Virac

Virac is a first class municipality in the province of Catanduanes. It is the capital municipality of the province and the most populous and fifth largest in land area. It has been said that Virac is a derivation of the word “Vidak” while others claim it is a contraction of the Spanish version of the word burac, meaning flower. A priest is on a quest for more information about the natives. Pointing to a tree, he asked what it was called and the natives replied, “Burac.” Thereupon, the priest made his first notation on his book of information “burac”.

San Andres

The original name of San Andres was Calolbon, used to be Calolbong, which was vaguely referred to a Bicol expression – “naca
lobong”, as the houses of the original community along the bank of Carangag River looked almost submerged when viewed from the sea. The early Spanish explorers misunderstood the native guide who said that the submerged houses meant the name of the town. Unfamiliar with the dialect, they placed “Calolbong” on the map. Usage in the course of time dropped the “g”.

Caramoran

The municipality of Caramoran is located in the northern part of the island Province of Catanduanes about a hundred kilometers more or less from the capital town of Virac depending n the route. One can reach the place either by sea or by taking the road from Virac via San Andres or the Quirino Highway from Payo, Bagamanoc passing Pandan. It is endowed with vast agricultural lands, rich natural resources and fishing grounds teaming with fishes and other marine lives.
Its shores are rugged and rough lines but dangerous barrier reefs. The sun peeps at early dawn through mountainous timberlands and sets beyond the Palumbanes Island facing the has the largest area in the province, bounded on the North, South and East by eight of the eleven municipalities of the province and the Maqueda Channel on the Western Horizon and ranks third on population. The inhabitants of the municipality comes from the stock of the early 13th Century Bornean, Chinese and Malayan settlers in the province mixed with Filipinos from the provinces together with Spanish, American, Japanese and Papuans bloods. Due to its untapped natural resources, it is considered as the sleeping giant of the province.

San Miguel

San Miguel, which is once, a part of the Municipality of Bato, first inhabited by the early mountaineers and the part of the Malayan race that were pushed to the open valley with the coming of the Spanish Colonizers.
There are myths and fables about how the town got its name. According to a pioneer, San Miguel was once a sitio known as “Aguas” named after fish species bigger than the “Balanak”. In the 1930’s during the celebration of the feast in honor of Santa Cruz the former Patron Saint; Aguas was changed to San Miguel in grateful recognition and commendation to the invaluable services of Don Miguel Triumfante and Juez de Cnado of Bato who were present then during the celebration.
There was also an event handed down to the present generation that once upon a time the chapel caretaker in the person of Marcelo Tapanan, in one early morning heard a long and loud ringing of bells. He hurried to the chapel and was surprised to see the image of Saint Michael the Archangel in the altar. The story passed on every ear of the residents and finally made a common move of changing the name of the place from Aguas to San Miguel.

Bato

Bato is a fifth class municipality in the province of Catanduanes.
The Spanish colonizers, who surveyed the early settlers of the area, recorded the name “Bato” and later this became the town’s name. There are several unproven theories when and why the town was named “Bato”, like it came from the name of the “water Wells”, or it came from the Tagalog word bato, meaning “rock”. Another legend states that a Spaniard asked a settler woman the name of the settlement, and she replied “Bato”. There is no certainty whether the woman understood the question or not, whether she referred to her own name or the name of the settlement itself, or to their early occupations of the area.

Panganiban

Panganiban is a one-horse town nestled on the northeastern side of the island-province of Catanduanes. It has a land area of about 60 square kilometers, partly arable hemmedinbymountains.

The pioneers were navigators and traders on commercial expeditions, descendants of the first wave of settlers from Borneo, Malay and China. In the early 13th century, another wave of seafarers, coming from southern Luzon mainland, got lost in storm, ventured inward into the mouth of Payo river and there found an Eden—and so they stayed and called this home.

