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Did you know that...?

The  seal of the municipality of Cabatuan during the Revolution.

Cabatuan twice became the provincial capital of Iloilo. In October 1898, General Martin Delgado transferred the capital of Iloilo to Cabatuan when the American troops occupied Iloilo City. In 1942, Gov. Tomas Confesor also transferred the Iloilo capital to Cabatuan just a few weeks before the Japanese landed in Panay. Confesor eluded his capture by the Japanese barely by 30 minutes. (Rex Salvilla, Interesting Facts About West Visayas series. Iloilo City: West Visayas Historical Research Foundation, 1994)

Cabatuan was once the seat of the revolutionary government in Panay. Following the establishment of the Revolutionary Government of the Philippines on June 23, 1898 and after the declaration of the Filipino-American war on June 4, 1899, Cabatuan became the seat of the revolutionary government of the entire island of Panay. Aside from her local and native outstanding personalities, other illustrious Ilonggos became one-time residents of Cabatuan. Among them were Don Pablo Araneta, Judge Victorino Mapa, Don Raymundo Melliza, Don Ramon Avanceña, Don Ruperto Montinola, General Martin Delgado and General Quintin Salas.

When the Americans came, Cabatuan was accorded with a city status and recorded in an American encyclopedia published by Dodd Mead and Company as “Cabatuan, a city of the Province of Iloilo, Island of Panay with twenty-five thousand inhabitants”. (Cabatuan Historical Society, Cabatuan: History of a Town and her People. Makati City: Bookhaven Inc., 1977)

The Cabatuan cemetery is the only extant Spanish cemetery in the Philippines that is a perfect square. Completed in 1894, it is Roman in style and enclosed on all four sides by solid limestones base with artistically-designed steel railings. At the center of the four-hectare cemetery stands a capilla with three entrance archways. (Cabatuan Historical Society, Cabatuan: History of a Town and her People. Makati City: Bookhaven Inc., 1977)


In 1922, Tomas Confesor was the first congressman to address the House of Representatives in English. (Andrew Gonzalez, Language and Nationalism: The Philippine Experience Thus Far. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1980)


Tomas Confesor is considered the "Father of the Philippine Scouting Movement" because he authored Commonwealth Act 111 that created the Boy Scouts of the Philippines. Thus, the BSP Iloilo Council is also called the Confesor Council.



The only resistance movement during World War II that never fell to the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army was the Free Government of Panay and Romblon under Gov. Tomas Confesor.

Tomas Confesor was the only person to have occupied four gubernatorial seats at the same time. He was governor of Iloilo, Capiz, Antique and Romblon during World War II.


Tomas Confesor is the only resistance leader in the Philippines that is cited in the document "History of the United States Naval Operations in World War II" (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1959). The following is written: "Tomas Confesor, the prewar Governor of Panay, had maintained a loyal civil government in the mountains of that island. His noble reply to the demand of the Japanese puppet president that he surrender stamped him as a regular Old Roman and the circulation of it did much to keep up Filipino morale."

Read Confesor's Historical Letter to Fermin Caram


Tomas Confesor used two aliases to elude arrest by the Japanese following the invasion of Manila in 1942. These were Carlos Eligio and Pio Valenzuela. (Cesario Golez, Calvary of Resistance. Iloilo City: Diolosa Publishing House, 1946)


Tomas Confesor boarded the batel "Agcauan" from Taal, Batangas to Buruanga, Capiz (now a town in Aklan) to get back to Panay following the entry of the Japanese forces in Manila in January, 1942. The boat left Luzon on February 8, 1942 and reached Panay on March 3. The boat had 53 other passengers and only Confesor's secretary knew who he really was.  (Teofisto Guingona, The Gallant Filipino. Quezon City: Anvil Publishing, 1991)

Confesor in 1942


When Tomas Confesor went to the United States to seek treatment for his failing health in 1949, he was denied the right to live in a subdivision in San Francisco because he was classified as colored. When the White House learned about it, a note was sent to the subdivision owners: "The man you are denying access to is a war hero. He is a brave Filipino who served as guerilla governor during the days of occupation in the Philippines. He has gallantly fought for freedom, and deserves admission." When the message got to the subdivision, the entire residents rose as one not only to apologize but also to welcome Confesor into their neighborhood. (Teofisto Guingona, The Gallant Filipino. Quezon City: Anvil Publishing, 1991)



Of the 104 prominent persons from Panay Island featured in the Panay Directory and Souvenir Book that was published during the Commonwealth period, two of them were Cabatuananons. They were Tomas Confesor and Edilberto Roldan.


