San Pascual

San Pascual, Masbate - (Region V)
(by: pinas)

Category: Towns , Places
Location: San Pascual, Masbate - (Region V)


San Pascual, a municipality of Masbate, is located at the northernmost tip of the Island of Burias, one of the bigger islands that make up the province of Masbate. The Municipality of San Pascual is composed of nineteen barrios that the dot the seacoast of three islands; Burias, Busing and Templo or Iniwaran and six very small unsettled islands.

Burias, which is the biggest of the three islands has a length of more or less fifty-one miles from Colorado Point, the northernmost tip, to Punta Aguja, the southernmost tip of the island. The width from coast to coast across the broadest part is only approximately five miles, while across the narrowest portion is more or less only half a mile. Burias Island lies about thirteen miles from the nearest part of Luzon Island and about fifteen miles from the Island of Masbate.

The name, Burias, given to the island was derived from the native word “buri”- a name given to the family of a tropical plant (corphya elata) which grows abundantly and luxuriantly in the islands. This name was given to this group of islands by earl bands of Moro pirates who made transitory dwellings along the coastal plains of the islands after they pillaged and plundered the shore towns of Mindoro, Romblon, Marinduque, and some western coast towns of the Southern Luzon Provinces and the Bicol Provinces.

It was not, however, until 1569 that the existence of the Burias Islands came to the knowledge of the Spaniards. In 1569, field Commander Martin de Goite and Juan Salcedo discovered the islands on their way to one of their northern expeditions. The Spaniards found the place unsettled as the islands were only used as hide-outs by transient Moro Corsairs.

Upon the defeat of Rajah Soliman and Rajah Lakandula, Manila fell to the Spanish Conquistadores. Many of the soldiers and followers of the two rajahs fell into the hands of Spaniards as prisoners. To dispose of these captives or slaves, as they were called, they were left by the Spanish Conquistadores in the Island of Burias upon their return to Cebu. These people formed the nucleus of the early settlement in the island.

The prisoners mixed with their Moro brothers and formed a village or settlement in one of the tiny caves along the western coast of the island. With the growth of the settlement, a Moro called Buaya I, became the datu of the village. The name was given him because of his prowess and ferocity. The village was called “Ki-Buaya”, meaning The Crocodile’s. This was the first settlement in the island.

But before the Ki-Buaya settlement could really expand, new brands of Moro pirates made frequent raids of the settlement. Those repeated raids made the settlers left the settlement, to seek for a less conspicuous but a safer place to settle. In their search for a safer place, they found the present site of the town of San Pascual, an answer to their needs because it is located inside a bay which is almost hidden by an island as its entrance, which they could use as a watchtower for the approaching vintas. Thus, grow up the settlement and later the town of San Pascual.

When the Spanish government sent out missionaries to the different parts of the Philippines Archipelago, the missionaries sent to Burias, brought with them images of saints. Of these images, the image of Saint Paschal Baylon became the favorite of the natives, who readily embraced the Christian faith and became very devout Catholics. The natives became peace-loving people and the settlement progressed.

The natives, in spite of the inconspicuousness of their settlement, did not feel absolutely safe from Moro raids. So being devout Catholics, they prayed to their favorite saint, San Pascual Baylon, to protect them.

As if an answer to their prayers, the settlement, henceforth, was never raided. And so geat was the natives’ faith in the protection given them by San Pascual, that they named the settlement after the saint, San Pascual.

As years passed, the settlement grew. Fishing became the source of livelihood of the people who traded their cured fishes in the towns of the neighboring provinces.. And before long, Bicolanos, Tagalogs and natives of Romblon and Marinduque began to immigrate to the settlement of San Pascual and new settlements were founded.

With the increase in the number of settlements in the island, the Spanish government took more notice of the island and a politico-military government was established in Burias with the seat of government at San Pascual. A politico-military governor was appointed and sent to the island.

A commandancia was built at the heart of the town and a Spanish fort was set up in the northwestern part of the town overlooking the two narrow passages, the Boca-chica and the Boca-Grande, to the bay where the town was.

A record of the early politico-military governor of Burias was never made until 1895, when Don Juan Marina became the Spanish Politico and Military Governor with Ciriaco Gonzales as Capitan, Andres Cortez as Teniente Mayor and Luis Salvacion as Juez de Paz. These officials held their offices until 1896 except Ciriaco Gonzales and Andres Cortez who were relieved in July, 1896 by Hilarion Ortega and Timoteo Aguilar as Teniente Mayor and Juez de Paz, respectively.

In 1897, Don Juan Lopez was appointed Spanish Politico and Military Governor but was succeeded by Angel Nieto when Don Juan Lopez died in April, 1897. Julian Miranda and Gabriel de Vela held the offices of Capitan and Juez de Paz, respectively with the office of Teniente Mayor remaining vacant.

A revolutionary government was set up in the island in 1898. Jose Karingal became the first Filipino Politico-Military commander. In July, 1898, Ignacio Delfin Mendiola was appointed administrator of the Spanish confiscated property. Antero Nazareno was appointed medical officer.

In October, 1898, the offices of the presidente (Mayor), vice presidente (Vice-Mayor), delegado de rentas (treasurer), juez de paz (justice of peace) and jefe de policia (chief of police) were created. Julian Miranda was appointed Presidente with Pedro Lazaro as Vice Presidente, Antero Nazareno as Delegado de Rentas, Eduardo Ticson as Juez de Paz and Manuel Gonzalesas Jefe de Policia. These officials held their offices until May 1901.

In May 1901, when the Americans set up their government in Burias, the offices of the Politico-Military governor, the Administrator of the Spanish confiscated property and the medical officer were abolished. Justo Gotos became the Presidente and held this office till 1904, with Victor Santa Ana as Vice Presidente who held the office till October, 1903, when he was succeeded by Dionisio Huertas.

In November 1903, the offices of a secretary and a council with eight members, called councilors were created. Joaquin Balbastre became the first secretary of the town and Francisco Villanueva, Anastacio dela Peña , Julian dela Rosa, Geronimo Santa Ana, Pedro Evangelista, Nicolas Palacio, Ventura Rogelio and Vicente Tolosa as first councilors.