Republic of the Philippines Municipality of Cabatuan, Isabela

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HISTORY OF CABATUAN

The early inhabitants of the vast forest land were the Kalingas who are indigenous to the mountain provinces. These settlers lived on tree houses which they built along the banks of the bountiful and mighty Magat River. These sturdy, dark complexioned, G-stringed, soldier-like people depended on hunting, fishing and a little agriculture and poultry.

In 1912, the pioneering Ilocanos started arriving with their families, relatives and friends. The Ilocanos settled away from the river but the Kalingas considered it an intrusion which later led to the encounters where the Ilocanos used piles of stones to drive away the ferocious Kalingas. The act of throwing stones was called “ambatuan” which later evolved to “cabatuan”. The warring groups eventually became friends thru a peace pact led by their respective leaders and the place became known as CABATUAN.

In 1914, CABATUAN was incorporated with the Municipality of Cauayan. Many leaders emerged from the Cabatuan settlers and seeing that they are a political threat to the Cauayan leadership, the Municipal Council of Cauayan in 1948 agreed and endorsed the segregation of Cabatuan from the mother town. Through the initiative of the delegation formed by leaders who hailed from Barrio Cabatuan, Executive Order 293 creating the Municipality of Cabatuan was finally signed by President Elpidio R. Quirino in Malacañang on November 5, 1949. On November 30, 1949, the set of municipal officials appointed by President Quirino took their oath of office signaling the independence of Cabatuan from its mother town.

Graphical Size and Location

Cabatuan, Isabela occupies a land area of 8,077 hectares. It lies in the southwestern part of the Province of Isabela bounded on the North by the Municipality of Aurora, on the East by the Municipality of Luna, on the West by the Municipality of San Mateo and on the South by the Municipality of Cauayan. Its territorial boundaries are more specifically delineated under Executive Order 293 issued by President Elpidio Quirino on November 5, 1949..

Graphical Size and Location

Founded: November 5, 1949

No. of Barangays: 22

Population(2010): 37,355

Sinilyasi Festival

Product: MORIECOS

Dialect: Ilocano (94%)

Employment Rate (2010): 74.89%

Land Area: 8, 077 hectares

LGU SUPPORT

The land where Cabatuan now nestles was once teeming with vegetation, wildlife and fish, nurtured by the mighty and winding Magat River. Its history started when one of the indigenous people of the mountain provinces settled down in the vast valley of Cagayan where the Apayaos, Dumagats, Gaddangs, Ibanags, Ifugaos, Igorots, Itawes, Palananons and the Yogads were living. This tribe is known as the Kalingas, the name believed to have come from the Ibanag and Gaddang word, which means “headhunters”. The Kalinga villages were strategically located along the banks of the Magat River in southwestern Isabela near the boundary of Ifugao province, surrounding the locality now known as Sili, Bolinao, Dalig Kalinga (these places are now barangays of Aurora town) and Subasta (now a sitio of Barangay Saranay in Cabatuan). The early Cabatuanenses were generally known to be medium in height, with dark complexion and lissome with high nose bridges. Physically, they were very sturdy and well-built so that their war-like bearing feature made them more like soldiers. They lived on tree-houses and depended on hunting, fishing and a little of poultry and agriculture. The Kalingas were believed to be the descendants of the second wave of Malay who came to the Islands from Borneo. These pagans were headed by several able leaders like: Ronsan and Ngolan (both from Sili in Aurora town), Balindan, Melad and Gombi (from Bolinao, also in Aurora town), Tullayao Bayudoc (from Subasta, Saranay in Cabatuan) and the grand old chieftain Materig (also from Sili in Aurora town).

     The Kalingas preferred to stay in the Cabatuan area of jurisdiction rather than in Aurora because the town proper of Aurora then was located in Dalig, now a barangay of Burgos town.

     When the Christians arrived, the Kalingas attached the word “Infiel” before their native name to fulfill their yearning for a second name like those of Christians. The name “Infiel” was derived from “ynfieles”, a Spanish friar’s term for non-believers of the Christian faith.

