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HISTORY OF CANDONI

Candoni is a 4th class municipality that is centrally located in the southern part of
Negros Occidental. It is 131 kilometers away from the provincial capital, the bustling
city of Bacolod. The town, known to be the center of the Tabla Valley settlement, was
formerly a component Barrio of the Municipality of Cauayan.

The name Candoni was derived from several sources one of which is an
account in the story of Dionesia (Dune as she was commonly called), a beautiful
maiden who preferred to die rather than marry a man of her parent’s choice. Later on,
whenever someone would ask “who owns this place?” (Referring Tablas, the early
name of Candoni) the inhabitants would reply Kan Dune. Meaning kay Doni. Another
version is based on a folklore told by the “bukidnons” that, Candonay a fairy living in a
big lunok, a tree believed to be inhabited by mythical creatures, was allegedly seen by
some of the settlers to be dressed on a pink gossamer gown with bandana on her hair.
The third version is about Dionesio who during the frontier days was residing in
Caningay. When passerby from Talacdan were asked on where to go they would
answer Kan Doni. Whichever is true of the versions does not bother any Candonians
as long as the place where they reside has already established its name. Candoni.

Sometime in 1935, forty eight men with unwavering determination and


impassioned desire to have a piece of land that they could call their own, together, with
three constable escorts provided by then Lt. Dtor, Station Commander of Isabela,
explored the wilderness of Tabla Valley. They started clearing a trail from Kalantukan
(now barangay Tabu), Dancalan, Ilog, Negros Occidental towards what is now
Candoni. There they established the Tabla Valley Settlement (with their organization
they called themselves Tableños) beside the Tabla River, so named from the
abundance of Tablas (Spanish word for Timber) in the area.

The promising result of the exploration provided encouragement to them and


their leader, Santiago H. Diego, to hear audience to Malacañang on February 19, 1935
to request then Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce Eulogio Rodriguez to delimit
the forest zone in Southern Negros into an Agriculture area preferably to open
settlements site in that vast forest cover. Sometime in the late 1936 the Tableños held
conference with then Negros Occidental Governor Emilio Gaston with Provincial Board
Member

Amado Parreño Sr. about the prospect of a road development for Tabla Valley
Settlement.

By January 1937 thousands of men started paving the road from now Barangay
Tabu, Ilog, Negros Occidental to Candoni while the construction of a nine (9) room
school building was going on in the settlement site. In the same year classes were
opened for the children of Tabla Valley Settlement. In August 1937 President Manuel L.
Quezon approved the sub-division of Tabla Valley. He ordered Executive secretary
Jorge Vargas to instruct Secretary Rodriguez to prepare a plan to survey the Tabla
Valley forest zone.

In March 1938 eight hundred ten thousand (Php 810,000.00) pesos was
released by the national government for the improvement of the road to Candoni and
following that allotment later one hundred seventy thousand (Php 170,000.00) pesos
was released for the survey delimiting the forest zone in Tabla Valley.

In April 1938 Governor Valeriano Gatuslao who replaced Gov. Gaston after the
latter’s demised arrived at Tabla Valley Settlements accompanied by Director of Bureau
of Lands Dir. Jose P. Dans who visited the site purposely to assess the area for a
possible implementation of the survey. Three weeks after Dir. Dans left a special
surveying party headed by Engr. Enrique Roxas arrived to conduct the proposed
survey.

Candoni being the settlement in the middle of the outlaying Tabla Valley
settlements become the center of trade and commerce of the Cooperative (Tableño).
Its growth was acknowledged by the town of Cauayan and later on the Municipality
absorbed Candoni as its component barrio/barangay.

Time and again, as the settlers did not just rest satisfied that Candoni will remain
as a barrio of Cauayan, they sent representatives to the provincial government of
Negros Occidental and even to Malacañang to lobby for the making of Candoni into a
municipality. Finally, as a result of continuous appeal, Candoni was declared a
municipality on August 22, 1958 through Executive Order No. 314 of the late President
Carlos P. Garcia. The boundaries of the New Town that were based on resolution
numbers 40 and 989 both series of 1958 of the municipal council of Cauayan and
Provincial Board of Negros Occidental respectively were determined by the chief of

survey party no. 14-A of the Bureau of Lands. It was noted however, large productive
portions of Tablas that were proposed by the Tableños to be part and parcel of the
newly created municipality were retained by the adjacent municipalities.

Three years later, on August 12, 1961, the municipality of Candoni was
inaugurated. Thankful Tableños celebrated the birth of a new town with roasted calf in
the presence of Gov. Gatuslao who attended the inauguration. Santiago H. Diego along
with other Tableños have passed away and missed that momentous event. Their lucky
predecessors who survived them reaped the fruits of their toils. Benjamin R. Nava was
designated acting Mayor; along with other acting municipal officials namely Vice Mayor
Lorenzo Gentugao and councilors Madaleno Lambot; Salustio N. Pajarillo; Antero
Estoperez and Leonardo Monserate. At the time of the inception of Candoni as
component town of Negros Occidental it was classified as a 5 th class municipality.

