History Of Bulalacao

The name Bulalacao is legendary in origin. According to a myth, a certain bird referred to by the natives as bulalakaw, periodically appeared out of the wilderness near the springs of Talisi and Lumagsak. Unexplainably, whenever this bird appeared, death would soon follow the inhabitants. The inhabitants, gravely afraid and puzzled of this deathly phenomenon, changed the name of the settlement from Kaburayan (from the vines called Buray), which was in abundance in the area during that period) to that of the bird's. Thus, the birth of a municipality named Bulalacao. Afterwards, the bird did not bother the place and the inhabitants. 

Bulalacao, with its present situation might well be considered as the oldest settlement in the whole of Mindoro if presumed that the old records about Mait to refer to a sitio in the South which is the present Bulalacao town site.

Old Chinese records of the year 982 make mention of Mai, an island south of Manila, from where valuable merchandize was traded in Canton, China.

The word Mait frequently occurs in the Ambahan literature of the Mangyans in Southern Mindoro, meaning - this earth, this place where we are living. Moreover, a certain river near Maujao, the oldest barrio of Bulalacao is still called by Mangyans the Mait River. It is further said that the old folks of Aklan in Panay referred Mindoro as the Island of Mait. A leading historian, Professor O.W Wolters of Cornell University considered the South of Mindor as the possible site of the ancient Mait, mentioned in the first Chinese Records about the Philippines in the 10th century.

The Archeological Studies Program of the University of the Philippines (UP ASP) recently unearthed an ancient settlement located in Sitio Lobok, Poblacion, Bulalacao. Their findings proved that this settlement in Bulalacao existed in the late 17th century and is one of the oldest in the island of Mindoro. The structure found was proven to be a church with a fortification of palisades to protect the settlers from frequent Moro attacks. This settlement was eventually abandoned after the devastating storms and earthquake that occurred on November 13 and 21, 1844.

In the early years of the 19th century, Bulalacao was ruled by Datu Calido from Panay. Following the expansion of the settlement, it was ruled by the capitanes. They were Paigao, Gabriel Contreras, Jacinto Pajado and Narciso Pandino. He ruled the area until the arrival of Lt. Morris in 1903.

In 1906, the settlement became a township, which included Paclasan (now Roxas), Mansalay, Mangaring (now San Jose) and the islands of Caluya, Sibay and Semirara. Thereafter, the succeeding - Municipal Presidente ruled the town until 1940. The following were all elected as such except Exequel Dimatulac who became Municipal Presidente by virtue of an appointment.

During Teotimo Cusi's administration, the seat of government was transferred from Bulalacao to Mansalay, where he came from. This infuriated the original settlers of Bulalacao whose pride was hurt by this kind of development.

The influential person that altered the original territory of the Province of Oriental Mindoro was Congressman Mariano Leuterio, who ceded the islands of Caluya, Semirara and Sibay to the province of Antique; Sibale to the province of Romblon.

While relations between Bulalacao and Mansalay were getting estranged, Juan Templanza won as Municipal Presidente in the election held in 1929. As could be expected, he returned the seat of the Government to his native town Bulalacao. The friction between the two towns boiled up. This prompted Congressman Leuterio to work for the creation of Mansalay as a new municipality. Finally, in 1929, Mansalay became officially separated from Bulalacao. The original territory of Bulalacao under Act 1280, which included Roxas, San Jose, Mansalay and the islands ceded to Antique, was greatly reduced. Ironically, these municipalities have outclassed their mother town Bulalacao economically.

By 1940's, World War II erupted. While the whole country was put under the rule of the Japanese Imperial Government, Mr. Juan P. Templanza was appointed as Municipal Presidente. He served from 1942 to 1946. There are stories of torture, cruelties, and other inhuman - punishments inflicted by the Japanese against staff of Mr. Templanza.

With the extension of American sovereignty, basic principle of American Constitutional system and American patterns of government were adopted in the Philippines. On July 4, 1946, the country was granted independence by the United States. All laws on local government with the passage of 1935 and 1973 Constitutions were accordingly continued in force, particularly Republic Act No.82, known as the Municipal Code enacted by the Philippine Commission on January 31, 1901.

The elected mayors before EDSA Revolution of February 1986 were Generose Villas (1949-1953), Ricardo Bago (1954-1958), Lazaro Visconde (1959-1967), Felipe Familara (1968-1971) and Dolores Bago (1971-1986).

It should be noted that the dramatic and institutional changes began to take place under Felipe Familara. It was during Familara's administration that the first secondary school was inaugurated. Likewise, the public market at Barangay Campaasan was constructed. It was also during this time that the construction of road from Roxas to Bulalacao started. Dolores Bago who succeeded Familara worked on strengthening barangays. She started to bring barangay office to the mainstream of policy making. Under her administration, a new municipal hall was built in order to house the growing numbers of government personnel.

1986 marked a turning point in the national contemporary history. President Ferdinand Marcos who ruled the country for almost twenty years was deposed by the virtue of People Power, a peaceful revolution made by the gallant Filipino people on the historic four days of February 1986. Soon, reorganization was effectuated throughout the country. Batasang Pambansa was dissolved. Incumbent elective and some appointive officials were removed and were immediately replaced by new ones. This was justified as effective means of facilitating transition from dictatorship to newly gained democracy. 

It was on this ecstatic moment for the majority of freedom-loving Filipinos when a non-politician, Guillermo H. Salas, was appointed by Secretary Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. as Office-In-Charge (OIC) of the Municipality of Bulalacao.

When Salas decided to run as Municipal Mayor in 1987, he enjoyed great popularity among the poor and the Mangyans. He won with a landslide victory. Salas built his reputation in terms of infrastructure projects construction, agricultural support, ecological management and human resource development.

On May 7, 1995, questions about what Salas might do in his last term suddenly became unanswerable. Salas was struck down at Campaasan by assassin's bullets. It was the most unexpected and devastating single event in the history of Bulalacao.