Banwa nin Bulusan (Bikol)
Bayan ng Bulusan (Filipino)
|— Municipality —|
|Municipality of Bulusan|
|Region||Bicol (Region V)|
|District||2nd District of Sorsogon|
|• Mayor||Michael G. Guysayko|
|• Total||96.30 km2 (37.18 sq mi)|
|• Density||230/km2 ( 590/sq mi)|
|Demonym||Bulusanon / Buluseño|
|Time zone||PHI (UTC+8)|
|Income class||4th class (per NSCB, 2010)|
It is bordered by the towns of Barcelona in the north and going counterclockwise, the towns of Casiguran, Juban, Irosin and Santa Magdalena. The islets of San Bernardino, about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) off the coast, falls under the jurisdiction of Bulusan.
- Central (Pob.)
- Dapdap (Pob.)
- Looban (Pob.)
- Mabuhay (Pob.)
- Madlawon (Pob.)
- Poctol (Pob.)
- Sabang (Pob.)
- San Antonio
- San Bernardo
- San Francisco (Kapangihan)
- San Isidro
- San Jose
- San Rafael
- San Roque
- San Vicente (Buhang)
- Santa Barbara
- Sapngan (Pob.)
Long before the Spaniards ever set foot on the archipelago, the natives of Bulusan were already living in organized though scattered settlements. Some lived in what used to be Inarado (now Licod or San Rafael), others in Ilihan, some in Pinayagan, and still a number lived in Capangihan - a place near the Paghasaan and Bayugin Rivers. Familiarity with the town's terrain will prove what these settlements have in common: that of being distant from the seacoast and being uplands. The reason behind this occurrence could very well be the presence of Moro pirates who used to attack the town especially the coastal areas, robbing the natives of their gold & whatever else came to be lying around, and burning the houses afterwards. Due to these Moro-related disasters, it was certainly a wise move to locate the settlements on higher ground.
Recent excavations yielded artifacts such as platters, jugs, plates, and vases made of china; and earthen burial jars in what used to be Inarado. These finds further strengthened some claims that the Chinese and the people in this part of the country were already engaged in trade even before the Cross & Sword reached these shores.
The town's foundation
Bulusan, like the rest of Sorsogon, was still a part of the province of Albay till October 17, 1894. In Inarado, the fourth parroquia [ parish ] of the present Province of Sorsogon, was established in the year 1630. After being merely a part of Casiguran (established in 1600), Bulusan became an independent parish following Bacon (established in 1617) and the parish of Sorsogon (established in 1628). It became a separate pueblo civil [town] in 1631. The new parish was then placed under the tutelary of St. James, the Greater - the National Patron Saint of Spain. A certain Fr. Miguel de Sta. Ana became its first parish priest, exercising one-man authority over ecclesiastical and civil functions. The people also selected the first executive of the place, a gobernadorcillo.
In 1760, the town was transferred from Inarado to its present site at the mouth of Bulusan River. This was triggered by the need to trade with neighboring settlements. The relocation was done through the efforts of Fr. Joaquin de los Santos, the parish priest at that time. Under the friar's guidance, the people chose Bernardino Pasion as first head of the town. The natives started building a church in the place where a new one now stands. This initial development formed the nucleus of the present poblacion [town center].
The Division of Bulusan
The Bulusan parish back then encompasses all lands that includes the vicinities of Gubat, Matnog, Bulan, Barcelona and Santa Magdalena. Eventually, either new parishes were born out of the Mother parish and became a town of its own or these communities grew into separate towns of their own and in turn, established their own parishes. See table below:
|Former Communities of Bulusan|
|Name||Year the Parish Was Established||Year Founded as a Separate Town|
|Bulan ("Gate" townsite; under Bulusan 1645-1690)||1801||1801|
|Barcelona (from Bulusan and Gubat)||1867||1866|
|Santa Magdalena (from Bulusan, then under Matnog)||1890||1894|
In 1799, as a defense and warning measure against the Moro pirates, the principalias [leaders] of the different coastal towns of Albay - convened in their respective town halls and drew up plans for the building of baluartes (watchtowers) in strategic locations along the shore. On April 20, 1799, Bulusan's leaders decided to build two lanchas cañoneras [armed ships] to be commanded by actual gobernadorcillo Don Juan Macsimiano and ex-gobernadorcillo Don Juan Tomas. The town of Bulusan built the most number of baluartes de piedra [stone watchtowers]. The town erected watchtowers, one each in Macabare, Tawog and Layog (now a part of Barcelona).
