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  • Historical Background

                                        
Casiguran is located in the northern part of the Aurora Province. Approximately 120 kilometers distance from the capital town, Baler.
It is bounded on the north by the municipality of Dilasag, on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the town of Dinalungan, and on the west by Quirino Province. The town is just two kilometers away from the sea and its elevation is about 200 ft. above the sea level. It is located at 125 deg. 0’ longitude and 16 deg. 6’30” latitude.


The town got its name from the native word “KASIGURUHAN” which means safety. The early inhabitant settled in the place because it has a fine bay and was a good port for anchorage. During stormy weather sailing vessels sought sanctuary at Casiguran Sound.
Casiguran was founded in 1609 when group Franciscan friars headed Fr. Blas Palomino established a mission. This place was the last frontier in the evangelization of the natives along the Sierra Madre Mountains. It was a mission under the ecclesiastical administration of the Bishopric of the Nueva Caceres which was based in Camarines Province.


These Franciscan friars worked hard in the Christianization of the natives. They labored hard in converting the savage Cimarrones from north and west of the mission. But due to danger and bad terrain, the evangelist returned to their base in Casiguran. Notable among these missionaries were Fray Pedro de la Conception and Fray Joseph Fonte.


In 1658, the Franciscan abandoned the mission. The Augustinian Recollect priests took over and ran the place until 1703 when the Franciscan friars returned and, again, administered the mission. Casiguran became a component of Nueva Ecija province when the limits of the province were extended towards the Pacific in 1818. In 1856 the town, together with Baler, and Palanan was organized into a separate military district called “El Distrito del Principe” governed by a Comandante Politico-Militar, but still a dependency of the province of Nueva Ecija. On June 12, 1902, the boundary of the Province of Tayabas was extended farther north, annexing the district of “El Principe”. Casiguran became a part of the extended province. With the passage of Republic Act 648 on June 14, 1951, the town became a component of the newly created sub-province of Aurora.
The first inhabitants of the place were the Negritoes whom the Spaniards called Cimarrones. These aborigines practiced head hunting until the end of the Second World War.


Most of their victims were travelers from Palanan to Casiguran or vice-versa and Christian homesteaders. These savages were masters in the use of spears and arrows. The early settlers of the place were mostly farmers, fishermen, gatherers of honey-bees, and hunters. These pioneers went as a far as Nueva Vizcaya by hiking to buy their household necessities through barter system. Likewise, traders from Baler, Infanta and Palanan came to Casiguran to exchange their commodities with the palay and other products of the place.


Just like the other coastal towns bordering the great Pacific Ocean, Casiguran suffered Moro depredations up to the end of the Spanish rule. In 1798, a Muslim fleet of some twenty-five boats harassed the town of Casiguran, Palanan, Isabela and Baler. They took 450 captives. Because of this peril, the natives of Casiguran built a watchtower overlooking the bay in Sitio Dipalale. When the Moro vintas entered the Casiguran Sound, the guards at the watchtower gave warning of the incoming danger by creating smoke. The church bells immediately rang signaling the people to take cover at Ermita Hill. This hill served as the fortification against the invasion. Stockpile of logs and stones were prepared at the summit so that when the Moro raiders attempted to come up, the people would roll down the logs and stones forcing the Moros to retreat.


It was at Casiguran bay that the American ship, Vicksburg secretly landed Colonel Frederick Funston and his men on their mission to capture General Emilio Aguinaldo in Palanan, Isabela. The American commander, aided by the renegade Filipino Officials of Aguinaldo and a few Macabebes marched through the town of Casiguran. The town folks, believing that the Americans were prisoners of our insurgents, welcomed the traitor Filipinos and gave them food. The municipal vice-president of Casiguran, a man loyal to Aguinaldo and who was unaware of the conspiracy, sent couriers to Aguinaldo, handling the General forged messenger from his supposed “loyal” officers. Thus, Funston was able to penetrate Aguinaldo’s defenses and surprised the General at Palanan.


Originally, the town of Casiguran includes the municipalities of Dilasag and Dinalungan. Today, the town has a total land area of 90,647 hectares. Of this, 25,333 hectares are devoted to agriculture and the remainders are forest lands which are rich in timber, minerals and other forests products. Based on 1980 Census, the municipality has a total population of 13,925 inhabitants scattered in 24 barangays. Casiguran dialect is commonly used by the people but could speak Tagalog fluently. However, there are also several Ilocanos and Bicolanos who settled and occupied some parts of the municipality and spoke their own dialects.


Casiguran has the potentialities of a progressive town. It is rich in natural resources and possesses a very fine harbor. What are needed are roads that will link the place with the other municipalities in the surrounding areas in order to maximize economic activities.


Source: The National Historical Institute.


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