in New Jersey, U.S.A and bought a portion of the agricultural land.
The American capitalists converted the agricultural land into a sugarcane plantation. They bought machineries and sent engineers to San Jose who would manage the construction of an irrigation system, a sugar central and a railroad track that ran between the center of the company and the wharf in Caminawit.
The sugar cane plantation was divided into sectors. The area where the sugar mill, main office, hospital, recreation center & residential houses of employees are located fell under Sector 7. In addition, since it was the center, it was called Central. In Spanish, 7 is siete, thus the area became known as Siete Central. After a few years, the name was shortened to Central.
During that time, Central was the most progressive and most exciting part of Mindoro. People from other places came here to witness the annual fiesta celebration and sports competitions. Families of foreigners who held important positions in the company decided to settle here.
However, Central was dubbed as the white man’s grave. A number of Americans, Spaniards, English, Germans, Portuguese and Australians who worked in the sugar company got sick of malaria and died in this place. Even the migrant workers or sacadas got sick of the dreaded disease but luckily majority of them survived. To persuade them to return the following year, the administrators of the company have to offer some incentives such as free transportation fare and frequent recreational activities.
In 1920, in a map drawn by Fr. Julian Duval, it was indicated that the railroad from the sugar mill reached the old sites of Brgys. San Agustin, Caminawit and Pitogo, at present. By that time, the name of Mindoro Sugar Company was changed to Philippine Milling Company.
In 1942, during the Japanese occupation of San Jose, Philippine Milling Company stopped its operation. The Japanese soldiers converted the elementary school building of Central into a garrison.
After World War II, Philippine Milling Company resumed its operation but the new owners, mortgaged the sugar cane plantation and sugar mill to Philippine National Bank in order that they would have enough capital for its rehabilitation. Nevertheless, the company incurred heavy losses and it was foreclosed by the bank in 1964. It was converted into a palay plantation by National Investment Development Corporation, a subsidiary of PNB. Unluckily, the project was not productive and it was stopped in the late 1970’s. As a result, groups of farmers petitioned the government that the abandoned ricefields be distributed to them under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. The government approved their petition and the former sugar cane plantation was subdivided and awarded to the petitioners.
Central became a barrio when the sugar company stopped its operation in 1964. After eleven years, together with other barrios, it was made a barangay.
The persons who served as managers of Central were George Fairchild, Nelson Van Sinclair, Patrick Pretchet, Luis Yangco, Celso Lobregat, Cecilio Jimenez, Francisco Gomez, Alfredo Gaborro, Jose dela Cruz, Benjamin Benedicto, Benjamin Samala, Jaime Fajardo, Alfredo Arabit and Ricardo Sanchez.
The persons who served as teniente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Central were Ricardo Pascasio, Sr., Antonio Espenelli and Anado Tan, Sr. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Rizalino Pablo, Jr.
13. ILING PROPER
The islanders believed two incidents that could have been the origin of the name of their barangay. The first one was the story of an old man that he always saw the movement or the shaking of a big rock at the shore of the barangay every time strong waves hit it. It resembled the shaking of a man’s head. In the Pilipino dialect, the sideward movement of the head is called iling.
The other incident was the recollection of another story by an old man that when their ancestors were bartering goods with the Chinese, during the tenth century, the islanders used to request for additional items from the foreign traders. In the Pilipino dialect the words they used while requesting were pahiling naman. Some old folks believed that the name of the island evolved from the word pahiling.
In an old Spanish document, it was stated that in 1572, the expedition led by Captain Juan de Salcedo made a brief stopover in Iling Island when they attacked the stronghold of the Moro pirates in Mamburao. It was also mentioned by two Jesuit missionaries in their report to their superiors that in 1666, they were able to baptize many adults in Iling.
In 1781, Señor Francisco Fernandez, then the governor of Mindoro, visited the island. The said governor mentioned in his report that when the inhabitants saw their ships at sea, they hid in the mountains thinking that the pirates came to attack their settlement.
It was also mentioned in history that in 1824, Fr. Aniceto dela Consolacion, an Augustinian Recollect missionary, got sick of malaria and died in Iling. During that year, Iling was considered as a Spanish pueblo.
In 1829, in order that the islanders would be able to defend themselves against the Moro pirates, the Spanish government gave two bronze cannons to the leaders of the pueblo. They installed the cannons on top of a high hill by the seashore called baluarte by the islanders. It proved to be an effective deterrent to piracy. Unfortunately, the two cannons which were mementos of the Spanish occupation of the island got lost. What remained was the broken church bell which a Spanish friar installed at the belfry of the pueblo’s chapel in 1843.
When the Americans occupied Mindoro in the early 1900’s they opened an elementary school in Iling. Children from the neighboring island of Ambulong, as well as from other settlements of the island studied in this school.
During the Japanese occupation, old residents of the island remembered an incident which they considered as a miracle. The Japanese soldiers were about to round up all male residents of Iling but for an unknown reason, big waves appeared at the peaceful sea around the island. Fearing that they would be stranded in the island, the enemies immediately boarded their motorboat, hurriedly left Iling and returned to their garrison in Caminawit.
When Mindoro became free from foreign domination, the number of people in Iling increased. However, since the primary occupation of the people who transferred to this place from the islands of Panay and Palawan was fishing, they built their houses along the seashore. They left the original site of their settlement which was on top of a hill. At present, the old site of their settlement is called Ingbanwahan, a word in the Visayan dialect which means the old town site.
The parents felt that due to the increasing number of graduates from their elementary school, a secondary school should be opened in Iling. In 1973, under the leadership of Mr. Reynaldo Agnas, a barrio high school was established. After more than twenty years, the said school became Iling National High School.
The persons who served as teniente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Iling were Potenciano Encarguez, Damaso Soberano, Abdon Pandiño, Agapito Pandiño, Pio Malanao, Anastacio Agnas, Tomas Pandiño, Lino Pandiño and Rosauro Pandiño. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Adelardo Declito.
The name of the barangay came from Ginasakaan, a word in the Visayan dialect which means a place being climbed at. The early settlers gave that name to this place for it was here where they climbed the rocks to reach other parts of the barrio.
Like other barrios in the island of Iling, people from the Visayan region were the early settlers of this place. Fishing, farming and cutting of tree which were made into railroad ties and firewood were their means of livelihood.
Chinese potteries and kitchen utensils were dug from this place. It was assumed that long before the coming of the Spaniards, inhabitants of this place were already bartering goods with traders from China. Another assumption was that this area was made as a cemetery of the foreign traders for it was part of their culture to bury their dead with some implements and kitchen utensils which they believed would help the soul of the departed in its journey in the afterlife.
When World War II broke out, the people of Inasakan did not experience the cruelty of the Japanese soldiers for the enemies did not reach this place. Nevertheless, they also experienced eating wild rootcrops and the dried sap from the trunk of buri plants during this period.
Additional families settled at Inasakan after World War II. This place became a sitio of Iling Proper. Children of school age walked for almost half an hour to be able to study in the elementary school of Iling Proper.
Due to the hardships experienced by the pupils, specially during rainy days, their parents requested the municipal government of San Jose to open an elementary school in Inasakan. Their request was granted and in 1950, a primary school was opened in the sitio. Residents of the place through cooperative efforts constructed the first school building which was made of bamboo, wood and nipa. After ten years, when Inasakan became a barrio, the school was elevated to the status of a complete elementary school. The school buildings at present were made of strong materials.
