by P. R. Ancheta
Come to the “red river valley”…. Home of a robust race; but for a whim, it should have been CLARIS, a hero’s name!
POZORRUBIO- The story of an early “good fight” for town independence
The story begins through the mists of history with the hardy race from the Ilocos coastal plains, pressed between the devil (mountains) and the deep China Sea, worked their way into the hinterlands and found rich hunt in jungles and fertile plains inundated by the reddish floodwaters of the Labayug and Aloragat rivers to the northeast, as well as the Angalacan River at the west to the southwest, jointed at the northern portion by the Bued River that branched off in the present areas of Sison town.
The adventurous Ilocanos settled in groups at different areas now known as Rosario, Buneg, Alipangpang, Imbalbalatong, Nama, Palacpalac and as a matter of fact even further than the present territorial limits of this “red river valley”! At the same time descendants of Princess Urduja’s kins at Tawalisi or Talamasin, or Caboloan during King Kasiki’s realm, expansively called later as Binalatongan embracing the areas of Mangaldan, San Jacinto, San Fabian, etc. also penetrated northeastward past the Nantangalan-Bantugan hills, crossed the Angalacan River and finally settled at the rich water –source fields of AMAGBAGAN (the area clearly pinpointed site of the old barrio, CLARIS) and its outskirts.
Indigenous natives inhabited the territory as well as the Caraballo mountain-sides (now bordering Benguet). The tribes were called BAGO-a close relative to the Ibaloi Igorots (whose dialect up to the present has closely similar words, e.g. diman in Pangasinan (meaning there) is pronounced SHIMAN (there to) ion Ibaloi; danum (water in Pangasinan) is pronounced Shanum (water in Ibaloi).
Just like any other native-dwellers, the Bago-Igorots who found their “hunting territory” invaded or shared the bounties of nature with others, which alone was theirs in the past, soon waged war and plunder against the Ilocos-Pangasinan migrants.
The Ilocanos and Caboloan tribesmen, having had better communal relationships, combined their combat forces and rallied behind CLARIS, a powerful man and goliath of his time, as their warrior-champion. Using his big, long talunasan (native bolo) forged by the ancient smiths, CLARIS, led the combined Ilocano-Pangasinan forces and drove the Bago-Igorots deeper into the Caraballos. To honor CLARIS, the sitio was named after him (then re-classified later as a barrio of San Jacinto municipality).
From this point, legend and folk-story end. The narration continues through a reprint of CPA historical writer (now deceased), VICTORINO P. MAGNO’s “From Claris to Pozorrubio”, Fiesta Program, May 1964, furnished by his nephew, Modesto Magno Parayno, a member of the Pangasinan Historical Society, Lingayen.
Claris, now known as Amagbagan, was formerly a barrio of San Jacinto. On January 2, 1834, Don Francisco Itliong, “Gobernadorcillo” of San Jacinto, and the “Communidad de Principales” petitioned His Excellency, the Governor-General of the Philippine Islands, for the creation and erection of:
“….Ermita y Visita en el sitio de Claris, comprension del referido pueblo de San Jacinto, y nombramiento de dos tenientes y dos alguaciles de justicia”.
The petition was granted on March 12, 1834.
About thirty-five years later, on June 19, 1968, impelled by love of order, group progress and religious cult, Don Benito Magno, Domingo Aldana, Don Pedro Ytliong, Don Bartolome Nañong, Don Bernardo Olarte, Don Pedro Salcedo, Don Juan Ancheta, Don Antonio Sabalturo, Don Jose Songcuan, Don Tobias Paragas, Don Francisco Callao, and Don Baltazar Casiano y Salazar, who were residents or landowners of said barrio of Claris, petitioned the Governor-General to convert their barrio, Claris; into as independent town, presenting as their reasons the following:
To stop the frequent robberies by the Igorots who lived in the nearby mountains and their Christian allies.
To stop contrabands and smuggling of tobacco.
To foster agriculture and increase the tribute.
To enable the inhabitants who lived far from San Jacinto to fulfill their religious duties.
June 23, 1863, the “Alcaide Mayor” referred the petition to the authorities of San Jacinto for information regarding the convenience of what was petitioned, the distance from San Jacinto to Claris whether roads were impassable duringrainy seasons, making it impossible the administration of the spiritual needs of the people; and the number of inhabitants of Claris.
