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Long before Valencia became an independent political unit, it was once part of the local government of Dimiao, its now neighboring town. As one of the barrios, it was named “Panangatan” from the word “sang-at” which literally means “to put into an elevated place”.
Being coastal towns, Dimiao and Lila rely on fishing and its residents are mostly fishermen. During the southeast monsoon, the winds are very strong and the mouth of Panangatan River became shelter for wearied fishers. They would usually put their bancas (boats) on the riverbanks, locally termed as “Sang-at” where nipa palms grew in order to prevent from being washed away by the strong waves.
In year 1867, the place was separated from the mother town when a Spanish priest came. Conjoined with other barrios, it was established as a town on October 27, 1869. The First Capitan was Ignacio Daloperit and Fr. Francisco Cornago was the assigned priest.
Like in other towns, Valencia got its name when the Parish Priest, who was a Spanish, made some pastoral visits in the place. Amazed by the similarity of the topography and the panoramic view of the place to one of the cities of Spain, he proposed to rename the place into Valencia, after his native city in Spain.
Upon returning, he immediately called for a meeting of the then important personages and offered his proposal for renaming the town. It was readily accepted and since then, Valencia is the official name of the town.
The parish of Sto. Niño was established in 1871 and the construction of the church commenced during the term of Fr. Cornago. It was completed by Fr. Francisco Arraya in 1882. He laid the wooden floor which is the church’s real treasure.
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