Confesor was cited as: "Assemblyman from the third district of Iloilo and delegate from the same district in the Constitutional Convention. Born in Cabatuan, Iloilo, on March 2, 1891; he held various government positions and was the stormy petrel in the former House of Representatives as well as in the Bureau of Commerce where he was once director."


Roldan was cited as: "Born in Cabatuan, Iloilo on February 19, 1872; he served as an employee under three administrations - Spanish, Revolutionary and American; under the Commonwealth of the Philippines, he is still employed as deputy clerk in the Court of First Instance in Iloilo." (David and Campos, Panay Directory and Souvenir Book. Manila: Ramon Roces Publications, 1937).


Photos of Confesor (left) and Roldan (right)

 in the 1937 Panay Directory and Souvenir Book.



According to the  Panay Directory and Souvenir Book, the 18 leading landowners in Cabatuan during the Commonwealth period were Dolores Jiloca, Luis Caspe, Wenceslao Grio, Saturnino Tobias, Rosario Suero, Teofila Casten, Josefa Tabiana, Celedonio Arcos, Jose Domingo, Ciriaco Morales, Nicolas Resano, Canuto Mainar, Doroteo Lujan, Pablo Muyuela, Martina Valenzuela, Telesforo Sotelo, Patricio Confesor and Domingo Forro.


It listed the leading merchants of Cabatuan as Maximiana Miravite, Martin Fajardo, Josefina Jopillo, Fortunato Suyao, Maria Ortega, Sabina Noquez, Vicenta Behite, Glicerio Ondon, Felix Andarza, Hilarion Morales, Hegino Baeña, Roberta Munieno, Lucrecia Montoro, Antonia Gargollo, Severina de Acuero, Gabriel Moneva, Ines Camin, Trinidad Aleman and Tomasa Morales.


The leading importers of textile products during that time were Felix Andarza, Hilarion Morales, Martin Fajardo, Vicente Bejite, Gabriel Moneva, Josefina Capilla, Maximiana Miravite and Lucrecia Montoro.


Listed as leading professionals were Francisco Omaña (lawyer), Dr. Santos Colomeda (veterinary science) and Dr. Jose Ma. Roldan (physician).


The prominent citizens during that time were Manuel Catalan, Saturnino Tobias, Doroteo Lujan, Nicanor Patrimonio, Sabiniano Castaños, Teotimo Quilantang, Nicolas Villan, Santiago Munieza, Santos Nandin, Juan Pedrola and Gervasio Tobias. (David and Campos, Panay Directory and Souvenir Book. Manila: Ramon Roces Publications, 1937).


The first Filipino Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology is Felipe Landa Jocano of Barangay Salacay.



A Cabatuananon by the name of Domingo Borja is one of those who were declared "Missing in Action" in Laos during the Vietnam War. Borja, 36 and a member of the US Special Forces reconnaissance team, was killed in February 1967 while he was trying to assist a wounded American soldier.

Visit the Webpage dedicated to Domingo Borja


The Japanese Imperial Army pulverized the church, convent and belfry of San Miguel, Iloilo and the convents of Cabatuan and Janiuay when they developed the airstrip of the Tiring Landing Field. The crushed bricks were used as the overlay of the airstrip, according to lawyer Rex Salvilla, chair of the West Visayas Historical Research Foundation. Salvilla was one of the many teenagers who were conscripted by the Japanese to work at the Tiring Landing Field.