Inasakan has beaches of white sand. In 1990, Elizabeth Chang, wife of the owners of a hotel at Brgy. Pag-asa, San Jose opened a beach resort here. She invited tourists who stayed in their hotel to bathe and rest in the resort. They called their establishment as Mina de Oro Beach Resort.
Aside from the government, the Catholic Church and non-government organizations (NGOs) like World Vision and PLAN International helped uplift the living condition of the poor people of Inasakan. Workers of the said institution and organizations taught the parents and youth various skills for income generating projects and emphasized to them the value of cooperation and care of the environment.
At present, workers and volunteers of the abovementioned institution and NGOs left the management of the livelihood projects which they started in Inasakan to the residents of this place, for they transferred to other areas. They hope that the people with whom they worked with for years would continue strengthening their unity and cooperative effort in order to improve their living condition.
The persons who served as teniente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Inasakan were Alejo Venturina, Floremia Alorro, Jolly Serna and Cornelio Flores. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Ruben Ermino.
This place was once a forest where the inhabitants of Iling Island got a kind of wood called Ipil as material for building their house. It was also in this area where workers of the logging concession operated by the families of Ronquillo, Abeleda and Cuden cut hard wood which were converted into railroad ties, during the American regime.
Among the first inhabitants of this place were the Saulong brothers and their families from Antique. They also worked for the logging concession but they applied for homestead in the forested area which they called Ipil. When almost all of the big trees were cut, they planted palay and corn in the limited area of plain land and bamboo, coconut, sineguelas and other fruit trees on the rolling land.
Ipil was only a sitio of Iling Proper when World War II broke out. This was one of the places where the inhabitants of San Jose and other adjacent municipalities hid to avoid meeting the Japanese soldiers.
There were also plenty of mangroves along the seashore of Ipil which protected the oysters, shells, small fishes and other marine life. Unfortunately, in their desire to earn more by selling firewood, the fishermen indiscriminately cut the mangroves that only a few small tree remained. Alarmed by the great loss, the leaders of Ipil launched a mangrove planting project. Gradually, the mangrove trees increased in number.
When the nearby sitio of Buri became a barrio in 1949, Ipil was placed under its jurisdiction. In their desire to learn, children of school age on Ipil, persevered walking everyday for half an hour to be able to attend their classes in Buri.
The parents of the school children of Ipil requested the municipal government that a primary school be opened in their sitio. They waited for almost ten years before their request was granted. In 1958, a primary school was opened in this place. The first school building which was built through the cooperative effort of the residents was made of cogon, wood and bamboo strips. It took long years of representation and negotiation with the municipal & provincial officials by sitio leaders Meliton Saulong & Jesus Saulong and then Teniente del Barrio Ferlimaco Orsos, before the school building made of light materials was replaced by a concrete structure.
Since 1958, the residents of Ipil were already asking the local officials that their sitio be made a barrio. However, the required number of inhabitants was not met, thus, members of the municipal council of San Jose did not grant the request.
In the meantime, the sitio was managed by the barrio leaders of Buri. Then, Capitan del Barrio Nicolas Villaram and Clemente Enelda frequently visited this place. With the financial support of the municipal council of San Jose, they developed and improved the spring of fresh water in the nearby sitio of Bunlao in order that the people of Ipil, Buri and the other barrios of Iling Island could easily get drinking water.
Due to its slow population growth, Ipil became a barrio only in 1969. Based on population, up to the present time Ipil is the smallest among the ten barangays of ILing Island.
In order that it would have a barrio site, a charitable resident of Ipil named Diosdado donated a one hectare land to the government.
The other persons who led Ipil aside from the ones mentioned earlier were Ader Andradan, Bernabe Saulong and Dominador Beato. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Eleuterio Orsos.
16. LABANGAN ILING
The name of the barangay came from a wooden trough which was brought by the waves to the shore of this community during the American regime. Old residents of the place also said that wild animals used to graze here. In the Visayan dialect a wooden trough and a grazing place are both called Labangan, hence, the name of the place.
The pioneers of Labangan were the families of Deyta, Serna and Encila from Palawan ang Montemayor from Batangas. Fishing was their main occupation. When they could not go fishing, they worked in the logging concession of Cuden, Abeleda and Ronquillo, three families who were given permit to cut trees in the whole island of Iling.
When Mindoro Sugar Company started its operation in Central, many migrant workers or sacadas from Leyte, Cotabato, Ilocos, Cebu and Bohol worked in the sugar cane plantation. Unfortunately, almost all of the sacadas got sick of malaria. As a result, since the temperature and the breeze from the sea helped alleviate the suffering of a person sick with malaria, many migrant workers left Central and settled in the barrios near the sea; like San Agustin, Bubog, Caminawit, Caguray, Sta. Teresa and Labangan.
The inhabitants of Labangan increased in number until it became a sitio of Barrio Iling Proper. When World War II broke out, some members of prominent families in San Jose hid in this place for fear of being maltreated by the Japanese soldiers.
After the war, the inhabitants of this sitio requested the municipal government that an elementary school be opened in their place. Their request was granted and in 1946, a teacher for Grade 1 pupils was assigned in Labangan. One of the rooms in the house of Mr. Alipio Deyta was temporarily used as a classroom. After many years, through the cooperative effort of the parents, teachers and municipal officials, school buildings were built in the sitio.
In 1950, Labangan was separated from Iling Proper and created as a barrio. However, since another barrio of San Jose has the same name, the word Iling was added after Labangan to distinguish it from the other community.
Aside from the government, residents of this place were assisted by the church and charitable organizations. World Vision, a humanitarian group, extended seed capital to poor families for their livelihood project. The Rotary Club of Japan, through Governor Josephine Ramirez-Sato helped the provincial government in constructing a water system for potable drinking water. Church workers organized and gave trainings to the indigent families in order that they, themselves would strive to uplift their living condition.
The project for potable drinking water was implemented when Brgy. Captain Inocencio Fabular was the leader of this barangay. The other important projects which he implemented were the massive planting of mangrove seedlings, construction of the multi-purpose pavement and barangay hall which was also used as day care center of the barangay.
The persons who served as teniente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Iling Proper were Jaime Fabular, Alberto Deyta, Anatolio Prado, Victorino Enano, Honorio Verdin and Aldino Cabantugan. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Inocencio Fabular.
In the Tagalog dialect, Labangan means eating place. Like another barangay in the island of Iling with the same name, this place was called Labangan, for it was here where the wild animals grazed during the early days.
This place was also a part of the wide hacienda which was entrusted by the government to the Order of the Augustinian Recollects for agricultural development, during the Spanish regime. A tribe of indigenous people known as Ratagnon lived here.
When a group of American capitalists bought the hacienda and founded Mindoro Sugar Company, later known as Philippine Milling Company, a portion of this place was planted to sugarcane.
When World War II broke out, Labangan was one of the areas where the inhabitants of other villages hid. According to Sotero Montajes, an old Ratagnon, during that time, this was an ideal hiding place, for tall trees and mangroves abound here,
In 1944, when San Jose was liberated by the Allied Forces from Japanese occupation, this place was one of the areas where the soldiers built their military base. The people started to clear the forests. They converted the plains into ricefields and the swamps into fishponds. The portion of the hacienda planted to sugarcane, which was abandoned by its owner, was occupied by migrant farmers.
