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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Patron Saints Of San Joaquin Town

Two patron saints were consecrated and perpetuated in the town of San Joaquin and two fiesta celebration is being held in their honor. It is interesting to know why there are two saints being enshrined in this town - Saint Joachim who feast is held every August 16 and the Little Child Jesus or the Santo Niño whose feast is being celebrated every third Saturday of January.

It was told in the tradition that the wooden image of Saint Joachim was once washed ashore in the town, so it was nicknamed "Floating Saint." The image probably landed in the place not far from the  present-day location of the town's church. However the woman picking up "lumban" shells in shallow waters mistook this as "katao" or mermaid and with the help of her husband she called, whacked it with gravel and throw some stones to it until the object floats back to the sea. In crossing the sea, this unusual object lands in the shores of Barrio Gosi, Ilog, Negros Occidental, in a form of wood. A logger from a distance who gather floating timber chance upon the wood, picked it up and happily went home. He was not yet half the distance on his way home when he noticed the object he is carrying is becoming heavier and he estimates that he could not carry it. To carry it lightly he thought of cutting it. When the sharp edge of the ax hit the wood, he was terrified to see not resin or water that comes out of it but very red blood dropping from the cut, together with moaning the object speaks.

"On the other side of the shore I was not even given a chance to land instead stoned to send me away and here, I was being hacked."

Suddenly, the wood shapes the image of Saint Joachim, the father of Virgin Mary. The shocked logger was dumbfounded. When he gained consciousness from shock and remorse, he brought the image with all reverence in their chapel. The people who saw the image proved that it has a wound at the back, that they thought caused by an ax of the logger. Eventually, that man was rewarded nagkamit-palad.

This is the story of  Santo Niño or the Holy Child of Jesus. One day, the Kapitan Mayor which is equivalent to present-day mayor went fishing.  He used the method "panglaya." In his fishing and to his amazement, fish is not caught by his net but instead the image of the Little Child. He gave it to the priest, and in return brought it to the altar of the church. In one of these days, the town was invaded by the bandits who ransacked the convent and threatened the life of the priest. It was said that the image saved the life of the priest by showing in the form of a child pointing to his heart. The enemies of the state were shocked and immediately abandoned the convent without any hesitation.

In his act of gratitude to the image, the priest brought it with him when he went to Tigbauan. For his stopover in this place, the image always disappear and found later at the church of San Joaquin. There are some travelers who foretell that they always meet a child while they are going to Tigbauan from San Joaquin telling that he is going to San Joaquin, a town close to his heart.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Legend Of Pototan

Aside from being the "Rice Granary of Iloilo", Pototan was hailed as the "Christmas Capital of Western Visayas" by holding the annual Iwag Festival every December

Pototan Plaza Lagoon

Pototan Public Plaza Aerial View

Long time ago before the Spaniards came to the Philippines. It was called Kapotatan. Why it was named Kapotatan is told in the following story:

When the Ati, under the leadership of Marikudo, left the vast plains of Panay and went to the mountains, no one left living in the place. Only the wild animals are seen roaming around in rivers, brooks, plains and the wilderness. After several years, one of the grandchildren of Datu Puti named Datu Rames who is settling then in the town of Dumangas decided to leave the town because they are so many settlers already in the area. He decided to search for other places and venture to other lands within Panay Islands. He went with his family and subjects or people to far places to seek for settlement. In their journey they reached the central part of Iloilo. Datu Rames observed that a low lying hill is plenty of food. In the forests, there are lots of fruit bearing trees and its secluded places were animals like turtles, giant lizards, monkeys, wild boars and others. In a not so distant area is a river called Suague which has a plenty of fish. Aside from fertile lands which can be planted with different plants like sweet potatoes, cassava and other root crops most especially rice. Datu Rames decided that they will settle there. Life became blissful and peaceful because there's a harvest and food bounty. They made it the town center or poblacion of their newly founded community.

