History Of Pinamalayan
During the transmigration era and man’s search for fortune and self-fulfilment, a group of migrants from the shores of Marinduqe sailed to sea aboard big banca. Along their journey, they encountered a turbulent weather and lost their way. With the horizon filled with fog, they continued their course to an unknown destination. They prayed to God for deliverance and guidance, whereupon, the haze cleared out and a rainbow appeared in the skyline. Beneath it is a green and bundant land with wide plains and slight terrain. The crew shouted “Ipinamalay na!”. Superstitiously, they believed that it was a sign of luck and they would find good fortune. They chartered towards the rainbow and anchored at the beach south of Pili Point in Lumambayan.
These people afterwards found prosperity in the place and decided to stay permanently. They cultivated vast plantation of rice. However, during the larger parts of the 17th and 18th century, Moro Pirates from Panay Romblon and Tablas frequently attacked the area to loot residents’ valuables. People were decimated and many were forced to flee into the interior for safety. When the bandits had no more to seize, they left and acclaimed the place “Pinagpalayan”.
As a permanent settlement, the place was organized by Juan Morente, Sr., who was then the Gobernadorcillo (1988-1890). The territory of Pinamalayan covered Pola, Sumagui (Bansud), and Anilao (Bongabong) during that time. He was ascended by his son, Juan Morente Jr., who assumed position until 1894. When uprising against the Spanish broke out in 1898, Juan Morente, Jr. joined the revolutionary forces as a captain. Juan Medina replaced him as town head. The municipality further contributed its part on the history by taking up arms against the Spaniards, led by Medina.
Immediately upon signing of the Treaty of Paris, which ceded the Philippines to the United States, the American Government placed Pinamalayan in military rule and the civil government that followed under the Philippine Commission of 1902. Cornelio Nable (1901-1902) was appointed the first Municipal President, Followed by Juan Aguilucho (1902-1903). It was administered under a special grant, as there was no sufficient fund available for the establishment of a regular organized municipality. Bongabong and Pola were sheltered as its barangays by virtue of Act 1155 in April 28, 1904 under the administration of Vicente Dominguez (1903-1904).
Florencio Morente then seated from 1905-1906. First election was conducted in 1907, and Juan Morente, Jr. became the first elected municipal president. It was in 1914 when the town was made a typical municipality, Pola in 1912, Bongabong in 1920 and so was Sibale. He (Morente Jr.) then was appointed as the first Filipino Governor replacing Carl L. Stone (1913-1914) under the Filipinization Policy of Governor General Francis Button Harrison.
The old town site, the present Barangay Lumambayan, is situated between two rivers (Pinamalayan and Macanlig), one of which is too close to the seashore. This accounts for the impossibility of expanding of the town proper. For the fast growing influx of population, a Governor Juan Morente Jr. and Thomas Weeks, the Provincial Treasurer. The Municipal Council, under the leadership Jesus Dominguez, also in 1914, acted on the selection of the town site – one that will be the choice of the great majority of the inhabitants. In one of the regular meetings, prominent citizens of the towns as far as Balete (Gloria) were invited. People flocked in front of the municipal building in Lumambayan to witness and vote for the place they want. Barangay Quinabigan and Panggulayan were placed for consideration. The method of selection was through “viva voice” voting. The council set a place of assembly for all those favouring Quinabigan and other for Panggulayan. Majority of the people gathered for Panggulayan, so thus chosen.
One more administration passed before the formal founding occurred –Jose Benitez took office from 1915 to 1916, during the term of Municipal President Elias Semilla, when the transfer took effect. The Municipal Council led by Florencio Morente as committee chairman bought lots from the constituents. Few of those who were willing were: Esteban Miciano, Diego Mangante, Jose Lucero, Gregorio Justiniano, Euberto Llave, Juan Francisco and Jose Nieva. The latter donated land for the roads.
The American planners made sure that this new town would be build properly. Thus, they introduced a grid of network of wide roads with proper drainage system. A big plaza was constructed in front of the municipal building. The town Pinamalayan still stands as a model in town planning among all the municipalities of Oriental Mindoro.
On the same year, the National Highway connecting Pinamalayan to Calapan and Southern municipalities was proposed. Two seats, by Carlos Aguilucho and Francisco Luarca (1925-1928) and Anacleto Villamin (1928-1934), the National Highway was finally opened publicly, thus improving mobility, communication and commerce. Other thoroughfares, such as those connecting Pola and Naujan were made accessible in 1932, while that interstate towards Bongabong in 1939.
Felipe Venturanza took office in 1934 up to 1938, followed by Carlos Aguilucho in 1938. When the Japanese occupied Mindoro in 1942, Dr. Abelardo Buñag, the Mayor (1941-1942), joined the underground movement. The Japanese appointed Carlos Aguilucho, followed by Manuel Medina until the Americans returned in January 15, 1945.
World War II greatly hampered the construction of the roads and even destroyed projects on the way. Bridges were bombed by dynamites; schools and buildings were used as firewood by Japanese soldiers; houses were dilapidated; and municipal buildings were burned. The town suffered multifarious losses from the immense fire set in 1944. Many lives were lost – either killed in guerrilla warfare, died of hunger and sickness due to lack of medicine. Not a few were punished inhumanly.
After the war, restoration was given priority. The town steadily grew from 1947 to 1990 under various administrations.