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HISTORY OF CUARTERO, CAPIZ

BY: MARLOU ANTHONY T. CANDEL

INTRODUCTION Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat It George Santayana Peter N. Sterns stated that People live in the present. They plan for and worry about the future. History, however, is the study of the past. Given all the demands that press in from living in the present and anticipating what is yet to come, why bother with what has been? Given all the desirable and available branches of knowledge, why insist on a good bit of history? And why urge many students to study even more history than they are required to?... Our visit to the past will stand as ground for whatever endeavors we are to take in the future. This will serve as an inspiration- a guiding path- to where we want ourselves to lead us. History teaches us lessons that we can make use in our daily life. In celebration of its 75 year as municipality, it is high time to revisit the past and relearn how Cuartero, from dense forests, became one of the bastions of progress in the Province of Capiz. To fully understand the history of Cuartero, it is only but fitting to journey back to the time when the Island of Panay was still under the kingship of the pangulo of Sinugbuhan, Datu Polpulan, the father of Datu Timway Marikudo.
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The Sinugbuhan Tribe According to Aguilar (2000), after long years of reign, it was about time for Datu Polpulan to abdicate in favor of his son, Marikudo who was chosen because of his extraordinary strength, bravery and wit, in the condition, however, that he must marry first before the crown is given to him. Marikudo chose a poor girl named Maniwantiwan. The romance that developed between them did not win the approval of other members of the family. However, as the saying goes, love begets everything. The power of their love and their passion to make it work proved their detractors wrong, thus there was union of hearts and such marriage was well celebrated by the sakups. Marikudo was then proclaimed ruler of Sinugbuhan, his sakups were called ati. Some writers have interpreted these Atis as Negritos, other sources present evidence that they were not at all a dwarfed primitive people of Negrito type, but were rather tall, dark-skinned Indonesian type. These native Atis lived in villages of fairly well-constructed houses. They possessed drums and other musical instruments, as well as a variety of weapons and personal adornments, which were much superior to those known among the Negritos.

O.H. Beyer as quoted by F. Landa Jocano (1968) in the book the Sulod Society stressed that: The native inhabitants of Panay that time were peole called Atis, of very dark complexion. They were not all together primitive, since they possessed houses and domestic animals and practiced crude dry agriculture

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The same was held to be true as claimed by the descendants of this people during an interview conducted by Sacapao and Candel in relation to their undergraduate thesis entitled, Husay: the Indigenous Art of Settling Disputes among Panay-Bukidnon of Tapaz, Capiz.

From this description, and in oneness with H. O. Beyer, the researcher posited that the Sakups of Marikudo were actually the ascendants of the Panay Bukidnon in the central highlands of Panay. This assertion will contest the belief that our ascendants were Atis. The history of Panay Bukidnon or Sulodnon people of Central Panay tells us that their ancestors were once coastal dwellers and were good fishers. This assertion could be substantiated by their well known epic, Hinilawod. The epic Hinilawod, recounts the story of the exploits of three Sulodnon demigod brothers, Labaw Donggon, Humadapnon and Dumalapdap of ancient Panay. It would take about three days to perform the epic in its original form, thus, making it as one of the longest epics in the world (Jocano, 1968). Jocano (1968) further stated thatthe mountain people of Panay today were once coastal dwellersis borne out by the relative similarity of their social organization with that of the lowland dwellers and by their epic Hinilawod-which deals largely with the sea rather than with the mountains Manuscripts from the past would tell us that Marikudo was a kind ruler and is well-loved by his people. Through the years, Sinugbuhan lived in prosperity and peace except for some instances where Moros would raid the area to search for some foods and properties. The raiding of the Moros produced fears especially to women and children in the area. So, every time it happens, they are instructed to hide in a safe place and when the intruders are gone, to signal that everyones now safe, the local chief will sound the drums called Tambur and gong known as Agung (A Symposium on the Maragtas Held on the 27th of January, 1968). The raiding incident prompted the locals to hide in their place of comfort when the Ten Bornay Datus arrived to seek for shelter. The Barter of Panay According to Beyer, Steiger and Benitez (1929), the migration of the settlers from the collapsing Srivijayan Empire to Panay happened in this way: Datu Puti with wife Pinagpangan, led the northward expedition. With the flotilla were Datu Sumakwel with wife Kapinangan, Datu Dumangsil with wifeKabiling, Datu Bangkaya with wife Katurong, Datu Paiburong with wife Pabilaan, Datu Balkasusa, Datu Labay, Datu Dumalugdog, Datu Balinsusa, and Datu Padohinog with wife Tibongsapay. Sailing northward from Borneo along the coast of Palawan, the ten Datus crossed the intervening sea, and reached the island of Panay. They landed at the point, which is near the present town of San Joaquin. They had been able to reach the place directly because their small fleet was piloted by a sailor who had previously visited these regions on a ship engaged in commerce and trade.

