Part One – The Growth Of Bacon Under The Spanish Rule
Chapter One – It’s Organization and Early Development
How The Town Got It's Name:
After the conversion to Christianity and adhesions to the Spanish Government of the natives settling on the southeastern end of the Bicol Peninsula, then known as Casiguran, a missionary settlement was established in 1600. This territory extends from the central part of the present site of the province of Sorsogon to the shores of the Pacific on its northern boundary.
In 1609, Rev. Fr. Felix Huertas, the missionary administrator of Casiguran, zealous in his duties towards his “flock”, visited the valley on the northern part of this territory wherein he found, on and near the shores an abundant growth of native plants called “Bacong”*. It was this missionary father who gave the name Bacong to this place after the name of these plants. To make the pronunciation easy and smooth, the g at the end was discarded by the Spaniards who came later. The name has been pronounced and written as Bacon since then.
Bacon Became A Separate Missionary Parish:
In the year 1617, the Visita de Bacon ceased to be a part of her mother town, Casiguran. A separate missionary parish or pueblo was established here under the Roman Catholic Church, with Rev. Fr. Antonio de San Francisco, its founder, as the first minister of the church.
With the natives to supply both labor and materials, the first place of worship was constructed under the direction of the missionary father. The church was dedicated to the Ntra. Sra. De La Anunciacion, the patron saint of the place to this day.
The Discovery Of Abaca:
Since its establishment as a missionary parish until 1753, the friars of the Franciscan Order who held the administration of the parish did much in the development of Bacon. One of the most notable among those Franciscan friars was Rev. Fr. Pedro Espallargas. During his incumbency, this friar discovered abaca plants growing abundantly in Gogon, a sitio in the southern part of the town, about a kilometer from the center of the Poblacion.
He instructed the natives how to extract, manufacture and how to use the fiber. At the start, the edges of the frying pans were used to extract the fibers. Later, an improvised instrument call hag-ot in the vernacular, replaced the crude ones used earlier.
The fibers were woven into sinamay cloth especially by the women. The cloth was used for clothing by men, women, and children. This was hammered and soaked in lime to soften the cloth before using it. At times the cloth was dyed to obtain the color desired. There were local dyes used for the purpose. Looms for weaving sinamay cloth are still in use in many homes in the rural areas of this municipality.
The abaca industry grew to be an important one. It contributed greatly to the economic progress of the municipality, in particular, and of the country, in general. Prior to 1669 when the extraction (hag-otan) was introduced, the abaca was wild, unknown and without any economic utility to the natives.
Bacon Became a Pueblo Civil:
In 1754, by virtue of a decree issued by the Spanish government through the governor of the province of Albay, Manuel Valenzuela, the Mision de Bacon was declared Pueblo Civil de Bacon under the province of Albay, with Juan Elias (later Dia) as its first gobernadorcillo.This gave Bacon its legal existence as a newly-born daughter of Albay, which was conceived by its founding as a missionary Parish on the initiative of Rev. Fr. Antonio de San Francisco.
The Administration Of The Parish Of Bacon Given To Filipino Clergy:
After a constructive leadership and tutorship for about one hundred seventy seven years (1617-1794) the Franciscan fathers left the administration of the parish of Bacon to the Filipino clergy. Rev. Fr. Rafael Benavente, in representation of the Franciscan Order, handed the parish to the first Filipino priest to head it, Rev. Fr. Pedro Licup, in July, 1794.
To be continued.
*Bacong belongs to the lily family. The fiber is white with spots of blue at the pistil. The petals are long and bend downwards. One can hardly notice its fragrance, which is mild and sweet unless he is close to the flower itself. The leaves are poniard-like, almost as long and as big as the leaves of any ordinary “lirio”, but thicker. The natives call this “Bacong.”
Friday, February 15, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Love is patient and kind.
Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud.
Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others.
Love does not count up wrongs that have been done.
Love is not happy with evil but is happy with the truth.
Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always remains strong.
Love never ends. There are gifts of prophecy, but they will be ended.
There are gifts of speaking in different languages, but those gifts will stop.
There is the gift of knowledge, but it will come to an end.
The reason is that our knowledge and our ability to prophesy are not perfect.
But when perfection comes, the things that are not perfect will end.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man I stopped those childish ways.
It is the same with us. Now we see a dim reflection, as if we were looking into a mirror, but then we shall see clearly.
Now I know only a part, but then I will know fully, as God has known me.
So these three things continue forever: faith, hope, and love.
And the greatest of these is Love.
Friday, February 01, 2008
Lying close to the typhoon belt and bounded by the Pacific waters on its northeastern part, Bacon is often visited by typhoons, some of which are very destructive. These, together with other catastrophes and the effects of last World War, caused not only the loss of human lives and property, but also the destruction and loss of historical records and other valuable works of literature and art.
In answer to the need of reconstructing the history of Bacon, the author has drawn freely from her personal interviews with as many old natives, veterans of the Revolution and of the last World War, guerillas, government officials both past & present as she could possibly approach, and from remnants of records of past administration especially those under the Spanish Regime by the late Miguel B. Ramirez, left in the hands of the late Pablo Deocareza whom the author interviewed in his last days.
The author believes that there are still important details that may yet be added to this. Whatever suggestions, additions, and/or subtractions reliable persons can offer would be most welcome.
This history contains data regarding the establishment of the town; how it came to be so named; its founders the key officials and leaders of the community since its organization together with their names & tenure. An attempt is also made here to record data on historical sites and ruins of old buildings and structures, as well as important facts, incidents or events that happened during the different periods of its history. Destruction of lives and property as well as institutions during the wars (1896-1900 and 1941-1945); also those caused by fires, typhoons and other calamities like epidemics that occurred within the periods covered by this history, together with measures and accomplishments towards rehabilitation and reconstruction after World War II, are likewise included here.
In the preparation of this history, the author gratefully acknowledges her indebtedness to those persons who aided her in many ways: to the late Pablo Deocareza the first elected Presidente Municipal under the Jones Law, who although bedridden, did not deny his valuable help and guidance, and his permission for the use of the personal notes and records regarding the history of Bacon from 1600 up to and including the early part of American regime, together with what remained of his personal copy of the “Historia Cronologica del Pueblo de Bacon” by the late Miguel B. Ramirez; to Federico Empleo for some information he contributed regarding the early history of the place, and for his English translation of the “Historia Cronologica del Pueblo de Bacon”; to Antonio Ansus for permission to use his “Capitania”; to Anacleto Sta. Ana, Faustino Deyto, Dalmacio Ariate and other veterans of the revolution; to Martina Bio Vda. De Serrano, first Filipino Principal to head the first schools established here by the Americans; to Esperidion Garcia and the late Julian Lacre, both former teachers and past officials; to Leon Ayo , appointed Municipal mayor of the Free Government during the Japanese Occupation Period, for his valuable notes regarding the events that took place during his term; to the late Capt. Dalmacio Reyes, veteran of the last World War; to her own brother, Daniel Dooc and to a host of other guerillas who helped in the Resistance Movement; to her fellow teachers and to everyone who gave her bits of information on the different data included in this history.
To be continued