This blog features some of the author's lengthy essays on sacred scriptures, theology and history.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


by Lope Coles Robredillo, SThD

DOLORES (EASTERN SAMAR) was born in 1650, when some inhabitants of Bacod (or Bacor) established what eventually became a tiny village  nestling about a kilometer from the mouth of Dolores (formerly known as Bacod) river.  This village was named Dolores (in English, the Spanish word dolores means sorrows) to signify the sorrows and sufferings Bacodnons experienced on account of their armed participation in the Sumuroy Rebellion in 1649. To be sure, its beginnings is intertwined with the history of three villages: Bacod, Jubasan, and Paric.  This calls for a concise explanation.

Bacod and the Origins of Dolores.  Located about two kilometers from the mouth of Dolores river, Bacod was a bungto (large village) in existence before the Spaniards came to the area in 1565.  The Jesuits stationed in Palapag evangelized it in 1602.   In 1649, together with the bungto of Jubasan (see below), the village of Bacod was suppressed and consolidated with that of Tubig (now Taft) as a consequence of Agustin Sumuroy's rebellion that started in Palapag, in which Bacodnons were involved.  On account of this suppression, some residents went near the mouth of the river to put up a cluster of houses that eventually became the small village (rancheria) of Dolores.  That is how Dolores was born in 1650.  Other Bacodnons transferred to the village of Carolina, about a kilometer west of Bacod.  I
t may be noted that the bungto of Bacod was later eroded by floods.  Which is why, it reverted to the status of a visita (see below).  By 1895, its population was greatly reduced; it had only 20 villagers, 9 male and 11 female.  The central part of the bungto of Bacod was completely submerged in Dolores river in the 1930s, though the remains of the stone church and the stone convento could be easily located.  The abandoned portion of the bungto that remained was renamed Binungtoan by Doloresnons.

The Visita of Paric Became a Pueblo.  In the late 16th century, the rancheria (sitio) of Dolores became part of the visita (barrio) of Paric, which was formerly under the jurisdiction of Jubasan.  It should be recollected that Jubasan, like Bacod, was a pre-Hispanic village located about two kilometers from the entrance of what is now called Can-avid (or Ulot) river.  On account of the erosion of the bungto, many of its inhabitants transferred to the small village of Paric, located east of Jubasan, which later on, due to population increase, became a visita of Tubig (Taft).  (What remained of Jubasan became the origin of what is now the barrio of Giboangan.) In early 1700s, Paric was already a significant visita.  Tthe Franciscans, who came to Samar in 1768, began visiting it.  In 1839, Fr Manuel
Valverde, with the cooperation of the civil authorities of Tubig, prepared its civil and ecclesiastical separation from its mother town. 

Then, came the historic moment: on April 5, 1864, a royal decree communicated to Governor General Rafael Espulino de Echague created Paric into a pueblo (municipality), separating it from Tubig.  Its population numbered 2,998.  On April 20, 1878, Bp Benito Romero de Madridejos, Bishop of Cebu (1867-1886), erected Paric into an independent parish with jurisdiction over the villages along the rivers of Jubasan (or Ulot) river and Bacod (or Dolores) river.  The best known villages under the new pueblo of Paric were the barrios of Carolina, Bacod (cf above) and Dapdap, and the sitios of Dolores,Jinolaso, Tubabao, Jilabaan and Balagon.  It was placed under the patronage of St Joachim whose feast was celebrated on August 16.  Its first parish priest was Fr Jose del Olmo, OFM, who served the parish from 1879-1882.

Dolores, the New Poblacion of Paric. Unfortunately, the constant erosion of the river bank on which stood the northern portion of the población (administrativ
e center) of Paric forced the authorities to look for a new place to settle in.  (Indeed, by 1912, Ulot river already devoured the stone church and the convento of Paric.  It may be noted that the remnants of Paric, also called Binungtoan by the Paricnons, grew into what is now known as Canteros.)  In 1886, Fr Juan Vicente Carmona, the parish priest (1886-1897), together with Don CarlosRobredillo, the gobernadorcillo (1885-1887) and other town officials such as Leoperto Planesniles, teniente primero, Martin Irasga, teniente segundo petitioned Manila to move the población to the sitio of Dolores which they thought was a safer location.  They transferred thepoblación in 1887.  Thus, Dolores replaced Paric as poblacion of thepueblo of Paric.

Dolores on the Eve of the 1898 Revolution.  Father Carmona, with Don Geronimo Leguin, who succeeded Robredillo asgobernadorcillo (1887-1889), other civil authorities and the leading men of the town (principalia), continued the development of the newpoblación.  From 1889 through 1893, Father Carmona
constructed amestiza parochial house of wood and stone, a spacious church of rubblework and wood, a casa tribunal, and a parochial school for boys and girls. Houses were built around the church and its plaza.  (But along with the church and the convento, these houses were burnt by thePulajanes in 1905.)  The first Catholic cemetery stood in the lot now (2009) occupied by the municipal building; the Catholic cemetery in Ocpol is the second one.  By 1890, it had two teachers: Damiano Pomasin and Donisia Hubirit.  Six Chinese were doing business in the town.  The población itself had a total population of 1,824.  The puebloor municipality had 5 visitas and 20 smaller villages.

 However, not all the Paricnons transferred to the new seat of the municipality of Paric, namely, the poblacion of Dolores.  Others preferred to settle in the visita of Maria Angeles, located about a kilometer from the mouth of Ulot river. Soon after, this visita became the largest barrio of the pueblo of Paric. (After the Spanish-American war, Maria Angeles was renamed Can-avid.  It became a
n independent municipality on June 15, 1948, with Lucendo Benitez as its first mayor.) 

That, in brief, is the story of how Dolores, which was a tiny village in 1650, became the población of the municipality or pueblo of Paric in 1887. (At that time, the whole municipality covered all the barangays and sitios that at present [2009] belong to the municipalities of both Can-avid and Dolores, including Tubabao.)   It is interesting to note that although the población was no longer Paric, the entire municipality continued to be called Paric in official documents of the national government.  It was only in 1905 that the name Dolores replaced Paric as the name of the municipality in official government records.*

[This brief article is a result of a careful reading of documents found at the Philippine National Archives (Manila), Philippine National Library (Manila), Franciscan Archives (Madrid), Augustinian Archives (Rome), Cebuano Studies Center of the University of San Carlos (Cebu), University of Santo Tomas Archives (Manila), Archives of the Diocese of Cebu (Cebu), Eugenio Lopez Museum (Mandaluyong), and Divine Word University of Tacloban Museum and Library (Tacloban). Those interested in the details of the History of Dolores may consult the following articles: (1) Lope Robredillo, "The Parish of St Joachim: Its Genesis and Development (1602-1898),” Philippiniana Sacra (Manila: University of Santo Tomas, 1990) 465-482, for the history of the parish. (2) Lope Robredillo also published in the 2001 Dolores Town Fiesta Souvenir Program, a revision of his essay, (3) “Resistance and Assimilation: A History of Dolores ( Eastern Samar ), 1602-1898),” Leyte-Samar Studies XIX (Tacloban: Divine Word University, 1985) 2, 105-147.  (4) See also Lope Robredillo, “The Dolores Resistance Against the Americans, 1899-1906,” Leyte-Samar Studies XXI (Tacloban: Divine Word University, 1987) 1-26 for the post-Spanish period.  Author Lope Robredillo is engaged in an on-going research on the history of Dolores, hoping to write a full-length history.]

Readers are invited to make comments, and the author would be pleased to answer questions, especially the disputed ones.