Polangui, Albay - PHILIPPINES

Sts. Peter & Paul Parish

DIOCESE OF LEGAZPI

Polangui Historical Background


Pre-Colonial Period

Pre-colonial Polangui was a fertile valley cradled by the virgin forests of Mt. Masaraga, when Juan de Salcedo established the Villa de Santiago de Libon in 1575. In 1584, Fr. Baltazar de Magdalena ledft Ambos Camarines, and established a ranch located on the west of Mt. Masaraga. In the same year, he founded a settlement within the fertile valley ranch site which he called “BINANUAAN” with a few natives. Thus, according to old manuscripts available in the National Archives in Manila, Polangui was formally established in the later part of 1584 and is considered as one of the oldest municipalities in the Philippines.

Spanish Regime

By 1654, the original settlement became considerably bigger. Hence, led by Fr. Alonzo de San Juan as “Encargado”, the settlement was expanded reaching the present barangay sites in Lanigay, Ponso and Balinad. The town proper was established in Lanigay where a church made of wood was erected adjacent to about 280 wooden dwellings and more than 1,000 nipa huts. Unfortunately, this church together with the dwelling units was razed by a fire to the ground.

With the coming of another missionary, Fr. Juan Bautista Marza, a new church made of bricks and stones was completed in 1664. This church stood on a new elevated site and still stands to this day. Under the leadership of Fr. Marza, roads and bridges were also initiated and schools were introduced simultaneously with the Christian Doctrine and Spanish culture.

Growth of the settlement was so fast that it became a Poblacion and finally recognized as a Pueblo ion 1674. Owing to its steady growth, a link with nearby Libon and Oas became a necessity. Hence, Fr. Jose Arnaiz, parish priest and encargado during 1832 directed the construction of roads and bridges which today keeps the wheels of progress on the go.

During Spanish regime, a significant highlight is the construction of its parish church which took 10 years to be completed starting in 1654 by Father Alonzo de San Juan and completed in 1664 by Father Juan Bautista Marza. Martyr, Camilo Jacob, who is a photographer, was executed in January 4, 1897 with other Bicolanos. A year later, the Spanish rule in Bicol ended with the mutiny of Guardia Civil in Naga led by Don Elias Angeles.

American Period

Sometime during the Philippine-American War, Polangui became the seat of the Provincial Government of Albay for a brief period of time under then Provincial Governor Domingo Samson. When the Americans conquered Polangui in 1890 without firing a single shot, the form of government went through transition from military to civil government then Commonwealth system. The seat of the municipal government was in Ponso with Don Clemented Sarte as the acting Chief Executive. A few months later, the seat of the municipal government was transferred to Centro Occidental and still remains up to this day.