Saturday, July 12, 2014

About Basey, my hometown

San Juanico Bridge (Photo courtesy of Veck Deloria)
The Municipality of Basey, is a first class municipality located in the Southwestern part of the Province of Samar and is practically near the commercial/industrial center of Region VIII, the City of Tacloban. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 50,423. It was founded in 1591 and created by virtue of a Royal Spanish Proclamation. Basey has a land area of 51,301 hectares. It has 26,216 registered voters as of 2010.

The city of Tacloban was once a barrio of Basey and has an approximate distance of 28 kilometers, through the Maharlika Highway and San Juanico Bridge, and 20 minutes pump-boat ride, from the municipality.  The municipality is known for its natural beauty for it is home to some of the world’s wondrous caverns, subterranean rivers, waterfalls, and unique limestone formations.  It is likewise famous for its intricately woven mats or banig. 

The population of Poblacion Basey (composed of 7 barangays) is 7,970. The biggest barangay in terms of population is Palaypay with 2,653; and the smallest barangay is Baloog with 142. The top 20 biggest barangays (in terms of population) are:

     1. Palaypay           - 2,653
     2. San Antonio      - 2,584
     3. Mabini              - 2,429
     4. Guirang/Rawis   - 2,374
     5. Can-abay          - 1,834
     6. Old San Agustin - 1,760
     7. San Fernando     -1,541
     8. Salvacion          - 1,502
     9. Loog                 - 1,402
     10. Canmanila       - 1,377
     11. Loyo               - 1,369
     12. Roxas             - 1,320
     13. Tinaogan         - 1,270
     14. Balud              - 1,238
     15. Dolongan         - 1,221
     16. Cogon             - 1,212
     17. Basiao             - 1,209
     18. Buscada          - 1,129
     19. Bulao              - 1,099
     20. Tingib             - 1,069
The municipality is composed of fifty-one (51) barangays, as follows (with their history and population, as of May, 2010):

1.  Amandayehan (995 pop.)
     People in the area relate that the original settlers of the place were a couple by the name of Amanda and Ehan. When the Spaniards arrived and inquired, they recorded that the place was that of “Amanda Y Ehan.” During WW II because of natural deep waters near the shore, the place was a beehive of naval activities.
2.  Anglit (497 pop.)
     Anglit is the local name for a little pot. A time when surveyors were sent to survey the place, they rested in the house of the new couple. They asked permission to cook lunch. The wife lent their only pot, an anglit, and said that they have to cook again as the pot was good only for 2 persons. The surveyors put down on their record the name of the place as Anglit and that was the name of the place when it became a sitio then barrio.
3.  Bacubac (973 pop.)
     The place was commonly named as “lero” and “bacubac.” Lero because of a body of water inside the then forested area. Bacubac is a corruption of a local dialect “pagbakbak.” The latter was popular among the inhabitants and so was made its official name. During the Second World War, the place was used by the Japanese as hideout by constructing big fox holes called by the native as “pac-sol.” When liberation came, some G.I. lived in Bacubac and taught people how to read and write.
4.  Baloog (142 pop.)
     Balo-og is the name of the river in the northern part of the barangay. The river provides them water for life sustenance and for planting.
5.  Basiao (1,209 pop.)
     The name is derived from the local word “basiyo” which means empty. At the outskirts of the then growing community was a cave called “Saob” which can accommodate 100 persons. At the end of the cave was a deep well-like formation called by the people “Bito.” The story goes that during a drought when all wells outside the cave were drying. Bito’s water level never changed inspite of the numerous people fetching water. The common expression then was “bito dire nababasiyohan.” A popular joker trying to empress people with his newly learned English expressed this as “bito no basiyo basiyo.” The expression stuck that when naming of their place came up, it was Basiyo and when written by an American came up as Basiao.
6.  Buenavista (706 pop.)
     The other name of the place is Hinorawan, a waray term to signify “deprived of rain.” Buenavista is from Spanish words “buena” meaning good/beautiful; “vista” means sight or view.
7.  Burgos (900 pop.)
         Dawa is its common name. Dawa originated from the name of a delicious edible grain brought in by a migrant during one of the difficult period of the place. The grain was successfully cultivated and propagated by the local inhabitants so the place became known for it. Burgos was the first to be made a barrio in Basey.
