San Jose, Romblon

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San Jose
Map of Romblon with San Jose highlighted
Map of Romblon with San Jose highlighted
San Jose is located in Philippines
San Jose
San Jose
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 12°04′N 121°56′E / 12.067°N 121.933°E / 12.067; 121.933Coordinates: 12°04′N 121°56′E / 12.067°N 121.933°E / 12.067; 121.933
Country Philippines
Region MIMAROPA (Region IV-B)
Province Romblon
District Lone district
Barangays 5
 • Mayor Filipino T. Tandog
 • Total 22.05 km2 (8.51 sq mi)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 10,294
 • Density 470/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
Zip Code 5510
Dialing code 42

San Jose is a municipality in the province of Romblon, Philippines. Its territory is contiguous with Carabao Island, otherwise known as Hambil Island, the southernmost island of the province. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 10,294 people.[3]

San Jose or formerly known as ‘Hambil’ in old manuscripts and later as ‘Isla de Carabao’ appeared in various rare Philippine maps of 1734 as ‘Isla Carabaos’, in 1785 as ‘Isla Carabao’ in 1861 as ‘Isla de Carabao o Ambilo’ and finally in 1878 map showing the locations of its two barrios of Lanas and Agcogon.


The island municipality is located between Tablas Island and the resort island of Boracay. The island has a diverse geographic profile. On the island's irregular coastline there are white sand beaches that are becoming an alternative tourist destination in the country. It is the proposed site for the planned Boracay Island International Airport, to be constructed in the vicinity of barangay Lanas.


San Jose is politically subdivided into 5 barangays.[2]

  • Busay
  • Combot
  • Lanas
  • Pinamihagan
  • Poblacion (Agcogon)


The original settlers of the island were the Aetas, locally known as 'Ati' or 'Ita' who were believed to have descended from the 'Orang Asli', native aboriginal people of the Malay peninsula in mainland Asia who came to the Philippines during the Paleolithic period. According to traditions, they crossed by land from Southeast Asia. Remnants of these people could still be found in the interior of the island. The Philippine Archipelago had once been connected to the great Asian continent by causeway of rocks over which the Aetas crossed, whereby they arrived into this island by crossing through ancient causeway of rocks from nearby Panay Island. They are believed to be the first settlers of the country including this island of Carabao.

The first written history of San Jose municipality was in the year 1570, when Spanish conquistador and explorer Martin de Goiti on orders of Miguel López de Legazpi, explored and conquered the settlement and native village in Hambil island where his team of 27 ships, 280 Spaniards and several hundreds Bisayan (Visayan) auxiliaries found some native Pintados or painted (Tattooed) Visayan indios living in the island. He noted Hambil to have a population of around 50 indios producing copper from its mines. He also found local natives in the island using kitchen utensils made out of copper.

Just a little over a year in November 2, 1571, the islands of Cibuyan (Sibuyan), Tablas, and adjacent smaller islands in-between of it, including Hambil Island were organized into an encomienda based at the old settlement of Mahalud (or Maharlu / Mahanlur in some records), a riverbank settlement along the river of the same name in Panay island belonging to Don Alvaro de Angulo. Presently, this is now the coastal barangay of Majanlud located east of Sapian municipality in Capiz, one of the country's oldest settlements.

The island was again visited by another Spanish explorer in the year 1582 by Don Miguel Lopez de Loarca who was a census officer dispatched by the Spanish authorities to evaluate the vastness and wealth of their new conquered territories. He was perhaps the second European to set foot on Anbil (Hambil), as the island was originally called. In his writings, he noted native painted Indios of around 50 souls (residents) in the island who had already converted to Christianity. The natives were also called Cagallanes, Spanish for ‘boat-builders’. Don Miguel Lopez de Loarca renamed the island’s name from Hambil to Isla de Carabao because the island when seen from afar resembles that of a water buffalo's back submerged in murky water. According to Loarca, the natives live by gathering wax, mining and boat-building. The island belonged to the province or alcaldia of Panay in the Pintados. The third European to set-foot in the island was a Spanish missionary and explorer named Father Pedro Cubero Sebastian. Though he did not say much about the conditions of the island, he visited it for his religious and missionary exploration for the furtherance of the Catholic faith in 1667.

In 1716, Capiz was created into a separate province out of the old Alcaldia de Arevalo, formerly called Panay in the Pintados and later it was renamed into Ogtong (Oton). The new province included the islands of Romblon and the valley of Aclan (Aklan) in northwestern Panay Island.

During the early times, administration of the island was still largely unknown that still puzzled many local writers to this day. The island was missed-out to be mentioned nor included in any of civil and church records nor censuses under pueblo de Banton during early Spanish era where Looc and most of the southern settlements and visitas were administered with the exception of La Lauan, because it was administered by pueblo de Cabolutan. Perhaps, it belongs to visita de Nabas, Capiz (now Aklan), or perhaps it was under the jurisdiction of the province of Antique to which the neighboring islands of Caluya and Semirara belong.

