Licab, Nueva Ecija
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Map of Nueva Ecija showing the location of Licab
|Region||Central Luzon (Region III)|
|• Mayor||Wilfredo S. Domingo|
|• Total||67.37 km2 (26.01 sq mi)|
|• Density||390/km2 (1,000/sq mi)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC+8)|
|Income class||4th class; rural|
About 155 kilometres (96 mi) north from Metro Manila, Licab lies in the lowest portion of the province, experiencing two situations: during rainy seasons, being located at the northern portion of the municipality are flood free barangays while the other five (5) barangays are mostly flooded.
- Poblacion Norte
- Poblacion Sur
- San Casimiro
- San Cristobal
- San Jose
- San Juan
- Santa Maria
- Tabing Ilog
Licab was formerly a part of another town, Aliaga. In 1835, immigrants Don Dalmacio Esguerra and brother Tomas, toiled to scrape off thick leaves using only hoes and twigs of hard trees. The Esguerra Brothers first called the place “Pulong—Samat”. Later, after years of successful tilling and with families growing bigger they renamed the place Licab, an Ilocano word meaning to "scrape off". Don Dalmacio had three other brothers who assisted him in his endeavour: Pedro, Abdun and Olegario. Olegario Esguerra married a woman named Betis, and one of their children is named Juliana who, in the early 1890s, married another local Gregorio Espiritu.
The new settlement attracted more settlers. Don Dalmacio’s commitment to improve Licab inspired him to work for its political identity. He filed a petition to the national government to make Licab a formal town. At first, the friar governor of Aliaga opposed the petition but later relented and Licab was proclaimed an independent municipality on March 28, 1894.
From the town archives of San Nicolas Ilocos Norte, Ilocano families of Barangan, Bumanlag, Dawang and Casino all relatives immigrated to Licab a former barrio of Aliaga, Nueva Ecija in the early 1900s. Some relatives went as far as Guimba, Santo Domingo, Munoz, San Jose City and some had gone as far as San Mateo Nueva Viscaya to reside and raised their own families. The group led by Igmidio Barangan and his son Santiago Barangan and grandsons Dr.Victor A. Barangan and Dr. Roman A Barangan who became the town's earliest professionals in the fields of Medicine and Dentistry respectively, served in the town's Health Care System privately supplanting the early Albularios. A number of close relatives along with five sisters populated the town. The sisters were married to the families of Dumaya, Fernando, Juan, Bumanlag and Sawit and close relatives that were descendants of Tabios, Mariano, Augustin, Manuel and Corpuz among others. All of them remained residents of Licab and raised generations of families that now composed the majority of the populations.
Following the establishment of Taft Commission in June 11 1901 after the end of Philippine - American War, Gov General Wesley Merrit introduced Homesteading to clear the land and populate the province. Like the American old west the colonial government offerring Homesteading to the new settlers is something new and this resulted in the mass exodus of Ilocano farmers. These families including the new settlers at nearby towns were generations of farmers and farmhands that sought freedom to own lands in the vast agricultural plains of Central Luzon.
A well known national figure, Epifanio Delos Santos was elected the first Governor of Nueva Ecija in 1902 and 1904 under the American regime. Don Panyong as he was known to the town's folks was a well knowned Historian, Fiscal and a Writer, that made a name for himself in the national political arena. Hi-way 54 which was known to the Americans was named Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) in his honor in 1959 by virtue of Republic Act 2140. A member of his family who left the town after the end of World War 2 went to reside in Malabon and donated a family lot that now became the town's Public Market at Poblacion Sur.
Some well known old places may no longer be known today to young generations but as far as the history of Licab is concerned, these were part of development of the town. As a manifestation of these family's ownership, a place in a low lying areas of the town called "kababaan" was named Sitio Barangan which is now part of Barangay Aquino along with Sitio Parsons, Suva and Ablang. In the early 19th century the head of the clan Igmidio a widower, lost his life for the love of a barrio lass of "Bangbangkag" now called Barangay San Cristobal. His son Santiago did not permit his marriage and therefore in a tree with a piece of rope ended his life in a tragedy. The place is now called "Pinagbitinan" at nearby local Church of Rizal.
In a year, the town proper were many times under water that includes some rice fields mostly destroyed. Some streets were inundated by stagnant water with makeshift pedestrian pathways adorned the streets, constructed made of bamboo to ease the movements of the town's folks on unpassable streets. Somehow the floods dried up during dry season and made the flooded streets passable again. The floods made the life of Licabenos very hard as palay dismal harvest made the farmers poorer. The local economy barely grew since its foundation and some families emigrated to the cities to seek better life. Prominent landmark such as "Karaanan" a low level lake between Villarosa and San Cristobal usually supplied plentiful organic delicacies to townsfolks such as Dalag, Hito, Gurami and edible Frogs during floods that usually graced our table. After so many years of floodings, silts and soils carried by the floods were deposited on the surface of the lake. The former lake vanished and dried up with its soil level rose, that now become precious additional rice fields.
Many changes and developments of the town were attributed to the past administrations who contributed road repairs, rehabilitation and constructions to include flood protection with drainage/ canal systems. The present town's executive Mayor Wilfredo Sawit Domingo contributed additional construction and rehabilitated more roads and finally the makeshift bamboo pedestrian lanes on flooded streets are the things of the past. In the outer Barangays farm-to-market roads were constructed in coordination with barangay officers that made farm produce available in the local Market. Accordingly local merchants made a way to sell their produce to other towns.
One of the greatest wisdom of the Mayor was to enter into Sister-Town Agreement between Licab and San Nicolas which was signed on Dec 27, 2013. In the nightlights of the Damili Festival of San Nicolas a historical event of the two sister towns culminated between Mayor Willy and Mayor Melanie Grace Valdez signing the Historical Agreement. During the height of Town Fiesta usually in the last week of the month of March, Mayor Willy introduced the Kariton Festival which was ingeniously celebrated, with each Barangay Captain contributing floats decorated with farm produce skillfully designed to show progress of the town. A large number of Karitons paraded the town and the best ones were to receive Prizes from the festival judges. The show attracted local tourists and former residents from Manila and around the provinces including members of national political parties.
|Population census of Licab|
|Source: National Statistics Office|
Agriculture has remained the prime industry of the municipality. Agricultural lands devoted to various agricultural activities cover about tens of thousands hectares out of the total provincial area of 550,718 hectares. Rice is still the prime crop of agricultural development and programs. Palay production in the town is boosted by a large network of irrigation facilities and other appurtenant structure.
Live stock production of piggery and poultry were the second agricultural income source in this municipality. Most of the residence were considered to be backyard raisers. Meat products sold in the public market were produced and raised locally.
- "Official City/Municipal 2013 Election Results". Intramuros, Manila, Philippines: Commission on Elections (COMELEC). 11 September 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
- "Province: Nueva Ecija". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
- "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010". 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
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