When peace was restored in Occidental Mindoro, a great number of families of farmers from Luzon and the Visayas came to settle in this place. The forests gradually disappeared and the wild animals which used to graze in this place retreated to the hills and mountains. The abandoned land became productive.
Due to the continuous construction of buildings in Poblacion, San Jose, groups of families built their houses in areas within the jurisdiction of Labangan. Subdivisions for teachers and employees appeared. Some businessmen built rice mills and big warehouses for palay and salt. The buildings for the provincial office, machineries and grains’ storage of the National Food Authority were constructed here.
In 1967, Labangan was created as a barrio. Mr. Ruben Rea was appointed as its first barrio lieutenant. In the early part of martial law, it became a barangay and Mr. Emilio de Vera who succeeded Mr. Rea as the leader of this place, was called as Barangay Captasin. Due to its proximity to the town’s center, and to distinguish this place from another barangay in the island of Iling with the same name, the word Poblacion was affixed to the official name of this barangay.
In 1970, Fortune Tobacco Corporation, a cigar & cigarette company, built a buying station in Labangan Poblacion. The owners of the tobacco company encouraged the farmers to plant tobacco after harvesting their palay.
When Brgy. Captain de Vera retired, Mr. Joaquin Magsipoc became the leader of the barangay. He designated as barrio site a part of Labangan Poblacion which was located at the southeastern portion of the barangay, near the salt farms of a prominent family in Occidental MIndoro. An elementary school was opened there.
Before 1990, Acorda Agri-Business, Inc., a big company engaged in palay trading, constructed a rice mill and warehouse in a spacious lot adjacent to Fortune Tobacco Corporation. The two aforementioned companies provided employment to the youth of San Jose, every summer season.
In 1991, Bishop Vicente Manuel, SVD, DD established Radio Station DZVT in this place. After five years, the main building and school campus of Occidental Mindoro National College were transferred here.
Mr. Agripino Aringa, Jr. succeeded Mr. Magsipoc as barangay captain of Labangan Poblacion. Among his many accomplishments were the construction of roads, building of barangay hall and the acquisition of a truck for hauling garbage. Up to the present time, he is still the barangay captain of Labangan Poblacion.
18. LA CURVA
The area under this community was once a part of La Hacienda de San Jose of the Order of Augustinian Recollects. In 1910, when the American government bought the hacienda and established Mindoro Sugar Company, later on known as Philippine Milling Company, this place was a part of the sugarcane plantation.
The meaning of the Spanish word La Curva is curve. This place was given that name for it was here where the railroad built by the company curved. In addition, it was also here where the road from Central to Murtha, then known as Upper Mangyan, curved.
In the report sent to Bishop Alfredo Verzosa of the Diocese of Lipa by Fr. Julian Duval, the chaplain of Philippine Milling Company in 1920, it was stated that he baptized fifty six persons in La Curva, from January 5 to June 30 of that year. It was not mentioned in the report if the baptized persons were indigenous people or migrant workers (sacadas). However, compared with the number of persons baptized in other parts of the sugarcane plantation, the greatest number was that of La Curva. It could be deduced that this community has many inhabitants during that time.
When the owners of Philippine Milling Company stopped the planting of sugarcane in La Curva, many migrant workers decided to occupy the idle land. Under the leadership of Mr. Jerry Balagot, Sr., they petitioned the government to sell to them the land which they occupied.
After many years, the petition of the farmers was approved by the government. As a result, the number of families who resided in La Curva, increased, specially when the farmers and their families from Luzon and the Visayas arrived.
In 1941, before the outbreak of World War II, the people of La Curva requested members of the municipal council of San Jose that their community be created as a barrio. Their request was granted. The following year, Barrio La Curva was born. Mr. Jerry Balagot, Sr., was elected by his barriomates as the first teniente del barrio.
When the Japanese soldiers occupied San Jose during the latter part of 1942, La Curva was one of the places which they visited. They were able to see only a few residents of the barrio because many of the people who lived here evacuated to other places.
In 1944, when the Allied Forces liberated San Jose from Japanese occupation, La Curva was one of the places where they built a military base. As a result of being a part of the base, the roads and bridges going to this community were constructed by the engineers of the liberators.
Elements of the Allied Forces left La Curva in 1945. The families who evacuated to other places returned to their farm
The people of La Curva requested the municipal government that a primary school be opened in their barrio. In 1950, a school for primary education was established. School buildings made of strong materials were constructed. Gradually, the primary school became a complete elementary school. The residents of this barrio strived to improve their lot and with the help of their leaders and the intercession of their patron saint Our Lady of Lourdes, many of them prospered. The barangay hall was built and numerous projects were implemented in the barrio.
Aside from Jerry Balagot, Sr., the leaders who served as teniente del barrio, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of La Curva were Jose Encarnacion, Timoteo Sagun, Emilio Magtoto, Manuel Acosta, Sr., Tomas Fariñas, Agapito dela Fuente and Jerry Balagot, Jr. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Cirilo Reyes.
The old name of this community was Labangan. However, since two other barrio of San Jose have the same name, the residents of this place changed the name to Mabini, in honor of one of the heroes of our country.
This place was once a part of the vast tract of land entrusted by the Spanish government to the Order of Augustinian Recollects in 1890. Indigenous people belonging to the tribe of Ratagnons lived in this area during that time.
When Mindoro Sugar Company started its operation in Central, in 1911, a part of Mabini was made as a sugarcane plantation by Mr. Arrozal. Tons of sugarcane harvested from his land were hauled by train and milled at the sugar central.
Due to heavy losses, the ownership of Mindoro Sugar Company was transferred from one group of capitalists to another. The business firm was renamed as Philippine Milling Company. A limit was imposed on the area of land to be planted with sugarcane. Due to this development, Mr. Arrozal discpntinued planting sugarcane.
When World War II broke out and the Japanese soldiers occupied San Jose in 1942, only a few families lived in Mabini. Among them were the families of De Mesa and Ramirez who purchased the land which in the past was planted with sugarcane.
After the war, families of Visayan and Ilocano farmers arrived in Mabini. They cleared the forested area of the place and converted it into cornfields and ricefields. They requested the government that the road from the town’s center up to their community be constructed.
In 1952, Mabini was created as a barrio of San Jose. Mr. Anacleto Pagsuguiron was appointed as the first teniente del barrio. After two years, a primary school was opened in the barrio and Mrs. Virginia Cruz was assigned as the first teacher.
In 1958, Mr. Pagsuguiron and Mr. Leon Obo, donated a portion of their farm to the government so that a school building made of strong materials could be built in Mabini.
During the term of office of Mr. Cornelio Wagan as teniente del barrio, a pre-fabricated school building was constructed by the provincial government in Mabini. Mrs. Iluminada Fariñas was assigned here as teacher.
Mr.Manuel Fariñas succeeded Mr. Wagan as teniente del barrio of Mabini. By initiating fund raising activities, he tried to generate enough funds for the construction of a building with two classrooms. This project was realized before Capitan del Barrio Fariñas was succeeded by Mr. Mariano Obo as barrio leader in 1963.
When Mr. Benjamin Cruz was assigned as the principal of Mabini Elementary School in 1965, Mr. Benito Gamboa was elected as capitan del barrio. Through the cooperative effort of the barrio council and the parents teachers association, the two leaders were able to construct an office for the school, a vocational shop, a concrete toilet and a building with two classrooms.
After the imposition of martial law, rapid construction of roads and bridges specially the road going to the municipality of Magsaysay was realized in Mabini.