Pueblo (parish) de Looc was created in 1844 as shown in official gazette Guia Official de las Islas Filipinas. Looc was created as Capiz 23rd municipality taken from the island pueblo of Banton its mother-town, and the 4th town to be created under the Destacamento (Detachment) de Romblon under Capiz. When Looc became a full pledge parish or pueblo, administration of Carabao Island was transferred to Looc with its two existing barrios of Agcogon and Lanas.

In March 19, 1853, the District of Romblon was organized known as Politico Militar Commandancia del Distrito de Romblon under Commandante de Infanteria Don Ramon Vieytes as its first Commander (petty Governor) taken from Capiz province with four existing towns namely, Romblon which was designated as the new capital town, Banton which included Sibale, Looc which included isla de Carabao and Cajidiocan originally known as pueblo de Sibuyan (which included visita de Cauit, Pag-alad and España). The full text of the superior decree in Spanish: "El superior decreeto No. 206 del 19 de Marzo de Ano de 1853 mandato creacion Commandante Politico Militar del Distrito de Romblon de la provincia de Capiz". On February 18, 1854, the royal order was confirmed by a superior decree: "La real orden No. 57 del 18 de Febrero del ano de 1854 approvado la creacion de el Distrito Politico Militar de Romblon con denominacion de Commandante Militar de Romblon".

The following year of 1855 recorded a tremendous leap on the creation of new pueblos or parishes under the new government of Commandante de Infanteria Don Joaquin de Prat y Parella who was installed as Romblon’s provincial executive replacing Don Ramon Vieytes beginning in year 1854. Don Joaquin issued for the creation of 17 new pueblos from the original existing four when it separated from Capiz province. The new pueblos that were created in 1855 were the following: Guintiguian (San Agustin), Simara (Corcuera), Odiongan, Andagao (Calatrava), Parpagoja (San Andres), Tingaray (Ferrol), Catolog (Santa Fe), Saban (sitio Sabang, Danao Norte, Santa Fe, formerly a pueblo), Lauan (Alcantara), Guinbirayan (presently it is a barangay of Santa Fe),Cauit (now renamed barangay Azagra, in San Fernando), Pag-alad (San Fernando), España (a barangay of San Fernando), Isabel (presently barangay Cambalo, Cajidiocan, formerly a pueblo) and Princesa (formerly a pueblo now it is the sitio of Cangumba in barangay Azagra, San Fernando), Magallanes (Magdiwang) and Cabalian (now a sitio under Agmanic, Santa Fe, formerly a pueblo) which fused isla de Carabao under its administration. However, visita de Sibale remained part of pueblo de Banton as a semi-autonomous visita.

Thus, administration for Isla de Carabao with its two villages was transferred from Looc to the new pueblo or parish of Cabalian when it was organized into a separate constituency. However, pueblo Cabalian was short-lived and it was abolished soon after its creation in 1861. Thus, the abolished pueblo of Cabalian was annexed back into pueblo de Catolog (Santa Fe, Romblon). However, Carabao Island refuses to join the transfer, but instead opted to join and be annexed to Nabas, Capiz. Thirteen years later under the status of Politico Militar Commandancia del Distrito de Romblon, the district was elevated into a regular province known as Politico Militar Commandancia dela Provincia de Romblon on January 11, 1868. This happened during the incumbency of Commandante de Infanteria Don Joaquin Corillo who was installed as Commandante since year 1866. As a consequence, Don Corillo being Romblon’s first official Governor, reorganized all local municipal government. Thus, 15 of the existing pueblos (municipios) or parishes then were all abolished. These were the pueblos of: Guinpuc-an (presently, barangay Carmen in San Agustin), Cagbagacay (Santa Maria), Pag-alad, Rancheria de Infiel (Pueblo or Rancho for Savaged or Wild People established at barangay Dulangan, Magdiwang), España, Isabel (barangay Cambalo, Cajidiocan), Princesa (formerly a pueblo, its vast territory now forms part of sitio Cangumba in barangay Azagra and barangay Otod which was established later), Odiongan, Andagao, Parpagoja, Tingaray, Catolog, Sabang, Lauan and Guinbirayan. During this period, Isla de Carabao was not affected in-the-sense that it doesn't belong to Romblon province. The island was part of Capiz province until 1897.

The 7 retained pueblos were the following: Romblon, Badajoz (now San Agustin formerly Guintiguian renamed Badajoz on August 28, 1868), Banton, Corcuera, Looc, Cajidiocan, Azagra (San Fernando), and one missionary center, the mision de Magallanes (Magdiwang) and one semi-autonomous visita, administered from pueblo de Banton the visita de Concepcion or Sibale located in Maestro de Campo Island. Likewise, Magallanes was demoted as a Missionary Center from its former status as pueblo or parish. Before the end of Spanish rule, four pueblos were restored, namely: Odiongan, Despujols (San Andres), España and Santa Fe.