On August 7, 1868, Don Domingo Estaris de la Cruz, “Gobernadorcillo” of San Jacinto, and the “Communidad de Principales” complied with the order of the “Alcalde Mayor” and favorably indorsed the petition to convert Claris into a new town independent of San Jacinto, under seven conditions to be observed and complied with by the people of Claris. The seventh condition referred to the transfer of the townsite to the sitio of Cablong:
“…. debera trasladarse la poblacion al citado Cablong y dignandose la Superioridad se accede a nuestros fuegos, e indemnizar a los dueño de las sementeras que necesariamente han de ocuparse….”
On August 13, 1868, the “Alcalde Mayor” ordered Don Francisco Goyena and Don Francisco Mayone, Public Works Inspectors, to prepare the plan of the proposed town of Claris:
“…. para que levanten el plano de la jurisdiccion que debe tener el Nuevo pueblo que se pretende crear en Claris, determinando todos sus limites tomando por base la jurisdiccion actual de San Jacinto….”
Acting on order of the “Alcalde Mayor”, the Public Works Inspectors, Goyena and Mayone, on September 20, 21, 22, and 23, 1868, in the presence of the “Gobernadors” and some members of the “Communidad de Principales” of San Jacinto, Manaoag, Binalonan, Alava (now Sison), and San Fabian, made the survey and prepared the map of the territory of the proposed new town. On October 2, 1868, Goyena and Mayone submitted a report of the survey, the map of the new town, and the plan for the townsite, to the “Alcalde Mayor”.
A long-drawn controversy between San Jacinto and Manaoag over boundary lines of the proposed town of Claris, was ended by a decree of the “Alcalde Mayor”, on January 7,1869.
On February 9, 1869, the “Alcalde Mayor” indorsed the petition on June 19, 1868 to the Governor-General recommending approval of the creation of the new town of Claris.
On February 22, 1869, the Governor-General referred the petition to the Bishop of Nueva Segovia, Vigan, for comments and recommendation. On May 29, 1869, the Bishop of Nueva Segovia, Fr. Juan, favorably recommended the creation of the new town of Claris, with a parish independent from that of San Jacinto.
On June 9,1869, the petition was again referred to the Dominican Superior, Rev. Fr. Pedro Payo, O.P., for his comments and recommendation, and on June 17,1869, Rev. Fr. Payo indorsed the petition thus:
“. . . . no puede menos de manifestar a V.E. que en mi concepto es necesaria o cuanto menos de suma conveniencia la separacion en lo espiritual del referido Claris de su matris San Jacinto”.
On July 3, 1869, the Governor-General decreed the following:
“Remitanse este expediente con atento oficio al Concejo de Administracion para que decho alto cuerpo leunido en pleno se sirva informar cuanto se le ofresca y parezca en el asunto de que se trata, de la Torre.”
Again on August 2, 1869, Don Benito Magno, Don Agapito Sabalburo, Don Domingo Aldana, Don Jose Songcuan, Don Pedro Salcedo, Don Juan Ancheta, Don Tobias Paragas, Don Pedro Ytliong, Don Francisco Callao, Don Bartolome Nanong, Don Bernardo Olarte, Don Protacio Venezuela, Don Bernardo Salcedo, Don Jacinto Sangalang, Don Manuel Arabe, and DonJose Sabalburo petitioned thru the ” Alcalde Mayor” to his Excellency, the Governor-General, reiteraring their petition of June 19, 1869; and requesting its prompt approval.
On August 21,1869’ in compliance with the decree of July, 1968; the oncejo de Administracion recommended as follows:
” ….El concejo en su vista y conforme con las apreciaciones consignadas en este asunto por las referidas autoridades es de ditcamen, que es justo acceder a lo solicitado; pudiendose desde luego proceder con arreglo a lo establecido en analogos casos la ereccion del Nuevo pueblo con el nombre que V.E. tenga a bien desiganr y aprobandose las siete condiciones formuladas para la principalia de dicho barrio que aparecen en el expediente; tambien cree el Concejo oportuno que se ordene al Alcalde Mayor de Pangasinan, que al eregir el Nuevo pueblo, no se tome de la sementera en actual cultivo mas que la parte necesaria para los edificios publicos, la plaza; y las cuatro calles que han de formar el pueblo…”
Finally, on November 3, 1869, Governor-General de la Torre decreed the following:
“….este Gobierno Superior resuelve; que el barrio de Claris se erija en pueblo independiente de su matriz, San Jacinto, en la provincia de Pangasinan, denominanandose “POZORRUBIO”, elevandose consulta al Gobierno Supremo dela Nacion para la creacion de nueva Parroquia.”