During the administration of Cauayan, Isabela Municipal President, Don Bernardo C. Dacuycuy (1907-1910), he instructed a certain Salvador Uao to survey the vast track of friar lands southwest of Cauayan near the Magat River. Seeing that the locality was suitable for settlement, Dacuycuy invited his relatives and close friends in Ilocos Norte to migrate to southern Isabela. The pioneering Ilocanos from the North started arriving in 1912, bringing with them their families, relatives and friends. Sailing off the coast of Bacarra, Laoag and Currimao in Ilocos Norte, they followed the coastline of northern Luzon. They braved the South China Sea and the Babuyan Channel and reached the delta-town of Aparri, Cagayan. Using balanghais (banca), they sailed south, trekking the crocodile infested Cagayan River passing through the old towns of Lal-lo, Gattaran, Alcala, Amulung, Solana, Iguig, Tuguegarao, San Pablo, Cabagan, Tumauini, Ilagan, Gamu and Cauayan. Their travel ended in the town of Angadanan, particularly in Barrio Pissay, where the width of the great river narrows. When the Angadanan-Echague-Jones area became populated, the pioneers decided to sail back towards Turayong in Cauayan town. And from this point, the pioneers disembarked and traveled either by foot or cariton (in caravan) passing by Antatet (now Luna town) and reached the area where the Magat Bridge, in Barangay San Andres, is now located.

     Some of the first Ilocano pioneers were: Teodoro Abad, Gregorio Abad, Juan Acedo, Leocadio Acio, Pedro Acob, Vitaliano Acoba, Agapito Acosta, Mariano Acosta, Felipe Aczon, Francisco Alejo, Sabas Basug, Maximiano C. Borromeo, Jose Castillo, Fructuso Cadelina, Juan Cadelina, Juan Constantino, Tito Diego, Arcadio Domingcil, Pantaleon Domingcil, Protacio Domingcil, Alvaro Galapon, Cirilo A. Guerrero, Desiderio Guillermo, Ignacio Juan, Pedro Labasan, Isidro Lazaro, Domingo Llamelo, Victor Llamelo, Pablo C. Marcelo, Teofilo Mercado, Rafael Padron, Agapito A. Pilar, Feliciano A. Ramos, Roman Rivera, Martin Sales, Donato Tejada, Teodoro Tejada, Baltazar Vea, Apolinario Visaya and Miguel Yanuaria. 

After the Ilocano migrants, several waves of settlers particularly locals from Pangasinan and Central Luzon region came to Isabela as merchants. Some of the Pangasinan pioneers were: Nicolas T. Almirol (original surname is Lagasca), Benito Monte, Hermogenes B. Soriben and Zacarias P. Munoz.

     Some of the Tagalog migrants were: Carlino O. Munsayac (Nueva Ecija), Atanasio H. Dayrit (San Fernando, Pampanga), Atty. Rafael M. Tomacruz (former mayor of Hagonoy, Bulacan and Provincial Board Member), Anselmo S. Esmino (Licab, Nueva Ecija), Mr. Pamintuan (Pampanga), Andres Alivia (Rizal, Nueva Ecija) and Antonio V. Altoveros (Rizal, Nueva Ecija).

