Our History

The Beginning of the Pueblo [Township] of Can-avid, Eastern Samar, 1604 – 1898:

A Historical Sketch
By Rev. Fr. Lope Robredillo

From the documentary evidence, the beginnings of the pueblo (township) of Can-avid may be traced to as far back as 1604 when the Jesuit missionaries who farmed out from the Residentia de Palapag (Palapag Residence) started evangelizing the various pre- Hispanic hamlets on the eastern littorals of Ibaobao (pre – Hispanic term of Eastern Samar). In order to introduce the faith and make it grow, and to facilitate social intercourse, the early missionaries embarked on a process called reduccion by means of infinitely scattered hamlets were organized into larger villages, called bungtus.

Jubasan: Earliest Settlement. Among the bungtus, which the missionaries established was, Jubasan nestled a few kilometers from the mouth of Can-avid (formerly known as Ulot or Loquilocon) river, on its southern banks. The other bungtos were Bacud [now submerged in Dolores River], Tubig [ Taft ], Libas [moved later on to Nonoc, San Julian ], Borongan, Guiuan and Balangiga). The scattered gamoros (by gamoro is meant a cluster of houses, headed by a datu) along Ulot River were organized into a larger village called Jubasan. It became an important village because Jubasan river was the normal passage-way if one had to cross from Ibaobao.” In 1616, Jubasan had around 600 populations. Admittedly, it was not easy for the missionaries to congregate the people in the bungto not only because of the frequent Moro raids, which drove people deeper into the hills, the raiders devastating their houses and crops, but also because of the frequent cholera epidemics, as in 1608-1609. Even more significant, the people as they have been used to since time immemorial wanted to live near to their fields.

The Summary Rebellion. As center of the scattered tiny settlement along the Ulot river, the bungto of Jubasan, did not last long, however when Agustin Sumoroy, the castellan at the palapag fort, began a revolt against the Spaniards on June 1, 1649 in church convento (rectory). They convinced the people of Tubig to join them, and most of them did setting the church and rectory of fire. There the Bacodnons killed Vicente Damian, who was in Tubig for a regular visit. Of course, the Jubasanons also joined them. Because the rebellion assumed an almost unmanageable proportion, a huge military force was assembled under Don Gines de Rojas, In Jobasan river, Capt. Juan Fernandez De Leon, who just came from the cotta of Guiuan to beef up forces under de Rojas, was ambushed, although the rebels failed to kill him. When the rebellion was quelled, the people paid dearly. In Bacod, the gobernadordelPueblo the fiscal mayor del padre and the mayor principal were executed. As a punishment, the bungto of Jubasan, like those of Bacod and Tubig was suppressed and became almost deserted. (Later on, however, people started setting again on the place, which, after the Spanish – American War, came to be known as the rancheria [sitio] of Giboangan.)

The Rise of Paric.  With the suppression of their bungto, most Jubasanon who survived the rebellion started gathering on a smaller resettlement east of Jubasan, called Paric. In the 1720’s  years before the Jesuits were expelled from Samar, Paric was already a big visita of Tubig. Under the political Jurisdiction of Paric, which was ecclesiastically dependent of Tubig, were the visitas of Carolina, Bacod, Dapdap and Oras. When the Franciscans came in 1768, one of the first things they did was to propose the separation  of Paric from the mother bungto. Toward this end, Fr. Manuel Valverde OFM, in 1839, directed a construction of convento, an escuela de intruccionprimaria (parochial school), and a church of mamposteria (rubblework). Among the difficulties the Franciscan had to face in making Paric independent from Tubig were the Moro raids. In September 1838, the Moros captured 3 Paricnons, in 1847. Indeed, as early as 1814, the governadorcillo of Paric, together with that of Tubig, asked the permission of the national government to purchase a cannon for defense.