On January 13, 1870, the new town was formally inaugurated thus:
“….constituido el mencionado Senor Comisionado, Don Manuel Lahora, en el centro del terreno elegido con anterioridad para plaza en vos clara dio a reconecer a todos los asistenses el pueblo de “POZORRUBIO” y que se lo haga y tenga por tal pueblo independiente de su mariz, San Jacinto, con el territorio expresado en la demarcacion…. Concluyendo por dar tres veces de “Viva el Gobierno de Nacion” que fueron contestados por los asistentes y por el publico y se hicieron salvos y toco la musica ires nacionales….les dio gobierno del mencionado pueblo.”
Such in brief is the humble beginning of our town’s history, how it developed from a “sitio” into a barrio and lastly into a town. And as we celebrate this year’s fiesta, we turn our reverent thoughts to those, our brave and ambitious sires whose daring efforts have brought about the growth, progress and prosperity of this – our POZORRUBIO. (Continuation by P. R. Ancheta)
The Dela Torre Decree of November 3, 1869 granting Pozorrubio “independent” town status was in triple ways significant: Independence from San Jacinto, transfer from the site of CLARIS to a point northeast about 11/2 km. At Cablong, past the area now called Talogtog from Amagbagan; and the town was named POZORRUBIO! The Spanish governor general stultified the mystic fervor on and affection of the people to a native hero, CLARIS. Since the period was for pacification and spreading to the Catholic faith , CLARIS was a hot symbol that could ignite rebellion or resistance; the hero’s name could become a banner cry ― so an innocent, sentimental name was chosen.
Gov. dela Torre remembered his own hometown, Pozorrubio in Cuenca province of Spain. Since the roots that reached him described the town’s area in a rolling valley with the Labayug-Aloragat rivers drenching the fields with reddish waters from the northeast , and from the northwesterly directions flowed floodwaters similarly reddish from the Bued past Alava (now Sison) jointing the waters of Angalacan river reddish, too, as they inundated the rich land, then POZORRUBIO was it! POZOR- a valley, added to RUBIO (ruby the gem that’s always red) …sentimentally romantic, “Red River Valley” for one to sing! It satisfied dela Torre’s ego. The full impact of the sway of Empire by the stroke of the pen crushed the mythical CLARIS from the fiery love for a native town and benumbed the heart and the mind to fight the Spaniards with “talunasan”.
Some claim that the genesis of the name Pozorrubio was from stories of miracles about POZO (well) where the letter “r” is not part, and RUBIO (Red), due to the red water from the alleged miracle well – so the combination of POZORRUBIO (how did double r come into the spelling?) To pursue the story is to continue with the “miracle” too, so then pilgrimages should be massive, the shrine should be established in Pozorrubio to rival the “Call of the Virgin” at Manaoag!
BUILDING THE FOUNDATIONS – DIFFICULT YEARS
Don Benito Magno, foremost leader of “independence” petitioners, was chosen the first Capitan – truly Father of Pozorrubio – on January 13, 1870. He laid the groundwork; he framed the vision; he launched “the journey of a thousand miles” to reach a great destiny for a great, resilient and robust people.
The building up process was difficult – from Don Benito through the other town-heads that followed him. Pestilence, crop failures, calamities. The people of Pozorrubio suffered…. But they were unbowed! When revolution 1896 came Pozorrubio inhabitants stood solid and strong – under the banner of Katipunan. They shared the joys of seeing the Filipino flag flying alone against the tropic sky. The Filipino anthem sang at Bautista/Bayambang (from Jose Palma lyre and Julian Felipe’s tune) swept their spirits high, especially when General Emilio Aguinaldo dropped by Pozorrubio with his cavalry during the 1898-1901 Filipino-American War.
As of March 2, 1903 (first census) Pozorrubio’s population trebled to 33,006. Census 1975 figured Pozorrubio citizenry at 36,904.
Pozorrubio school system includes two high schools – St. Philomena’s Academy (Catholic, private) and Pozorrubio High School, public. Secondary education has reached the barrios thru the barrio high schools. Elementary education is provided by 35 schools, even as vocational or trade education in the town is offered by the Pozorrubio Vocational School. Overall, the literacy rate is 80% (better than Provincial average of 79%), and better than the national average of about 72% in 1970.
Before the old classification, Pozorrubio hit the second class, but the new 1975 presidential decree re-classified it to 4th class.
Famous for her agricultural products of rice, corn, peanuts, camotes, garlics, onions, mungo, and other salacious foods, Pozorrubio is veritably Baguio City’s rice-granary and other food source-supplier. The native tobacco produced in Pozorrubio compares favorably with Isabela’s and it has practically provided the export needs of Go Fay Tobacco Company, and other tobacco dealers.
The famous “Dilan bamboo-crafts” cross the oceans to bring in big amount of dollars, alongside the woodworks and craft of Batakil/Bobonan.