In time, the settlers set up their own governing body by electing one from among themselves as chief whom formally called “Payo”. In the vernacular, Payo means head or chief. As the original settlement further expanded and satellite settlement sprouted, it continued to be the seat of government where the tribal chief resided. As it was the seat of authority and residence of the chief it was likewise called Payo. The village headman, or Payo as he was called by the villagers was among the survivors. None of these survivors ever returned. They settled and formed a community of their own called barangay “Payo”.

Bagamanoc

At what is known as Bagatabao, but more island of the swamp, Bagamanocnons now called Taraga, there was already a chicken raising settlement place on the inhospitable plateau of Panay Island (Catanduanes).
The settlement was bounded on the east and north by the sea, blocked by a swamp and a hostile hill on the south and pressed by the crocodile-infested mouth of what is now known as the Bagamanoc River on the west. Confined to a limited territory by natural forces, the settlement could hardly feed and shelter itself. Moreover, frequent raids by corsairs from Mindanao, Jolo or Borneo for slaves posed a serious problem to their existence.
One day, a daring and adventurous young man from the tribe forced his way across the mouth of the river to look for rattan needed for the repair of his future bride’s family house. Going westward by the shoreline, he finally turned left for the business of venture but before he cut an uphill distance, he saw what appeared to be a chicken flying along just above the tallest leaves of pandan shrubs festooning the sea. Back in his tribe, he told the clan on what he saw of the beauty of the place, its abundance with food and building materials and the defense is offered from the pirate’s raid. But as the place has no name to say when referring to that “discovered land” every time anybody talk of the place, they would call it “BAGAMANOC” which means the place was like a “chicken” the very meaning of Bagamanoc.

Pandan

Formerly the town site was located some two kilometers away south of the present site. Then the people were disturbed by constant depredation of bandits coming from other places.The present site has been chosen because it was near the sea and the fishermen found it very convenient for their trade, however, being near the sea, it was vulnerable to Moros who always come to get their belongings or even capture some people.

As a defense against such moro raids, the people planted pandan shrubs close to each other to form a formidable defense against invaders. When the Spaniards came they found the plants around the poblacion in great abundance. When asked what the name of the shrubs was, the people told them that they were pandan shrubs. Thus, the Spaniards called the place Pandan.

Gigmoto

The name Gigmoto originated from the Bicol word himbot that means “just in time”. This is supposedly related to an event that happened because of a romantic venture of a young man from Baras seeking to court a maiden from the town of Viga. Competing with several other suitors, the Baraseño traveled northbound to win the love of the maiden. He was overtaken by the night, so he slept in that place. In the morning he proceeded to Viga arriving there almost at night. After staying for quite a period of time in Viga, the man from Baras won the hearth of the Viganon. When the lovers were bound for Baras, they stayed overnight at Gigmoto – “just on time” for their first romantic night of being together.As years went by Himbotan was changed to Higmoto. Years thereafter, believing that with the “H” Higmoto seemed to be a Japanese word, the “H” was changed to “G” – thus the name Gigmoto.

Baras

Once called “BADAS” during the early Spanish Colonization of the archipelago. Some elders recall that Baras, centuries back was once s progressive fishing village located over a small mountain projecting towards the sea on the western side of Baras Bay. The poblacion was its cemetery and the cemetery now was its former poblacion site. The old site was chosen because it was an elevated area overlooking the sea.The villagers could easily see approaching pirates that occasionally plundered the sea, giving them ample time to evacuate their families and prepare for the encounter. Several Skirmishes had been taught in the present poblacion.

Excavation in the Church Plaza reveals human remains of evaders. The pirates gone, the villagers later settled in what are now Baras. A splintered group of insurrecturs headed by a certain CATALINO CATAKUTAN who was facing the advantage of the insurrection taking place in the Southern Tagalog region, braved the rough seas to set a place in the long quest for Philippine Independence in the Island, forced by the gusty Southeast Monsoon wind they finally set anchor in the once rich fishing village called “Cabadasan” posing as fisherman.

 

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