Near the community of Dapdap, a bigger triangular muralla [fortification] called Punta Diamante which encloses the church and rectory of the Parish of St. James the Greater was erected. Punta Diamante has around five watchtowers with high and thick walls, making it an ideal place for refuge during Moro attacks. Unlike the other watchtowers which are cylindrical & of circular bases, the one facing the sea has a base shaped as a diamond (with 8 sides) and tapers upwards in alternating tiers, hence the name Punta Diamante. This watchtower now serves as the church's bell tower, with the old bells still intact.
The Growth of Bulusan
Among the province's other towns, Bulusan then was comparatively well-off. Being a major port of armadillas [small ships patrolling the high seas - equivalent to present-day Philippine Coast Guard, it was well-protected from the Moro pirates. As a consequence, people from other towns came to this place, earned their living, and paid tributes to the Spanish Government. In 1809, when the governor of Albay ordered the construction of a town cemetery outside each towns, Bulusan reported the highest construction cost (200 pesos) in a display of its considerable wealth.
Spain's control over the Buluseños - the locals of Bulusan - and the rest of the natives throughout the islands brought a significant change in their community life. They were made to embrace Catholic faith more by force than by conviction. Polos y servicios [ Forced labor ] was widely used especially in the building of various buildings like churches and rectories with its dungeons, and the casa tribunal [town hall]. It could be presumed that a lot of forced labor were likewise employed in the construction of Punta Diamante and the other watchtowers.
Bulusan had its own share of heroes in the revolution against Spain. These same individuals would later find themselves in the war against the Americans. Colonel Emeterio Funes, a Buluseño, was one of the foremost revolutionary leaders in the province. Coming home from a military service under General Miguel Malvar, he was already aware of the immediate plans of the Americans to invade the rest of the country. Upon his arrival in Bulusan, he met with the town's prominent figures with the parish priest in attendance, in the church rectory. Together, they drew up plans for a revolutionary movement in the province. In 1900, Emeterio Funes was appointed colonel of the revolutionary forces in Sorsogon by General Vito Belarmino of Albay.
The revolutionary forces in the province had been quite a success, what with the natives and the elected officials on their side. On April 25, 1900, the Americans waged a battle with the Filipino revolutionaries in Sitio Boco, San Francisco. The Americans suffered three casualties: one lieutenant was killed and two soldiers were wounded. Meanwhile, only two soldiers were wounded on the defender's side. Due to lack of ammunition, the revolutionaries were unable to make a second attack and had to flee to safety. The Americans, enraged with the loss of a comrade and the failure to capture Colonel Funes, later on burned the entire town including the church and the rectory. After two years of effective resistance, on February 21, 1901, Colonel Funes took the oath of allegiance to the United States in a ceremony done in Bulan. Knowing that the inhabitants were already getting weary of the war, and he therefore decided to end it in a peaceful manner.
Under the Americans, the first Municipal President was Braulio Ganzo. However, the first local executive elected in Bulusan by popular suffrage was Juan Fortades.
From 1900 to 1940, Bulusan experienced a major development in education, government, communication, agriculture, and public health. From the very start of the American regime, free public instruction commenced. Public schools in almost all barrios were opened. In 1927, the municipal building (now housing the post office, court room, & municipal jail) and public market (now undergoing another major renovation—this time a vertical development) were built. In the following year, 1930, the provincial road connecting Bulusan to the adjoining towns of Barcelona and Irosin was opened to traffic. Telegraph and mail services began. Qualified voters began enjoying the right to suffrage. A system of municipal government was instituted. Trade and commerce flourished. Development in agricultural methods was initiated. In terms of public health, cholera and small pox were contained. In 1939, the first municipal waterworks system was constructed.At about this period, two Buluseños rose to their respective places of prominence. Juan S. Reyes was elected governor of Sorsogon (1929–1931). His younger brother, Dr. Jose S. Reyes, who obtained his doctorate degree from Columbia University was elected delegate to the 1935 Constitutional Convention. Referred to as a political genius, he contributed immensely in the drafting of the 1935 Constitution. He also became a member of the Philippine Independence Mission and was the Secretary of Education of both the Quirino & Osmeña administrations. In 1945, he became Executive Secretary to President Sergio Osmeña.
