BAGAC “BAMBOO GROVE”
BAGAC is the biggest municipality in Bataan in terms of land area (23,120 hectares). It is located in the southwestern part of Bataan facing the South China Sea. It was established as a regular town by the Spaniards in 1873, with St. Catherine of Alexandria as its patron saint.
Bagac had been in existence for a long time as a distant barrio of Mariveles, formerly a corregimiento (district) under the territorial jurisdiction of the Province of Cavite. After Morong was established as a town in 1607, Bagac became one of its barrios since the latter’s population and income cannot support a municipality. During this period, Bagac comprised of the sitios of Saysain, Banawang, Tiis, Sinapsap, Kabayo, Salmon, Paysawan and Parang na Mahaba. Later on, immigrants from different parts of the archipelago arrived in Bagac and developed its idle lands.
Mariveles and Morong, together with the barrio of Bagac became part of the newly-recognized province Bataan in 1754. Bagac finally became a regular town in 1873.
The town is accessible via the Governor Joaquin J. Linao Highway. It is bounded in the north by Morong, in the south by Mariveles, and in the east by Pilar and Orion. It is composed of 14 barangays, namely Bagumbayan, Banawang, Binuangan, Binukawan, Ibaba, Ibis, Pagasa, Parang, Paysawan, Quinawan, San Antonio, Saysain, Tabing-ilog and Atilano Ricardo. These barangays are classified as either town center barangays, coastal and upland barangays.
Bagac is primarily an agricultural town. It is also a fishing municipality. It sits on top of a vast potential “goldmine” that is rich in natural wonders and historical places. It has high tourism potentials complete with a showcase of pristine coastal and marine marvels. Heartbreaking coral reefs, white sand beaches, seaside resorts and rugged mountains beaming with rainforests, caves, waterfalls, and World War II historical markers are Bagac’s principal tourist attractions. Bagac, as far as history is concerned, is the second starting point of the 1942 Bataan Death March.
Several fairly-priced resorts can accommodate visitors anytime. Montemar Beach Resort is an exclusive world-class destination in Bagac. People can easily access the Montemar cove by using rental boats. Four other beach resorts operate in Bagac, namely Morning Breeze, Fajardo’s, Sun Moon and Bagac Beach Resort. A number of other exotic beaches and coves are still untapped and can be transformed into first-class resorts by potential investors.
“Old Town” is Bagac’s newest tourist destination. It is a 50-hectare seaside property where “relocated” ancestral houses can be found. It replaced the old BNPP Housing Complex as Bagac’s primary tourist attraction.
The town had a population of 24,202 peole as of 2007. These people are mostly skilled in farming and fishing, as well as in the fields of masonry, carpentry and welding. They are also into garment manufacturing and lately, on processing of food products.
Bagac’s name was simply derived from the Visayan word “Bagak” and/or “Bagakay.” When translated to Tagalog, “Bagak” literally means “Kawayan.” “Bagakay“ means ‘kawayanan.” Bamboo tree is Bagak’s English transcription.
It is a established fact that men from the southern islands of the Visayas and Mindanao constituted the biggest number of early settlers in Luzon during the pre-Spanish time. The Visayans, specifically the Warays, also travelled north to be part of the booming barter trade in Manila. A big number of these seafarers possibly ended up in the western part of Bataan after missing the North and South Channels leading into Manila Bay. They were the ones who gave Bagac its name based on the great number of bamboo trees growing along its shores and at the foot of Mount Bataan and Mount Mariveles.
“Longos-Kawayan,” a reef jotting out of Biaan (Mariveles) used to be the unloading point and/or stockyard of bamboos cut from the Bagac forest area. The name alone fortifies the actual derivation of the name of Bagac town.
It could also be concluded that these Visayan seafarers were the ones who gave the names of Kinawan, Binuangan, Paysawan. Caibobo, Salamang, Pasinay and Saysain. These names are definitely not common Tagalog words.
Fr. Rodrigo Aganduru y Moriz de San Miguel, an early missionary from Villadolid (Spain) and recognized as the founder of Morong and Bagac, surely found these seafarers already settled in the two distant villages. He merely adapted ‘Bagak’ as the name of the thinly-populated barrio as given to him by the natives. In the case of Morong, it can only be surmised that its name originated from him (Fr. Aganduru because of its Spanish derivation.
The bamboo and other hardwood trees at the foot of Mount Bataan and Mount Mariveles suffered great devastation when the Cadwallder-Gibson Lumber Company started its operation in Paysawan from 1915 to 1928. Another conflagration of the same intensity hit the Bagac and Morong areas during World War II.