The Cabatuan Regional High School, now the Cabatuan National Comprehensive High School, was the first high school outside of Iloilo City. It was opened in December 1944 as a branch of the Iloilo High School.

Visit the CNCHS page


Gov. Patricio Confesor is considered the father of regional high schools in the Philippines. As post-war governor, it was he who initiated the creation of the seven regional high schools in Iloilo, the firsts in the country. These were the regional high schools of Cabatuan, Calinog, Miagao, Oton, Passi, Pototan and Sara.

During the Commonwealth period, Patricio Confesor was a Protestant pastor (Born a Catholic, he embraced Protestanism while he was a student in the US. He later reverted to the religion of his birth). Confesor was one of the first two Protestant pastors from Cabatuan. The other one was Rev. Elias Serbol of Barangay Ito. Both of them were members of the Philippine Baptist Mission. (David and Campos, Panay Directory and Souvenir Book. Manila: Ramon Roces Publications, 1937).

A document on the trial of Jiloca and Confesor.

The American government had ordered the suspension of the execution of Capitan Augustin Jiloca and Maestro Julian Confesor after it found that the two were wrongly accused of killing an American soldier. But the telegraphic message received by the US Military headquarters in Iloilo City on July 5, 1901 was not immediately transmitted to Cabatuan. When the message arrived, the two were already dead. (Cabatuan Historical Society, Cabatuan: History of a Town and her People. Makati City: Bookhaven Inc., 1977)

See papers on the case of Agustin Jiloca and Julian Confesor

Maasin was once a part of Cabatuan.  It became an arabal (equivalent to a protectorate) of Cabatuan on April 4, 1903 when Maasin could not stand financially for its income was not sufficient to pay the salaries of the municipal officials and other operating expenses. It was only on January 1, 1918 that Maasin separated from Cabatuan to become an independent municipality again.

New Lucena (formerly Lucena) was also once part of Cabatuan. Thus, it is not surprising that numerous Cabatuananons have relatives by blood in New Lucena. The first gobernadorcillo of Lucena was Tay Abo Valenzuela who was from Cabatuan. Pedro Darroca, an illustrious Cabatuananon who was a colonel in the revolution against Spain and in the Filipino-American War, spent his last years in New Lucena. (Cabatuan Historical Society, Cabatuan: History of a Town and her People. Makati City: Bookhaven Inc., 1977)

The first wife of General Martin Delgado, leader of the revolution in Panay and the first civil governor of Iloilo, was a Cabatuananon. She was Carmen Barra with whom Delgado had a daughter but she died in childhood. Barra died several years later and Delgado remarried. (Demy Sonza, Santa Barbara: A National Trunk  Site on the Centennial Freedom Trail. Iloilo City: National Centennial Commission, 1995)


(Read some of

Zaragoza's poems)





In 1940, Flavio Zaragoza Cano made a scene when he tore a P2,000 check in front of President Manuel Quezon, stunning the audience during the awarding ceremonies of the Commonwealth Literary Contest. Zaragoza's magnum opus, the book-length De Mactan a Tirad was adjudged second place in the contest, next to the entry of Jesus Balmori, a Tagalog. Impartial critics as well as Zaragoza himself expected it to win the coveted prize. It was believed that Zaragoza was intentionally made the second-placer because he was a Visayan. During the ceremonies, he tore the check just after Quezon awarded it to him. The poet contended that his work was superior to that of Balmori in historical facts, in style, in beauty of expression and in eloquence. (Regalado and Franco, History of Panay. Iloilo City: Central Philippine University, 1973)



In 1910, a resident of Maasin was voted as mayor of Cabatuan. He was Cayetano Mandario whom the Maasinanons put up against Santiago Munieza of Cabatuan.  That was at the time when Maasin was still an arabal of Cabatuan. Mandario was voted overwhelmingly in Maasin while Munieza only had a slight majority over his opponent in Cabatuan. Thus, Mandario won as mayor. (Cabatuan Historical Society, Cabatuan: History of a Town and her People. Makati City: Bookhaven Inc., 1977)




The first Filipino electrical engineer was Valentin Confesor, brother of the late Senator Tomas Confesor. He graduated from Harvard University in 1916. (Cabatuan Historical Society, Cabatuan: History of a Town and her People. Makati City: Bookhaven Inc., 1977)



The statue of Tan Tono first stood at the center of the plaza of Cabatuan where it was was originally erected in 1928 but was later transferred in front of the municipal building in 1951.


