At the beginning of the 17th century, in the year 1612, the town of Sigayen, now Sta. Cruz was founded in the Sitio of Tambobong which is now within the jurisdiction of the municipality of Dasol, Pangasinan.
It is said that when the first Spanish missionaries arrived at the Sitio they asked the natives the name of the place, but the latter thinking that the strangers were asking for the name of the shells that they found in abundance on the seashore, answered “Sigayan”. Hence the name.
Tha Catholic priest of the town later built a church which was placed under the care of Fr. Alonzo de San Agustin. One day, many years later, a Negrito by the name of Ytahat killed the priest whose sermon on the church’s pulpit was mistaken for insults directed at the natives.
This incident forced the founders of the town to transfer the town site to another place, the sitio of “Salasa”, which is now within the jurisdiction of the barrio of Bayto, perhaps because they feared further depredations by the savage Negritoes.
This town was named “Alinsaog”, founded at the beginning of the 18Th century, whose ruins could still be seen up to the present. The town site remained in this place until the later part of the 19th century when it was abandoned by the natives because of the overflowing of the Bayto river which brought death and destruction to the inhabitants. The natives had to move to another townsite, the present location of the municipality.
Years later, the people of this town found the image of St. Michael, among the debris carried by the floodwater of the Bayto river years back. They forth with placed a cross on the spot where they found the holy image on which they built the present church and named the town Sta. Cruz.
This group of settlers found that this place is an ideal location. They had a foresight that this place would play an important role in the political life of its inhabitants. The same group of settlers, who were very influential, were the ones who supported this sitio in becoming a town.
The year 1870 is a remarkable event in this place, when this sitio got its approval to become a town. It became the municipality of Candelaria.
The beautiful name of the town Candelaria came from the name of the charming wife of the first Alcalde Mayor. It was requested as a bestowal on her birthday anniversary.
There was also a story that the Spanish first saw many candles in this place Candle-Area, a place of many candles. As the years passed, it was customarily called CANDELARIA.
Candelaria is the second nethermost town in Zambales. It is approximately 42 kilometers from the capital town of Iba. It is nestled at the foot of Zambales Range in the East and lies along coastline of the South China Sea in the west with a total land area of 43,760 hectares.
Candelaria is the third largest town in terms of land area in the entire Province of Zambales.
It has been said that during the pre-Spanish time, Candelaria was only a forest and unsettled by the people. It was then a sitio of Masinloc, one of the oldest town of Zambales during that time. The coming of a group of Zambal settlers from the mother town of Masinloc have played an important role on how this sitio became a town.
Masinloc was among the native settlements visited by Juan de Salcedo in his Exploration of Zambales in San Andres in the barrio of Bani. Thirty-five years later, the town was founded on the southern mouth of the river across the bay from island of Salvia or San Salvador. However, the first convent was built on the eastern shore of Salvia, while the first town site, now covered by the sea, was just in front of the stone church. Actually, the town is now behind the church and is now behind the church and is growing in land across the river towards Collat, Lipay and Baloganon on the North.
The name Masinloc came from Majinloc, meaning a place where the jinloc, grows in abundance. Whether a tree, shrub, vine or what-not, the identity of the jinloc seems now lost to us, but there still exists a sitio near the town on the river bank which is called cajinlocaqan, that is full of jinloc.
Organized in 1607, the first town in the province of Zambales, Masinloc has come to play an important role in every phase of municipal development. It was the first capital of the extensive Province of Zambales that extended from Cape Bolinao to Olongapo, until Sta. Cruz, and later, Iba took his honor from her.
In the course of time, Masinloc, gave birth to two other municipalities, Palauig and Candelaria, when in the first case seventeen families from Masinloc migrated to and founded Palauig, and in the later, the important barrio of San Vicente, in 1870, was given its decree of independence and made a separate municipality under the new appellation of Candelaria. A little later, Candelaria was reincorporated to Masinloc until 1905, when it finally maintained a separate existence up to now. The ancestors of the Eliazos, Valverdes, Garcias, Lesacas, Medinas and others, of Santa Cruz, Botolan, and Iba, all came from Masinloc.
The present claim to fame by this small town is based on the huge deposits of chromite in its mountains. A mining company, BCI-Coto in Masinloc now operating a property used to export monthly an average of 1-1/2 million pesos worth of chromite ore, mined from what is known to be the biggest deposit of refractory ore in the world. On account of the bigger volume of shipping done here, as compared to that handled at San Fernando, La Union, Masinloc was declared a port of entry.