As the first local chief executive of a new born municipality, Mayor Benjamin R.
Nava absorbed the burden of implementing its development programs and
improvement of the lives of its constituents and the community with its meager budget.
Mayor Nava has constructed the permanent Municipal Hall and transferred the Public
Market in its proposed site. He has provided the people of Candoni the necessary
health services by constructing a health center at the proximity of the Municipal Hall.
Establishment of schools in every barangay, and opening of municipal streets and
feasible access to the Component barangays of Candoni were among his
accomplishments before his term ended in 1986 when then President Ferdinand E.
Marcos was deposed from office after the EDSA Revolution spearheaded by then
President Cory C. Aquino.

Dr. Arturo Dela Cruz being the highest government officer in the municipality
replaced Benjamin R. Nava as Mayor of Candoni right after the DILG declared that
incumbent government officials will be removed from office and will be replaced by
Officers-in-charged. By 1987 Ramon T. Gentilezo assumed office upon order of the
DILG secretary. Mayor Gentilezo has undertaken beautification programs for the
municipality, improved the collection of business tax by drafting a business tax initative
that become basis for the present tax ordinance and established rapport to Barangay
officials concerning their programs and projects. At the time of the election period he
was replaced by Mayor Joaquin Gayamo.

On the first national and local election after martial law was held in 1988, Quirico
G. Manzano bested all Candidates for Mayoralty in Candoni. The second elected
Mayor of the municipality of Candoni has ended the transitory period of the local
Government Unit with assigning OIC’s in every offices of the government after the fall
of the Marcos regime.

Mayor Quirico G. Manzano, improved the structure of the seat of his


government by extending the space of the Municipal Hall. He established an extension
High School of Caningay National High School in Candoni Poblacion which by now
became the Quirico G. Manzano Memorial National High School located at Brgy. West,
Candoni, Negros Occidental. Desirous to improve the course of the environment, he
started planting trees at the back of the municipal hall and the perimeter of the Public
plaza purposely to let his fellow Candonians experience the cool air from its mini-forest
when these trees were grown up. In his preference for education at the early age of a
child, it was also during his leadership that Day Care Centers were established and
strengthened in every component barangays of Candoni. To improve the health
services of the municipality, a Health Center was erected at its proposed site. Mayor
Manzano has received his mandate from the people for a second term however all his
dreams for the bright future of Candoni was aborted when he passed away after he
suffered a heart attack. He was replaced by Vice Mayor Juan E. Etabag in his
remaining days in office.

Mayor Etabag followed up the programs and projects left behind by Mayor
Quiorico G. Manzano. Before he stepped down from office after the 1995 election, he
has improved and expanded the concrete pavement of the Public Plaza, when
Jechonias G. Manzano assumed office in July 1, 1995.

The new mayor was once a Brgy. Captain of Brgy. Payauan and President of the
Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) which he represented in the Sangguniang
Bayan of the Municipality of Candoni. One of the youngest mayors of his time
Jechonias G. Manzano propelled the municipality of Candoni into an unprecedented
improvements with the construction of the Municipal Sports and Cultural Center in the
Public Plaza that stand witness to his athletic inclination and development of cultural
heritage for the Candonians. Mayor Manzano provided considerable sum to Municipal
Agriculture office to fund his food security initiative and to assist the farmers in
Candoni. He pursued the

concreting of municipal streets that was once started by his late father, Quirico G.
Manzano. It was in his term that Day Care Centers were duplicated in every barangays
and the allowances of the Day Care Workers together with that of the Barangay Health
Workers (BHW) were increased. Bent on programs that Candoni could have a heavy
equipments for its infrastructure projects, he solicited loan proposal to the depository
bank of the local Government Unit (LGU) to purchase one (1) Loader Backhoe, such
initiative succeeded. The good mayor improved the natural landscape of the perimeter
of the Municipal building and for convenience of the constituents of Candoni the
pathways in front of the Municipal Hall was cemented.

It was during the administration of Mayor Jechonias G. Manzano that Health


services was prioritized with the purchase of adequate health instruments and
accessories including the acquisition of municipal ambulance.

Numerous school buildings were constructed in the component barangays of the


municipality and in the Central school. Trade and commerce flourished as considerable
merchants and businessmen sprouted in Candoni, Another sign that farming has also
improved.

One of the greatest achievements of the administration of Mayor Manzano was


the establishment of “Pabalhas sa Tablas” festival which became the trademark of
Candoni among the festivities in the island. More developments for Candoni could
have been done by Mayor, Manzano however, the provision of the law must be
complied thus, he ended his third term on June 30, 2004.