Creation of Paric as Pueblo and Parish.  In the 1860’s the visita of paric already had what were required for the creation of pueblo (township), namely, a church, a convento, and a tribunal (roughly, municipal building). It also had enough population, as a law so required, supporting a parish priest. As early as 1858, it had enough population, as according to the German naturalist, Feodor Jagor, who visited Paric that year. So, when the parish priest of Tubig and the town officials petitioned for the creation of Paric into a Pueblo, through an expediante of August 31, 1863 written by the Franciscan Provincial, the King who decreed its creation on April 5, 1864, granted their petition. The decree communicated to Don Rafael Echague, Governador-General of the Philippines, through the Overseas Ministry, reads:

Exmo, Sor: Dada cuenta a la Reyna [q.D.D.] del espedienteque V.E. accompano a sucarta de 31 de Agosto del añopasado, relativo a la errecion de unanuevaparrquia en el pueblo de Paric, distrito de Samar, correspondiete al Gobierno de Visayas, en ese archipelago, S.M. oido el consejo de Estadoenpleano, ha tenido a bienaprobardichaerrecionconfrome a lo propuesto en el espresadoespediente, disponiendoque la dotacion de 600 pesos que se asigma al Parraco hasta tantoque el numero de tributes de sufeligresia le producca [sic] unarentaequivalente, se incluyaenelpresupuesto del proximoañoeconomico. De Real orden lo digo a V>S>parasuconocimiento y efectosconsiguentes. Y habiendolamandadocomplir en estefecha, la traslado V.R. parsuconocimiento y fines consiquientes. Dios guarde a V.R. m.a.

The Governor-general issued his Conformity decree on June 16, 1864, Although Paric was created a Pueblo and Paric simultaneously, its ecclesiastical independence actually came only on April 20, 1878 when the Bishop of Cebu, Bp. Benito De Madridejos [1867-1868] issued the ereccion of the parish, placing it under the patronage of St. Joachim, Jesus Grandfather. The Bishop appointed Fr. Jose del Olmo, OFM, as its first priest. Under the Jurisdiction of the new Township and parish

were the visitas (barrios) of Bacod, Dapdap, Carolina, and the rancherias (sitio) of Dolores, Jinolaso, Tubabao and Balagon, (Oras was no Longer under its Jurisdiction because it was made into a separate pueblo in 1850). Of course, the poblacion (town proper or central villages) of the municipality, needless to state, was located in Paric.

Early Reverses. In 1864 had a population of 2998. While its women weaved fabrics from guimaras, the  men extracted oil from the coconut, striped abaca hemp, and planted rice. Business probably improved, since, unlike in the past decades when they were dependent on the itinerant Chinese Mestizos, two Chinese businessmen, who most likely eventually controlled commerce, took residence in the pueblo. But it also experienced reverses. For aside from the usual baguios[typhoons] the people almost yearly faced, they suffered from the cholera epidemics, which forced many of them to reside in less settled places. Most of the recorded epidemics took place in the 1880’s notably in 1846, 1850, and 1876, and 1894. but the worst happened in 1882 when Paric ranked eleventh among the hardest hit pueblo on Samar. Of the more then 6,000 Samareños who died in that epidemic, nearly 200 came from Paric. But only that.

The Relinquishment of Paric as Poblacion. A problem, most likely more pressing than anything else, with which the Paricnons were confronted, was eating up of the poblacion by the Ulot (or Loquilocon) River. The constant erosion of the riverbank on the northern part of the poblacion, caused the big frequent floods, has so took its toll that the portion on whichcluster of houses stood became part of the UlotRiver. At this time, the parish priest of paric was Fr. Juan Vicente Carmona, OFM, (who was born on May 6, 1862 in Campo de Criptana, spain). The municipal officials (1885-1887), as municipales, Provincia de Samar, were as follows:

                Gobernadorcillo              : Carlos Robredillo

                TenientePrimero              : Leoperto Plansenelis

                Teniente Segundo             : Martin Irasga

                JuezPrimero                  : Pedro Esido (Hesido)

                Juez Segundo                 : Martinez Geroy

                Alguacil                     : Fernando Bongon

                Alguacil                     : Joaquin Cebrero

      In 1886, after much deliberation, the parish priest, together with the municipal authorities, formally petitioned the Governador – General of the Philippines for the transfer of the poblacion to growing visita, known for many years as Dolores, a kilometer from the mouth of Bacod (later on, Dolores) river, thinking that the new poblacion will be safe from floods and erosion. The petition having been approved, the affected the transfer in 1887. As on author says, “lasautoridadeseclesiasticas y civiles se has translado a la visita de Dolores.” Another published materials reads: “Previendo el P. Juan Carmona lo quehabiasuceder, debidamenteautorizado, translado el pueblo en 1887 a sitio mas seguro, mas ventilado y sano.” This is how Dolores, once a rancheria or sitio of the visita of Carolina, became the poblacion of Paric but the new bungto of Dolores, the township assumed a new name – Dolores. The township/municipality is always named after its central village, the poblacion.)