Still, the bamboo trees survived the terrible defoliation. Nowadays we still see numerous patches of bamboo groves along the plains and mountainous areas of Bagac and Morong to remind the people of their great history.
A few years after the Spaniards arrived in the Philippines some of them traveled along the seacoast looking for a place to live in. They had with them an Aeta as guide. Travelling without a fixed direction, they happened to pass by the place which is hidden between two sharp points extending to the sea. In their conversation, the Aeta uttered the word “lumbak” which meant lying between two hills. As they were crossing the place, they sighted a flock of herons flying overhead. When the Spaniards inquired about the white herons from their guide, the Aeta answered “tagak.” From these two syllables, “Bak,” from the word lumbak and “Gak” from the word tagak, was derived the name Bagac. Since then it remained and still is the official name of the town.
Bagac Municipal Mayors
No. Year Mayor Vice Mayor
1 1901-1903 Vicente Nojadera xx
2 1903-1905 Ildefonso Batol xx
3 1905-1907 Exequiel Robles xx
4 1907-1909 Eugenio Loreto Leoncio Marquez
5 1910-1912 Leoncio Marquez Cornelio Blanco
6 1912-1916 Eugenio Loreto Lucio del Rosario
7 1916-1919 Wenceslao Cerezo Doroteo Dilig
8 1919-1922 Esteban Nojadera Elias Mandocdoc
9 1922-1925 Esteban Nojadera Valentin Calma
10 1925-1928 Eugenio Loreto Elias Mandocdoc
11 1928-1931 Esteban Nojadera Bartolome Marquez
12 1931-1934 Esteban Nojadera Isidoro Mandocdoc
13 1934-1937 Zoilo Gutierrez Valentin Calma
14 1938-1941 Alfonso Marquez Isidoro Mandocdoc
15 1941-1942 Zoilo Gutierrez Manuel Loreto
16 1942-1944 Lazaro J. Dizon -none-
1944-1946 Angel del Rosario -none-
1946-1947 Zoilo Gutierrez xxx
17 1948-1951 Angel del Rosario Apolinario Malabanan
18 1952-1955 Fortunato Tuazon Primitivo
1956-1959 Angel M. del Rosari0 Apolinario Malabanan
1960-1963 Fortunato Tuazon Teofisto Quiroz
1964-1967 Atilano Ricardo Eufracio B. Flores
1968-1971 Emiliano Cascasan Teofisto Quiroz
19 1972-1976 Atilano Ricardo Angel B. Teopengco
1976-1979 Atilano Ricardo -none-
20 1979-1979 Tomas Dilig -none-
21 1979-1980 Ernesto Cascasan Sr. -none-
1980-1986 Ernesto Cascasan Sr. Teofisto S. Quiroz
22 1986-1988 Tomas Dilig Guillermo Mendoza Sr.
23 1988-1992 Norberto Ricardo Melquiades Teopengco
1992-1995 Norberto Ricardo Armando Bantugan
1995-1998 Norberto Ricardo Antonio de Leon
24 1998-2001 Melquiades T. Teopengco Jose R. Bantugan
25 2001-2004 Norberto Ricardo Jose R. Bantugan
26 2004-2007 Armando Ramos Christian B. de Leon
26 2007-2010 Rommel del Rosario Romeo T. Teopengco
2010-2013 Rommel del Rosario Guillermo Mendoza Jr.
Barangay Barangayhood) Area Population Bgy. Captain
(Date created) (hectares) (2007 Census) (as of October 2010)
Atilano Ricardo 278.95 2009 Eva T. Shaikh
Bagumbayan Mar. 28, 1967 59.89 1916 Eddie Salvacion
Banawang 5641.17 2381 Ernesto Tamoro
Binuangan 1439.18 575 Mamerto Boniel
Binukawan Dec. 28, 1967 1062.85 1898 Panfilo Mojica
Ibaba Mar. 28, 1969 118.55 1686 Remedios Paguio
Ibis 1286.48 1226 Adelmo Gonzales
Pagasa 125.02 3372 Armando dela Cruz
Parang Jan. 9, 1961 2225.37 2684 Rolando C. de Vega
Paysawan Mar. 13, 1970 1108.63 647 Rizaldo Flores
Quinawan Feb. 4, 1972 2260.13 553 Julio Tadia
San Antonio June 11, 1971 669.62 1301 Leonido Evangelista
Saysain 6781.39 2770 Jayson Lazaro
Tabing-ilog Mar. 28, 1969 62.77 1184 Melanio Mendoza
Total: 23,120.00 24,202