History of Getafe

photo by lenmarbun

Getafe was once a strip of level land along the coast belonging to the municipality of Inabanga. Little islands dot its coastline where the shallow waters were rich fishing grounds. Being the nearest point to Cebu City, many people were attracted to settle in the area. Likewise, others came from the other towns of Bohol.

Time flew and the town flourished. Trading was brisk, especially during market day called “tabo” by local folks wherein farm goods and products were gathered, hailing from far flung Cebu and other towns. Unfortunately, during the 1st part of the 18th century and in pursuit of these goods, “Moros” or marauding muslims often come to raid the settlement. To better protect themselves from these marauders, the people decided to settle at the top of a hill. Life then went on as usual.

photo by lenmarbun

At the coming of the Spaniards, they saw fit to make the settlement into a town yet found the hilltop settlement to be unsuitable. The people were persuaded to resettle and go down (“ambak” in the local dialect) to the old site and were promised protection. The relocation site was then called Ambakon.

Christianity was introduced to the people. Some were forced to adopt the new religion but in time, all the people embraced the new faith and a church was built. The church was built inland, a few meters away from the port and market area of the town. A school was built beside it.

As in Inabanga and Talibon, Ambakon was administered by the Jesuits from the Colegio de San Ildefonso in Cebu until their expulsion in 1767. The Augustinian Recollects took over until 1898. In 1874, the barrio of Ambakon was officially declared a town and was named Jetafe, in honor of a city in Spain which was called Getafe.

photo by Mj_dzey

Two years later, in 1876, Jetafe became a parish dedicated to the Sr. Santo Niño. Much of the fervor and dedication of the people revolved around this beloved icon of the little boy Jesus and made manifest by mass attendance and the celebration of its feast day that falls on the month of January and other feast days of the Roman Catholic Church.

After more than 300 years under the Spaniards, the Americans came to the shore of Bohol. In March 1899, Tagbilaran was captured by the Americans and so the whole island of Bohol was occupied. The local inhabitants supported the Revolutionary Government of the Philippines and fought to gain independence from the American Regime. The Philippines was given independence later by the Americans.

World War II erupted. Because of the presence of U.S. military bases in the Philippines, it became a prime target of the Japanese forces. In April 1942, Getafe was bombed. Many Filipino soldiers died during the bombing from both the planes and the aircraft carrier which landed on the vicinity of the Jetafe waterfront. The people rejoiced when Bohol was finally officially declared liberated on May 25, 1945.

Eventually, the Bohol circumferential road was built passing by the church’s frontage and the established municipal plaza. Acacia trees were planted at the roadsides. Through the years, the tall trees and their spreading branches have become landmarks of the town of Jetafe. They were silent witnesses to all historical events that transpired in the area.
photo by glenmaclarty

In 1990, the city officials of Getafe, Spain came to visit the town of Jetafe and with the town’s officials signed a sisterhood pact document. Because of the warm welcome afforded them by the people, and also impressed by the town’s location, the Spaniards gave monetary aid for the construction of a modern Municipal Library. To further seal the sisterhood pact, the town adopted the letter “G” and renamed their town Getafe, after the city in Spain.


Banacon Island Mangrove Forest

Getafe Seaport

Getafe Church