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Map of Catanduanes with Baras highlighted
|Region||Bicol (Region V)|
|• Mayor||Atty. Rodel Valenzuela Abichuela|
|• Total||109.50 km2 (42.28 sq mi)|
|• Density||110/km2 (290/sq mi)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC+8)|
The name is derived from the “badas” plant, once abundant in this location. Yet, as to what kind of vegetation “badas” is, is a subject of conjecture. Some believed that it was a kind of bamboo, now called “bagacay”. Others believed it to be some sturdy tree, but the majority believed that it is a wild rattan plant abounding in the surrounding mountains. Nevertheless, one common belief is the fact that this “badas” was a source of materials for making spears, a weapon used by the native to repel the raiders and pirates.
It is also believed that “badas” was a much in-demand material for building the native huts. Because of its abundance in the area, villagers called the place “Cabadasan”, meaning a place where “Badas” thrive. The Spanish colonizers however changed it to “Baras”.
The Municipality of Baras is one of the eleven municipalities of the island Province of Catanduanes within the Region-V (Bicol Region). It is bordered on the north by the municipality of Gigmoto, on the south by the municipality of Bato, on the east by Kaladapan Bay and the Philippines Sea; and on the west by the municipality of San Miguel. Traveling by land transportation, the municipality is approximately one and a half hour ride from the capital town of Virac.
The surface landscape within Baras is made up of varying slopes. It is dominated however by slopes ranging 18-30% (Rolling to hilly) with land area of 38.0700 square kilometers or 49.830% and 30-50% (Steep Hills and Mountains) with land area of 29.6200 square kilometers or 38.770%. comprising the last slope surfaces are slopes 0-3% (level to very gently sloping) with land area of 7.2600 square kilometers or 9.500% and 50%-Above (very steep hills and mountains).
Based on the land classification, the Municipality of Baras is divided into Alienable and Disposable lands and Forest lands. Alienable and Disposable Lands occupy land area of about 57.600 square kilometers or 75.390%. On the other hand, Forest Lands occupy only about 18.800 square kilometers or 24.610%
The municipality of Baras possesses varying soil types particularly Bantog Clay, Mountain soil, Atimodian Clay, and Luciana Clay. Most dominant soil types are Luciana Clay occupying about 56.1700 square kilometers or 73.590% and mountain soil occupying about 17.2800 square kilometers or 22.620%. The least soil types are Bantog Clay with land area of only about 2.1900 square kilometers or 2.860% and Atimodian Clay with land area of only about 0.7600 square kilometers or 0.930%.
The municipality of Baras comprises twenty-nine (29) barangays of which six (6) are urban barangays and twenty-three (23) are rural barangays. Urban barangays have a total land area of only 1.0200 square kilometers or 1.332%, made up of Barangays Bagong Sirang, Buenavista, Eastern Poblacion, San Lorenzo, Quezon and Western Poblacion. On the other hand, rural barangays comprise the 96.668%, made up of Barangays Abihao, Agban, Batolinao, Benticayan, Caragumihan, Danao, Genitligan, Guinsaanan, J.M. Alberto, Macutal, Moning, Nagbarorong, Osmena, Paniquihan, P. Teston, Putsan, Sagrada, Rizal, Puraran, San Miguel, Salvacion, Sta. Maria and Tilod.
Barangays with smaller land area are Barangays Bagong Sirang, Buenavista, Eastern Poblacion, San Lorenzo, Quezon, Western Poblacion and Sta. Maria. On the contrary, barangays with the largest land areas are Agban, Benticayan, Genitligan, J.M. Alberto, San Miguel and Tilod.
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.
By befriending the villagers and at the same time working on the growing discontent among the people against the tyrannical rule of Capitan CARLOS MACAPUGAY who was then Bat’s town executive, the rebel grouped the men folk of the village to form a fierce fighting bond.
Out of this uprising led by Catalino Catakutan, the umbilical cord through which Cabadasan ruled was detached and the town of Baras was born.
Married to Maria Timola from Bato, Capitan Catalino Catakutan, with the burning desire for independence, did not live long to set office in the entire province. The Spaniards caught up with him while attending a wedding feast. Tortured and chained by the neck, he was paraded around the Poblacion of Bato to serve as warning to the people.
He was hanged near the church of Bato. In his stead, Capitan Mariano Teologo was installed as Bara’s first town executive on May 11, 1897. Its original barrios were Tilod, Macutal, Paniquihan and Gigmoto.