In the first day of Datu Rames arrival in the area, it already caught his attention by the giant woods or tall trees in the area called potat. They cut a lot of potat in the area and build their own homes. It was not a problem or an issue for them the materials to be used in constructing their houses since the thickly growing potat darkens the place in its abundance. It is also a big help for them since they use it as fuels for their cooking.  Their place was called by Datu Rames and his group as Kapotatan. When they visit their families and relatives in Dumangas and were asked where do they live and they told them they are living in Kapotatan. When other people asked where are they going they said they are going to Kapotatan. It is the name given to the area because there's a bounty of that potat wood in the locality. It means a place of many potat. Since then the place with many potat in a lowly hill near the Suague river is called Kapotatan. Eventually, Datu Rames observed that the place in a lowly hill lacks water most especially during the drought season. They thought of transferring near the shores of Suague river so that the water would be accessible to them. After so many years, there were so many houses emerged like mushrooms along the shores of the river. This area was made into a new poblacion or town center of Kapotatan and the surrounding areas were made into barangays or communities.

After so many years, the white skinned Caucasian people carrying cross and swords came to the town. The ancient living were disturbed. The Spaniards invaded and occupied even the most secluded corners of the Philippines to spread Christianity. They reached Kapotatan and the strangers felt admiration  due to the inviting and comely beauty of the place. They observed that the way of living of the natives were developed and progressive in that locality. The Spaniards had a difficulty pronouncing the name Kapotatan due to its length. They shortened it and instead of Kapotatan, they made it Pototan. Since then, the area situated in the central part of Iloilo province and surrounded by the Suague river and several numbers of thriving potat in the area is called Pototan. This place which is abundant in harvested rice is often called as the "Rice Granary of Iloilo."

Photo Source:

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Why Is It Called Passi?

Parish of San Guillermo, Passi Church

Passi City Hall

Passi City Public Plaza

Passi Sugar Central

When Legazpi arrived in the islands he sent a troop of soldiers to explore the communities of Panay. Those who were sent ride a banca or outrigger boat called "scista" from Tala-ugis sailed upwards toward Jalaur and Yamonan river. In sitio of Anaig in the shores of Yamonan river is a woman winnowing (nagtatahip - *tahip or nagtatahip is the shaking or movement of object such as rice upward and catching it with a flat basket called bilao or kararao to separate the main object from other foreign particles. it is close but different from panning) her pounded rice. The soldiers asked the woman.

"Como se llama ester lugar?"

The woman said, "Passi" - thinking that the Spaniards wanted to know what she is picking out from her pounded rice. Passi means grains of rice whose skin was not peeled off from the pounded rice. The Spanish soldiers listed "Passi" as the name of the town.

Photo Sources: 
courtesy of Frank Taypen,_Iloilo,_Philippines

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Legend Of Oton

Sheridan Boutique Resort in Barangay Buray, Oton, Iloilo

Oton Public Plaza

The Immaculate Conception Parish Church or the Old Oton Church, an architectural marvel during the colonial period. It is said to be the most beautiful and largest cathedral in the entire Western Visayas region during the colonial period. It was destroyed during the Lady Caycay Earthquake in 1948.

The altar of the old Oton Church

Oton became the first capital of Iloilo in 1571 during the time of Legazpi. Oton was formerly called Kagayunan a local term which means blue water.  There are three stories about the origin of the town's name.

It's one hot season at the time, while the two Spaniards are walking around the town, they reached Oton. They passed by the natives who were harvesting rice. Since the two Spaniards doesn't know the name of the place, they asked the people about its name in Spanish language. The natives who doesn't know what they are saying thought that they are asking about the time. It was noon time then so they said "Ogtong-Adlaw." Thinking that "Ogtong" is the name of the place, the Spaniards keep on saying it. Since the Spaniards could not pronounce well the phoneme "ng", Ogtong became OTON.

Some of the natives are saying that during those times, the fishermen always have a plenty catch of the fish known as "kogtong" - which are plenty in the area. Kogtong is a type of fish which is six inches in length, grayish in color and can be caught only in the river. They call the place Ogtong taken from the name of the fish kogtong.