Aside from those who were already mentioned, the other leaders who served as barangay captain of Mabini were Mr. Engracio Babas, Mr. Claudio Valdez and Mr. Jessie Pagsuguiron. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Alejo Difuntorum.
Like other places of Occidental Mindoro, the indigenous people were the first inhabitants of Magbay during the time when our ancestors were bartering goods with Chinese traders. When the Spaniards came, this place became a part of the vast tract of agricultural land which was entrusted by the government to the Order of Augustinian Recollects. However, a large part of it remained a forest for the farmers who dared cultivate the land in this area transferred to other places when they got sick of malaria.
After many years, Mr. & Mrs. Sison bought the idle agricultural land which is under Brgy. Magbay at present. When Mindoro Sugar Company was established in 1910, they planted their land with sugarcane. They hired migrant workers or sacadas from the Visayan region.
Every morning, Mr. & Mrs. Sison inspect their sugarcane plantation. While going around, Mr. Sison & his wife usually put their arms on each other’s shoulder. In Pilipino language, the term for this gesture is magkaakbay. The migrant workers called them as mag-asawang magkaakbay or husband & wife whose arms are on each other’s shoulder. The name Magbay originated from those words.
In 1941, when World War II broke out, the early settlers of Magbay evacuated to other places. They returned during the early months of 1945, when the Allied Forces liberated San Jose from the Japanese soldiers.
That same year, while the Allied Forces were liberating other parts of the country from Japanese occupation, they established their military base in San Jose. The vast area used as base by the liberators included Magbay. Due to this development, a road was constructed from Pandurucan, the town’s center, up to Magbay.
After the war, Don Francisco Esteban or Don Paco bought the sugarcane plantation of Mr. & Mrs. Sison. He invited the migrant workers from the Visayas to settle permanently in their place. He built houses for them, gave each family a carabao and farm implements. He continued the planting of sugarcane in his land and sell his harvest to the sugar mill at Central. He and his children managed the plantation until Philippine Milling Company of Central stopped its operation.
Don Paco subdivided his land and distributed it to his workers. The former sugarcane plantation became productive ricefields. Gradually, the number of families of farmers increased in Magbay.
In 1960, Magbay was created as a barrio of San Jose. Mr. Domiciano Magbanua was elected as the first teniente del barrio. Among his achievements as leader of the barrio was the opening of a primary school in Magbay.
In the latter part of Decade 60’s, when cigarette manufacturers opened tobacco buying stations in San Jose, the farmers of Magbay planted tobacco in their farm during summer. They dug deep wells and installed water pumps in order that they could irrigate their farm in summertime.
In 1967, during the term of Hon. Pedro Medalla, Sr. as representative of Occidental Mindoro, he put the provincial jail and the nursery of the Bureau of Plant Industry in Brgy. Magbay.
Aside from Mr. Magbanua, the persons who served as teniente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Magbay were Felipe Garay, Felipe Dimal, Sr., Zoilo Hipolito, Alfredo Pablo, Edgardo Gabao, Virgilio Santiago and Aderiano Cambel. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Francisco Vergara.
Before the arrival of the Spaniards in the Philippines, the early inhabitants of Mangarin were already bartering goods with the Chinese traders. According to old residents of the barrio, the name of their community originated from the Chinese word Mandarin.
When the Spaniards came and the spiritual care of the island of Mindoro was entrusted to the Order of Augustinian Recollects, a parish was erected in Mangarin. It happened in 1683. Placed under the jurisdiction of the said parish were the islands of Iling, Ambulong, Semirara, Sibay and Caluya, including the communities in Bulalacao and Mansalay of Oriental Mindoro.
Moro pirates frequently attacked Mangarin. Four Spanish missionaries who led the natives of this community in defending themselves against the pirates, died in this place.
In 1737, due to malaria, difficulty of work and Moro attacks, the Augustinian Recollects left Mangarin. They only returned to this place in 1843.
When Fr. Soto de San Juan Bautista was appointed as parish priest of Mangarin on February 12, 1844 the first thing he did with the support of the government was the construction of a fort. The inhabitants of Mangarin used it in defending themselves against the pirates.
In 1851, a stronghold or baluarte was built by Fr. Pablo Bienzobas de San Antonio de Padua in one sitio of Mangarin called Kuomintang by people living there. At present, the ruins of the said stronghold could still be seen in the place where it was constructed.
General Emilio Aguinaldo mentioned in his autobiography that in 1860, when he was still trading goods with the people of Mindoro, his commercial boat called batel during that time, used to drop anchor in Mangarin.
Since the site of the barrio of Mangarin was frequently flooded, the inhabitants, led by Fr. Valentin Diaz delos Sagrados Corazones de Jesus y Maria requested the government to transfer it to another place. The government granted their request. In 1866, the barrio site of Mangarin was transferred to the place where it is located at present.
When the Filipinos of Mindoro revolted against the Spaniards in 1898, Fr. Bernardino Vasquez del Rosario, the parish priest of Mangarin was captured by the revolutionaries and imprisoned at Taysan, Batangas. He was set free in 1900.
During the American occupation of Mindoro, Mangarin became the center of the municipal government. When the municipality of San Jose was created in 1910, the seat of the municipal government was transferred to Pandurucan, where it is located up to the present time.
When World War II broke out, many inhabitants of Mangarin evacuated to other places. The Japanese soldiers visited this barrio and encouraged the people who were left behind to cooperate with what was known among the nationalists during that time as a puppet government.
The people of Mangarin rejoiced when the U.S. led Allied Forces came on December 15, 1944 to liberate San Jose from Japanese occupation. San Jose was made as a military base of the liberators. Knowing that it was already safe to return home, people who evacuated to other places came back..
When hundreds of families of farmers from Luzon and the Visayas migrated to San Jose, in 1950, Mangarin was one of the places where they settled permanently.
The persons who served as teniente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Mangarin were Lorenzo Patricio, Miguel Hermoso, Pedro Tadeo, Sr., Eleuterio Cruz, Dominador Embanecido, Zosimo dela Cruz, Benito Javier, Jr., and Francisco Egaña. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Marjorie Sales.
Residents of this place were not sure of the origin of the name of their barangay. However, because papaya was one of the plants being taken care of by the indigenous people who made their kaingin here, during the early days, they believed that the name of their community came from the abridged version of Mapapaya. On the other hand, some residents believed that the name of their place evolved from Mapayapa, the equivalent in Tagalog of the word peaceful.
The territory under the jurisdiction of Mapaya at present was a part of the vast tract of land called La Hacienda de San Jose which was entrusted by the Spanish government to the Order of Augustinian Recollects in 1890. According to Sotero Montajes, an old farmer belonging to the Hanunoo tribe, his fellow indigenous people were the ones who cultivated the land in this area.
Since the area of La Hacienda was so vast, the management of some parts were entrusted to the persons whom the Spanish friars knew very well. The area of Mapaya nowadays was entrusted to Mrs. Teodorica Endencia or Señora Kikay. However, due to the shortage of farm workers, except for some parts which the indigenous people used as their kaingin, the greater portion of Mapaya was not tilled.
In 1902, during the American occupation of Mindoro, Dr. Waterous and Yu Kee Tay bought a portion of La Hacienda which is Mapaya today. They planted sugarcane, tobacco, palay, cashew, mango and other fruit bearing trees. They also utilized certain portions as pastureland.
