Gumaca, Quezon

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Gumaca
Municipality
Muralla boulevard at the mouth of Pipisik River
Muralla boulevard at the mouth of Pipisik River
Official seal of Gumaca
Seal
Map of Quezon showing the location of Gumaca
Map of Quezon showing the location of Gumaca
Gumaca is located in Philippines
Gumaca
Gumaca
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 13°55′N 122°06′E / 13.917°N 122.100°E / 13.917; 122.100Coordinates: 13°55′N 122°06′E / 13.917°N 122.100°E / 13.917; 122.100
Country Philippines
Region CALABARZON (Region IV-A)
Province Quezon
District 4th district
Founded 1582
Barangays 59
Government[1]
 • Mayor Erwin P. Caralian (NUP)
Area[2]
 • Total 189.65 km2 (73.22 sq mi)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 69,618
 • Density 370/km2 (950/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 4307
Dialing code 42
Income class 1st class

The Municipality of Gumaca (Filipino: Bayan ng Gumaca) is a first class municipality in the province of Quezon, Philippines. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 69,618 people.[3] Located at the mouth of what is now known as Pipisik River and nestling at the foot of the Sierra Madre range, it was – as it is now – also the center of regional trade and commerce.[4]

Barangays[edit]

Gumaca is politically subdivided into 59 barangays:[2]

  • Adia Bitaog
  • Anonangin
  • Bagong Buhay (Pob.)
  • Bamban
  • Bantad
  • Batong Dalig
  • Biga
  • Binambang
  • Buensuceso
  • Bungahan
  • Butaguin
  • Calumangin
  • Camohaguin
  • Casasahan Ibaba
  • Casasahan Ilaya
  • Cawayan
  • Gayagayaan
  • Gitnang Barrio
  • Hardinan
  • Inaclagan
  • Inagbuhan Ilaya
  • Hagakhakin
  • Labnig
  • Laguna
  • Lagyo
  • Mabini(Pob.)
  • Mabunga
  • Malabtog
  • Manlayaan
  • Marcelo H. Del Pilar
  • Mataas Na Bundok
  • Maunlad (Pob.)
  • Pagsabangan
  • Panikihan
  • Peñafrancia (Pob.)
  • Pipisik (Pob.)
  • Progreso
  • Rizal (Pob.)
  • Rosario
  • San Agustin
  • San Diego (Pob.)
  • San Diego (Bukid)
  • San Isidro Kanluran
  • San Isidro Silangan
  • San Juan De Jesus
  • San Vicente
  • Sastre
  • Tabing Dagat (Pob.)
  • Tumayan
  • Villa Arcaya
  • Villa Bota
  • Villa Fuerte
  • Villa Mendoza
  • Villa Nava
  • Villa Padua
  • Villa Perez
  • Villa Principe
  • Villa Tañada
  • Villa Victoria

History[edit]

Formerly known as Bumaka (meaning "to fight"), the present town of Gumaca was a settlement founded at the southern bank of Palanas River in the 14th century by a group of settlers from Borneo and Malay Peninsula. It is in fact only 11 years younger than the “Noble and Ever Loyal City of Manila”.[4]

The earliest known ruler was Lakan Bugtali. His sovereignty extended over the regions bordering Gusuan, now called Lamon Bay, from Gamao point to the North, to the island across the bay or now known as Alabat Islands, to the southwest passing the northeastern part of the present town of Calauag, the source of Talolong, which traverses the town of Lopez, and Pandanan Rivers and on the northwest as far as the upper Kalilayan River. Thus when the first Spaniards arrived in this settlement in 1574 led by Fr. Diego de Oropesa, they found a group of barangays with their own culture and government. Gumaca, writes Juan Álvarez Guerra in Viajes por Filipinas: De Manila á Tayabas (2nd printing 1887), is first mentioned in the Franciscan register of 1582. This is the same year given by Huerta (1862). Fray Diego belonged to the batch of pioneering Franciscans under Juan de Plasencia who were assigned to explore the area presently the provinces of Rizal, Laguna and Quezon to determine future mission sites for the Franciscans.[5] They introduced Christianity to the people with San Diego de Alcala being proclaimed as the pueblo’s patron saint. In 1582, the first “visita” was erected and 1686 marked the establishment of a full-pledged town with independent (civil) government, the earlier ones having been headed by the ever-present Spanish friars (The municipality boasts of a still complete line-up of chief executives from 1574 down to the present.).[4]

From 1574 to 1670 the town of Gumaca was ruled by Spanish Friars. Then from 1671 to 1893 the town was ruled by Spanish and Filipino Gobernadorcillos. From 1893 to 1900 the town executives came to be known as Capitan Municipal and from 1901 the head of the town was elected by the people and came to be known as Presidente Municipal. Later in 1936 this title was change to Municipal Mayors.

