History of Inabanga

Way before the coming of the Spaniards, the place where the present municipality of Inabanga is located was once called by the local folks as “Inabangan” in reference to the river that flows thru the place and which was then infested by crocodiles. Yearly, a life was lost in the river either by drowning or due to an attack of crocodiles.

Being superstitious, the local folks thought that the deaths were yearly rental or “abang” for the use of the river and thus the river was called “Inabangan”or “Rented River”. Finding the word Inabangan difficult to pronounce, the Spaniards eventually called the place Inabanga and the name stuck to this day.

Eventually, a mission was founded in Inabanga by the Jesuits in 1596. The mission was located on an elevated area near the banks of the Inabanga River. Like Talibon, the settlement was administered from the Colegio de San Ildefonso in Cebu. The settlement became a parish in 1722 and dedicated to “San Pablo Aposto” or Saint Paul the Apostle.

The Spaniards ruled Inabanga with an iron hand. The natives were converted and forced to accept the authority of the church, the friars and the Guardia Civil. They surrendered their rights to their lands and rendered forced labor. Excessive tax collection and payment of tributes were imposed upon them.

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In 1744, thru a series of events brought about by these oppressive acts, the people took up arms and rebelled against the Spaniards with Francisco Sendrijas, known by many as Francisco Dagohoy, leading the pack. A native of Inabanga, Dagohoy was then a Cabeza de Barangay or Barangay Captain of the town.

The Jesuit curate of Inabanga at that time was Fr. Gaspar Morales. He triggered the uprising when he refused to give a proper Christian burial to Dagohoy’s brother, Sagarino, who was called upon by the priest to chase a man who had abandoned his faith but unfortunately he died during the duel that ensued. The priest’s refusal to give a decent burial infuriated Dagohoy no end thus leading him to seek revenge.

The uprising spread like wildfire throughout the island and eventually the headquarters of Dagohoy’s men was established in the mountainous region of the municipality of Danao. Supported by more than 20,000 Boholanos, the rebels successfully defeated the Spanish-Filipino forces sent against them. The rebellion lasted for 85 years; the longest revolt in Philippine history.

24 years after the start of the uprising, in 1768, administration was passed on to the Augustinian Recollects and they remained the town’s pastors until 1898. An earlier church was built thru forced labor by the Jesuits but was probably burnt during the Dagohoy revolt. A new church was built and was completed in 1899 but again burnt down by the Americans in 1902.

A large stone church was then built with other materials in 1931 by then secular priest Fr. Quiterio Sarigumba. The church used gothic elements in the facade and has a portico in front of the entrance. Points of interest are an exquisite wooden tabernacle probably dating back to the Jesuits; and the murals on the ceiling done by the Garces brothers in the style of Canuto Avila and Ray Francia.

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Inabanga During World War II

More about Francisco Dagohoy.