When World War II broke out, Dr. Waterous and Yu Kee Tay abandoned their land. They were not able also to cultivate their hacienda although peace was restored after three years, thus, some parts of their land were occupied by farmers from Luzon and the Visayan region. Nevertheless, a portion of the hacienda was planted with tobacco for a few years by Johnny Cheng and Domingo Lao, two stockholders of FILASEDECO a corporation which has a branch in San Jose, in the late 50’s.
The group of people who settled in this place after the war were composed if the families of Valera, Tuason, Velasco, Jondonero, Mejia, Pendon, De Vera and Gaudiel. The leaders of two groups of farmers who petitioned the government to buy the abandoned plantation of Dr. Waterous and distribute it to them under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program were Tranquilino Velasco and Salvador Olis.
In 1950, the municipal council of San Jose approved the request of the inhabitants of Mapaya that their place be made as a barrio. In 1956, the government opened an elementary school here.
The swamps of Mapaya were converted into fishponds and saltfarms by well off individuals. Families of workers who were employed in the abovementioned two industries became permanent residents of the barrio.
The concreting and widening of the provincial road from San Jose to Magsaysay and Oriental Mindoro, during the latter part of Decade 70’s helped in the progress of Mapaya. The farmers found it faster and easier to transport their farm products to the public market, now than before.
The persons who served as teniente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Mapaya were Medardo Valera, Florentino Reyes, Agustin Gatchalian, Ismael Tuason, Elpidio Embanecido, Sr., Albino Valera, Matias Jakosalem, Jr., Leopoldo dela Cruz, Letecia Medina and Edwin Beltran. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Eddie Palacio.
The indigenous people belonging to the Buhid tribe were the first settlers of this place. They formed a community at Bato-ili, a mountain shaped like a letter L near the Busuanga River.
When World War II broke out, some residents of San Jose hid in this place.
In 1942, during the Japanese occupation of Mindoro, a Spaniard visited this place. He was attracted by the high pointed mountains which are pleasant to look at, thus, he called this community of the indigenous people as monte claro, two Spanish words which mean clear mountain.
After World War II, a group of families arrived in this place. They were composed of the families of Felix Bentibano, Sr., Apolonio Belandres, Emiliano Malunes, Clifford Ross, Dominador Garingan, Angel Agbulos, Juan Pancho, Alejandro Ramos, Sr., Teodoro Arival, Francisco Rendon, Rosa Adap, Luis Bocobo, Rosa Alata and Jose Crisostomo. They came from the islands of Panay and Negros and from the provinces of Ilocos and Tarlac. They cleared the forests which were not turned into kaingin by the indigenous people and converted it into productive agricultural lands. They built huts near the land which they cultivated. Despite the presence of malaria, they remained in this place. Later on, their community became a sitio of Brgy. Batasan.
Since the greater portion of Monteclaro was declared as a forestal zone by the Department of Environment & Natural Resources or DENR, residents of this community petitioned the government to declare the area as arable agricultural land in order that they would be given contracts or documents that would prove that they have the right to manage the land.
In the early part of Decade 60’s, a long concrete bridge was built by the government over Busuanga River which serves as the natural boundary between Brgy. Manoot, Rizal and Brgy. Monteclaro, San Jose. The road in these place were widened and improved for passenger vehicles from San Jose to Mamburao passed through here.
Monteclaro was separated from Batasan and made as a barrio in 1968. That same year, teachers were assigned here by the Department of Education Culture & Sports or DECS and the government constructed school buildings for pupils in Grade 1 up to Grade III. After five years, classes from Grade IV to Grade VI were opened.
In addition, DECS opened a school for the indigenous people belonging to the Buhid tribe in Sitio Bato-ili. Mr. Alfredo Martinez was assigned as the first teacher there. The indigenous people who transferred to the mountains returned to the sitio in order that their children could study. With the help of the Catholic Church, a concrete school building was built for the Buhids in this place.
The petition submitted by the farmers of the forestal zone of Monteclaro to DENR was approved in 1984, during the term of office of Brgy. Captain Cesario Pulgar. DENR Region IV Director Agaloos awarded Integrated Social Forestry (ISF) Contract to the tillers of the land which was once a forest.
That same year, the National Irrigation Administration or NIA constructed an irrigation water system in Monteclaro. As a result of this project, the farmers were able to plant palay even during summer season.
The persons who served as teniente del barrio, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Monteclaro were Ruperto Celestino, Cesario Pulgar, Ricardo Baldonado and Deosito Ambay. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Emelita Ventura.
Upper Mangyan was the old name of this community which was a part of the sugarcane plantation of Mindoro Sugar Company or Philippine Milling Company in 1915.
When World War II broke out, residents of other barrios of San Jose who voided the Japanese soldiers hid in this place.
In 1945, the year when the soldiers of the Allied Forces were liberating Occidental Mindoro and other parts of the country from Japanese occupation, Upper Mangyan was made as an airbase of the liberators. An airfield for two-engine bombers was constructed in this place. The warplanes which attacked Iwo Jima of Okinawa, Japan came from this airfield.
One of the pilots of the warplanes who used the airbase of Upper Mangyan was Col. Wilfred Murthough of the U.S. Air Force. Sometime in 1945, the B-24 bomber which he piloted encountered a number of Japanese warplanes over Leyte Gulf. In the ensuing dog fight, the warplane of the American pilot was hit by enemy gunfire. Col. Murthough decided to return to the airbase n Upper Mangyan. Unfortunately, when the aircraft touched the ground, it blew up, killing everybody except a tail gunner who was able to bail out before the crash landing.
The airbase commander of the Liberation Forces in the area named the airfield after Col. Murthough. Eventually, Murthough became Murtha. When peace was restored and Upper Mangyan was created as a barrio of San Jose, Murtha was registered as its official name.
After the war, a greater portion of the agricultural land in Murtha was purchased by Don Francisco Esteban or Don Paco and Alfredo Gaborro. They planted it with sugarcane. They sold their product to the sugar mill of Philippine Milling Company in Central. Unfortunately, the said company ctopped its operation due to heavy losses, in 1966.
When hundreds of families of farmers from Luzon and the Visayas flocked to San Jose from 1950 up to 1965, they occupied the abandoned sugarcane plantation of Don Paco and Gaborro family in Magbay and Murtha. They requested that the government buy the wide agricultural land and subdivide it to the actual tillers under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. After years of negotiation, the wide plains in Murtha were subdivided and distributed to the farmers.
During the term of office of Hon. Pedro Medalla, Sr., as representative of Occidental Mindoro, he constructed a government hospital and other public offices in Murtha. The athletic competition of the members of the Southern Tagalog Athletic Competition or STAA was held in this barrio in 1970.
In 1971, San Jose National Agricultural and Industrial School was established in Murtha. The said school gave opportunity to the youth to learn the modern method of animal & plant care from two to four years.
The mountains near Murtha were made as hiding places of the rebels in 1990. That year, a four hour bloody encounter between government soldiers and members of the New People’s Army or NPA occurred. In that unfortunate incident, Captain Antonio Alinarte, the commanding officer of the Regional Special Action Force perished.
A place hidden by the mountains of Murtha was also made as the headquarters of Noel Verdadero, the leader of a group of armed men who introduced themselves as defenders of the oppressed but were considered as extortionists by the families from whom they demanded money. The griup was dismantled when Verdadero was killed at Poblacion, Magsaysay in 1991.
