Do you know your (town’s) history?


    ‘This document though 24 years old has told me a lot about the sleepy town my father has always considered home. Reading it makes me realize that all our towns should have interesting stories of their own…’

    TODAY is Bonifacio Day, when we commemorate the birth of the “Great Plebian” who figured prominently in the Filipino revolution against Spanish colonialism.  Like many other characters of our Revolution, Bonifacio was a controversial character, but whether you judge him one way or the other depends on your reading of history.

    But how many of us find history of interest?

    Yesterday, I again came across a two-page document entitled “Brief History of Alaminos, Laguna Philippines” dated 08 August 1996 and signed by its then-municipal mayor, Samuel F. Bueser. Mayor Bueser was a good friend of my late father (though much younger) and my father would often tell me he had seen the mayor and spent some time chatting. I think that’s how my father got a copy of the document which I now have. It makes (at least for me) an interesting read.

    Alaminos, (the document begins) “began as a barrio of San Pablo City which was then only a town belonging to the province of Batangas. Its initial name was Trenchera denoting the presence of long and deep ditches…

    “Sometime in 1873 when a certain Don Andres Peñaloza was the gobernadorcillo (equivalent of mayor) of the town of San Pablo, Trenchera was formally incorporated and became a pueblo or town but remained part of the Province of Batangas.

    “Don Cirilo Baylon, a wealthy resident of Trenchera and with a good command of the Spanish language invited Captain General Juan de Alaminos Nivera, the chief executive of the Province of Batangas whose capital seat was Lipa. The Captain-General accepted the invitation…

    “During the program in honor of the Captain-General and his party, Don Cirilo Baylon presented the petition of the residents asking that Trenchera be made into a duly organized and recognized town. The petition was read in public and the Captain-General gave assurance to consider their wish favorably. In less than two months the official paper proclaiming Trenchera as a new pueblo came from Lipa…

    “At the same time Don Cirilo Baylon was appointed the first gobernadorcillo or town mayor in concurrent capacity as Captain delos Constables de Pueblo or the equivalent of the local police chief. In appreciation of Captain-general Juan de Alaminos Nivera, the new pueblo was named Alaminos in 1873 and remained part of the province of Batangas until 1903.

    “From 1873 up until the revolutionary period of 1898, the following served as gobernadorcillo or mayor of Alaminos: Don Cirilo Baylon, 1873-1875; Raymundo Faylona, 1875-1878; Cirilo Baylon, 1879-1881; Marcelino Tolentino, 1882-1884; Policarpio Flores, 1885-1887; Mauricio Abril, 1888-1890; Sesinando Enriquez, 1891-1893; Marcelino Fule, 1894-1896 and Luis Cordero, 1897-1898.

    “Towards the end of the Filipino revolution against Spain and the subsequent American military rule in 1900, there was no gobernadorcillo. Alaminos revolted against Spain and fought the Americans. Notable among the town’s revolutionaries were Don Andres Roxas, Leodegario Avenido, Marcelino Fule and many more.

    “In 1900 the American military authority appointed Don Nicomedes Flores as overseer of the town from 1900-1902 and was followed by Don Rafael Baylon who served until 1903.

    At that time Alaminos was re-annexed as a barrio of San Pablo which was then ceded to the province of Laguna in 1902. It was not until about 1916 that Alaminos regained its status as a town and remained within the political territory of Laguna…”

    The document continues to list other prominent individuals who served as mayor of Alaminos prior to World War II: Jose Fule; Leodegario Averion; Rafael Averion Lucio Cubillejo; Francisco Fule; Andres Averion; Silvestre silva; Nicasio Villanueva; Artemio Fule.

    After the grant of political independence from the US, the following served as mayor: Demetrio Hernandez Sr., 1944-1946 (appointed); Filemon Masa, 1947-1948 (appointed); Daniel Fandiño Dr., 1948-1951; Lorenzo Dimayuga, 1952-1955; Pedro De Villa, 1956-1963; Casimiro Faylona, 1964-1967; Pedro De Villa 1968-1971; Armando M. Bueser, 1972-1979 (term extended due to Martial Law); Francisco Donato, 1980-1982; Mariano Flores, 1982-1987; Samuel F. Bueser 1988-1992, 1992-1995, 1995-1998.

    “The religious Patron of Alaminos is Nuestra Señora del Pilar, and its town Fiesta is celebrated on October 12 of every year…It has a land area of 54.68 sq. km and is situated 78 kms east of Manila. The town is moving from purely agricultural into an agro-industrial community with commitment to maintain wholesome ecological balance in the process of cautious transformation.”

    This document though 24 years old has told me a lot about the sleepy town my father has always considered home. Reading it makes me realize that all our towns should have interesting stories of their own “conception” – just as our own country’s birth story is interesting – and controversial – and in many ways unfinished!


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