Monday, January 17, 2011

Bataan Diary(Balanga)

BALANGA                                                      “The Capital City”

The CITY OF BALANGA is the capital of Bataan. Formerly a visita (barrio) of Abucay town, it was established as a regular mission (town) of the Dominican Order in its Provincial Chapter on April 21, 1714. It was declared as a vicariate on April 18, 1739 under the patronage of St. Joseph, Husband of Mary.
     Upon the establishment of Bataanas a separate province from Pampanga in 1754, Spanish Governor General Manuel Arandia made Balanga as the provincial capital due to its favorable location, being at the center of the new territorial jurisdiction. From 1906 to 1911, however, Balanga lost its “capital” title after Governor Lorenzo Zialcita (1906-1907) made Orani as the new center of Bataan. Even the succeeding governor, Pedro Rich of Samal, retained Orani as the provincial capital. The said title was only returned to Balanga in 1911 during the administration of Governor MARIANO ROSAURO (1911-1913), a resident of Barangay Ibayo.
      The municipality became a component city on December 30, 2000 through the initiative of then Congressman ENRIQUE T. GARCIA JR. and former City Mayor ALBERT S. GARCIA.
     Balanga is situated approximately at 14 degrees 15’ and 15 degrees 60’ N latitude and 120 degrees 45’ and 120 degrees 10’ E longitude, in the mid-eastern part of Bataan. It is bounded to the north by Abucay, to the south by Pilar, to the east by Manila Bay and to the west by the mountains of Bagac and Morong. It is located some 124 kilometers away from Manila and can be reached via two major roads -- the Bataan National Road and the Roman Expressway. It is about 31.2 nautical miles across the bay from Manila and can be reached through the Orion Port, a 10-minute drive from Balanga.  
     The city covers an area of 11,163 hectares, making it the third largest community in the province. It has a recorded population of 83,643 in 2005 as per SWD record, about 12 percent of the total population of the province. . The capital city has 25 barangays.
     The city’s central business district is located in the Poblacion area which has been experiencing a tremendous increase in business activities for the past two decades. As a result, the demand for corporate and retail developments continues to grow.
     Balanga is one of the richest naturally-endowed areas in the province. Its rich alluvial plains have contributed to its growth and agricultural economy. Agriculture has always been its chief industry. Its resources come mostly from palay production, sugarcane, corn, coconut, fruits and vegetables. Fishing also provides a steady source of income for the inhabitants. Fish products like milkfish, tilapia, shrimps, prawns, crabs, oysters and other shelled seafood are abundant in Balanga.
     Balanga had its humble beginnings. When Fr. Christopher Salvatierra, the first Dominican friar to set foot in Bataan in 1587, surveyed the vast area from Orani to Orion, he found several established communities in Balanga. In all, he discovered 30 communities thriving in the area already known as Partido de Batan. He and his other brethrens began spreading the Gospel among the natives. The friars built the first church in Abucay in 1588. Other visitas, to include Balanga, were also established within the first 100 years of the Spanish colonization.
     After the creation of Morong, Samal and Orion as regular towns, Balanga and Orani were also established as formal municipalities on April 21, 1714. A church was established in Balanga a couple of years before it was declared as a vicariate under the patronage of St. Joseph, Husband of Mary. One of the oldest provincial government buildings in the country was erected in Balanga in 1729.
     In 1801, Pilar, a distant barangay of Balanga, became a regular town through the initiative of the Secular Clergy.
    Balanga had its glory days. It became a progressive and one of the most exciting towns in the entire Luzon Island from the Spanish time up to the last years of the American period. Those glorious days came to an end in 1941 when Japanese bombers and infantrymen battered the town to bits and pieces. The Bataan Capitol, municipal hall, schools, and beautiful houses around the town plaza were razed to the ground during the fierce battles in Bataan. Even the Roman Catholic Church was severely damaged.
     Reconstruction of the province, specifically Balanga, became a monumental task immediately after the war. Little by little, Balanga has risen from the rubbles. Today, it serves as a catch basin for industrial growth areas in the province due to its vast resources and services. Cityhood came to Balanga on December 30, 2000.
     Balanga has two major water tributaries, the Talisay and Cataning Rivers. Talisay River is considered the biggest and longest, snaking for more than 20 kilometers between Balanga and Pilar, and finally flowing into the Manila Bay. During rainy season, however, the town center and the coastal barangays submerged in knee deep water.
     Balanga City was adjudged the 2008 “Most Business-Friendly” local government unit, a project of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce, Inc.

Origin
     Two old books made mention how Balanga got its name. In the book, “Economic and Historical Sketch of Bataan,” author Eulogio Balan Rodriguez, one-time National Librarian of the Philippines, stated that:

     “…The origin of the word ‘Balanga’ is traced to the Tagalog word ‘balanga,’ a kind of pot made of clay used to cook fish in. The place was named after it in view of the fact that pottery is the best product of the people and it was the best of its kind that could be found.