Since time immemorial, the Municipality of Palauig was a Sitio of Sto. Niño (now one of the barrios of Palauig) inhabited by the aborigines called Aetas.
After the defeat of the Spanish Armada, the so-called Galleon Trade from Acapulco, Mexico, were all scattered and one of the most important points where these galleons happened to harbor is Palauig, the present municipality.
Napoleon Jimenez, the patron of one of the galleons, landed in an island without name, but latter it was named Island of San Juan. This island after so many years was underwater and the settlers inhabited the shore formerly called Bitaoy. Therefore, there were two sitios founded; the first one was the sitio of Sto. Niño and the other was the Sitio of Bitaoy. Napoleon Jimenez married a native in one of the sitios, thus came the origin of the Municipality of Palauig.
These sitios expanded to many other sitios and became the barrio of Sto. Niño which was latter taken under the jurisdiction of the Municipality of Masinloc. Napoleon Jimenez, being the head of this barrio, was able to transfer this barrio under the Municipality of Iba. In 1913, under Municipal President Marcelino Gregorio, became almost the ruler of this Municipality until the present time.
The town of Palauig was ruled the Spanish Kingdom for almost 400 years as a colony of Spain. In 1896, the Spanish Government was defeated by the Katipunero under Andres Bonifacio. They established a Philippine Republic under the presidency of Emilio Aguinaldo, but due to the intervention of the American-Cuban War, the Americans who happened to anchor in Manila Bay under Commodore Dewey, took advantage of the Philippine Army under General Juan Luna. We fell under the regime of Americans for more than 60 years. The intervention of the 2nd World War lead to the Japanese occupation for a period of 4 years. Then we returned back to the American Commonwealth and was granted our independence on July 4, 1946, under the Hare Hawes Cutting Bill.
Palauig was located between Iba in the South and Masinloc in the North. The climate is temperate. At present, there are 18 barrios of this municipality and more than 20 sitios. The dialects spoken are Zambal, followed by Ilocano for settlers from the Ilocos Region and Tagalogs for those who came from Bulacan, Cavite and Batangas. The land area of Palauig is 30,590 hectares.
The inhabitants of Palauig were Aglipay and Catholic in Religion, followed by Iglesia Ni Cristo, 7th day of Adventist, Methodist and Jehova’s Witnesses.
The date of the celebration of the town fiesta is April 11 to 12 but was moved to April 14 to 15, with the approval of the Municipal Council thru a resolution passed and approved. April 12 is memorable because robbers entered Palauig coming from Iba Provincial Jail in broad daylight.
Religious town fiesta is also celebrated on September 10, in honor of its Patron Saint to Nicolas. Among the most prominent social activities was before the town fiesta. A pacification campaign, in connection with the peace and order condition, was being conducted by different religious organizations. Each religious organization appointed their own representative and went as a group to all barrios explaining the verses on the Bible to all interested listeners.
Founded by Recollected Priest in 1611, the Village of Paynawen moved from one place to another until it settled permanently on the shore of Bancal River where a fort was built as a defense against pirates who constantly molested the region.
In 1860, the administration of the town was turned over to the Dominican Priests. There is no available record as to when Paynawen was renamed Iba. But the old folks believed the town was named after a sour fruit called “iba”. At present it is the provincial capital of the province.
Iba, which became famous the world over as the birthplace of the late President Ramon Magsaysay, has an area of 153.4 sq.km. Farming, fishing, poultry and hog raising are the main sources of livelihood, but mining prospects are bright with the discovery of mineral deposits such as chromite, asbestos and white clay in the Tapulao Mountain. Forty five sitios, eight barrios and six zones comprise the town.
After the creation of the Province of Zambales in 1572 by Governor General Juan de Salcedo, the town of Botolan covered the areas from the boundary lines at the middle of Bancal and Cabatuan Rivers in the North to Mount Carmen in the South. This town is a long strip of land running from Northwest to Southeast occupying a large part of the central portion of Zambales.
Mostly mountainous and hilly on the East, there is a coastal plain on the western part washed by water of the China Sea. Within this region also were six (6) towns that were established between the years 1611 A.D. to 1908. These towns were “Paynawen” or Iba, Babayan, Botolan,
Alambra, Rivera de San Fernando, and Cabangan. Not all of these towns however, existed to the present. The town of Iba was transferred to its present site and became the capital of the province, later the town of Babayan was abandoned after existing for about fifty years; Alambra did exist for some years but was abandoned by its people when the government authorities forced them to pay tribute. The town of Rivera de San Fernando became a barrio after being twice a battlefield between the Spaniards and Katipunan during the Philippine Revolution; and lastly, Cabangan was made a separate municipality in 1900. Only the town of Botolan remained existing from 1819 to the present. Its area covers 543.92 sq. kilometers where 23 barrios are now existing.