Long time ago, there's a thriving plant growing  at the very shores of the river that surrounds the entire town of Oton. This plant looks like the vines or roots which are crawling at the shores of the river  and when this vine is axed, its releases resin or sap which is color blood. They call this plant "batang" however it was not mentioned by Father Demetrio Cobos in his book "Apuntos Historicos" and only said that Oton came from this plant.

In the three origins mentioned, the first one is the most popular of all and usually told by the elders.

Photo Source:

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Town Of New Lucena

Mila's Hill in Barangay Pasil, New Lucena, Iloilo 

New Lucena Parish Church 

New Lucena Town Hall 

Long time ago when the Philippines was under the Spanish rule, all of the cities, provinces and towns were occupied by the Spaniards. The Spaniards came to the place by chance and observe the place so they can appoint a chief administrator. The Spaniards looked for someone to ask about the name of the place.

While they are walking, they saw a man cutting a tree called paluchina. The Spaniards asked the man who is cutting a tree about the name of the place. The native doesn't understand what is asked of him. He thought he was asked the name of the tree he was cutting and he answered paluchina. The Spaniard thought this was the answer to his question. He does not understand the native language and he was unable to hear clearly the answer of the old man. He called it Lucena instead of paluchina. Since then the place was called Lucena. The Spaniards are calling "Pueblo de Lucena" in the place until the American and Japanese occupation. After the liberation, the town was given a new name New Lucena.

Photo Source:

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The History Of Mina

Before the year 1870, the now Municipality of Mina is formerly called Barrio Montogawe. The name came from a hill which shapes like a face of a man. The rolling hill is situated in the middle of Suague river that flows through the sitio or barrio. Montogawe came from a Spanish word "monte"  which means mountain and "gawe" in the dialect which refers to the face of a man or male individual.

The barrio was established and founded when Captain Antonio Poblacion or popularly called Kapitan Roa leads the group of family who settled in the sitio that was also called Montogawe. The sitio was owned by Captain Patricio Ubalde known as Kapitan Atic. To persuade other families to join them, Kapitan Roa made an offer. Those who will settle in the newly founded barrio will be given a lot to build their house in. Kapitan Atic is ready to bestow the land to the people.

Through a civil decree issued by General La Torre in 1870, the town was established. It was stated in the order the building of a church, convent, town hall and a school.

A case about the claiming of Tolarucan on the part of Janiuay and Pototan is the reason for the change of name of Montogawe.  Kapitan Placido wanted to own Tolarucan, however it was objected by Kapitan Roa. He believed that Barrio Tolarucan is a part of Montogawe. The case was brought in the courts of Manila. Kapitan Roa called the attention of Jaro Bishop in Iloilo about the importance of this issue in church. He explained that if he lose the case, the church is real loser.  The bishop ordered the ten priests to prepare the case. A Spanish lawyer named Mina was hired by the priests to be their representative in the court.

Mina won the trial and Montogawe gained jurisdiction of Tolarucan. It was uncertain and unconfirmed but many said that Mina refused to accept payment for his services. In giving value for this kindness, the town was named Mina in his honor.

Photo Source:,_Iloilo,_Philippines

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Legend Of Miag-ao

Miagao Public Plaza 

Miagao Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The town of Miag-ao became famous because of its old church. It is really beautiful that it attracts people most especially the tourists. Why the town was called Miag-ao?

When the Spaniards arrive to the place they don't know what to name the place. In their wandering, they observe the surrounding is rampant with a wild plant known as Miagos. They unanimously called the place Miagos from the said plant. Eventually, the place was called Miagao.

According to Father Lorenzo Torres, a priest assigned in Igbaras, Iloilo the place came from the name Miyagaw, an elder native Ati residing in the area. When the Spaniard and the said Ati met, he was asked by the Spaniard about the name of the place. For the reason that the Ati could not understand Spanish, he thought he was asked about his name. The old Ati responded the Spaniard with "Miyagaw". The Spaniard immediately noted what he heard. Since then, the town was called Miagao.

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