San Jose de Buenavista, Antique

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San Jose de Buenavista better known as simply San Jose, is a first class municipality in the province of Antique, Philippines. It is the capital of Antique. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 57,847.[1]


In 1250, ten Bornean Datus (Chiefs), their wives, children, warriors, servants, and followers left Borneo and the oppression of Sultan Makatunao. In December, they landed at Siriwagan, San Joaquin, in the province of lloilo. After interrogating two men who were fishing there, they were told that the leader, Chieftain Marikudo and his wife, Maniwangtiwan were living nearby in Sinugbo. The Datus went downstream and found the Ati ruler. Negotiations commenced and the "Barter of Panay" was made. Panay was bought in exchange for a gold salakot (Chieftain's rattan hat trimmed in gold) for Marikudo and a long, gold necklace for Maniwangtiwan. The other three datus sailed northward to Luzon, leaving seven datus under the leadership of Datu Sumakwel.

Multiple settlements were established in Malandog, later including Tubigon, which is now San Jose de Buenavista, and a settlement was established in Naganya (Egana). Barangay Odiong served as a dock for boats of Malays coming from Malandog to the eastern part of Hantique (Antique). To signal boats stopping or arriving, the port authorities used budyong or horns made from a carabao’s (water buffalo) horns. The blowing of budyong took place at Telegrapo in Tubigon as this spot served as the signal and control tower. The Hantique rivers at that time were navigable and the main way of traveling.

Spanish colonizers came to Hantique in 1581. With them came Augustinian friars that Christianized the inhabitants who lived in Hamtic. They taught the people in Christian ways and built churches in Maybato, Asluman, Naganya (Egana) and Bugason (Bugasong).

There was no place called San Jose de Buenavista at that time. It was called Tubigon because it was under water. Tubigon was still a part of Hamtic and a “visita” of the church of Hamtic, meaning it had no parish priest of its own. The people went to Maybato to hear mass. The church was a big stone edifice, which gave the name “Maybato” to its vicinity. Moro pirates frequently plundered Hamtic and went as far as Maybato. These Moro pirates burned the church and took away the huge bell in the belfry. They had not gone far from Mala-iba when their boat sank and in colloquial Spanish, Mala-iba means, "it had gone away." In 1733, San Jose, formerly called “Tubigon” was founded, and in 1790, it acquired its land title through land grants issued by Governor-General Carlos Benequer de Marquina. Afterwards, it became a parish having its first “curra paroco” or parish priest, Fr. Manuel Ibañes, OSA.

About two hundred years ago, the site now occupied by San Jose de Buenavista was dense jungle and a favorite landing place of the Moro pirates who raided the countryside. During the invasions of 1743, the moros were reported to have penetrated as far as Catung-agan, but all were killed with the exception of three by the famous Manglo of Igmatongtong (Bugasong). The year 1776 saw a return of the Moros to Bugasong. In 1779, Badyangan (Patnongon) was the scene of their depredations, while Barbaza suffered in their hands in 1782 and 1787. The inhabitants gradually moved away from the coastal areas and settled in the mountains. Only two towns remained—Bugasong (founded in 1743) and Antike (founded in 1745) both belonging to the province of Oton. The Moro pirates landed in the neighborhood of Madrangca and from there, penetrated into the other regions of the province. It became clear that one of the best ways to stop them from landing at the point, was to cut down the jungle and prevent their surreptitious landings and invasions of the areas. Seven men began this hazardous undertaking in Malai-ba near the San Juan Spring under the leadership of Augustin Sumandi. In the year 1790, the sitio of Mala-iba changed its name into San Jose, not only to honor its patron saint but also to perpetuate the name of Augustin Sumandi's son, Jose. Government officials and church dignitaries arrived by boat to attend the ceremonies and were so impressed by the view of the town from the sea that they added the words "de Buenavista" to the town name. In 1802, upon petition of the people, San Jose de Buenavista became the capital of the province of Antique and Augustin Sumandi was appointed as its first Gobernadorcillo.

