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The Municipality of Trinidad and Its People

As you drive away from the City of Tagbilaran and pass via the eastern or the western coastal towns or you pass via the interior, those three routes of our national highway all converge at a point of intersection in the northern part of Bohol where lies the Municipality of Trinidad.

The Municipality of Trinidad is like Athens. It is strategically located along a big and long navigable river which provides an easy means of communication among the traders of Cebu and Leyte and the people of the northern towns of Talibon and Ubay, thus making the town of Trinidad a center of trade and commerce during market days.

Historical Background

Pre-Spanish and Spanish Period

During the early part whom the people started to migrate from one place to another, they used bamboo rafts and bancas along the river bank.

That was before the advent of motor vessels and motor bancas. The early people established a community at the side of the bank of Ipil River and this agropation of people as they settled on this spot called the place “Cabizon”. This name is attributed to the terrible mosquito population that they could not sleep without the mosquito net “cabinan” taken from the buri fibers which were interwoven into “saguran” fabric used to protect the people from the mosquito bites.

When the Spanish came to colonize the Philippines, the name “cabizon” was changed into “Ipil” by the Spanish friar which stands for the abundance of “Ipil” trees which were timber stands in the sea. This is a hardwood used for ship building and the materials for the constructions of houses, convents, and churches.

“Ipil” become municipality together with “Batuanan” now “Alicia” and “Colonia” now “Dagohoy”.

American Occupation Period

The existence of the Municipality of “Ipil” lasted until the coming of the American colonization in the Philippines. During the administration of Governor-General Leonard Wood, he adopted a policy or merging several small towns into one or two big ones. During this period, the town chief executive of Ipil was Lucas Hinlayagan (Tan Coa) who did not know how to read and write. And when he received the questionnaire, he utilized the services of a prominent man from Talibon who knows Spanish to answer for Lucas Hinlayagan. Consequently, the answers were all in the affirmative and so the Municipality of Ipil was withdrawn and Ipil was reduced into a barrio. In the distribution of barrios of Ipil, the Ipil River was the basis of apportioning the barrios into two groups. The barrios along the eastern side of the bank of the river were ceded to the Municipality of Ubay, and those along the western side of the bank went to the Municipality of Talibon.

Creation of the Municipality of Trinidad

To regain the former status of Ipil, the late Tomas Gonzales launched a movement along with other leaders of Ipil, namely: Tomas Balonga, Gregorio Auxilio, Luis Goyeneche, Petronilo Boncales, Fortunato Boncales, Doroteo Mumar, Rufo Auxilio, Jose Cajes, Placido Cresencio, Flaviano Siason, Atanacio Gonzales, Samuel Rosales, Leon Cajes, Mauricio Cajes, Jose Boncales, Alejandro Tabada, and incumbent Councilor Policarpo Garsuta, and score of other people who came later like Jose Alvarez.

Tomas Gonzales was a perennial municipal councilor of Talibon. Like Presidents Quezon, Osmeña and Roxas, late Tomas Gonzales fought relentlessly for the reestablishment of the independence of Ipil. The sparks of the movement continued to glitter until the emergence of and illustrious son of Ipil by the name of Juan N. Gonzales, formerly the manager of the Erlanger & Galinger of Bacolod branch and the eldest son of Tomas Gonzales. Imbued with the vigor of his youthful age, using the courage and determination of his father, Juan Gonzalez carried on the movement without any lift up. His zeal and devotion to help the people of Ipil carried him to a very successful and when President Manuel A. Roxas finally signed the Executive Order No. 80 on August 14, 1947 through the intercession of Senator Olegario B. Clarin. This Executive Order No. 80 created the new municipality of Trinidad. It took away from the Municipality of Talibon the barrios of Ipil, Kinan-oan, Hinlayagan, Cambangay Norte, Cambangay Sur, Camanaga, Mahayag, Malitbog, Capayas, Tomoc, Kauswagan, Bongbong, Banlasan, Garcia and Cabigohan. While the barrios of Guinobatan, Tagum and Mahagbu were taken away from the Municipality of Ubay and were ceded back to the new Municipality of Trinidad with the barrio of Ipil as the seat of the local government.

Mr. Juan N. Gonzales met several threats and intimidations from the municipal officials of the mother town of Talibon who were only playing politics at the beginning and did not knew that Juan Gonzalez could fully perform the job alone in Malacañang. Another son of Ipil who assisted Mr. Juan Gonzalez was Pedro S. Boncales who was a school teacher. Both of them pursued the task of following up the petition of the people of Ipil for townhood. On the other hand, Mr. Gregorio Auxilio who was sickly at the time went around the neighboring barrios to solicit financial contributions from some loyal people that would bolster the mission of Mr. Juan Gonzalez in Malacañang.

The Municipality of Trinidad was formally organized on September 1, 1947. Present during the inauguration were Senator Olegario B. Clarin, Senator Carlos P. Garcia, Governor Perfecto Balili who read the proclamation, the members of the Provincial Board, Municipal Mayors, Congressman Simeon Torribio of the Second District, the Provincial Commander and his troops with Captain Marciano Garces, and many others. Congressman Cosme P. Garcia of the Third District was conspicuously absent during this inauguration day.