Pueblo Santa Fe was restored as a regular pueblo in 1892. Santa Fe's former name was Catolog and it was renamed Santa Fe in 1881. Although pueblo de Santa Fe was restored in 1892, isla de Carabao was defiant to join the restored pueblo, but instead it remained part of Nabas. Finally in 1897, Carabao islanders may have finally figured-out difficulty in traveling to Nabas that they finally decided to join-back pueblo Looc.

Civil government was established under the Americans on March 16, 1901. Santa Fe was one of the 11 new municipalities reestablished by the Americans. The new colonizers decided to attach Carabao with its two barrios to Santa Fe. This time with less opposition from its residents. The other municipalities reestablished in the province were Badajoz, Banton, Cajidiocan, Corcuera, Looc, Magallanes, Odiongan, Romblon the Capital Town and Despujols.

The province of Romblon was abolished again in July 15, 1907 due to insufficient income and incorporated back into the province of Capiz as a sub-province. Concepcion however was separated from the rest of the province and it was incorporated into the province of Mindoro due to its long distance from Capiz town, the capital town of Capiz province now known as Roxas City. For this reason, it was created into a separate local government unit known as the Municipal-District of Concepcion as attested by a Romblon map showing the provincial maritime boundary of Mindoro (now Oriental Mindoro) encroaching the island of Maestro de Campo published in 1914 and issued by the U.S. Army Map Service, Corps of Engineers. Please check Philippine Map Series S501 reprinted in 1954 for reference.

In March 10, 1917 the province of Romblon was restored as a regular province. On that same year of 1917, due to reorganization and the province's difficult financial status as newly restored entity, the former municipality of Santa Fe was again abolished and reannexed-back into Looc including Carabao island with its two (2) existing barrios.

In June 8, 1940, the special municipality of Tablas was established through the passage of Commonwealth Act No. 581 sponsored by a Bantoanon legislature, Congressman Leonardo Festin. Looc was abolished and annexed to the new special municipality. The former towns of Badajoz and Looc were represented only by one councilor each at its municipal council based in Odiongan town. Carabao island was not represented in its council since it was only part of Looc town before its abolition. On May 26, 1946, the special municipality of Tablas was likewise abolished through the passage of Republic Act No. 38 represented by Congressman Modesto Formelleza which took effect in January 1, 1947, when the Philippine President signed it into a law restoring Odiongan, Looc, Badajoz, and re-establishing the former municipality of Santa Fe, which included the 2 barrios located in Carabao island as independent regular municipalities again.

On April 24, 1959, Congressman Jose D. Moreno sponsored Republic Act No. 2144 which states “Creating certain barrios in Santa Fe”, hence, two new barrios were added in the island, these were barrio Busay which included sitios of Hinologan, Buenavista, Nausa, Tipocpoc, Agborot, Boyongboyongan and Mihason, taken from barrio Agcogon; and barrio Pinamihagan comprising the sitios of Bacol, Buyahon, Sugod, Pinamandayan, Pajo and Angas, taken from barrio Lanas.

Carabao island was organized into a separate constituency known officially as Municipal-District of Carabao Island in June 18, 1961 under Republic Act No. 3423, sponsored by then Congressman Jose D. Moreno taken from Santa Fe. It was renamed San Jose in June 16, 1965 under Republic Act No. 4829 and it was declared as a regular municipality in June 23, 1969 under Executive Order No. 184.

Combot was the last additional barrio, created in 1968, taken from parts of barrio Poblacion and barrio Lanas. Today, the Municipality of San Jose is composed of 5 barrios or barangays.


Land Area
1894 (a) 1896 (a) 1903 (b) 1918 (c) 1939 (c) 1948 (b) 1960 (b) 1970 1975 1980 1990 1995 2000 2007 [4] 2010 [3]
Poblacion (Agcogon) 331.22 876 825 1,232 1,958 944 1,537 1,540 1,650 2,195 2,552 2,594 2,945 3,336
Busay 586.85 562 874 1,069 1,091 1,484 1,317 1,513 1,629 1,684
Combot 371.31 560 567 661 658 725 928 989
Lanas 911.22 578 752 1,091 877 745 1,439 1,441 1,642 1,859 2,060 2,141 2,454 2,628
Pinamihagan 669.40 446 712 742 847 940 1,126 1,253 1,472 1,657
Total 2,870.00 no data no data 1,454 1,577 2,323 2,836 2,697 4,562 5,352 5,797 7,139 7,713 8,226 9,428 10,294


a – From 1894 until 1897, no such municipality of San Jose nor Hambil nor Isla de Carabao (Agcogon or Lanas) is to be found in any of census and statistics record for the province because during this time the island of Carabao with its 2 barrios of Lanas and Agcogon belonged to Capiz province.
b – Part of the Municipality of Santa Fe
c – Part of the Municipality of Looc

Onhan, also known as Taga-onhan or Inunhan (Hambilanon style), is the native language of the islands inhabitants.


  1. ^ "Municipalities". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 31 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Province: Romblon". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 31 January 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 31 January 2013. 
  4. ^ 2007 NCSO Census

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