8.  Cambayan (429 pop.)
    The story of a beautiful lady named Campasi and a dashing gentleman known for his strength, Maganbayan from Cebu. The two eventually got married. The couple was known for their efforts in preventing the exploitation of the forest in the area noted for hard woods. When the Spaniards came, one of the things they did was chronicle their domain. When they asked what was the name of the place, they were told was that of Campasi and Maganbayan. Later, it was shortened to Cam..bayan.
9.  Can-abay (1,834 pop.)
    “Bay” is the term a Cebuano calls a guy when he is a close acquaintance, if in doubt or does not know the guy’s name, and if a guy is popular. “Can” is a waray term for “from.” “Can Bay” means “from Bay.” A cebuano named Modesto migrated to this place. He became an entrepreneur, where he traded meat, poultry and grain. As a sign of respect, be became known as “Bay.” As he became well-known, neighbors and customers referred to his wares and goods as “can-bay.” This evolved into Can-abay.
10. Cancaiyas (567 pop.)
     It is named after a farmer, Mang Iyas, who was the first to develop the area.
11. Canmanila (1,377 pop.)
     No history on record
12. Catadman (621 pop.)
        No history on record
13. Cogon (1,212 pop.)
  “Cogon” is a kind of grass, sturdy and prolific. Cogon was a sitio of the New San Agustin before it became an independent barangay.
14. Dolongan (1,221 pop.)
  “Dol-ong” is a waray word that stands for “to send.” Dol-ongan is a place where a person or commodity is sent or delivered. Later it was named Dolongan.
15. Guintigui-an (394 pop.)
  The name is derived from “guintitig” a word from the local dialect meaning “to endure harships/sacrifices/difficulties.” This barangay was a sitio of Brgy. Roxas.
16. Guirang/Rawis (2,374 pop.)
     Guirang is derived from two female names Magui and Durang. After moro raids devastated the settlement of Binongtu-an, other settlers went upstream the Golden river in a very sharp curve to give way to a “pointed land” locally known as “rawis.” A group of families settled on both side of the river. One of these families had two daughters name Magui and Durang. One day after incessant rains that lasted for weeks, the two headed for the bank of the river to wash soiled clothes of the family and relatives. On that day the rain came down from up mountains in one swoosh, carrying the two maidens downriver never to be seen again.
17. Balante (555 pop.)
  The name was taken from a tree whose flowers are very white – Balante tree. The creation of Basey National Agricultural School (BNAS) which is near Balante afforded the young to be enrolled in the Elementary and High School.
18. Iba (551 pop.)
  Iba is the name of a tree and its fruits. During World War II the place has no name but the area has plenty of trees bearing the same name, not planted but growing on its own. As the story goes, a Japanese soldier came to the place and asked for its name. An old man thinking the soldier was asking the name of the trees and their fruits answered Iba.
19. Inuntan (664)
  The barangay got its name from the nearby brook called Inongotan.
20. Loog (1,402 pop.)
  It’s name is derived from Loob, a man’s name. Under the Panlalawagan Falls is a cave where once upon a time a man named Loob lives. He was strong, big and very kind. He earned his living by catching wild pigs and deers which abound the area. Early settlers survived because of the meat supplied by Loob. When the settlement grew and the time to name the place, the people chose Loob in honor of the man who had been helping them. Loob became Loog due to error in verbal communication.
21. Mabini (2,429 pop.)
  Formerly, the name of the place was Pinugahan (meaning escaped from) Mabini, to honor our sublime paralytic hero. The place was named so because the area was where some Pulahans fighting the Americans escaped from their captors.
22. Magallanes (565 pop.)
  The common name is Guibaysayi (most beautiful woman). Its name came from the name of Ferdinand Magellan. Guibaysayi was originally given to Bungansakit, the name of the beautiful woman whereby the legend of the name Basey is entwined. When naming time came for the barrio that emerged, the honor for the “discoverer” of the Philippines overshadowed the memory of Bungansakit.
23. Manlilinab (231 pop.)
  No story on how the name came to be.
24. Del Pilar (893 pop.)
  The original name of the barangay was Quinabunglan. The word stemmed from the reaction of the early settlers ignoring the summons given by the leaders of the other bigger Barangay Dawa to be with them. The condition of being deaf in the local dialect, called “quinabunglan.” Later, the place was named Del Pilar in honor of our national hero, Gregorio del Pilar.
