The Foundation Day of Talibon Bohol
Why April 22?
Research on the creation of Talibon, a municipality of Bohol in the Philippine Archipelago, actually started sometime in 1998 when the Sangguniang Bayan of Talibon requested for documents from the National Archives that could help ascertain the exact date of the creation of Talibon. As a result, the SB of Talibon was furnished copies of ancient documents but they were already in the advanced state of dilapidation.
Since the documents were in Spanish, they were forwarded to the Spanish Priests in the University of San Jose in Cebu for translation. However, no translation was ever made because not all pages are readable. The sentences were far from being connected and complete. The documents then changed hands from one interested person to another until they got lost and could no longer be retrieved.
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But the SB of Talibon did not lost hope. On January 8, 2007, it adopted another resolution numbered 2007-01, earnestly requesting the Director of the Records Management and Archives Office of the Philippines to furnish the Municipality of Talibon the records of its creation to ascertain its anniversary date.
To hasten the realization of this project, Vice Mayor Restituto B. Auxtero went to Manila on January 19, 2007, to visit the National Historical Institute purposely to conduct a research on the creation of Talibon. It was on that visit that Ms. Cielito Reyno, a History Researcher of the Research and Publication Division of the NHI, who was also researching on the creation of Ubay, Bohol, volunteered her services to Vice Mayor Auxtero with a condition that a formal request should be submitted to her boss, the Chairman of the NHI.
Subsequently, on January 24, 2007, the SB of Talibon again adopted another resolution numbered 2007-10, earnestly requesting Mr. Ambeth R. Ocampo, the Chairman of the NHI, to furnish us the detailed historical account of the creation of Talibon.
On March 7, 2007, Vice Mayor Restituto B. Auxtero sent a letter to His Excellency Luis Arias, Ambassador of Spain to the Philippines, requesting for a copy of the Royal Decree creating the Municipality of Talibon or any other document that could help ascertain its foundation day.
The Spanish Ambassador Luis Arias, in his reply to Vice Mayor Auxtero, hinted that it was utterly impossible to retrieve such ancient documents from the Spanish Archives.
However, the various documents retrieved by researchers of the Records Management and Archives of the Philippines and the National Historical Institute rendered conflicting accounts on the creation of Talibon maybe because the term Pueblo might have been loosely used.
Lee W. Vance, in his Tracing Your Philippine Ancestors, printed in 1980, cited Talibon as a Spanish “Pueblo” organized in 1806.
Rene B. Javellana, in his Wood and Stone for God’s Greater Glory, cited Talibon as a “Pueblo” in 1830.
The Errecion de Pueblo documents showed that Talibon was already a “Pueblo Nuevo” (New Town) in 1837.
Manuel Buzeta wrote in 1851 in his Historico de las Islas Filipinas that Talibon was created in 1837.
Documents from Patronatos, 1785-1789 kept in the National Archives, Manila, twice cited Talibon as a “Pueblo” but it appears that in those years, it shared the same town officials and parish priest with Inabanga being still a part of the ecclesiastical mission of Ynabangan (Inabanga).
Another document retrieved from Patronatos, 1828-1837 cites Talibon as “de Nuevo Erreccion del Pueblo de Talibong de la Provincia de Zebu” (the new Foundation of the Town of Talibong of the Province of Cebu) which clearly shows that as of 1829, the date of the document, Talibon was already a town.
Recollect historian Agustin de la Cavada, in his Historia Geografica Geologica y Estadistica de Filipinas published in 1876, cited 1722 as the year Talibon was founded as a “Visita” (Mission) and it became an independent parish only in 1724 under the advocation of the Blessed Trinity.
However, according to another historian, Rene B. Javellana, 1722 was the year Talibon became an independent parish separate from Ynabangan, not as a town.
Manuel Buzeta, bolstering 1837 as the year of the creation of Talibon, wrote in 1851 in his Historico de las Islas Filipinas: “Talibong – pueblo con cura y governadorcillo en la isla de Bohol…..”.
But some documents in San Agustin Museum in Intramuros, Manila, according to Spanish Ambassador Arias in his letter, suggested that Talibon was still attached to Inabanga until 1831.
Despite the uncertainty and confusion on the actual date of the creation of Talibon, one Simplicio Apalisok, a Boholano Historian who was once a Municipal Judge, a Provincial Fiscal, a Chairman of the Bohol Historical Commission, a Delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention, an RTC Executive Judge and a PCGG Consultant, wrote on page 197 of his Bohol Without Tears, Book 2, that Talibon was specifically created on April 22, 1854.
In A Political History published by the Rizal Cultural Committee of the province of Rizal, creation of towns is explained this way: Towns have their own individual histories. Many were thriving villages long before the Spaniards came and all the Spaniards had to do to make them official towns was to give them churches and to recognize their ancient names and boundaries. Others originated as missions or “visitas” while others as encomiendas. Still others were overgrown barrios that separated themselves from their matrix or parent-towns.
Since creation of towns was closely associated with the building of churches, it is noteworthy therefore to consider the documents from the San Agustin Museum in Intramuros, provided by its Augustinian Director, Father Galende, to Vice Mayor Restituto B. Auxtero, thru the Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines, Hon. Luis Arias that related the following:
Bohol’s first 7 parishes as established by the Jesuits were Baclayon, 1595, Loboc, 1602; Jagna, 1631; Dauis, 1697; Talibon 1724; Tagbilaran, 1767 and Maribojoc, 1768 but dates of creation of this towns do not appear in the padron (Bojol, Ereccion del Pueblos) kept in the Records Management and Archives Office in Manila.
Talibong, a gold-mining town in colonial days, attracted a sizable community of enterprising Spaniards. Jesuit Gabriel Sanchez came to Talibon in 1596 after he and Juan Torres had organized the reducciones of Loboc and Baclayon. The Jesuits administered the mission from Loboc but because of the distance it took to travel along the coast, they decided that Loboc and Inabanga were to be more conveniently administered from the Colegio de San Ildefonso in Cebu. The mission in Talibon was undertaken by the Jesuits until 1768 when the Recollects took over.
Talibon church construction began in 1852 with the actual gathering of materials. A document kept in the National Archives dated 1858 requested for authorization to build the church. Attached to the request are the plans drawn by the famous Architect Domingo Escondrillas, Director-Inspector of public works in Cebu. He was responsible for a number of churches in Bohol of which the church of Loon is considered his best-known work. The church of Talibon as built, hews closely to the Escondrillas’ plan. However, the Architect’s sedate plan for the façade was overtaken by a virtuoso display of stone carvers’ art.
If this is to be considered, Simplicio Apalisok might be right in ascertaining the exact date of the creation of Talibon to be on April 22, 1854 or 2 years after the start of the construction of the church of Talibon in 1852.
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