The brief history of Gumaca had no mention of any law, decree or Republic Act which created the Municipality and there was no mother municipality where Gumaca came from. As for its daughter towns, Lopez is the most notable among them, being one of the largest and the most progressive in that part of the province.[6]

Demographics[edit]

Population census of Gumaca
Year Pop.   ±% p.a.  
1990 48,195 —    
1995 53,568 +2.14%
2000 60,191 +2.36%
2007 63,778 +0.83%
2010 69,618 +2.96%
Source: National Statistics Office[3]

Places of interest[edit]

San Diego de Alcala Fortress (Kutang San Diego)[edit]

Kutang San Diego

Recognized by the National Historical Commission as a national treasure since 1981, this fortress was constructed by the Spaniards under the leadership of Franciscan priest Fray Francisco Coste. It was erected to help guard the town against pirates attacking from Lamon Bay, as well as from Dutch intruders during the 1700s. One can see some of the cannons still intact at the fort. According to some accounts,there used to be an existing tunnel between said fortress and the San Diego de Alcala Church, now a cathedral. Access was through a well located at the fort's platform, which is now covered. There are four fortresses constructed by the Spaniards, but only this one survived. It is a well-loved and famous landmark; it is included in the town's seal. Locals call the fortress as kastilyo.

Lamon Bay[edit]

Known before as Gusuan Bay, it is named after Lam Ong, a pirate that was killed by Gumaca's earliest ruler, Lakan Bugtali. It is a body of water connecting the northern part of Quezon to the Pacific Ocean. It bounds the coastal towns of Atimonan, Gumaca, Plaridel, Lopez, and Calauag, and the islands of Alabat. It is a rich fishing ground and the home of various living corals. Most parts of the bay consist of gray sand, some parts are filled with rocks, and other living corals. It is gradually sloping to the extend that, during low tide, the water level is low enough to allow one to walk as far as five hundred meters from the shore. The beaches in the towns of Gumaca and Plaridel are sandy and ideal for swimming, especially, during the months of April and May (caution though during the latter part of May when jellyfishes start arriving). In some parts of the bay, about ten feet from the beach front, are living corals. The town of Lopez has the best colonies of corals which are located just about 15 minutes by boat from the shore. Lamon Bay is located at the northern part of Quezon.

San Diego de Alcala Cathedral[edit]

San Diego de Alcala Cathedral, the seat of the Diocese of Gumaca

Its first establishment was in 1582 by the Franciscans, who are the first missionaries who brought Christianity to Gumaca, on its present site. It was transferred to Silangan in the island of Alabat, Quezon in 1638. It was burned by the Dutch forces in 1665, which subsequently resulted to them transferring back to its original site in Gumaca. The church was reconstructed and beautified in 1846. When a strong earthquake hit Gumaca in 1937, the uppermost portion of the church belfry toppled down, leaving only three of the five-level belfry intact. During the term of Msgr. Jose Oliveros, the belfry and choirloft were reconstructed and was completed in 1999. Known as one of the biggest and oldest Catholic churches in the province of Quezon, it is located in Brgy. San Diego Poblacion near the Municipal Government office. The church is made out of coral stone blocks and bricks.

Though the design of the church is mainly Baroque, archival photos show that the interiors were mainly done in Gothic Revival architecture. Its retablos and arco toral design clearly reflects this style, possible due to its popularity in the early 19th century. The church was renovated, and the retablos, together with the pulpit, were lost.

Archival photo of the San Diego de Alcala Cathedral in Gumaca, showing the original retablo done in Neo-Gothic design, and the trompe-l'oeil ceiling paintings.

A statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus can be found at the church park (locally known as patio). It directly faces the front door of the church. Some say that the eyes of the icon can be seen closed at some time, though it is open most of the time. The arch of the icon reflects the old retablo design of the church.