In 1872, San Jose became a town. Then in 1902, it became the capital of the Province of Antique. Government officials and church dignitaries came by boat to attend the ceremonies. Impressed by the marvelous view of the town, they added to the name San Jose, the word “de Buenavista” (meaning beautiful view), the town's current name.

Before the creation of San Jose de Buenavista into what it is today, it had three neighboring pueblos, Guintas, Antike and San Pedro. These pueblos, each under the Presidente Municipal, served for one year as follows:

  • Ceriaco Erena, San Jose de Buenavista 1901—1902
  • Ramon Javier, Antike 1901—1902
  • Nemesio Tinga, Guintas 1901—1902
  • Emigdio Moscoso, San Pedro 1901—1902
  • Anselmo Alicante, San Jose de Buenavista 1901—1902
  • Feliciano Mijillano, Antike 1902—1903
  • Apolonio Magbanua, Guintas 1902—1903
  • Agapito Capistrano, San Pedro 1902—1903

When the pueblos were fixed into one pueblo, San Jose de Buenavista, the following served as Presidente Municipal:

  • Martin Iglesias 1904—1905
  • Mariano Autajay 1905—1908
  • Jacinto Peña 1908—1910
  • Sixto Quilino 1910—1912
  • Vicente Javier 1918—1922
  • Antonio Ricarze 1919—1922 (He died in office, January 1922 and Jose Iglesias served the unexpired term for the whole year.)
  • Gregorio Esclavilla 1922—1928
  • Alberto Villavert 1928—1934
  • Antonio delos Reyes 1934—1937
  • Silverio Nietes 1938—1951
  • Julian Pacificador 1952—1954

In 1954, the title, Presidente Municipal, was changed to Municipal Mayor. When Hamtic was separated from San Jose de Buenavista in 1954, Municipal Mayor Julian Pacificador was transferred to Hamtic and Vice-Mayor Delfin Encarnacion took over as Municipal Mayor of San Jose.

  • Severa Panaguiton-Banusing 1956- 1963 (Still the first and only female mayor of San Jose de Buenavista)
  • Agerico Villavert 1964— 1967
  • Oscar Salazar 1968—May 7, 1986

In 1986, the incumbent Municipal Mayor did not finish his term of office when the EDSA Revolution, a peaceful civilian-backed uprising took place and brought President Corazon C. Aquino to power. Major changes were made in the national and local government offices which led to the appointment of an Officer-in Charge, Efren G. Esclavilla from May 8, 1986 to December 1987. Mr. Condrado V. Petinglay, Jr. served as Officer-in-Charge when Efren G. Esclavilla filed his candidacy to run for the mayoral seat. He was elected Municipal mayor for a term of four years from 1988-1992. The national and local elections held in May 1992 brought former Mayor Efren G. Esclavilla to the same mayoralty position.

The 1998 elections brought a new set of local officials under the leadership of incumbent Mayor Fernando Corvera and Vice Mayor Ronnie Molina. The two were reelected in the 2001 elections, where the latter is the current Municipal Mayor.

  • Mayor: Rony Lavega Molina
  • Vice: Nestor Angel Obsiana Salazar

SB Members:

  • Elmer Cerdeña Untaran
  • Danilo Lavega Nebit
  • Jake Delas Llagas Pacificador
  • Ma. Angeles Pefianco Azurin
  • Nestor Altares Israel
  • Fred Del Rosario Hiponia
  • Claro Catalino Baldevia
  • Frank Cadiena Moscoso

Barangay barrios[edit]

San José de Buenavista is politically subdivided into 29 barangays or barrios.[2]

  • Atabay
  • Badiang
  • Barangay 1 (Población)
  • Barangay 2 (Población)
  • Barangay 3 (Población)
  • Barangay 4 (Población)
  • Barangay 5 (Población)
  • Barangay 6 (Población)
  • Barangay 7 (Población)
  • Barangay 8 (Población)
  • Bariri
  • Bugarot (Catungan-Bugarot)
  • Cansadan (Cansadan-Tubudan)
  • Comon
  • Durog
  • Funda-Dalipe
  • Igbonglo
  • Inabasan
  • Madrangca
  • Magcalon
  • Malaiba
  • Maybato Norte
  • Maybato Sur
  • Mojon
  • Pantao
  • San Angel
  • San Fernando
  • San Pedro
  • Supa