     Victor de Leon, former acting schools superintendent ng Bataan in 1953, mentioned in his book “History of the Bataan Province the following:

     “…This town had since been known by the name “Balanga.’ This name was derived from ‘balanga,’ a name given to a native wide-mouthed earthen pot.”

    Eulogio Balanga and Victor de Leon wrote the same thing and they did not mention the word “bangaas the origin of the capital city.
     Additional information suggested that “banga” is how BulakeƱos called their clay pots. The old movie “Banga ni Zimadar,” released by the Premiere Productions in 1953, clearly identified “banga” as a kitchen utensil used in fetching water.
     But “balanga,” “palayok” and “banga” mean the same thing. They are all clay pots or kitchen utensils used in cooking or fetching water. They are seldom used nowadays due to the advent of aluminum and/or stainless pots, as well as the dependable “automatic rice cooker.”
     Despite the statements of E.B. Rodriguez and V. De Leon, the “Lupong Pangkasaysayan” or Balanga Historical Committee stated in their book “Balanga, Noon at Ngayon” (published in 2003) that:

                          “…Ang pangalang ‘Balanga,’ ayon sa karaniwang paniniwala, ay hango sa salitang Tagalog na ‘banga,’ isang uri ng lutuan na yari sa putik. Gamit din ito noon sa pagsalok at pag-iimbak ng tubig. Sa pagdaan ng panahon ay naging ‘balanga’ din ito.”

     It was clear that the members of the “Lupong Pangkasaysayan ng Balanga” were not aware of the books published by National Librarian Eulogio B. Rodriguez and Victor de Leon of the Department of Education. They changed the legend of Balanga and have the guts to say that the story was already authenticated. They were really adamant to admit their fault.
     E. Rodriguez made mention that “balanga” was of Sanskrit origin but no longer being used even in its own country of origin, Indonesia. “Balanga,he insisted was the original name of clay pots used to cook fish in. He did not mention that it was also used for fetching water.
     “Tapayan” on the other hand, is a bigger balanga and was and is still being used in rural areas for storing food staples or water.
     These utensils were brought to the country by the early Malayan settlers. They were used by the natives even before the Spaniards discovered the Philippines.
     It is believed that even though pottery initially prospered in Manila, pots made in Balanga became well-known and were very saleable because they were a lot different from those manufactured in Manila, Bulacan and Pampanga.
     For one, pots made in the neighboring provinces came from pure wet clay.
     Pots manufactured in Balanga, however, were a mix of wet clay, powdered lime and other minerals. The lime, a component used in cement-making, made the Balanga pots sturdier and harder to break.
     The Chinese and Japanese traders were believed to have taught the natives of Balanga the right process of pottery-making. It was the reason why Balanga potmakers came to be known as the best makers of clay pots in this part of the country.
     The industry of potmaking in Balanga prospered up until the American Occupation. The introduction of potter’s wheel, turntable shaping, rolling, cutting, piercing and finishing tools made potmaking a lot easier. 

A Legend
     Another legend suggested that Balanga was named after Fr. Pedro de Balanga, the Dominican friar who allegedly initiated the establishment of Balanga as a visita of Abucay. Fr. Balanga arrived in Bataan in 1587 together with three other Dominican priests named Fr. Juan Ormaza de Santo Tomas, Fr. Santa Rita and Fr. Eduarte. Fr. Pedro was reportedly the first priest assigned in Balanga. After establishing contact with the natives settled on the banks of Talisay River, he also built the first chapel in an area known today as Puerto Rivas. It became known as Mission del Padre Pedro de Balanga.
     A check however with the Instituto de Cervantes (Spanish Embassy in Manila) revealed that Balanga is an unheard family name in Spain. It is also an unheard Spanish word.



Municipal Mayors from 1901-2007
 (Reconstructed List)

