Into the Red River Valley

by Flordeliza I. Eroles

            Seeped into the individual souls of Pozorrubio is the consuming need for a better life. It’s the vision defining the exodus of Pozorrubio in oil rich countries like Saudi Arabia, even in war-torn places like Iraq, in Europe where progress and history, religion and arts blend, in the American continents particularly the mighty United States of America, in Australia and New Zealand, in the African continent, and other less trodden path of the earth.

          A newspaper reported that almost all families of Pozorrubio has a member working abroad or has migrated to foreign lands. Such is the phenomenon that transcends through the history of this town.

           In spite of the tapestry of the modern times, Pozorrubians remain a trail-blazing people fired by that insatiable desire to find a better place to live in or work. This is the premise which explains the spirit the early settlers of Pozorrubio.

           About 400 years ago, the Igorots trekked down the mountains and occupied the places now barangay Buneg, Inoman and Villegas. They were hunting, fishing and food-gathering people. Then the Ilocanos from Bangar, La Union took a route leading to the northern part of now Pozorrubio. It was a journey that brought them to a place teeming with trees. Under the Palacpalac, a tree with heavy foliage, the travelers came to rest. Possibly driven by persecution, these travel – weary Ilocanos decided to settle and found their new home. At the northwestern part, a group of people from the Kingdom of Caboloan, later called Binalatongan, and now San Carlos City, came to find a new home for them, too. Hence, this side of Pozorrubio is Pangasinense-speaking folks.

           The Ilocanos and the Pangasinenses became good neighbors. Friendships, intermarriages, and a mutual aspiration to develop their community inspired them to unite and to drive away the Igorots, their common enemy. Perhaps, there was so much handedly fought the Igorots and won. He became their hero. And their place came to be called Claris.

          From Claris to Pozorrubio covered a remarkable span of time. Claris gave his name to a place then called Common. Common became Claris, a sitio of San Jacinto. With the community folks clamoring for a change, Sitio Claris became a barrio of San Jacinto on March 12, 1834, through the petition of Gobernadorcillo Don Francisco Ytliong and the Communidad de Principales of San Jacinto to Governor General Enreli y Alcedo. Becoming a barrio meant the establishment of an ermita or chapel, and a parochial school.

           Thirty-four years later, the leaders of the barrio petitioned the authorities to convert Claris into a town. On June 19, 1868, the governor General of the Philippines, Carlos Maria dela Torre y Navarrada, received the petition. The petition was referred to the Gobernadorcillo of San Jacinto, Don Domingo dela Cruz who said expediency was the reason for converting Barrio Claris to a pueblo. The authorities of San Jacinto and Communidad de Principales endorsed the petition and the transfer of the site of the town in Sitio Cablong.

          The route to becoming a town was an arduous journey. A proposed plan for the town of Claris was made and presented to the Gobernadorcillo and some members of the Communidad de Principales of San Jacinto, Manaoag, Binalonan, Alava (now Sison), and San Fabian. The Bishop of Nueva Segovia, Fr. Juan O.P. favorably endorsed the plan to the Dominican Superior, Rev. Fr. Pedro Payo. Fr. Payo also favorably recommended the plan to the Governor General on June 17, 1869. The Governor General of the Philippines made several announcements concerning the conversion of Claris into a pueblo in July 3, 1869 and November 3, 1869. Thus, the inauguration of Pozorrubio as the new town on January 13, 1870 was the fulfillment of a dream.

          The town’s name is a story itself. The popular version is an account of a “red well”. The story explains that the word “pozo” means “well” and red is “rubio”, hence, the name Pozorrubio. The other version said a Dominican priest named the place after the town in Spain where the Governor General of the Philippines, Carlos Maria dela Torrey Navarrada, was born. Another version of how the name Pozorrubiowas coined came from the report to Gov. dela Torre describing the town, “the place was rolling valley watered by the Labayug-Aloragat River drenching the fields with reddish water from the northeast”. And Pozorrubio was it. Pozo, the valley, and ruby the gem that is!

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