Lorenzo Miravite’s score in the bar examination was higher compared to the score of the four Philippine presidents who were also bar topnotchers – Manuel Roxas, Carlos Garcia, Diodado Macapagal and Ferdinand Marcos. Miravite, a 1947 law graduate from the Manuel Luis Quezon University, placed fourth in the 1948 bar examinations with a score of 94.45. Roxas (University of the Philippines) got only an average of 92 in 1913 where he was number one; Garcia (Philippine Law School) scored 86.4 (6th place, 1923); Macapagal (University of Sto. Tomas) earned 89.75 (first place, 1936); and Marcos (UP) attained 92.35 (first place, 1939).


Visit the Miravite Family website at


The Tigum Steel Bridge, the gateway to the town of Cabatuan, was built in 1935 at the cost of P105,700. It was designed by Engineer Sotero Baluyut and the construction was  supervised by Dominador Nonato. (David and Campos, Panay Directory and Souvenir Book. Manila: Ramon Roces Publications, 1937).

The bridge survived a bomb explosion in 1986 when the New People's Army tried to cripple transport service in central Iloilo.

The team that built  the Tigum Steel Bridge pose for this souvenir photo taken in 1935.

But it was not spared by environmental abuse because two of its four spans collapsed in 1995 due to the exposure of the base of one of its foundations. The exposure was caused by erosion due to excessive quarrying at the Tigum River.


During the May 14, 1935 plebiscite that ratified the 1935 Constitution, 1,502 voted "Yes" and only eight voted "No" in Cabatuan. (David and Campos, Panay Directory and Souvenir Book. Manila: Ramon Roces Publications, 1937).


The votes cast in Cabatuan during the Sept. 17, 1935 election were as follows:



Manuel Quezon - 974

Emilio Aguinaldo - 594

Gregorio Aglipay - 11

Vice President

Sergio Osmeña - 1,196

Raymundo Melliza - 313

Narciso Nabong - 7


(David and Campos, Panay Directory and Souvenir Book.

Manila: Ramon Roces Publications, 1937).



During the Commonwealth period, the Cabatuan Agricultural Rural Credit Cooperative Associations had the most number of members all over the province of Iloilo. Its members reached 884. Second was that of the town of Miagao with 528 members and followed by that of the town of Sta. Barbara with 356 members. Its borrowers numbered 238.  (David and Campos, Panay Directory and Souvenir Book. Manila: Ramon Roces Publications, 1937).



Senator and former House Speaker Manuel Villar Jr.'s paternal grandmother was from Cabatuan. She was Vicenta Montalban who married Catalino Villar, a native of Tanza, Iloilo City and a bookkeeper of the La Estrella del Norte. The couple had eight children, the eldest of whom was Manuel Sr. who married Curita Bamba. Manuel and Curita moved to Tondo, Manila where they raised their nine children -- Lourdes, Manuel Jr., Gloria, Caesar, Jaime, Virgilio, Victor, Celia and Daniel.

Visit Manny Villar's Homepage

During the Commonwealth period, there were 22 retail stores with a capital of less than P500 operating in Cabatuan and only one with a capital of between P500 to P1,000. One store is owned by a Chinese and the rest by Filipinos. The identities of the store owners were not known. (David and Campos, Panay Directory and Souvenir Book. Manila: Ramon Roces Publications, 1937).

One of the founders of the Reformed the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) that helped topple the Marcos dictatorship in 1986 is a Cabatuananon. He is Philippine Air Force Col. Hector Tarrazona (now retired), a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy in 1968 and salutatorian of the Cabatuan National Comprehensive High School class 1962.