World War II
This period of relative peace and prosperity in Bulusan, however, was disturbed when the Second World War broke out in the Philippines on December 8, 1941. Like the rest of the islands, Bulusan was overran by the Japanese Imperial Army. This triggered nationalism once more among Buluseños with the re-emergence of organized guerilla resistance. The Japanese later on succeeded in establishing a semblance of local government to administer the town but the loyalty of those appointed to these positions remained with the resistance group.
|Population census of Bulusan|
|Source: National Statistics Office|
Bulusan people are speakers of Bisakol language. Pure Bicol is also spoken in some special occasions and in Roman Catholic church liturgies. Tagalog is considered the third language parallel to English.
Roman Catholicism comprises 90% of the population. There are also members of Iglesia ni Cristo, Jehova's Witnesses, Church of Jesus of the Latter Day Saints, Born-again Christians and other fundamental denominations in the town.
Bulusan is home to the highest peak in Sorsogon, Mount Bulusan. This active volcano is the centerpiece of Bulusan Volcano National Park which covers a land area of 3,672 hectares. At the foot of the mountain is the equally popular Bulusan Lake, a scenic crater lake surrounded by a dense green forest and encircled by a concrete pathway. The lake is about thirty minutes drive through a paved winding road from the Bulusan town proper.
- Masacrot Spring. A man-made earthen swimming pool with cool waters emanating from underground springs.
- Palogtoc Falls. Also known as Palogtok Falls. A small waterfall fills this man-made earthen swimming pool which can be reached after a 20-minute leisure walk through rolling hills carpeted with green grass, under a canopy of tall coconut trees.
- Bayugin Falls. Located in Brgy. San Francisco in Bulusan and surrounded by a thick forest, the falls is the source of the Bayugin River which eventually joins Paghasaan River as it flows into Bulusan River. It can be reached by a 20-minute tricycle ride from the town of Bulusan to Brgy. San Francisco. A 20-minute walk on a mossy and slippery path and then a steep descent to the falls, culminates the hike.
- Dulipay River
- Punta Diamante. The muralla [stone fort] that encloses the church complex of St. James the Greater Parish, remains grand in its antiquity together with the Bulusan belfry, the largest of the five watchtowers dotting the historical complex.
- Buco Pass
- Dancalan, Miliga-biga and Riroan Beaches are popular swimming spots in Bulusan.
- Tan-awan is a cliff road that overlooks the town of Bulusan, San Bernardino Strait and the expansive Pacific Ocean. From the vantage point, the view stretches from Tawog to the north, to barangay san antonio to the south. Glimpses of offshore islands like San Bernardino or Parola (because of its lighthouse), Biri and the main island of Samar can be seen on clear days.
|Jaime S. Reyes||1951-1959||Elected|
|Dr. Rogado Halum||1960-1963||Elected|
|Vicente Guysayko||1967-1969||Died in office in March 1969|
|Jaime S. Reyes||1969-1971||Succeeded Vicente Guysayko when he died in office|
|Erwin G. Guysayko||1972-1979||Term was extended due to imposition of martial law|
|Dr. Rogado Halum||1979-1985||Appointed mayor by President Marcos elected in January 1980|
|Antonio Frades||1985-1987||Appointed OIC by President Corazon C. Aquino|
|Nelly G. Fortades||1987-1992||First elected lady mayor of Bulusan|
|Dr. Oscar S. Halum||1992-2001||Elected; re-elected in 1998|
|Juan G. Guysayko||2001-2010||Elected; re-elected in 2004|
|Michael G. Guysayko||2010–present||Elected in May 2010|
Another Buluseño, in the person of Augusto Ortiz, rose to become provincial executive from 1968 to 1971. From the judiciary, he was tapped governor of Sorsogon anew by President Marcos (1977) but had to relinquish the post when he was elected to the Interim Batasang Pambansa in 1978. In 1984, he was elected as Mambabatas Pambansa until 1986 when it was dissolved. During his term, the Bulusan Cultural and Sports Center was constructed in what used to be the site of the old Central School's Gabaldon building. Two municipal streets in Barangay Sabang and Madlawon were likewise constructed.
