the establishment of the Municipality of Juban on April 7, 1799.
Image from: Irma Jacobs
The Spanish Colonial Rule or the era of Spanish-Moro Wars significantly influenced the history of the Philippines especially the Kabikolan or the Bicol Peninsula. During these early years, Moro raiders have left many lasting mementoes of their activities in Luzon and Visayas. The coastal areas of Sorsogon, including the Municipality of Casiguran experienced constant raids made by the Moros coming from the South. They would terrorize the villagers, loot off their valuables and farm produces, and inflict fear and trauma to the local settlers.
It is widely known that Juban was formerly a part of a barrio called “Point Canio”, or what is now known as Barangay Lungib of the municipality of Casiguran. Accordingly, between the years 1757 to 1759, Moros successively raided this area. Pedro Basilio, one of the Tribe Leaders residing at Point Canio, led the escape of his constituents in fear of being captured by the Muslim bands. The group travelled by sea in a westward direction and found a good shelter about four kilometers away from their homes. They reached the banks of the Cadac-an River and built homes there to settle for good. This area is now called “Binanuahan”, from the root word “Banua”—an Austro-Polynesian word which means Land or village. This means that this area served as their village before. However, the Moros continued to raid them, so they moved again towards east to what they called later as “Poblacion”. Subsequently, people found peace in this place, hence started to pursuit better life, especially that it was very suitable for farming and other means of living. Furthermore, they discovered that this area was very abundant with Milipili Trees or Piling-Liitan (Canarium Luzonicum). This tree was known to be very helpful for lighting purposes. During these times, people used Resin or Almacega for lighting since petroleum was still unavailable.
The usefulness of the Milipili Tree soon spread to other neighboring areas. They would come to this place and called it “GUJUBAN”, which means a place where they grove or “Gujub” the trunk of the Milipili Tree to extract Sap or “Salong” and be used as a lighting medium. After grooving, they would insert split halves of bamboo tubes at the cuts to let the sap flow. In these tubes, saps were gathered before they were sun-dried and hardened. Afterwards, the hardened sap would be placed at the end of sticks and then be used as lamps. They use these lamps especially during social, religious, and civil gatherings.
As year passed by, more and more families came and settled in “Gujuban”. After some time, the name of the place was abbreviated by the people for convenience by dropping the syllable “Gu”. Through word of mouth, the place became popularly known as Juban. While many believed that Juban became an independent municipality somewhere between 1770 and 1775, a manuscript from the National Archives of the Philippines was retrieved and claimed a proof on how the town gained its first unified government.
“En cumplimiento del superior decreto de 28 de enero 1799 el Gobernadorcillo del Pueblo de Juban, Provincia de albay, D.B. Fab Leonardo, convoco a los prales y cabesa de barangay de dicho pueblo para que concurran en la poblacion del mismo pueblo y congregados el 7 de abril de 1799 acordaron participar al Exmo. Sor. Superior Civil su conformidad a lo perscrito en dicho superior decreto y ofrecerion fabricar y mantener un panco que se tripulara con 40 hombres en el servicio del gobierno para hostilizar a los moros piratas que frequentemente hacian correrias”
Accordingly, on January 28, 1799, the Gobernadorcillo of Albay, D.B. Fab Leonardo issued a superior decree mandating the prayles and cabeza de barangays of the town to gather the población or population on Siete de Abril or April 7, year 1799 and create a “panco que se tripulara con 40 hombres en el servicio del gobierno” or a crew manned by 40 men in government service, ”para hostilizar a los moros piratas que frequentemente hacian correrias” to harass the Moro Pirates who frequently made raids. The emergence and creation of the said crew officially created the composition of the government for Pueblo de Juban against the Moro Pirates. Since Siete de Abril 1799, the town became united and organized as an independent pueblo. The Moro Pirates gradually dispersed over time, knowing that Juban was already unitedly valorous to battle them, and that they were already a government equipped with laws and policies. This recognized Siete de Abril 1799 as the official day of independence of the Municipality of Juban from the Moro Raids