     The Chinese also migrated to Cabatuan and opted to permanently reside in the locality and inter-married with young Ilocano maidens. The bulk of the Chinese migrants came from Amoy, China in the 1930s. The Chinese migrants were: Clemente Paggabao (married Andrea Labasan), Eusebio Uy (married Lourdes Visaya), Juan Uy (married Felisa Acio), Mariano Uy (married Lourdes dela Cruz), Kaya Uy (married Carmen Rambac), Inocencio Uy (married Mercedes Domingcil), Francisco Uy (married Mercedes Llamelo), Guillermo Uy (married Tomasa Padron), Lorenzo Uy (married Teodora Visaya), Venancio Tio (married Monica Acorda), Vicente Pua (married Sabina Ventura), Joaquin Pua (married Entonia Labayog), Pedro Pua (married Isabela Guerrero), Kiana Uy (married Claudia Manuel), Pascual Pua (married Carmen Uy), Densoy Ty (married Maxima Uy), Tomas Uy, Miguel Dy, Mariano Tio, Julian Pua (married Felicitas Bagcal), Eusebio Tan (married Eusenia Lomotan), Jose Uy (married Adelina Ventura), Ben Chong (married Gue Eng Tio), Alfonso Uy (married Engracia Uy), Sytong Uy, Uwa Uy (married Avelina Gervacio), Ben Co (married Maria Vea), Pedro Ong (married Salud Bacallan), Pedro Yan (married Maria Aczon), Tio Nga Luy (married Pelagia Acosta), Alfredo Uy (married Ruperta V. Pancho)

The Ilocano Christians first settled in the forest-covered land far from the river, but the natives in “bahag” (g-strings) who were living along the riverbanks considered it an intrusion, which later led to nightly tensions. As soon as the sun sets, the able bodied natives raided the settlers’ homes and stole their personal properties. And when they resisted, the indigenous habitants caused them trouble and harm. To protect themselves from the Kalingas, the Christians stocked piles of stones around their sleeping chambers. Whenever the sound of the tangguyob (horn bugle) was heard, the Christians would be cautioned that the Kalingas has arrived. The Christians would defend themselves by throwing stones at the natives. This went on until a certain Bonifacio Bangug, a native of Piddig town in Ilocos Norte and had long lived with the Kalingas, initiated a peace pact. A successful peace negotiation ensued. Don Bernardo Dacuycuy headed the Christians while a certain Infiel Ulleg represented the Kalingas. Finally, an agreement of friendship came up between the two parties.

     To strengthen the developing friendship, the Christians distributed used clothing, kitchen and table utensils and farm equipments to the natives. The Christians also traded salt in exchange for Kalingan goods. After years of friendship, Kalingas were converted to the Christian faith and whenever a Kalinga child was baptized, their parents adopted the Ilocano godparent surname for their child to legally use. Soon the Christians and Kalingas lived in peace and harmony and enjoyed the fruits of the rich land they tilled.

     How the name CABATUAN came to be During those days, the place was always referred to as “Ambatuan”, a Kalingan word, which means “no stones”. However, the new settlers found an abundance of stones along the Magat. At another text, they branded the place “Ambatuan” on the very act when Christians and Kalingas were throwing stones at each other. As time passed by, the name “Ambatuan” evolved to “Cabatuan”.

BARIO OF CABATUAN

In 1914, during the American Regime, Cabatuan was incorporated with the Municipality of Cauayan, Isabela with Senor Agapito A. Pilar as the first Barrio Teniente. Others who assumed the post were: Florencio Abad, Leocadio Acio, Pedro Acob, Felipe Aczon, Tomas Camungao, T. Damunglo, Jose Castillo, Cirilo Guerrero, Platon Guillermo, Ignacio Juan, Antonio S. Medina, Felipe Pascual, Feliciano A. Ramos, Roman Rivera, Inigo Sales, Francisco Salvador, Tirso Santos, B. Sumawang, Juan Ventura. Don Bernardo C. Dacuycuy, the acknowledged founder of Cabatuan, was appointed by Governor-General Leonard Wood as President of the Confederate Districts of Antatet (now Luna town), Dalig (former poblacion of Aurora town and now a barangay of Burgos town), Bolinao and Sili (now barangays of Aurora town). Later on, Cabatuan was sub-divided into four districts. District 1, comprises what is now the barangays of Sampaloc and Saranay. District 2, the barrio proper, comprises what is now the barangays of Centro and San Andres. District 3, comprises what is now the barangays of Del Pilar, Magdalena and portions of Paraiso. And District 4, comprises all populated areas upstream the Magat River like Macalaoat, Culing and Diamantina.

