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Map of Bohol with Cortes highlighted
|Region||Central Visayas (Region VII)|
|District||1st district of Bohol|
|• Type||Sangguniang Bayan|
|• Mayor||Lynn Lim (LP)|
|• Vice mayor||Leo Pabutoy|
|• Town Council|
|• Representative||Rene Relampagos|
|• Total||27.32 km2 (10.55 sq mi)|
|Population (2015 census)|
|• Density||620/km2 (1,600/sq mi)|
|• Voter (2016)||10,566|
|Time zone||PST (UTC+8)|
|IDD : area code||+63 (0)38|
|Income class||5th class|
Cortes is a 5th municipal income class municipality in the province of Bohol, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 16,954. In the 2016 electoral roll, it had 10,566 registered voters. It is about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) northeast of Tagbilaran. Its nearest neighbor along the national highway to the north is the town of Maribojoc. Located high up on a plateau, the town occupies a total land area of 27.32 square kilometres (10.5 sq mi).
The history of Cortes dates back to pre-Hispanic times – there already was a form of government way before the coming of the Spaniards. The town was known as "Malabago" after its chief, who was a contemporary of King Lomod, otherwise known as Tamblot – the first Boholano to raise arms against the Spanish conquistadors.
The Malabago settlement was situated in the upland territory of the present day Cortes near the Abatan River while that of Tamblot was at barangay Viga in the lowlands of Antequera which stretches to the riverside valleys opposite that of Malabago beyond the present day Abatan Bridge. The people of Malabago have a culture of their own and recorded their day-to-day activities in their own writing using unique characters which they carved out on a piece of bamboo using a knife called panggi or supok. Malabago then was a farming community that cultivated the land and made rice paddies in the north and east lowlands.
Tamblot's reign started in early 1600 AD and the uprising in 1621 was triggered when a Spanish priest want to take back a silver church bell (Lingganayng Ugis) which he gave to Tamblot in order to put it up in a church he built at Malabago. Tamblot resented such a move; refused to give the bell back and so started the feud between him and the Spaniards. Supporting Tamblot during the uprising, the Malabago settlement was destroyed by the Spaniards in 1621.
The settlement was transferred to Bahian which was also destroyed by the Spaniards. Again the people settled at Ylaya at the upper part of the river. Not accessible by boats, the people had to berth near the mouth of the river which they eventually called as "Dayhangan", meaning "berthing place".
The people chose to live near the mouth of the river and along the swamps. Their main livelihood was to catch fish, so the new settlement was called "Pamingwitan" ('a place where one can catch fish using a fishing rod'). In 1793 or 94, an independent parish was established.
"Pamingwitan" was renamed "Cortes". The town was probably established in 1862 during the construction of the Catholic church with the settlements of Malabago, Pamingwitan and Dayhangan jointed into one and called "Pueblo de Cortes". Toponymy suggests:
- named after Cortes the town in Navarre of northern Spain
- named after the Spanish conquistador, Hernan Cortes (who himself came from i.)
- derivation from the Spanish word "cortesimo" meaning "most courteous".
The parish was dedicated to the Santo Niño. The inhabitants of the town were baptized and given instructions in the Catholic faith. Although the church was built in 1880, the bell tower's upper register was completed only in the 20th century. A boys' school building was constructed in 1895.
The town of Cortes played a prominent role during World War II. The inhabitants of the town formed a bolo battalion to fight the Japanese Invaders. Yet in 1942, the town was overwhelmed by the Japanese; houses were burned down and the school building was occupied and used as a garrison. Cortes was liberated from the Japanese a few days after the arrival of the Americans in Tagbilaran on 11 April 1945. In less than a month, the whole province of Bohol was officially declared liberated on 25 May 1945, by Major General William H. Arnold, Commander of the Americal Division.