The cathedral is under the patronage of Saint Didacus of Alcala (San Diego in Spanish). He was born to a poor couple in San Nicolas del Puerto and was given to a hermit as a young child. He joined the Order of Friars Minor (more popular known as the Franciscans) which is a group advocating the simple, contemplative and self-sacrificing lifestyle of Saint Francis de Assisi. While Saint Didacus was assigned in the infirmary of the convent of Ara Coeli, many of the patients were miraculously cured upon his divine intercession. His final assignment was in Sta. Maria de Jesus in Alcala where he lived a life of penance, solitude and contemplation. He died on November 12, 1463 due to abscess in Alcala (thus the name San Diego de Alcala). Instead of foul odor, his body emitted a fragrant smell and rigor mortis did not set in. He was canonized in 1588. His feast was made November 13 instead of November 12 in order to give way to Saint Martin. However, in 1969, his feast was correctly made November 12 after the feast of Saint Martin was moved to April 13.

Plaza Rizal[edit]

Dedicated to the national hero José Rizal, the park and monument were built in 1935 during the incumbency of Eriberto Caparros. By 1982, it was modernized, renovated, and lighted. It is located at Barangay Rizal in the town's poblacion. It features Rizal standing on a pedestal. Three women are seated at the base representing the three major island regions of the country; Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The women are wearing native costumes from the regions they represent.

Muralla[edit]

Gumaca, being a coastal town, was originally a walled city. Old maps dating to the Spanish era shows that the coastline from the mouth of Pipisik River running a few hundred meters is a muralla or wall, made up of stone (most probably coral stones and/or bricks) and hardwood. There are no extant remnants of it, except for the San Diego de Alcala Fortress that is used to be a part of the wall. However, the boulevard is still called by the locals as muralla. A large part of the sea was reclaimed, and is now fashioned like the Baywalk of Manila Bay. Landscaped, lighted, and beautified by the local government, it is now a favorite place of Gumaqueños to hang out, play, bask in the cool ocean breeze, or watch the sun set. There are some stores and a bar located along the strip; drinking along the boulevard is however prohibited.

Culture[edit]

Araña't Baluarte Festival[edit]

Araña't Baluarte Festival

The festival is celebrated every 15 May, in honor of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers. This is also a thanksgiving feast for the bountiful harvest given to the farmers every year. Being an agricultural town, this is one of the most extravagant and well-attended festival of the town. The name means chandeliers (araña) and bastion or fort (baluarte). This festival is different from Pahiyas in Lucban – instead of houses being decorated with local produce, baluartes are decorated with various agricultural products like bananas, vegetables, buco, pineapple, and root crops; some are beautifully arranged in arañas. These crop decor are pulled out by the people after the patron saint has passed during the afternoon procession. The three most beautifully decorated baluartes are given prizes. At night, programs are held which includes a pageant aptly called "Mutya ng Araña't Baluarte", folk dances performed by students, teachers, and local townsfolk who would like to participate in the event.

Cultural tour[edit]

Quezon is a tapestry of old Spanish-style houses with Castilian architecture and character. Visit the old houses of Lucban, Tayabas, Sariaya, Gumaca, and Mauban while savoring the best of the yield from lanzones plantations. Or come during the San Isidro Festival in honor of the patron of farmers, San Isidro Labrador. Take home petered rice paste strung in garlands for a souvenir and celebrate with the people this feat of thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest.

Local government[edit]

Gumaca Town Hall
  • Mayor: Erwin P. Caralian
  • Vice Mayor: Raquel M. Mendoza
  • Councilors:
    • Dotty Canela (SB Member)
    • Ruvilon Juancho T. Mercurio (SB Member)
    • Malou Mendoza (SB Member)
    • Elchor P. Caralian (SB Member)
    • Geordel S. Castillo (SB Member)
    • Rico Bañal (SB Member)
    • Edsel U. Libranda (SB Member)
    • Allan Arcaya (SB Member)
    • Abner Marilla (ABC President)
    • Rolfe Andrie D. Caralian (SK Federation President)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Official City/Municipal 2013 Election Results". Intramuros, Manila, Philippines: Commission on Elections (COMELEC). 11 September 2013. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Province: QUEZON". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010". 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c http://wikimapia.org/4058200/Gumaca
  5. ^ http://archive.today/6axF
  6. ^ http://www.wowquezon.com/towns-and-cities/gumaca-quezon-history-gov-officials-barangays-population/

External links[edit]