EARLY POLITICS

The desire to have a representation for the Magat region prompted the Cabatuanenses to support the candidacy of several of their barrio folks. Thus, the administrations of Cauayan Municipal Mayors Guillermo Blas (1938) and Zoilo Cuntapay (1938-1940), three of their Municipal Councilors hailed from Cabatuan. They were: Paz Sales-Cruz, Francisco Razon and Atanasio H. Dayrit. And realizing that men and women of Barrio Cabatuan has the potential and capacity to lead the whole town of Cauayan, the Cabatuanenses rallied behind the candidacy of Federico P. Acio as mayor. Acio won and assumed office in 1941 but his term was cut short when the Japanese Imperial Army occupied the valley. Acio was replaced by the appointment of Jose Canciller.

OTHER PIONEERS

After the Ilocano migrants, several waves of settlers particularly locals from Pangasinan and Central Luzon region came to Isabela as merchants. Some of the Pangasinan pioneers were: Nicolas T. Almirol (original surname is Lagasca), Benito Monte, Hermogenes B. Soriben and Zacarias P. Munoz.

     Some of the Tagalog migrants were: Carlino O. Munsayac (Nueva Ecija), Atanasio H. Dayrit (San Fernando, Pampanga), Atty. Rafael M. Tomacruz (former mayor of Hagonoy, Bulacan and Provincial Board Member), Anselmo S. Esmino (Licab, Nueva Ecija), Mr. Pamintuan (Pampanga), Andres Alivia (Rizal, Nueva Ecija) and Antonio V. Altoveros (Rizal, Nueva Ecija).

     The Chinese also migrated to Cabatuan and opted to permanently reside in the locality and inter-married with young Ilocano maidens. The bulk of the Chinese migrants came from Amoy, China in the 1930s. The Chinese migrants were: Clemente Paggabao (married Andrea Labasan), Eusebio Uy (married Lourdes Visaya), Juan Uy (married Felisa Acio), Mariano Uy (married Lourdes dela Cruz), Kaya Uy (married Carmen Rambac), Inocencio Uy (married Mercedes Domingcil), Francisco Uy (married Mercedes Llamelo), Guillermo Uy (married Tomasa Padron), Lorenzo Uy (married Teodora Visaya), Venancio Tio (married Monica Acorda), Vicente Pua (married Sabina Ventura), Joaquin Pua (married Entonia Labayog), Pedro Pua (married Isabela Guerrero), Kiana Uy (married Claudia Manuel), Pascual Pua (married Carmen Uy), Densoy Ty (married Maxima Uy), Tomas Uy, Miguel Dy, Mariano Tio, Julian Pua (married Felicitas Bagcal), Eusebio Tan (married Eusenia Lomotan), Jose Uy (married Adelina Ventura), Ben Chong (married Gue Eng Tio), Alfonso Uy (married Engracia Uy), Sytong Uy, Uwa Uy (married Avelina Gervacio), Ben Co (married Maria Vea), Pedro Ong (married Salud Bacallan), Pedro Yan (married Maria Aczon), Tio Nga Luy (married Pelagia Acosta), Alfredo Uy (married Ruperta V. Pancho)

SECOND WORLD 

When the Second World War erupted, several sons and daughters of Cabatuan were involved in various encounters in the countryside. The brave and freedom loving Cabatuanenses who fought for democracy in Bataan were: Norberto V. Abad (suffered the Death March), Dominador Acob (suffered the Death March), Victorino R. Agustin, Leopoldo Cadeliña (suffered the Death March), Alejandro A. Cadiente (suffered the Death March), Ventura D. Frogoso, Elpidio A. Galiza, Domingo J. Marcelo, Juan B. Molina (suffered the Death March), Ranulfo Navarro, Andres N. Palado, Cenon B. Ramos, Jose M. Rivera, Florencio B. Sacaben (suffered the Death March), Simeon B. Santos, Victorino O. Santos (missing in action), Lorenzo T. Sunga, Manuel T. Talimada, Damian S. Tomacruz and Hermogenes S. Tomas. Though the island of Corregidor and the peninsula of Bataan became the concentration of the war, many provinces in Luzon Island also participated in the fighting. The Cabatuanenses who fought outside Bataan were: Benedicto A. Acosta (Ilocos), Teodoro P. Asuncion (died in action in Tuguegarao, Cagayan), Sebastian M. Ballesteros (Ilocos), Rizalino M. Camungao (died in action in Batangas), Florencia M. Dacuycuy (Women’s Auxilliary Service in Ilocos) and Enrique Padron (died in action in Tuguegarao, Cagayan).