The persons who served as teniente, capitan del barrio and abarangay captain of Murtha were Murco Tacderan, Antonio Manuel, Pepito Jaravata, Jun Monterey, Pacifico Santos, Igmidio Espinas, Sr., Juan Beri, Pedro Nicolas, Benjamin Vidal, Larry Callos and Danilo Corpuz. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy, Captain Edgardo Sangalang.
Based on the accounts of old residents if this place, during the early days a big sailboat or batel used to haul traviesa or hard wood converted to railroad ties from this coastal village. One deckhand of the sailboat was named Nathan. He was always assigned to stand at knee deep seawater below the boat and lift the wood to the level where his fellow deckhands could reach it and put it aboard. To hasten the completion of the work, his co-workers would instruct him in the Visayan dialect: Nathan! Duhol! which means Lift it Nathan! Residents of the coastal village always hear those words, thus, they named their place Nathan Duhol. Gradually the words were connected, shortened and became Natandol.
The practice of the Chinese traders to bury their dead with food and kitchen utensils was also assimilated by the residents of this place. Bowls, plates, spoons and forks were dug from some parts of this village.
During the Spanish occupation of Mindoro, when pirates were still plundering the once progressive village known as Iling Proper at present, a few villagers transferred to Natandol and hid there.
In 1920, in the map drawn by Fr. Julian Duval, Natandol was one of the places in the island of Iling which was visited by the said priest when he was assigned as chaplain of Mindoro Sugar Company or Philippine Milling Company of Central.
In 1941, the American government gave permission to Ramon Leido, a farmer from Agutaya, Palawan to occupy the area which is Brgy. Natandol at present, as his homestead and to make it productive. Since the said farmer could not clear the area by himself, he asked the help of some farmers from other places. Since World War II was going on, a few farmers waited for the restoration of peace before they transferred to Natandol.
Among the farmers who transferred to Natandol in 1945 were the families of Edep, Isug & Paz from Palawan and Antique; Abeleda and Paglicawan from Lubang; and Pacaul from the nearby village of Catayungan. The population of Natandol grew that in 1949 it was made as a barrio of San Jose.
That same year, the government opened a Grade 1 class in this place. Every year, as the number of schoolchildren grew, additional teachers were assigned to this barrio. After six years, Natandol has a complete elementary school. School buildings made of concrete and iron replaced the school building which was made of light materials.
Potable water was a problem of the residents of Natandol that their leaders initiated the digging of deep wells at San Roque, a sitio of this barrio. At present, the people residing at the center of the barangay has to walk one kilometer to be able to draw drinking water from the deep wells of the said sitio.
When Advinculo Pacaul, Sr., who was a former teacher and teniente del barrio of Natandol became a member of the municipal council of San Jose, he initiated the construction of a small concrete wharf in his barangay. A concrete road was also constructed at the center of Natandol during his term of office.
Like Catayungan, aside from farming and fishing, the culture of a kind of seaweed, locally known as tambalang during summer is the source of income of the residents of Natandol.
Aside from SB Kagawad Pacaul, the persons who served as teniente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Catayungan were Sancho Pacaul, Zacarias Pacaul, Modestico Edep, Francisco Abeleda, Felomino Chavez, Juanito Isug, Alfredo Isug, Pablo Paz, Alfredo Paglicawan, Wening Isug and Clarita Pacaul. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Florante Edep.
During the American occupation of Mindoro, this place which is between Caminawit and Poblacion, San Jose was only a wide coastal plain and swampy area where mangroves and thorny bushes of aroma grew. This was the place where some residents of the abovementioned communities fished, made charcoal and gathered seashells.
When Mindoro Sugar Company was established in 1910, the railroad constructed by American engineers from the sugar plantation and sugar mill in Central up to the wharf in Caminawit, passed through this place.
When World War II broke out, the Japanese soldiers who were returning to their garrison in Caminawit after fulfilling their duties in other communities passed through this place.
In 1945, while soldiers of the Allied Forces were liberating the Island of Mindoro and other parts of the Philippines from Japanese occupation, they made this place as their military camp, including the communities of Caminawit, Poblacion, Bubog and the areas which were then parts of Mindoro Sugar Company or Philippine Milling Company.
When the Allied Forces left San Jose in 1945, the fishermen and parents of the youth who were high school students in Poblacion, San Jose built houses at the sit of the former military camp.
After a few years, well off families converted into fishponds and saltfarm the swamps in this place. During the latter part of Decade 50’s, when the operation of Philippine Milling Company stopped, the railroad in Pag-asa was dismantled.
In 1965, when Hon. Tirso Abeleda was the mayor of San Jose, the families who were residing in the old cemetery of San Jose, at the site where San Jose Municipal Gymnasium is located today, was transferred to the present location of Pag-asa. Later on, when a big church was constructed by the Iglesia ni Cristo in this place, followers of the religious sect built their houses around the structure which became the center of their faith in San Jose.
Before 1970, the Municipal Council of San Jose ordered that all beerhouses of San Jose be placed in the area between Caminawit and Poblacion, San Jose. As a result, more houses were built in Pag-asa.
In 1971, DZYM, a radio station which was built in Caminawit was transferred in Pag-asa. Since the right to operate the said radio station was acquired by Ex-Ambassador Eduardo Cojuangco, Sr., it was not closed during the martial law period.
In 1974, President Ferdinand Marcos ordered the revival of the barangay as the smallest political unit in the Philippines. In compliance with the decree, the Municipal Council of San Jose created Brgy. Pag-asa and divided nearby Poblacion, San Jose into eight barangays. Mr. Eliseo Lising, Sr. was elected by the residents of Pag-asa as their first barangay captain.
The residents agreed among themselves that Pag-asa would become the official name of their barangay. It was a translation to the Tagalog dialect of Inanama, the name of the wife of an official of the barangay and coincidentally, an Ilocano word which means hope or pag-asa.
In 1995, residents of the progressive part of Pag-asa requested the municipal government that the barangay be divided into two. However, when a plebiscite was held that year, majority of the voters of Pag-asa did not favor the division of the barangay.
When Brgy. Captain Eliseo Lising, Sr. died, the persons who succeeded him as leaders of Pag-asa were Eduardo Malabay, Jr., Deogracias Pineda and Patria Gaudiel. During the term of office of Brgy. Captain Gaudiel, she strictly implemented the law against illegal fishing in the portion of the sea which is under the jurisdiction of Pag-asa. She implemented many projects in this barangay. However, in the 1997 election, Eliseo Lising, Jr. was elected as the barangay captain of Pag-asa, a position he holds up to the present time.
The name of the barangay came from a turtle shaped big stone found in this community. Moreover, old folks believed that the name originated from the fact that during early times when nobody was living in this part of the island of Iling, turtles or pawikan used to lay eggs in its sandy beaches.
The practice of the Chinese traders to bury their dead with food and kitchen utensils was also assimilated by the residents of this place. Bowls, plates, spoons and forks were dug from some parts of this village.
Old residents also narrated that during Spanish times, their ancestors hid in the forests, every time they saw approaching Pawican the swift seagoing vessels or vintas of the pirates.
During the American occupation of Mindoro, like other parts of the island of Iling, big trees with hard wood abound in this place. Some well off individuals requested the government to give them permission to cut trees which would be converted into traviesa or railroad ties and raja or firewood.