The '80s also marked the birth of Damayan Buluseño, Inc. (DBI), an organization of Buluseños living in Metro Manila. The group provides assistance to and development opportunities among Buluseños, like employment opportunities, medical assistance for the poor, scholarship, relief and financial assistance for the development of Bulusan. Starting out as a loose group out to muster support for a town mate then undergoing trial in Manila but whom they believed was wrongly accused, DBI went on to become a duly registered organization which, with its heretofore unseen zeal and popular support, became one of the province's most active organizations under the leadership of its founding president, Rogelio F. Fuentes. To date, it continues to fulfill its vision and provides an avenue for community leadership, pride in the hometown, brotherhood, and prosperity as ideals worthy of pursuit.
Bulusan Central School (founded in 1903) by the American Thomasites, is the town's pilot elementary school. It was first housed in the Gabaldon building (actually the town's old casa tribunal, adaptively re-used). When the enrollment steadily increased through the years, several private houses were used as annexes, until the school was eventually transferred to a spacious property in Barangay Poctol, also in the Poblacion, where Emeterio Funes Street now runs through. The Gabaldon building itself (or at least the upper storey) was totalled by Typhoon Dinang in December 1981. Then Assemblyman Augusto Ortiz had the old stone walls demolished, and built Bulusan Cultural and Sports Center on the vacated lot.
Other Elementary Schools:
- Bagacay Elementary School
- Sta. Barbara Elementary School
- San Isidro Elementary School
- Capiricohan Community School
- Buhang Elementary School
- Porog Elementary School
- Dancalan Elementary School
- San Jose (L) Elementary School
- San Jose (U) Elementary School
- San Francisco Elementary School
- Sabang Elementary School
- San Rafael Elementary School
- San Bernardo Elementary School
- Cogon Elementary School
- Lalud Elementary School
- Tinampo Elementary School
- San Antonio Elementary School
- Salvacion Elementary School
- San Roque Elementary School
- Jose S. Reyes Memorial Foundation, Inc. (Formerly Bulusan Institute-founded 1950) is the town's pioneering secondary school. It was founded as Bulusan Institute by the late Dr. Jose S. Reyes. All secondary schools in the country, were at around that time, private. The school was renamed Jose S. Reyes Memorial Institute in the late 1970s, and became a foundation at the advent of the new millennium.
- Bulusan High School is a public high school in the vicinity of Bulusan Poblacion, founded October 4, 2000 located at the boundary of Madlawon and Dancalan. After two years of operation, the High School department of Bulusan National Vocational Technical School, located at San Jose, Bulusan, Sorsogon, recognized by TESDA, was turned over to the school. At the first four years of operation the staff was composed mostly of volunteer persons with some deployed teachers from other neighboring schools. In six years of its operation it accommodated the highest enrollment of all high schools in the Municipality. Its official name is Bulusan National High School.
- Jaime G. Espeña High School is a nationalized high school founded as Buhang High School integrated to the elementary school of Buhang, Bulusan, Sorsogon. The school was later relocated in sitio Taizan when the Espeña family donated a parcel of land. It was later named after their late father, Dr. Jaime G. Espeña.
- San Roque National High School is another nationalized high school located at southwestern part of Bulusan near the boundary of Irosin. It is fed for by neighboring villages' elementary schools including some parts of Irosin such as Mapaso Patag and Cauayan.
Immaculate Heart of Mary School (IHMS) - Bulusan, just on the other side of Punta Diamante, is a Franciscan-operated elementary and secondary school.
Bulusan National Vocational Technical School is now one of the country's top-performing TESDA schools. It started out as a municipal high school founded by Jose Geñorga, who was TESDA Vocational School Administrator II (VSA II) when he retired. The school now caters to students from the entire 2nd District of Sorsogon.
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