The town originated from a small group of fishermen who settled along the seashore of San Isidro. Due to more piracy the settlers moved east where they found abundant palm called banga from which the name Cabangaan was derived but later changed to Cabangan. The town was established in 1880 and was merged to Botolan until 1889. In 1900, it become and independent municipality. Progress was slow for the young town during its years. But as time rolled on, it gained gradual progress under the administration of Mayor Augusto F. Dantes beginning with the year 1964. Irrigation system, concrete roads and bridges were major accomplishments and up to now a new strong town hall stands as a proof of a distinct achievement that any Cabangenio can be proud of.
San Felipe was a little resettlement area during the Pre-Spanish period. It qualified to become a “pueblo” when its population increased caused by the emigration of Ilocanos from Ilocandia. The first seat of the “pueblo government” was in Barrio Sindol. The head of the “pueblo” was called “capitan municipal”. The seat of the pueblo was later transferred to Bobulon, now the town proper, because it had a wider area for residential purposes. San Felipe was formally founded in 1853. During the whole Spanish period and the early part of the American Regime, San Felipe stood as one town. For purposes of governmental administration, it was incorporated with San Narciso from January 1, 1905 to February 28, 1908, and on March 1, 1908, San Felipe was separated from San Naciso.
Originally known as “Alusiis”, San Narciso started as a small settlement founded by enterprising pioneers from Paoay, Ilocos Norte and Vigan, Ilocos Sur sometime during the 1830’s along the Kimmarayan, now Santo Tomas River, after the violent flood waters of which the place most probably have been first named : “Alusiis” means restlessness. First a barrio a pueblo by virtue of a royal decree promulgated in 1846 by then Gov. Gen. Narciso Claveria, in whose honor the new municipality was renamed.
From its formal organization to the present, the municipality of San Narciso records a history which is in consonance with the general pattern of historical events in the province. The name Alusiis is retained and is now confined to one of the 17 barrios which was the site of the original settlement.
The municipality was first organized on May 12, 1849, as a result of two petitions to this effect headed by the Teniente Primiro, the first in 1848 and the second on March 8, 1849. By virtue of Executive Order No. 1 of 1911, the first Ilocano families from the Paoay area of Ilocos Norte arrived in 1830 and founded the first settlement that grew into what is now the town. The formation of barangays had then started the multiplied in number and according to the census of October, 1948, the town has 8,381 inhabitants which soared up to 21,651 census made in 1995.
Among the first to discover this vast tract of agricultural land are pioneers from the Ilocos Region. They later named the town San Marcelino as a tribute to the first President, Marcelino. The first election was held on January 14, 1906 and Matias Apostol was the first elected President. San Marcelino was Christianized after the arrival of Father Guillermo and after his departure the people rightfully choose San Guillermo as their town’s patron saint.
Castillejos was founded sometime in the middle of the 18th century. Its creation took place in 1743 while that of Subic in 1769. The seniority of Castillejos over Subic is quite interesting in view of the fact that both towns were established by Tagalog families who probably came from the province of Bataan. We can be sure that the settlement at Subic, which is on the beach, precede that in Castillejos, for this is situated further from Bataan some seven kilometers in the interior on the side of the mountain. Coming from the exposed position of the beach to pirates, those early families kept moving in lands towards Castillejos thereby making it grow faster than Subic. Castillejos became Pueblo in 1743, 26 years ahead of Subic.
Subic was founded in 1542 by Juan de Salcedo, the Spanish conquistador during the early part of Spain’s colonization of the Eastern hemisphere. The town’s name was derivative of “Hubek” (head of the plow) which the missionary fathers mispronounced as “Subic”. The inhabitants of the area at the time were the Zambales.
Owing to the strategic location of its bay, Subic became a Naval fortification. History tells of colorful sea battles that saw the Spanish Armada emerged victorious against the Dutch and British who had attempted to invade and occupy the country. During world war II, the strategic position of Subic Bay played an important role in the defense of Bataan and Corregidor. When the American liberation forces came, numerous Japanese navy ships were sunk into the bay.
Today, Subic as a town is separated and distinct from Subic Naval Base, aptly called the vanguard of United States Naval might, and from Olongapo City, its former barrio. Farming and fishing are the prime industries. The local economy is further enhanced by the proliferation of cottage industries. Fishponds, the source of milkfish and “tilapia” in commercial quantities are also found in various places.