''The fleet moved in swift tempo on shores of Borneo, resembling a row of beads as the loneliness of the itinerants was consoled by their enthusiasm of finding a land to settle permanently where peace, freedom and contentment would reign supreme,'' so went the tale about the fleeing datus

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One early afternoon before sunset, they skirted the southern peripheries of Buglas (Negros) andAninipay (Panay Island) and inched toward the delta of Sinugbuhan (Barangay Siwaragan with a river in its name in what is now San Joaquin, Iloilo) and proceeded to navigate inward to Andona creek just within the hamlet of Sinugbuhan...
Soon after the expedition had landed, the Borneans came in contact with the native people of the island, who were called Atis. Negotiations were conducted between the newcomers and the native Atis for the possession of a wide area of land along the coast, centering on the place called Andona, at a considerable distance from the original landing place. Some of the gifts of the Visayans in exchange of those lands are spoken of as being, first, a string of gold beads so long that it touched the ground when worn and, second, a salakot, or native hat covered with gold. The term (which survive in the present Hiligaynon language) for that necklace is Manangyad, from the Hiligaynon term sangyad, which means "touching the ground when worn".

There were also a variety of many beads, combs, as well as pieces of cloth for the women and fancifully decorated weapons for men. The sale was celebrated by a feast of friendship between the newcomers and the natives, following which the latter formally turned over possession of the settlement. Afterwards a great religious ceremony and sacrifice was performed in honor of the settlers' ancient gods, by the priest whom they had brought with them from Borneo. Following the religious ceremony, the priest indicated that it was the will of the gods that they should settle not at Andona, but rather at a place some distance to the east called Malandog (now a Barangay in Hamtik, Province of Antique, where there was both much fertile agricultural land and an abundant supply of fish in the sea. Some researchers contended that Marikudo moved to the Highlands or mountainous region of Panay which was presumed to be the present location of Jamindan, Capiz, a place adjacent to Mambusao. This transfer was made to give way to the new settlers who preferred to stay near coastlines. After the barter, the datus established the Madya-as Confederation. A celebration then ensued which included Marikudo, Maniwantiwan and their subjects. Several chieftains from neighboring islands were invited for a month long celebration (History of Mambusao, 2009). After nine days, the entire group of newcomers was transferred to Malandog. At this point, Datu Puti announced that he must now return to Borneo. He appointed Datu Sumakwel, the oldest, wisest and most educated of ten datus, as chief of the Panayan settlement. Having found the fulfillment of their quest, the Malays named the tall mountain that they saw in the island as Madia-as, meaning paradise. They subdivided the island into three political areas or sakops governed by three datus, namely: Hamtik (now Antique) under Datu Sumakwel, Akean (now divided into Aklan and Capiz) under Datu Bangkaya, and Irong-irong (now Iloilo) under Datu Paiburong. For several years, Kalibo, which was known then as Madia-on (meaning little paradise) also served as the capital of the Confederation. It was similarly located at the mouth of a river and quickly developed into an active trading port. Marikudo, however, set up his new government in Jamindan, Capiz.

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The Discovery of Cuartero

Binudhian

Datu Bankaya, not Sumakwel as stated in Agdahay Festival Souvenir (2006) and his men continued to explore for new places which are suitable for agricultural productions. They use bamboo rafts as means of transportation passing through the tricky waters of Panay River. These men reach the central plains of Panay. They found dense forests inhabited by some tropical animals, bats, rodents and some man eating animals. They began cutting down the big trees that paved the way for their homes. The early settlers established their settlements along the riverbanks. As other settlers came by the hundreds, the clearings were made wider. The establishment of their settlement along the river is intended so that transportation from one place to another could be easily reached by means of their "balangays" or bancas. In order to protect themselves from fierce animals, tribal quarrels and other enemies, they grouped themselves into "barangay", an organized community named after "balangay" and selected an elder as a chief. As the settlement expanded and widened, the settlers agreed to give a name to the place. The first name given was Binudhian, and then it was change to Mapanag, after a creek.

MAPANAG

The naming of place to Mapanag gives the researcher the idea that the original settlement was actually not in the present-day poblacion or town proper. It may be contended that the original Mapanag Settlement was actually located at Barangay Angub. Mapanag Creek is located at that barangay and no other creek of the same name is found in the poblacion which is located at the opposite side of the Panay River. The present-day location was chosen because of the emerging need for a vast area that will cater the growing number of inhabitants.

FONDA or URBIZTONDO?