Mr. Pedro Cuden, Sr., was one of the persons who was given permission to cut trees in Pawican. Together with his workers and their families, he lived in this place. Here, he supervised the work of his loggers who came from Antique and Palawan.
Mr. Cuden built a big sailboat or batel which would transport his traviesa and raja to Manila. He hired as sailors & deckhands in his batel, some able bodied men from Tingloy, Batangas. He sold the railroad ties to the owners of Mindoro Sugar Company in Central and the Philippine National Railways or PNR in Manila, a government agency which during that time was constructing the railroad from Manila to the Ilocos & Bicol Regions.
In 1920, in an old map drawn by Fr. Julian Duval, the chaplain of Mindoro Sugar Company and acting parish priest of the Parish of Mangarin, the ten houses in Pawican were indicated. The said map was drawn by the missionary priest after his visit in the island of Iling. He mentioned in his report to Bishop Alfredo Verzosa of Lipa, Batangas that the houses were near the kaingin and the main occupation of the household heads was logging.
Gradually, the population of Pawican grew in number until the community became a sitio of Iling Proper. In order that their children could study, the parents requested the municipal government in San Jose that a school be opened in their sitio. In 1927, when their request was granted, they constructed classrooms made of bamboo, nipa and lumber. Mr. Pedro Cuden, Sr. became the first teacher of the school children. After many years, through the efforts of the teachers who succeeded him, a complete elementary school became a reality in Pawican. In the year 2001, due to the great number of pupils who graduated from the elementary school, Iling National High School established extension classes in this place.
Pawican was created as a barrio in 1945. Aside from the government, the Catholic Church, Seventh Day Adventist and World Vision International helped the families living here to uplift their living condition.
Aside from Mr. Pedro Cuden, Sr., the persons who served as teniente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of Pawican were Potenciano Endencia, Alfredo Isug, Pedro Hubayan, Sr., Teodoro Cantor, Gil Roldan, Eduarco Cuden, Jolly Maximo and Daniel Paralijas. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Ernesto Erandio.
28. POBLACION (BRGY. 1-8, POB.)
This place was only a forested area during the Spanish occupation of Mindoro. Although it was a part of La Hacienda de San Jose which was entrusted by the government to the Order of Augustinian Recollects, this was not cultivated because aside from being sandy, thick cogon grasses and thorny aroma & camachile trees abound here.
In 1910, only ten houses could be found in this area when the engineers of Mindoro Sugar Company built the railroad from the sugar mill of Central up to Caminawit. That same year, although there were only few houses in this sitio which was called Pandurucan by the indigenous people, the seat of the municipal government or presidencia was transferred by the American government from Mangarin to this place. They appointed municipal presidents and they built a municipal hall here.
In 1942, to avenge the death of one of their companion in Caguray River, the Japanese soldiers burned the houses in Pandurucan.
In the early part of 1945, soldiers of the Allied Forces built their military camp in Pandurucan and the neighboring villages. When they left, they sold to the people their equipments, machineries, transportation vehicles and quonset huts.
In the latter part of 1945, a group of educators established Southern Mindoro Academy (SMA) in this place. After five years, about two hundred meters away from SMA, Fr. Carlos Brendel, SVD opened St. Joseph’s School.
There was a rapid rise in the number of inhabitants of Pandurucan in 1950. Roads were constructed and repaired, schoolhouses, stores and temporary structures in the market were built.
In the latter part of the abovementioned year, this place was made as the temporary capital of the newly created province of Occidental Mindoro. However, in January 1951, the capital was transferred to Mamburao.
Since 1960, rapid growth took place in Pandurucan. Southern Mindoro Academy was bought by the SVD fathers and grew as Divine Word College-San Jose. San Jose Municipal High School which became Occidental Mndoro National College was established. San Jose Community College was opened.
One of the important events which happened in this place was the staging of the Southern Tagalog Athletic Association (STAA) in 1970.
In 1974, Pandurucan or Poblacion, San Jose was divided into eight barangays. The residents of each barangay elected their own set of leaders.
In 1981, St. Joseph’s School was closed. After two years, the church which was built by Fr. George Koschinski, SVD was elevated to the status of a cathedral due to the creation of the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose and the installation of Bishop Vicente C. Manuel, SVD, DD as the first vicar apostolic of the said ecclesiastical territory.
The persons who led each barangay of Poblacion, since its creation up to the present time are:
Barangay 1 – Dr. Apollo Liboro, Antonio Yaptengco and Jimmie Festin. Barangay 2 – Rodolfo Cajayon, Julio Colangoy, Efren Reyes, Felicidad Cajayon and Danilo Viguilla. Barangay 3 – Leonardo Carlos, Restituto Dimson, Ed Palomar, Ricrdo Magtoto, Roberto Nuque, Juanito Dimaano and Erwin Palomar. Barangay 4 – Gaudencio Espiritu, Leon Sebastian, Adelaida Benoza, Teodoro Espinosa and Zenaida Guerrero. Barangay 5 – Leonardo dela Fuente, Augusto Camandang, Proserfina delos Trinos and Gerry dela Fuente. Barangay 6 – Rogelio Guevarra, Rosita Rodil and Wilfredo Lanuza. Barangay 7 – Senen delos Reyes, Cirilo Paulino, Pascual Macawile and Leonilo Paulino. Barangay 8 – Atty. Albino Arevalo, Juan Santos, Jr. and Raul Peñaflor.
29. SAN AGUSTIN
Like other parts of La Hacienda de San Jose, only a few families reside in this coastal village during the Spanish occupation of Mindoro.
When Mindoro Sugar Company was established in 1910, some migrant workers or sacadas who worked in the sugarcane plantation of the company stayed in this place. A wooden wharf was constructed here and it was used to load and unload thousands of sacks of sugar in the barges which dropped anchor a few meters away from the seashore.
Mr. Agustin Segovia managed the sugarcane plantation in this part of Mindoro Sugar Company. He treated his laborers well that when he died, this village was named Agustin. After many years, for unknown reasons, the name became San Agustin.
Later on, when changes occurred in the list of stockholders of Mindoro Sugar Company, it was renamed Philippine Milling Company. One of the priests who was appointed as chaplain of this company was Fr.Julian Duval. In the report which he submitted to his superior, Bishop Alfredo Verzosa of the Diocese of Lipa, Fr. Duval stated that San Agustin was the most progressive part of the sugar company. Living in this community were one thousand two hundred (1,200) workers from the island of Cuyo and one hundred twenty (120) families from Pampanga and the Ilocos Region. The map attached by the priest to his report showed that the railroad from the sugar mill in Central reached up to the seashore of San Agustin.
When World War II broke out and the Japanese soldiers occupied San Jose, San Agustin was one of the communities visited by the foreign invaders. Luckily, they did not maltreat any resident of this place for Apo Martin, the acknowledged leader of the people showered them with typical Filipino hospitality.
On December 15, 1944 before the soldiers disembarked at the shores of San Jose, San Agustin was one of the places which was shelled by the warships of the liberators. Unfortunately, due to the unexpected shelling, seven residents of the barrio died.
When peace was restored, the operation of Philippine Milling Company was restored. The sugarcane plantation in San Agustin was managed by Mr. Brigido Constantino, Sr. Almost all of the workers in this part of the plantation were residents of the barrio.
In 1958, the operation of Salt Industry of the Philippines, Inc. started in Curanta, a sitio of San Agustin.
When Philippine Milling Company ceased to operate due to heavy financial losses in 1965, the farmers of San Agustin occupied the portion of the abandoned sugarcane plantation which was near their barrio.
