It is presumed that the
early founding Spaniards, following their procedures of establishing a new
town in first dedicating the place to Christ, had made the cross and carved
the date on it.
Cabatuan was believed
originally planned by Tono, it conceded tribal leader with two leaders,
Gomoc and Amihan. The site of early settlements was on level track of
land near the northern bank of the Tigum River where the Poblacion is now
In 1733, Cabatuan was
officially organized upon the installation of Rev. Father Antonio Lopez as
first priest and Tan Tono as its first Governadorcillo. The Town Hall and
the Catholic Church were simultaneously built in the locality. Tono, the
organizing leader, became its first governadorcillo or "Capitan."
Lopez placed the town
under the spiritual protection of Saint Nicolas de Tolentino whom
Cabatuananons still venerated today as their patron saint on September 10 of
Streets were constructed
and the number of homes increased with rapid rate. However not until more
than one hundred and fifty years later that the giving of official names to
the streets was made.
gathered and compiled by local historians reveal the fact that Cabatuan has
a glorious past. From the time it was founded in 1733 up to present,
Cabatuan has produced illustrious sons and daughters whose heroic and noble
deeds have become facets of Philippine History. The town has been the seat
of important historical events that have unknown to many Filipinos but are
of historical importance to the country.
Famous Cabatuananons of
yesteryears included such names as Doña Francisca Cabañas, Flavio Zaragoza
Cano, Santiago Munieza, Manuel Catalan, Ciriaco Morales, Saturnino Tobias,
Wenceslao Grio, Juan Garrido, Eugenio de la Vega, Arcadio Calero, Aquilino
Arco, and others.
Seal of the municipality of Cabatuan during the Revolution.
(Courtesy of the West Visayas Historical Research
Due to space limitations
we are featuring only a few illustrious Cabatuanons of ancient times from
whom the present generation of Cabatuanons is drawing an inspiration in
their obsession to crown their town with laurels.
Doña Francisca Cabañas,
fondly called “Tana Pisca,” was a philanthropist and heroin of the
revolution against Spain and of Philippine-American war. She fought the wars
behind the firing lines with her material resources that she channeled
secretly to the freedom fighters. Her heroism and philanthropy qualify her
in the nation’s hall of fame.
The tragic execution of
Agustin Jiloca and Julian Confesor who offered their lives in defense of
Filipino freedom on July 5, 1901 during the American occupation of the
country enkindled in the heart of every Filipino the fire of greater love
for freedom and democracy.
See papers on the case of Agustin Jiloca and
Fr. Cipriano Pedrosa or
“Pari Nanoy” prevented the imminent break up of the local clergy with the
Roman Catholic to embrace the Philippine Independent church. The native prelate did
this through his wisdom and charismatic personality.
Flavio Zaragoza Cano
placed Cabatuan in the nation’s limelight through his pen. He was a consummate and
peerless master rhymer both in Spanish and his Ilonggo dialect, winning for
him praises and prizes. The highest literary honor conferred on him was his
proclamation as “a poet laureate of Hiligaynon poets.”
Read some of Flavio Zaragoza Cano's poems
In the field of music,
Cabatuan gained world-wide prominence through Arcadio Calero. He was awarded
a bronze medal by the United State Congress during the Philippine Exhibits
in connection with the Louisiana (USA) Exposition in 1904. The band from the
Philippines which he conducted made an excellent performance and was
thunderously applauded when the Philippine band played the “Aires Filipino”
composed by Arcadio Calero himself.
The fame that Cabatuan has
been enjoying is almost synonymous with Tomas Confesor, a distinguished
Filipino patriot, gallant hero, prominent statesman, economist, and great
parliamentarian of his times. During the darkest moments in Philippine
history, he proved to be a veritable pillar of strength telling the people
that “it was preferable to suffer in honor than enjoy life in ignominy.” As
a former senator, he rode on many a storm of debates and piles victories in
his crusade against graft and corruption in the government and against
social injustice. For this, he earned the epithet “Storm Petrel of
Visit the Tomas Confesor Digital Library
Cabatuan also played a vital role during World War II, either as medical
aide workers, food production campaigners, teachers or as couriers.
Read "The Roles of Cabatuan Women during World War II"
Since the smoke of World
War II vanished in the air up to the present, the town has been ruled by
chief executives who did their share in augmenting the greatness and fame of
the town. These town mayors include Paulino Reguerra, Cipriano Grio,
Sinforoso Padilla, Jose Guidoriagao, Florentino Jiloca, Francisco Tobias,
Wilfredo Jiloca, Enrique Binayas, Fidel Ahumada, and Eliseo Tobias. The
current mayor is Ramon Yee.
See list of chief executives of Cabatuan
Four Cabatuanons were
elected to top positions in the government. The late Patricio Confesor was
elected congressman of the third district of Iloilo. He was greatly
responsible for restoring peace and order in Iloilo after the Huk movement
spread unrest and terror among the populace. The late Fortunato Padilla was
elected member of the Provincial Board of Iloilo for two consecutive terms,
and later as vice governor of Iloilo. Atty. Robert “Bob” Maroma, then
assistant city fiscal of Iloilo City, resigned from his promising judicial
post and threw his hat into the political ring. Though a political neophyte,
he caught everyone by surprise when he topped the race for the Iloilo
provincial board, together with Perla Zulueta who made it to the winning
circle at the 10th slot. During the May 11,1992 synchronized
elections, then Board Member Bob Maroma decided to run for the vice
gubernatorial post. Though pitted against four political giants due to their
political influence and logistics, Bob Maroma won.
A Cabatuananon was
appointed member of the Provincial Board of Iloilo due to his executive
ability, integrity, and scholarly disposition. He was Enrique Binayas,
retired manager of GSIS Iloilo and then OIC mayor of the town.
At present, it is
gratifying and inspiring to note that several Cabatuananons are making a
name for the town because of their intellectual superiority and unflinching
devotion to duty. Heading the long list of outstanding Cabatuananons of
contemporary times is Dr. Felipe Jocano, an anthropologist of international
fame. Dr. Jocano is a member of several national and international
organizations of scholars and scientist. He is also an author, professor,
lecturer, and consultant of numerous universities in the country.
It could not be denied
that there are many other Cabatuananons who, in their humble way, are
placing Cabatuan in limelight. However due to space limitations all their
names cannot be mentioned here.
Due to countless honors
and success being reaped by a number of Cabatuananons at present in their
chosen fields of endeavor, it is safe to conclude that the town is enjoying
fame and prominence of national and international magnitude.
2000 Fiesta Souvenir Program)
Cabatuan got its name
The name Cabatuan is
suggestive of the character of its people and the nature of the locality.
It may be derived from Hiligaynon word "Kabatuhan" meaning full of stone or
bato, from "batuan" meaning against, contrary or opposite, to resist,
oppose, challenge, defy, fight or contest. Some old folks believed that
the name was derived from batuan, a tree whose sour fruits are used in
seasoning vegetables and other foods which formerly abound in the locality.