People from neighboring places came to settle in the place. After a while, the name was change again to Fonda, meaning founder. The Barangay in these years is under the administration of Dumarao. Years passed and the town was named after the surname of a Spanish Governor General of the Philippines, Gen. Antonio Urbiztondo, and one time conqueror of the Moros of Jolo. This name is asserted in Cuartero Fiesta souvenir, history of the parish of San Antonio de Padua (1991) It is reported that during this period, the barangay leaders had an organized government held by a Chief or Kapitan. Due to their leadership and knowledge in running the local government, such personalities like Kapitan Tiago of Santiago Funcion, Kapitan Goyo or Gregorio Holipaz, Kapitan Bido or Buenvinido Florino, and a few local judge like Juez Mateo or Mateo Flotilde, were the early executives chosen by the natives. The residents of Urbiztondo found it very difficult to transact business in Municipality of Dumarao because of the distance and difficulty in traveling on ragged foot trails. The residents moved to become independent and establish their own municipal government but were

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unsuccessful. Tax collection was too small to run, finance and manage the affairs of the proposed municipality. The moves of the leaders were futile (Cuartero, Capiz Website,2009). Maybe at this point of time, Cuartero was wellknown with two names, Fonda and Urbiztondo.

CUARTERO Though still part of Dumarao, the leaders felt the need of having a parochial church, the people combined efforts and worked for the construction of the church, which was completed in 1890. The residents work under the "pintakasi" system where in they finished a span assigned to them in a designated time. The construction was under the supervision of the Spanish Agustinian Friars. The completed church had thick stonewalls taken from nearby and far barangays and municipalities through hard labor. The church was inaugurated on the same year when the barrio was recognized as a Parish by the Diocese of Jaro, Iloilo City, during the Pastorial visit of the Bishop of Jaro, Very Reverend Monsignor Mariano Cuartero, Who also officiated the first mass. In his honor and memory, the name Cuartero was given to the place and is known as such up to the present time (Cuartero, Capiz Website,2009). The coming of Mariano Cuartero in Urbiztondo to inaugurate the parish of San Antonio de Padua was a festivity that everyone celebrated. To honor his presence, the people consensually agreed to name the Place Cuartero. At this time, Cuartero became a tributary barangay of Dao

CONCERTED EFFORTS Years were counted when the effort to start the process of making Cuartero an independent town out of Dao commences. Businessman and influential residents such as Manuel Funa (a resident of Cuartero and one-time Vice Mayor of Dao), Pascual dela Torre, a Spaniard but resided in the place, Emilio Pimentel,benito Onas, Emilio Fajariillo, Jose Holipas, Angle Faciolan, Primitivo Alba, Silvesrte Alba, Martin Funa, Zoilo Pimemtel, Salvador Hallegado, Salvador Villagracia, Marina Hundana, Caridad dela Cruz, Anthonio Hurtada, Salvador Almonzor, Ramon Miguel Sr., Silvestre Flotilde, Juan Veto, Emilio Himan, Leopoldo Habana, to name few, met and offered their free services and knowledge for the welfare of the residents. This group of intellectuals created a committee requesting for the separation of Cuartero from Dao, to be sent to the President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, His Excellency Manuel L. Quezon (Cuartero Agdahanay Festival Souvenir, 2008).

FRUTION OF THE EFFORTS The Municipality of Cuartero was formally inaugurated on January 1, 1939 with Honorable Manuel Funa at First Alcalde Mayor and Honorable Pascual dela Torre as Vice Mayor. The first elected Mayor was Honorable Rafael Villagracia while Leopoldo Habana was his Vice Mayor. The first Councilors were: Hon. Emilio Pimentel, Hon. Victoriano Mjiquel, Hon. Emilio Fajarillo, Hon. Benito Onas, Hon. Braulio Derafera and Hon. Silvestre Flotilde. Today, Cuartero is emerging as booming and progressive municipality. Its people continue to maintain the ties among them to preserve the spirit of love, peace and unity.

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SOURCES: Candel M.A, Sacapao, et al. Husay: he Indigenous Art of Settling Disputes Among PanayBukdinon of Tapaz, Capiz, Undergraduae Thesis. West Visayas State University, Iloilo City, 2012 Lisbo, et al History of Cuartero, Agdahanay Festival 2008 Souvenir. Cuartero, Capiz: Makinaugalingon Printing, 2008 Lisbo,et al. Parish of San Antonio de Padua, Cuartero Fiesta Souvenir, Cuartero, Capiz; 1991 Jocano, F. L. Sulod Society, University of the Philippines Printing Press,, Quezon City, Philippines: 1968 G. Nye Steiger, H. Otley Beyer, Conrado Benitez, A History of the Orient, Oxford: 1929, Ginn and Company, p. 120. Readings in Philippine Literature, Aguilar; Rex Bookstore, Manila, Philippines: 2000 History of Mambusao, Capiz. bisayangmanlalakbay (blogger). Retrieved from http://mambusaocapiz.blogspot.com/2011/08/history-of-mambusao-capiz.html, June 25, 2013 History of Mambusao. Vista, Toto. Retrieved from http://mypadawanview.wordpress.com/2011/04/03/re-visiting-the-origin-of-the-name-mambusaomambuso-capiz/, June 25, 2013. History of Capiz. Retrieved from http://www.capiz.gov.ph/. June 27, 2013 History of Panay. http://www.camperspoint.com/History-of-Panay-and-its-towns, June 2013

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