Baras - A Town and Barrio
Baras’ first town executive was Capitan Mariano Teologo who served until the end of 1897. To minister the town’s spiritual needs was Rev. Father Pablo Zuniega, Baras' first Parish Priest, whose tenure ended in the middle of the 1904.
The early year of Baras as a town was a period of difficult adjustment. In 1905, Capitan Quirico Arcilla, the town’s fourth executive, started the construction of a semi-permanent Municipal Building called “TRIBUNAL”. A dynamic and a dominant figure in Baras politics, his centering effort in the administration of local affairs was well as his proven integrity, he enabled the town to experience a period of prosperity. In 1906, Capitan Alvaro Vergara succeeded him. In 1907 due to financial difficulties the town was reverted to a barrio status. A few days later after its reversion into a barrio of Bato, its executive appointed Reymundo Tanael as Cabeza (barrio executive). Baras existed as a barrio up to the last days of 1909.
In a period of 3 years as barrio, Cabezas had ruled it, namely: Cabezang Reymundo Tanael, Agustia Tanael, Felix Teologo, Lucas Arcilla and Catalino Guerrero. Before the end of the year 1909, Civic religious and business leaders of the community demanded from the ruling governing power that Baras be re-created into a municipality.
In 1910, Baras, became a town for the second time. Appointed to steer the reigns of government was Capitan Juan Pablo, a Tagalog immigrant who found a local belle for his life partner. In the election of 1911, he lost to Capitan Pedro Vergara, only to be elected again in 1913. From then, Baras moved on experiencing the test of time as a municipality. In 1927 Palaviano Camu, then constructed Camu Street connecting it to San Lorenzo Street. In 1929 the present sight of barrio Putsan was constructed.
May 1933, the Bato-Baras road was opened to traffic. In 1935 the gold boom reached Baras, an American firm headed by certain Mr. Torchand dug sitio Banog in Agban and started what it seemed a flourishing firm, the Agban gold mines, at the same time the abaca and copra industry, for which Baras had been famous, was at its peak.
For some unknown reason the firm had to close shop at the end of 1938. On the 10th of December 1941, one year after “Oguis”, a Japanese fleet, consisting of an aircraft carrier and a destroyer, landed at Batalay in Bato, bombarded Virac to the surprise of its inhabitants, swooped down on Barrio Guinsaanan, releasing three medium bombs hitting Sayao rock off and making Baras a ghost town by night.
Nobody complained, the country was at war. After a month with no governing officials reporting to their office, the incumbent Mayor Victor Tanael returned from hiding and once again everything returned normally. Other Municipal officials reported to their offices. In the early part of 1943, Mayor Tanael died of sickness and so, the Japanese occupation government appointed Mr. Deonesio Tolledo as Mayor, Atty. Severiano de Leon as Municipal Judge, Mr. Pedro Teston as Chief of Police, Mr. Reynato Magistrado and Jaime Templonuevo as Policemen. They were the only officials appointed.
In the early morning of February 1944, the town folks were surprised by rain of bullets. Major Salvador Rodulfo aka "PANTOM" of Bgy. Tilod, Baras, fresh from his guerilla exploits in Albay, landed at Tilod with soldiers and started organizing independent guerilla outfit, later to be known as the Catanduanes Liberators Battalion. Baras became the sanctuary of the resistance movement in the province.
It was his group who was responsible for the annihilation of all Japanese soldiers in the island, killing most of them and capturing the remaining that were caught alive and raising to the ground their garrisons and hideouts.
Immediately after the liberation of the country from the Japanese warriors in 1945, President Osmeña appointed some Municipal Heads of the town.
As of now,under the administration of Mayor Chito Chi,Baras town has just received for the first time in History,the Certificate of Recognition for " ranking NUMBER 1 in the collection of business taxes among the 5th. Class Municipalities in the entire Bicol Region that exceeded the target amount." Mayor Chito Chi was succeeded by Atty. Rodel V. Abichuela as Municipal Mayor in the elections of 2013.
|Population census of Baras|
|Source: National Statistics Office|
- "Municipalities". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- "Province: Catanduanes". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010". 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- "An act creating the municipality of Gigmoto in the province of Catanduanes". LawPH.com. Retrieved 2011-04-09.
- "Province of Catanduanes". Municipality Population Data. LWUA Research Division. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
|San Miguel||Philippine Sea|