     As the Japanese Imperial Army occupied the valley after the Fall of Bataan, strong resistance continued. Many gallant Cabatuanenses joined the underground “guerilla” movement, locally known as the Bolo Unit as they continue their quest for freedom. The Guerillas from Cabatuan were: Federico P. Acio, Damaso A. Acosta, Mariano P. Alejo, Antonio V. Altoveros, Nestor R. Altoveros, Alvaro C. Antolin, Rufino D. Apostol, Benito G. Bauzon, Osmundo S. Bungay, Pacifico S. Cabantac, Felix G. Cadelina, Norberto Cadiz, Demetrio dela Cruz, Leonides R. Dacuycuy, Gavino K. Enerlan, Fernando A. Ferrer, Apolonio R. Galicano, Patrocinio Gamiao, Venancio Galingana, Santos D. Gonatise, Iluminado Grande, Lino P. Gumaru, Jose G. Hermogela, Nicolas Labayog, Juan R. Labuguen,Celestino G. Lomboy, Cenon S. Manibog, Venancio G. Manibog, Juan G. Manuel, Isaac I. Martinez, Cipriano D. Mercado, Nicolas Meria,

Miguel O. Monte, Andres E. Nomina, Domingo Pedro, Nemesio N. Ramil, Antonio B. Rodriguez, Cayetano K. Rosario, Teodulfo D. Rumbaoa, Maura A. Sales, Domingo D. Salgado, Severino Tarapia, Juanito S. Topinio, Juan P. Valeroso, Avelino A. Villanueva, Vicente Villar and Juan G. Visaya.

      Mayor Acio was one of the remaining mayors of northern Luzon who have not surrendered to the Japanese. The foreign invaders tried to make Acio surrender by torturing his wife, Josefa Ventura-Acio, through “water treatment”. In reality, the poor Mrs. Acio never knew the whereabouts of her husband and her suffering continued until before Liberation.

     The tabacalera (almasin), now owned by Senor Miguel Garcia, in District (now Barangay San Andres) became the chief garrison (Center of Command) of the invading foreigners. Other prominent Japanese garrisons were the residences of Federico Acio, Francisco Acob and Daniel Crisologo. The ever-fighting guerillas continued their underground activities and were fully supported by the barrio people. The Niponggo troops made plans to liquidate this stubborn resistance. The Japanese soldiers hired Filipinos to serve as “magic eyes” (Makapili) to pinpoint those who were supporters and members of the movement. The civilians who were unfortunate to be tagged and assassinated were: Catalino Pascual, Ireneo Acedo, Severino Tarampi and a certain Mr. Gomez. There was also an incident where the Japanese kidnapped a lady by the name of Genoveva A. Agsalda (residing in what is now Barangay San Andres) while reaping tobacco in her field (in Sili, Aurora) and never to be found again.

     When the “liberating” American warplanes arrived, a house in District Dos (now San Andres) where at least two families were residing was mistakenly identified as a Japanese camp. The house was heavily bombarded killing all the inhabitants of the compound. The fatalities were: Agustin Duldulao and wife Josefa Mercado with sister Teodorica M. Visaya. The Duldulao children were: Aprecion, Emeteria, Severo, Angel, Teofilo and the eldest, Demetrio and wife Demetria Aczon with their three-months old baby girl, Angeles.

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