Sugar cane planters, esp. in the northeastern part of Pozorrubio provide much of the cane needs of the Hind’s Sugar Central at Manaoag, barely nine kilometers to Pozorrubio’s southwest. Her panocha and delicacies of patopat, cassava desserts or condiments, and other local rice-cakes flow out to Dagupan, Baguio, Urdaneta, Manila and other communities to give rich income to cottage-confectioners.
Neighbor town Sison, just nine kilometers north of Pozorrubio has practically made this place her market-center, added up by traders and consumers-buyers from Rosario, L.U., as well as the Kennon road communities. The banana hillside and ginger fields of Labayug, Alibeng and other places of the Caraballos provide Pozorrubio with enough wholesale business, even as the Northern Cement in the Labayug area furnishes the construction requirements of surging Pozorrubio.
Binalonan to the southeast, but bounded by the Aloragat river feeds Pozorrubio with numerous trade transactions, e.g. the NGA warehousing plants there, just nine kilometers away.
San Jacinto’s boundary to Pozorrubio’s west-south hillyu terrain is provided a gravel road-way thru Nantangalan and Bantugan, but most of the products from the place are vegetables, coconuts and buri products. The same is true with north-west area bounding the San Fabian-Sison sector.
Travelers especially tourists are amply provided with a net-work of cement and asphalt roads that fan out from Pozorrubio poblacion. The road leading to Baguio and other northern communities is an all-cement complex; the road to Manila via Binalonan is likewise as good. The Dagupan-Manaoag roadway, however, is still asphalt and narrow but is heavily laden with traffic from Dagupan and the other central and western areas of Pangasinan.
Tourist-delights of Pozorrubio are vast and numerous. The tree-houses are an attempt to prettification (of course it needs art there, too, including immaculate cleanliness), of the plaza and municipal hall complex.
All tourist-visitors of Pozorrubio can take a full view of the Lingayen Gulf atop the famous Buccat Hill, north of Poblacion that reached through roadways via Nama Barangay. The place is a favorite of Boy Scout campers, excursionists and lovers of nature who seemingly can reach for the sky, or relish the whole picturesque landscape all around.
Another good spot for tourists is the famous EMMANUEL CURATIVE SPRINGS at Barangay Pugaro, past Nantangalan, close to the boundary of Manaoag.
For excursionists’ picnic site also, is the Don Benito area nestled in the hills, but with plenty of bath-pools and shaded tree for lovers, rendezvous.
INFRASTRUCTURAL CONSTRUCTION – In the last decade warehousing complexes have emerged in town. Food and bakery confectioners have multiplied and business has grown in leaps and bounds.
The development and growth of Pozorrubio is not a political issue. Local organizations like the Jaycees, the Lions’ Club, Thames operators, drivers, market vendors’ association, barangay civic organizations and the people have rallied to build up their town in more imaginative ways than one, esp. during Martial Law. A unique construction of a “cut-work” of road from the plaza towards the market place was a symbolic gesture of the private SALCEDO real estate owners to sacrifice monetary losses in favor of the people’s well-being.
Road/bridge and infrastructural construction all over the municipality’s barangay have generated much progress of the townspeople. Mayor Artemio Saldivar details the development and construction programs, as follows:
First – Peace and Order – disturbances are reduced to the minimum; in certain areas complete order. Petty thievery of all kinds has almost vanished; no known rustling case/s; no drunks nor night-prowlers; family-squabbles solved in the tradition of barangay settlements.
Second – Community development that embraces infrastructural dimensions from roads, bridges, school-building, market renovation, farm irrigation, drinking water-municipal-wide cleanliness, and multiple array of improvements through citizens’ self-reliance and flexibility for harness in performing or accomplishing projects urgently needed. The “Awardee – One of Ten Outstanding Mayors of the Philippines, 1968”, Mayor Saldivar, points out numerous achievements during the seven (7) years of his Administration. He caps his dedication through scholarship grants for poor and deserving students.
Every era or epoch, indeed, has its different set of challenges, and the past builders of Pozorrubio performed brilliantly with honor due them in Pozorrubio’s Hall of Fame.
On the other hand, under Martial Law, Mayor Saldivar beams with the farm-to-market roads, widened or resurfaced. Barrio bridges join 21 of the barrio roads.
Drinking water systems include 5 spring’s developed and 3 artesian wells; water-irrigation for the farms came from 18 dams to increase farm production. Construction of the irrigation dams covered prioritized barrios, according to “urgent need”.
Some 26 units of school buildings all over have been provided the school-children; some monetary aid each at P1,000.00 has been extended to them. Health programs go with greater work intensification of nutritionist, family planning motivators, medical and dental service personnel and a vast array of New Society fieldsmen, including agriculturists, etc. involved in the total program.