Population census of San Jose
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 40,267 —    
1995 42,927 +1.21%
2000 48,261 +2.54%
2007 54,871 +1.79%
2010 57,847 +1.94%
Source: National Statistics Office[1]


Kinaray-a is the spoken language of the municipality. Kinaray-a came from the word "iraya" equivalent to "ilaya" in Tagalog, which refers to a group of people residing in the mountain areas of the province. Speakers from San Pedro and neighboring baranggays have a different intonation from speakers of the Poblacion and the rest of the municipality. There are also some words of the former that differs from the latter, take the word "Calamansi" for example, people from San Pedro calls the fruit as "Bis-bis", while people from the Poblacion goes by "Calamansi" or "Limon". Hiligaynon is spoken as a second language of the municipality.


San Jose is the see of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose de Antique


The celebration of the historical Binirayan Festival is conducted the last week of December. It's a theatrical presentation, commemorating the landing of the ten Malay datus in Malandog, Hamtic, and Antique in the middle of the 13th century to found the first Malayan settlement or barangay in this country. Started in 1971, it now attracts the attention of Filipino and foreigners alike.

Old and new buildings dot the town: the Old Capitol Building; Evelio B. Javier Memorabilia (New Capitol); ADF Handicrafts; Azurin Mansion and Piedra's Restaurant; La Granja and Binirayan Hills; and the San Pedro Old Church.

EBJ Freedom Park is located in front of the Antique Provincial Capitol building in San Jose de Buenavista, Antique. The Sangguiang Panlalawigan of Antique on behalf of the entire Antiqueño citizenry officially christens the place Evelio B. Javier Freedom Park. In the park is a marker which reads " A fitting tribute to a man who has done so much, not only for the people of Antique, but the entire Filipino nation, in pursuit of justice, freedom, dignity, democracy and peace". The marker also designates the spot where the late Gov. Evelio B. Javier was shot by an unknown assassin on February 11, 1986. Facts about his death are incomplete.

Camp Autajay sometimes called Piña beach, is five kilometers away from San Jose. It is a 10-hectare lot located along the beach, with an orchard of narra and mahogany trees, nipa sheds, benches and cottages. The place is ideal for camping, or live-in seminars for conferences. One can go swimming, light bonfires, climb trees, pick fruits or play during leisure hours.

San Jose celebrates its religious fiesta on May 1. to honor its Patron St. Joseph the Worker.

San Jose de Buenavista is accessible via passenger plane, Zest Air (formerly Asian Spirit), Cebu Pacific, and Air-Phil Express daily from Manila, and from major cities in the country through Iloilo City. From Iloilo, it's a two-hour ride by bus or van. A longer route can be taken via Kalibo, Aklan passing through the northern and central municipalities of Antique. Roll On, Roll Off (RORO) buses have daily Manila-Antique back and forth trips that pass through the provinces of Batangas and Mindoro and in Malay Aklan where Boracay island is located.


Tiringbanay Festival
Celebrated from April 30- May 1. People of San Jose de Buenavista celebrate Tiringbanay Festival by going home to their families and friends and celebrating. The town folks celebrate the event to trace back their history as a people and come together for a renewal of their commitment as a community of responsible men and women in honor of their patron saint, St. Joseph the Worker. Tiringbanay comes from tiringub or ‘to be together’.
Binirayan Festival
Now celebrated during the last week of December, it commemorates the landing of the ten Malay datus in Malandong, Hamtic, and Antique in the middle of the 13th century to set up the first Malayan settlements or barangays in the country. Started in 1971, it is attracting the attention of Filipinos and foreigners alike.


  1. ^ a b "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  2. ^ "Province: Antique". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 

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