25. May-it (515 pop.)
  Its name was derived from the name of Ama-it tree. The place became a sitio of San Antonio.
26. Mongabong (317 pop.)
  The original settlers in the area built their homes on the banks of Mongabong River. In the local dialect “mongabong” is the name of the topmost portion of the roof of a house.
27. New San Agustin (468 pop.)
  Kanhuway is the common name. Kanhuway (“resting place”) because traveling people usually rest on this place. The place was first called “Guinkasang-an” or crossroad for a river goes to Bariwon and another river goes to Tunga and Cogon. As there were no fast boats then, the people either traveled by banca or by walking. Those who usually travel to Bariwon or Tunga rest at the place so it was called “Parahuwayan” and later shortened to Kanhuway.
28. Balud (Nouvelas Occidental)(1,238 pop.)
  The common name is Balud. It is taken from the name of a native bird. The barangay was also called “unat” from the long streets and “garden of flowers” for its beautiful blossoms everywhere. The place was also known for its beautiful people living in it. One day, a Spaniard came by and asked the pretty maidens the name of the place. As a girl heard the sound of a native bird, she answered Balud. So the name stuck and the people like it.
29.  San Fernando (Nouvelas Oriental) (1,541 pop.)
          The former name is Nouvelas Oriental. San Fernando was taken from the name of its Patron Saint. The area then was heavily forested. One of the places “Capitan Pandoy” (Mayor Fernando Macasaet) and his officials visited was Balud then they moved onward to the forest and rested at a house besides the Himbangan River. They saw a beautiful woman named Sisa. Capitan Pandoy courted the lady and they got married. He convinced the people in that area to move in one community. They built a chapel and brought a priest from Basey who in turn brought the image of San Fernando. The place was called Nouvelas in honor of the priest, Fr. Nicolas Nouvelas. But later changed it to Nouvelas Oriental, and to San Fernando.
30. Old San Agustin (Bariwon) (1,760 pop.)
  Bariwon is the common name of the barangay. It derived from the word “bariw” a name of a long-leafed grass woven into mats. Bariwon in waray denotes plenty of bariw. St. Agustin is the saint one prays to when enmeshed in the evil ways of life, repented and would want to enter the kingdom of heaven.
31. Panugmonon (627 pop.)
  The name came from the waray term “dugmon” meaning a spot where an animal gave birth. “Panugmonan” is a place where animals (mostly wild) usually give birth. When the Americans came and made records, the place became Panugmonon.
32. Pelit (627 pop.)
  The barangay got its name from the local term “pelit” or “malagkit” rice which are produced in the area and the fact that the area become very sticky during rainy days.
33. Baybay (Pob.) (782 pop.)
  The place got its name from the word seashore in the local dialect is “baybayon” or “ha may baybay.” So when Kapitan Badok, the first known leader of Basey divided the town into districts, the one by the sea was named Baybay. Barangay Baybay is the commercial center of the town.
34. Buscada (Pob.) (1,129 pop.)
  Its name comes from the Spanish word “bosque” meaning forest or ‘busca” which means to look for or to search. The word “buscada” is a derivative of the latter and means looked or has found. As the original settlement of Basey was Binongtu-an, the early settlers ravaged by the “moro” looked for a place which can provide a living and they found Buscada. The place is proud of its century-old cemetery, a place where early Basaynons were buried.
35. Lawa-an (Pob.) (850 pop.)
  Many years ago this place was a forested area, predominant of which is the Lawa-an tree. The area was cleared  by people living there and became known as “taga lawa-an.”
36. Loyo (Pob.) (1,369 pop.)
  According to oral history, Loyo gots its name from the people in what was before the main settlement, Buscada. One of the main livelihood of the settlers was fishing. The sea was just over the hill, the other side (loyo) of Buscada. So whenever one villager is asking for the whereabouts of another, he receives a reply of “a-adto ha loyo” meaning the other side of the hill. Loyo then became the name of the place. The landmark of Loyo is the Guintolian Hill, which served as the look-out to warn people of moro raiders.