SHARE IN THE NATION’S BUILDER – LEADERS
Pozorrubio’s reputation as the “breeder of educators” is solid …apparently unchallenged. At the time Dr. Daniel Salcedo was the Director of the Bureau of Private Schools (he later became Undersecretary of Education) the late Dr. Benigno Aldana was simultaneously the Director of the Bureau of Public Schools (even as Dr. Manuel Lim of Bautista, Pangasinan was also at the helm of the Education Department as Secretary.)
The footsteps of these educationists were followed by numerous sons and daughters of Pozorrubio, among whom are Executive Director Lourdes Lagera – Antiola, National Science Foundation, Science Talents’ Search (NSDB) Dr. Minda Cascolan-Sutaria, Asst. Director, Bureau of Elementary Education; President Crispin Cabanilla, Mariano Marcos Memorial Agri. College, Bacnotan, La Union; the late Supt. Maximiano Velasquez (of Sulo); Supt. Raymundo Aldana, BPS (Ret’d); and Ex-Supt. Gabertan; Children’s Museum and Library Chairman, Fernanda S. Balboa; Dr. Florencio Buen, Prov. Schools Supt. Of Pangasinan; U.E. Registrar, Teofilo Salcedo; PASS Secretary Lucio B. Fernandez (also Executive Asst. Office of Secretary Juan L. Manuel); Textbook Board-member and Science textwriter, Supv. Guillermo F. Cabanilla (now Secretary to Mayor Saldivar); English textbook at UE writer, Prof. Salud Magno Parayno; Baguio Commerce Dean Moises Reyes, CPA; and a host of others too long to mention.
A long line of successful and distinguished citizens from Pozorrubio include Ford Manager Juanito “Jerry” Marquez; Hotelier Mariano delos Reyes, Jr.; Lady business executive Mrs. Remedios Reyes-Rodis (Valrex); former Rep. Raymundo O. Camacho (1st Director of PGH) CPA Bonifacio Tambot; Manager, Tambot Rice Mill; Engr. – Business Executive Vivencio Araos of POACO; Baguio Tycoon Trinidad M. Nevada; Business Executive Fernando P. Magno (Goulds, Phils.); Dental Examiner, Dr. Alfonso Salcedo; Banker-lawyer Elena Magno-Cutay; Supv. Banker – CPA Felicidad Reyes-Delgado; Malacañang Social Secretary Rosario Jovellanos-Aurelio; Mining Engrs. Pastor (Sr. & Jr.) Quinto; Marsman Treasurer Catalino Salcedo, Sr.; Bus. Executive Laureano Callao, Sr. (Davao); Science writer/editor Tomas Tucay, NIST; Journalist Emil Jovellanos; Pilots Cesar S. Chaves; Pilot Saturnino Espinosa, Romeo Pajarillo and Dante Antenor; PMA Graduates Capt. Jacinto C. Ligot; 1st Lt. Benjamin R. Casabar; 1st Lt. Oscar T. Mariñas; 2nd Lt. Willie D. Mejia; 2nd Lt. Daniel R. Casabar, Jr.; 1sr Lt. Wilfredo Dulay; Commander Rodrigo S. Reyes; Clr. Marina Magno-Francisco; Clr. (Sang. Panlunsod, Baguio) Atty. Clemente Calpotura; Ateneo Psychologist Venancio Calputora, Jr.; Bus. Executive Jose Venezuela, Sr.; Banker Isabelo G. Aldana, DBP; Engr. Marciano Itliong; Engr. Hilario Mariñas; TOYM Awardee Major Celestino Desamito, Jr.; 1st and only Lady Mayor of Pozorrubio, Atty. Fe Fernandez-Bautista (now IBP Treasurer, Pang. Chapter); CPA Victorino Magno (Red Cross & YMCA); Engr. Tomas Caldito; Engr. Alej V. Joguilon; CFI Judge Pedro Quinto; Mons. Eleuterio Itliong; Hind’s Engr. Jovito Estaris, Sr. (note Dr. Jovito Estaris, Jr. was a topnotcher in US Medical Exams); Colenel Jose P. Magno, Jr.; Col. Francisco Cotongco; Col. Hermogenes Castillo; Col. Maxima Arciaga (Nurse); Col. Eduardo Arciaga (Graduate of PMA and on Court Martial Board, etc. trying detainees); Singer Susan Salcedo; Basketballer Dante Ritualo; Venerable orator Don Juan Magno (vocal or Board-member), and so many others unlisted, at press time.