Cortes comprises 14 barangays:
|071216001||De la Paz||16.7%||2,824||2,546||1.99%|
|071216014||Upper de la Paz||6.2%||1,048||1,000||0.90%|
|Population census of Cortes|
|Source: Philippine Statistics Authority|
Medium of discourse is usual Visayan (Cebuano), but English is the medium of instruction in all schools in the town starting from the primary grades. People also understand Filipino.
The people of Cortes in majority are Roman Catholics.
Cortes is the site of the sprawling southern Industrial Projects and its subsidiary, Rolling Mills, which produces colored and non-colored galvanized iron for roofing. Rolling Mills is situated high up on a plateau overlooking the Abatan River.
The town is also known for handmade paper products chosen now as the town's priority product under the Department of Trade and Industry's One Town, One Product (OTOP) Program. Aside from the manufacturing and handicraft industries, the people of Cortes are also into agribusiness.
Sand taken from the Abatan River, and which usually finds its way to construction sites in Tagbilaran, is likewise another source of income for the people of Cortes. Flat-bottomed boats made of marine plywood carry the sand which has to be dug up from the river bed with waist-high waters – back-breaking work for those involved.
The Local Government Unit (LGU) of Cortes is also developing eco-tourism. One major project is the development of the docking port, envisaged to be the starting point for cruises on the Abatan River.
The Abatan River flows through five towns which will benefit when the Abatan River Cruise is in full swing. Livelihood projects can then be established promoting each of the towns special products under the OTOP program.
The LGU also has plans for future development such as the Bilibili Spring, Larga Vista, an Municipal Hall, in an effort to make the town of Cortes attractive to tourists.
Other projects include the establishment of day care centers in each of the town's 14 barangays. Health stations will also be constructed. The nine sources of water supply are now installed with automatic chlorinator injection system to insure the health of residents. A reservoir will also be constructed in De la Paz.
They celebrate the town fiesta every 16 January in honor of the holy child Jesus, the Sto. Niño.
The town of Cortes has several sites worthy of a visit yet need further development in order to attract foreign tourists. The Local Government Unit of the town is now geared towards the improvement and promotion of these attractions in line with the province-wide tourism pursuits.
The Abatan River is one of its natural assets. The river winds through the town of Antequera and from the town of Balilihan for an estimated length of 20 kilometres (12 mi). It opens at the Cortes nipa swamp, the most extensive nipa swamp in Bohol.
In former days when roads were scarce, the river served as a waterway for the people to and from the interior towns. Now, the government has seen its potential for tourism after the success of the Loboc River tours and it is now being developed.
Kayak exploration is now available and can be arranged.
The church of Cortes is the Sto. Niño parish church. It is situated high up on a hill and like all Bohol churches is cruciform shape. The church dates back to the 19th century although the bell tower's upper register was not completed until the 20th century.
The church is made up of cut coral stone blocks. A portico is in front of an older façade and floral carving frames the doorway. It has frescoes on its ceilings. The main retablo has twisted Solomonic columns and profusely carved flanges in the baroque idiom.
Bilibili Spring is another site envisioned for development by the local government for it will be the first stop of the proposed river cruise. The spring is located in Malayo Norte.
Cortes town is full of natural attractions which need to be enhanced further to make it worthy for promotion. The Bacong River Heritage Conservation Tour for paddling and river trekking enthusiasts has been set up. Other sites such as the Larga Vista, an old stone building and the municipal hall are must-see.
- "Municipality". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
- "Municipal: Cortes, Bohol". PSGC Interactive. Quezon City, Philippines: Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
- Census of Population (2015). "Region VII (Central Visayas)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. PSA. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
- "2016 National and Local Elections Statistics". Commission on Elections. 2016.
- Census of Population and Housing (2010). "Region VII (Central Visayas)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. NSO. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
- Census of Population (1995, 2000 and 2007). "Region VII (Central Visayas)". Total Population by Province, City and Municipality. NSO. Archived from the original on 24 June 2011.
- "Province of Bohol". Municipality Population Data. Local Water Utilities Administration Research Division. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
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