37. Mercado (Pob.) (411 pop.)
  Mercado is the Spanish word for market – the trading center of the town before. During the early years there was a hill that separated the villages of Baybay and Loyo. This hill extends to the sea. When the Spaniards came and built the town church, the hill was leveled. Some vegetations mostly “lambayan” grew in the leveled area, and name “Plaza del Mar.” Soon settlers began to appear. They built berths for their boats to facilitate docking. The place became known as the embarkation point. Not long after, it became the trading area and a formal market was constructed. The name Mercado was thus formalized.
38. Palaypay (Pob.) (2,653 pop.)
  The name was taken from the palaypay plants that abound the area before it was populated. Palaypay is the name of the plants that thrived in the swamp-like places constantly under water by the new road. These are vine-like plants that cling to Pagatpat trees.
39. Sulod (Pob.) (776 pop.)
  In local dialect the term “sulod” mean “place inside or inner portion. The story goes that a newly-wed couple, Juana and Mamerto felt that their original home in Baybay was not safe for moro raiders. So, they intended to stay in-land from the shores to the forested area now known as Sulod.
40. Roxas (1,320 pop.)
  The place is commonly called Somerock. Earlier, it was called Cancoral because of the abundance of coral rocks used in road construction. Somerock is the crude translation of the name into English. The barangay produces the best “marundon” gabi because of fertile soil which are deep black soft loam.
41. Salvacion (1,502 pop.)
  The common name is Hinamok or Jinamoc. The name Salvacion comes from the barangay’s Patroness, Nuestra Sra. De la Salvacion. Hinamok comes from the combined name of a couple name Hina and Amok. JINAMOC, is an acronym, which used to be the US Joint Intelligence Naval and Military Operation Center during World War II.
42. San Antonio (2,584)
  Long time ago the place was called “Binatac.” It was the custom of early settlers to throw stones to whoever passes or visits the place (binabatac). So the people began calling the area as the place where they were “binatac.” During the Filipino-American War people living in the place decided to build a church. They chose San Antonio de Padua as their patron saint and the barangay began to be called San Antonio. The barangay was code named Camp 104 during the Second World War it became a recreation area for liberation forces. A trading post was established in the area where Americans and native barter goods. San Antonio is the biggest Barangay in Basey in terms of land area and population.
43. Sawa (986 pop.)
  The name was taken from the local term used for a python – sawa.
44. Serum (945 pop.)
  Serum in the local dialect means “dark; “serung” means under or beneath.
45. Sugca (251 pop.)
   In the native dialect "sagka" means to get off or climb to a higher level; Sugca is a corruption of the workd "sagka."
46. Sugponon (250 pop.)
  The word is the local term for a condition normally occurring at the mouth of the river where it meets; during high tides the the current is opposite the flow of water from the river. The place is where the Golden River meets the San Pedro Bay.
47. Tinaogan (1,270 pop.)
  Tinaogan is derived from the dialect “tinawagan.” Along the coast of San Juanico strait and at the foot of Mt. Danglay, a couple lived with two children as among the early settlers. There were no means of transportation except sailboat from other barangays which passes now and then. If the residents would like to go to Kankabato (now Tacloban) they would yell and call the sail boats for a ride. The sailboat people refer to the spot as the “place where they were called” or “tinatawagan” in waray. Later on it became Tinaogan.
48. Tingib (1,069 pop.)
The term is derived from the dialect “tinigib” or chiseled out. Barangay Tingib is between the two mountain ranges. Viewed from the sea, Tingib appears to be chiseled out of a long mountain range at its mid portion. The original settlers who came through the sea called the place “tinigib” out. Later, it became Tingib.
49. Villa Aurora (932 pop.)
  The other name of the place is Balilit, a name given a forest and/or a tree. Villa refers to a country house and Aurora is the rising light of morning or dawn. The place was named Villa Aurora to honor the rising sun which showers the village with warmth and vigor.
50. Binongtu-an (411 pop.)
  It was called “bongto” because this place was the early settlement of Basaynon. The early people of Basey started in this Barangay.
51. Bulao (1,099 pop.)
  Bulao was the name of a beautiful lady. Bulao was formerly Balilit, a sitio of Old San Agustin. The place was surrounded with ricefields and during harvests the people observe a tradition called “San Isidro Festival.” A couple there had a beautiful daughter with long brown hair. Numerous people came just to admire her beauty. People would often hear the young men say “let us go to Bulao.” From that, the name became Bulao.