No.   Mayor                               Vice Mayor                        Secretary                               Year
                1     Tomas B. Gallardo*                     --                                 --                                    1901-1903
                                 Angel Mendoza*                  --                                    1903-1905
                2     Angel Mendoza                            --                                --                                    1905-1907
                3     Antonio Tuason Sr.                      --                                --                                    1907-1909
                4     Amando de Leon                          --                           Manuel Banzon Sr.                 1910-1912
                5     Andres de Leon                            --                           Domingo Valero                     1912-1916
                6     Jose P. Banzon                            --                                 --                                    1916-1919
                7     Venancio Banzon                         --                            Jose Banzon                          1919-1922
                       Venancio Banzon                         --                            Jose Banzon                          1922-1925
                       Venancio Banzon                         --                            Jose Banzon                          1925-1928
                8     Antonio Tuason Sr.            Jose N. Gonzales                 Domingo Valero                    1928-1931
9     Venancio Banzon               Jose N. Gonzales                 Jose Banzon                          1931-1934
10    Mariano Batungbacal         Jose N. Gonzales                 Pedro Gonzales                      1934-1937
11    Mariano Herrera                Jose Gonzales                     Pedro Gonzales                      1938-1941
       Mariano Herrera                Geronimo Roman                Pedro Gonzales                      1941-1942
12    Mariano Batungbacal*             -none-                         Emilio Austria                       1942-1943
13    Numeriano Quindoy*              -none-                         Emilio Austria                       1943-1944
14    Carlos Y. Gonzales*+             -none-                        Graciano Pastorfide                   1944-1945
15    Mariano Herrera*             Jose B. Banzon                   Pedro Gonzales                      1945-1946
16    Jose N. Gonzales*           Jose B. Banzon                   Pedro Gonzales                       1946-1947
17    Graciano Pastorfide*        Jose B. Banzon                   Pedro Gonzales                       1947-1947
18    Pedro R. Dizon              Silvino dela Fuente**           Exequiel Guno                        1948-1951
                                                          Crispulo Torrico
19    Crispulo Torrico                      --                             Exequiel Guno                        1951-1951
20    Faustino Vigo                 Jose N. Gonzales                       --                                   1952-1955
21    Pedro Dizon                    Domingo Javier                        --                                   1956-1959
22    Emilio Bernabe               Miguel Recano                         --                                    1960-1963
23    Vicente Malibiran            Angel T. Banzon                      --                                    1964-1967
24    Teodoro Camacho III*      Victor Y. Baluyot                     --                                    1968-1971
25    Celso Valdecanas             Alfredo Jaraba                  Jacinto Perez                             1972-1976
                        Celso Valdecanas***       Alfredo Jaraba***             Jacinto Perez                             1977-1979
26    Teodoro R. Alonzo*        Herminio Dizon               Honorio Villanueva                    1979-1980
                       Teodoro R. Alonzo         Herminio Dizon                Honorio Villanueva                    1980-1986
27    Teodoro Camacho III*    Gabriel Nisay Sr.               Honorio Villanueva                    1986-1988
28    Melanio Banzon Jr.        Domingo Dizon                Honorio Villanueva                     1988-1992
                       Melanio Banzon Jr.         Domingo Dizon                Honorio Villanueva                    1992-1995
                       Melanio Banzon Jr.         Francisco dela Cruz           Honorio Villanueva                    1995-1998
29   Albert S. Garcia              Noli Venzon                     Honorio Villanueva                    1998-2001
                      Albert S. Garcia               Noli Venzon                    Honorio Villanueva                    2001-2004
30   Melanio S. Banzon Jr.      Noli Venzon                    Jeffrey Calma                            2004-2007
31   Jose Enrique Garcia          Noel Valdecanas               Jeffrey Calma                            2007-2010
                      Jose Enrique Garcia       Noel Valdecanas             Jeffrey Calma                         2010-2013

                      * appointed mayor     ** resigned      *** extended      *+ appointed/assassinated


 BALANGA PROFILE

Barangay                            Barangayhood                  Area                  Population           Households
                                       (date of creation)              (hectares)            (as per 2007 NSO Census)

Bagong Silang                      1988                             525.00                    3,766                     859
Bagumbayan                      April 17, 1961                    9.58                      2,617                     545
Cabog-cabog                      January 1950                    284.90                    1,757                     409
Camacho                          May 16, 1969                    111.27                    3,129                     740
Cataning                              1915                             950.20                    5,785                  1,259
Central                             Jan. 15, 1968                    433.86                    4,171                     829
Cupang North                   April 12, 1982                     32.80                    2,592                     515
Cupang Proper                      1915                          1,422.15                    8,930                  1,786  
Cupang West                    Dec. 12, 1971                     25.87                    2,227                     455
Dangcol                           Dec. 29, 1976                  2,445.37                   1,301                     261
Dona Francisca                  Feb. 1, 1982                        71.60                   2,324                     461
Ibayo                                   1915                               62.77                  2,219                     443
Malabia                               1915                                 4.65                     974                     194     
Munting Batangas            April 13, 1973                      653.47                  2,139                     509
Poblacion                           1915                                 21.84                     984                     199
Pto. Rivas Ibaba                  1915                                 18.29                  4,639                     933
Pto. Rivas Itaas                   1915                               164.65                  2,312                     472
Pto. Rivas Lote               Feb. 1, 1982                          27.68                  1,996                     399
San Jose                         Feb. 29, 1960                        92.34                  7,012                  1,402 
Sibacan                              xxx                                   97.78                 1,972                     442
Talisay                              1915                                 34.77                  1,542                     470
Tanato                          Oct. 10, 1949                     1,403.93                     631                     129
Tenejero                        July 6, 1948                         426.05                  9,379                  1,871 
Tortugas                           1915                                  32.09                 3,229                     645
Tuyo                                 xxx                             1,778.65                  6,016                  1,203
                                 Total                                                  11,163.00               84,105                17,430

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