The Growth of Barrio Maria Angeles.  However, not all the residents of Paric went to the new poblacion of Dolores. A few remained (it may be noted that in 1912, the Church and their convento were still there, and a part of old poblacion of Paric constitutes barangay Canteros); but others transferred to a small settlement, known for many years as Maria  Angeles, eventually became the largest visita of the poblacion of Dolores. Although sometimes engaged in fishing, its inhabitants were basically farmers who planted rice, gabi and coconut. In 1891, it was already connected to the poblacion by a road whose construction was started in 1887 under the direction of the friars Vicente Carmona, Vicente Milla, Pedro Calvo, Antonio Rodriguez and Gil Martinez. (May I suggest to the present municipal officials of Can-avid not to change the Real Street, because it is the original street of Maria Angeles, connecting the visita to Dolores.) The visita was placed under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin, Queen of Angels. Politically, it was large enough to warrant the election of two tenientes to head the visita or barrio. During the elections for the municipal and barrio officials on March 19, 1893, the following were elected to administer the visita de  Maria Angeles:

                TenientePrimero            : Mariano  Lazarra

                Teniente Segundo           : Alejandro Godian [Gudian?]

                JuezPrimero                : Ventura Gele [Geli?]

                Juez Segundo               : Braulio Obayan [Hobayan]

                AlguacilPrimero            : Onato [Donat?] Obleñana

                Alguacil Segundo           : Pablo Gerces

(In passing it may be mentioned that same elections, the visita of Carolina had the following officials: TenientePrimero: Gabriel Robeños; TenienteSegundo:FelipeRebato; juezprimero, OlivaLazarra; Juez Segundo:EsraelGele [Israel Geli]. The visita of Balagon had Alfonso Goldara as teniente, and TimoteoJocosol as alguacil.) They held their post from 1893 to 1895.

Changes in Name: From Maria Angeles to Victoria and to Can-avid. At the end of the Spanish regime, Maria Angeles was already a flourishing visita, the biggest of all visitasof Dolores. In 1896, it had a population of 913, half of the total population of Dolores. Carolina had only 332, while Balagon had 170, Its principal product were Abaca, copra, gabi, palay and palawan. When the war between the Filipinos and the Spanish government broke out, Maria Angeles supported Gen. Vicente Lukban, who represented Aguinaldo’s revolutionary government in Samar. And one of symbolic gestures the barrio officials made to support the movement was to change the name of the visita from Maria Angeles to Victoria. When the Filipino revolution was crushed, the officials again altered the name of the barrio and called it Canabid (note the spelling:  Canabid, not Can-avid.) According to the 1903 census, it had a population of 1,107, whereas Balagon had 192

   Canabid remained a barrio of Dolores until June 15, 1948, when it became a municipality under Republic Act No. 264, through the presentation of Congressman Adriano Lomuntad, to the Philippine Congress on February 14,. Its first mayor was Lucindo Benitez, then vice-mayor of Dolores. It became a parish, separate from Dolores, only  on  June 10, 1956 when Bp.  Miguel Acebedo, bishop of Calbayog, issued the decree erecting it. The decree stipulated that the jurisdiction of the new parish, canonically dedicated to our Lady Queen of Angels, coincided with the civil jurisdiction of the municipal government. Tasked to build up the parish was Fr. ClodualdoArcales, whom the bishop appointed as its first pastor.

Concluding Remarks:Why the Changes of the Town’s Name?  To close this brief essay, like  to make a short comment on the changes of the name of Canabid. As I noted previously the earliest name of Can-avid was Maria Angeles. During the Filipino – American War, it was change to Victoria, no doubt to signify the victory of the revolution. Because Lukban’s  was never succeeded, Victoria became Canabid. I suspect that the barrio officials change name to Canabid, instead of rousing the old one Maria Angeles to create the impression that the barrio severed itself from its historical past specifically its ties with Spain. It is probably for the same reason why Jubasan was changed name to Guiboangan  and Paric to Canteros. These names – Canabid, Canteros, and Guiboangan were given after the fall of the Spanish regime. That these are new names is evidence by the fact that the map of Jose Algue, published at Manila in  1899, still has names of Maria Angeles, Paric and Jubasan. (One can take a look at this map in the rare book section at the mezzanine,  Philippine National Library).

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