In 1970, when Fr. Enrique Schmitz, SVD was assigned as parish priest of St. Joseph Parish-Central, he asked the support of his friends and benefactors in Germany in order that he could construct houses for the poor families at the western part of the barrio, one kilometer away from the seashore. Many families in San Agustin benefited from the housing project of the benevolent missionary priest.
In 1995, a group of families from Mindanao belonging to the religious sect called Tinagong Pulong settled in a nearby sitio at the southern part of San Agustin.
The persons who served as teniente, capitan del barrio and barangay captain of San Agustin were Apo Martin, Brigido Constantino, Sr., Gelacio Sualog, Sr., Suprimida Sualog, Joaquin Bulaqueña, Ceferino Mosquera, Sr. and Victory Sualog. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Renato Oquindo.
30. SAN ISIDRO
During the Spanish occupation of Mindoro, a family of indigenous people lived in this place. The name of the head of the family was Waling. It was the custom of the indigenous people during that period that whoever occupies the land and till it, it would be considered as his property. For example, if the occupant of the land was named Turoy, his kaingin would be called Kang Turoy, if it was Saliw, it would be called Kang Saliw.
Since the tiller of the place where San Isidro is located at present was Waling, they called the area as Kang Waling. Later on, the two words got connected and became Canwaling.
In 1911, during the American regime, the sitio which today is a part of Canwaling became a portion of the sugarcane plantation of Mindoro Sugar Company, later on renamed as Philippine Milling Company. In its first year of operation, some of its workers were indigenous people. However, after a few years, the indigenous people transferred to the nearby hills and mountains.
When the Japanese soldiers occupied San Jose in 1942, Canwaling was just a forested sitio of Barrio La Curva. The foreign invaders did not bother to go to this place, thus, the people who hid here were spared from the cruelty of the enemies.
After the war, some families of farmers from Luzon and the Visayan region settled in this sitio. Among them were the families of Gamboa, Gonzales, Dulay, Sajol, Rivas and Arongayan. They occupied and cultivated the plains which were formerly kaingins of the indigenous people and they requested the government to sell the land to them so that they would have proof of ownership.
In 1969, residents of Canwaling petitioned the municipal government that their sitio be made as a barrio of San Jose. The following year, the petition was approved. Mr. Antonio Gamboa was elected as the first teniente del barrio. The deceased former SB Kagawad Mamerto Castillo of San Jose donated three hectares for the barrio site of Canwaling.
Teniente del Barrio Gamboa worked for the establishment of a primary school in Canwaling. At the same time, Fr. Enrique Schmitz, SVD built a chapel in the barrio and enthroned there San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint agreed upon by the residents. After the enthronement of their patron saint, barrio leaders with the concurrence of their constituents decided to register San Isidro as the official name of their barrio.
In 1984, the parents and teachers strived for the opening of a high school in their place. Through cooperative effort or bayanihan, they built a one classroom structure made of nipa and lumber at the hilly portion of San Isidro, on a piece of land owned by Mr. Romy Lumbo who donated it to the government as school site. The said school became the extension class of Occidental Mindoro National College and after a few years, a building made of strong materials was constructed there. Many youth of San Isidro were given the opportunity to study tertiary education in the school which was later on called as Damayan Center.
When the former sugarcane plantation of Philippine Milling Company was subdivided and distributed to groups of farmers, the Samahang Bagong Anyo Development Cooperative or SABADECO constructed a big palay warehouse at Brgy. San Isidro. They also implemented livelihood projects in this barangay.
Aside from Teniente del Barrio Gamboa, other persons who served as leaders of San Isidro were Mr. Dominador Gonzales and Mr. Crispiniano Nuesca. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Loida Santiago.
31. SAN ROQUE
This coastal barangay was a wide plain full of thorny bushes during the Spanish occupation of the Philippines. When the American colonizers came, they found few houses in this area which was then called Tabing Ilog by the early settlers.
In 1910, when Mindoro Sugar Company was organized, the railway from Central to Caminawit pier passed through this place. A steel bridge for the railroad track was built over Pandurucan River, the body of water which serves as the natural boundary of Tabing Ilog and the town site of Pandurucan, the old name of the poblacion of the municipality of San Jose.
When the American led Allied Forces liberated San Jose on December 15, 1944 Tabing Ilog was one of the place where the soldiers built their military base. An airstrip for warplanes, called as McGuire Airstrip was constructed in this place by the American soldiers. Aside from the airstrip, they also constructed a wooden bridge over Pandurucan River and roads which linked San Jose with its barrios.
When the Allied Forces left in the middle part of 1945, only a few families which used to work in the military camp were left in Tabing Ilog. Later on, more families from Luzon and the Visayas settled here. When the island of Mindoro was divided into two provinces on June 13, 1950 this place was already a sitio. The inhabitants decided to change its name to San Roque, after the name of their patron saint.
Right after the creation of the province of Occidental Mindoro, the provincial headquarters of the Philippine Constabulary was placed in San Roque. Families of soldiers who were assigned here decided to construct their houses around the military camp. The number of inhabitants grew when fishermen and farmers from the Island of Lubang, mainland Luzon and the Visayas came to live here permanently.
In 1955, upon the request of parents, an elementary school was opened in the northeastern part of San Roque. The children who used to study in the elementary school of the town proper transferred here. That year, this place became a barrio of San Jose. Elected as its first leader with the title of teniente del barrio was Mr. Timoteo Guerrero.
After a few years, a sectarian school called as San Jose Adventists School was opened in the northeastern part of San Roque, near the elementary school. Graduates of the elementary school and members of the Adventists Church from other municipalities study here.
The McGuire Airstrip which was abandoned by the Allied Forces in 1945 was converted into a commercial airport by the government. Commercial planes regularly ply the San Jose-Manila route, giving additional income to the residents of the barrio and the municipality of San Jose.
In 1965, another elementary school was opened by the government in the southwestern part of San Roque. The teachers called it as San Roque 2 Elementary School to distinguish it from the first school which was called San Roque 1 Elementary school. That same year, the municipal cemetery which was located at the site where San Jose Gymnasium is located at present was transferred by then San Jose Mayor Tirso Abeleda to the northwestern end of San Roque.
Since the airport is located in San Roque, a concrete road from the center of San Jose to the runway was constructed by the national government. In addition, the road at the center of the barrio and other parts of the place was made concrete by the late Congressman Pedro Mendiola, Sr.
Through the efforts of the late Congressman Pedro Medalla. Sr., the wooden bridge over Pandurucan River was replaced with a concrete one, in 1967. The bridge hastened the economic growth of San Roque.
Two businessmen who lived in San Roque, built rice mills and warehouses here. They were Mr. Ricardo Dinglasan and Mr. Felix Bernales. They helped and provided employment to their barriomates, thus, both of them were elected as teniente del barrio. Mr. Dinglasan succeeded the first leader of San Roque and after his term of office, Mr. Bernales took his place.
When the barrio, the smallest political unit, was officially called a barangay after the imposition of martial law, the title of its leader became barangay captain.
Aside from the aforementioned three leaders, those who served as barangay captain of San Roque were Jose Mangahas, Vicente Guerrero, Edmundo Vergel, Estelito Ballesa, Manolita Tria, Felomino Santos and Emilio Mariano. The leader of the barangay at present is Brgy. Captain Ruben Insigne.