The first lady mayor of Candoni was none other than the wife of former Mayor
Jechonias G. Manzano. Liberty G. Manzano assumed office on July 1, 2004 and hold
the reign of the office until June 30, 2007 without submitting herself for reelection. The
Lady Mayor improved what has been started by her father in law that was kept inviolate
by her husband. It was during her term that a tertiary school was opened at Candoni.
Bereft with instructor for the newly established college, she assigned her qualified
personnel in the Local Government Unit to teach part time basis at Negros State
College of Agriculture (NSCA) Extension in the municipality of Candoni.

She has replaced the outmoded structural design of the municipal hall roofing
with the modern day architectural concept. Like her predecessors who aimed for the

development of her municipality especially the improvement of road network she


contracted a loan from Land Bank of the Philippines Kabankalan Branch for the
acquisition of one (1) unit grader. That move benefited the municipality at its best.
When her term ended, she gracefully handed over the reins of the municipal
government to the next municipal mayor.

Espousing with clear prolixity that being the grandson of Santiago H. Diego his
obsession for Candoni was no less than his grandfather and banking on in his
experience in America Mayor Cicero D. Borromeo kept on telling the people of Candoni
that he will bring to Candoni the kind of development he had seen in the United States.
In his desire to erect the flag of Nations in front of the Municipal Hall, to emulate the
scene in New York, he cut down all the trees that had been there ever since and
demolished the landscape thereat.

While his administrations was changing the wooden flooring of the Municipal
Hall into a concrete one, he kept on cutting trees at the back of the municipal building
and those that are along the tracks of the municipal streets. The final phase of the
Municipal Hall was started by him when the construction of the extension of the lower
portion of the building was implemented.

Obsessed by the desire to make a name on his own accomplishment he


constructed another police headquarter just a stone throw apart from each other in the
same area comprising the compound where the Municipal Hall is located.

Engrossed by the attraction made by the “Pabahulay sa Barangay” staged


during the festival of Barangay West, Candoni, he designed the same form of festivity
in “Dinagyaw” come the next fiesta of Candoni.

One notable achievement attributable to Mayor Borromeo is the drafting and


making into law the Comprehensive Drainage Plan for the municipality of Candoni. In
the final stage of his term he suffered stroke. He was succeeded by Vice Mayor Jimmy
M. Tiaga for more or less two months. Mayor Borromeo returned to work until the next
election. This time a new former mayor of Candoni has came back.

Profile
Distance from Bacolod: 137.7 kilometers
Land Area: 19,170.00 hectares
Classification: 4th Class
No. of Barangays: 9 Barangays
Population: 19,987 (May 1, 2000) – 21,142 (2005 Projection)
Language: Hiligaynon/Ilonggo/Cebuano/English is spoken and understood

Introduction
Candoni was derived from the native phrase Kan Dune, which means belonging to Dune, a legendary beautiful
maiden named Dionesia who committed suicide after being forced by her parents to marry a man she did not love.

Formerly a barrio of the Municipality of Cauayan, Candoni started as the center of the Tabla Valley Settlement
founded in 1935 by Santiago H. Diego, a prominent man from the Municipality of Isabela. He led a group of settlers
with a pioneering spirit and prompted by the desire to have a piece of land they could call their own. Pooling their
resources and organizing themselves into a cooperative they called Tablenos, the settlers started clearing the valley
starting from where the town is now located. They toiled the forests enduring hardships, but many of them died of
malaria.

Their efforts were noticed by the Provincial Government who supported them, starting with Gov. Emilio Gaston to
Gov. Valenciano Gatuslao, who along with then Speaker Gil Montilla, helped them appeal to President Manuel Roxas
in Malacanang for tangible government aid, which came in the form of the road from Dancalan, Ilog to Candoni,
following the trail blazed by the Tablenos.

Candoni was finally declared a municipality on August 22, 1958 through Executive Order No. 314 signed by President
Carlos P. Garcia. It was inaugurated on August 12, 1961, with Benjamin R. Nava as its first acting mayor.

Recent history of Candoni again showed its people’s struggle, this time, against the turmoils brought about by the
insurgency problem. Fed up with being caught in the crossfire of battles between rebels and government forces, the
people of Sitio Cantomanyog in Brgy. Haba of the town declared their area as a “Zone of Peace”, the first in the
country ever to be declared as such by the residents composed of some 40 families, and this policy is respected by
both rebels and government troops.

How to Get There


Candoni is located in the southern part of Negros Occidental. It is approximately three-and-a-half hour drive from
Bacolod City aboard a public utility vehicle and about two hours and 45 minutes on a private car. From Bacolod City,
buses are available at Bacolod South Terminal. From Kabankalan City, one can take the public utility jeepneys going
to this town.

Famous Landmark
Sit-an Cave is a natural marvel that extends about one hundred fifty meters from its entrance to its hindmost part
which resembles a church-like cavern with cool natural pool with overflowing water ranging from knee-high to
waistline depth that forms an underground stream running along the columns of stalactites that hung like a pendant
from its roof.

Festival
Pabalhas sa Tablas. The concept of “Pabalhas sa Tablas” originated from the actual history of Candoni, when a
group of settlers decided to look for a land they can call their own.