Editor’s note: Dr. Paul A. Dumol’s research update last July 30, titled “The Pueblos of Panay: Examining Their foundation Dates,” has been very fruitful in terms of findings, so there are three groups of content currently up on the CRC website. 

This page contains a discussion, written by the research team, about the findings of their study so far. The video for the webcast event, captured with the help of the UA&P Department of Information Science and Technology, can be viewed at https://crc.uap.asia/2020/08/16/panaypueblosvideo20200730/; and a list of Foundation Dates for “The Pueblos of Panay” can be read at https://crc.uap.asia/2020/08/15/panaypueblofoundationdates0815/  • | RE de Leon || CRC.



by Paul Dumol, PhD

This is a report on an ongoing project. Our project, entitled “The Pueblos of Panay,” is in fact part of a larger project involving all the pueblos founded in Spanish times in the Philippines.

Let me describe this larger project which serves as the context of our present project.

The project team, comprising Dr Grace Concepcion, Mr EJ Ofilada, and me, wish to explore another way of narrating the rise of the Philippine nation. When the Spaniards arrived here in the sixteenth century, they did not find kingdoms or empires; they did not even find towns; they found a multiplicity of villages that were independent from one another, even when they spoke the same language. The question our team wishes to answer is: How has it been possible for a nation to arise from a collection of independent villages, strewn among thousands of islands, speaking different languages or dialects, and often separated by mountains when located on the same island?

Our hypothesis is that the itinerary from village to nation must pass through three stages: first, villages (barangays) coming together to form towns; subsequently, towns coming together to form regional communities, and finally the regions coming together to form the nation. The hypothesis includes the belief that the Philippines at the present moment is not yet a nation; it is a nation in progress. 

The present project belongs to the first stage of the larger project: the villages in the Philippine islands forming towns.

Whether the barangays coalescing into pueblos was the first step in a long journey is not an idle question. One must keep in mind that villages, or barangays, had existed in the Philippine islands for centuries, while, we may add, the rest of Southeast Asia graduated to kingdoms and empires. Let me put the question in another way: How was that mindset that preferred the small community—in which, we may add, everyone was related to everyone else—broken after surviving for centuries? This is, by the way, a mindset that still survives today, but among much reduced numbers: it survives among IPs (indigenous peoples). This mindset is real.

The answer to the question when it happened is easily given: when the missionaries came, because the first towns, or pueblos, were founded by missionaries. The Philippine pueblo was a community composed of barangays (which is what our municipalities continue to be): This is key. To appreciate this, we have to see the pueblo as something radically new, something breaking sharply with the past, with the separate histories of the different barangays that existed long before Magellan or Legazpi came, so sharply that it may be claimed this break marks the birth of the Filipino, understood as a new type of inhabitant of these islands marked by a new type of culture, a culture marked by hybridity. (I use the term “Filipino” as a sociological marker, and not as a political marker.)

This was admittedly not the first time a hybrid culture arose on these islands: the culture of the Muslims of the south came first. Nevertheless, the hybrid culture of the peoples of the Visayas and Luzon was different,  precisely because of the specific foreign element that formed part of it: Filipino-ness was a door to a world of ideas, ideas that would re-shape the very communities in which the peoples of the Visayas and Luzon lived. These ideas were initially Christian, but in time they would include even anti-Christian ideas. The point is that these ideas were dynamic, in constant tension with indigenous ideas, altering them and being altered by them. This foreign element would be altered by the coming of the Americans, and it continues to be altered by the Internet and Google. 

The motivation of the missionaries for founding pueblos was not, of course, to bring about a nation. Documents of the early missionaries speak of developing solidarity, charity, humanity, and civic culture in the recent converts—in short, civic education. (“Civic education” is an American turn of phrase, but the concept it expresses is certainly not American, as anyone familiar with the missionaries’ instruction of natives in the American and Philippine colonies in policía would know.) The pueblos came about with a train of values. The pueblo was, for the native inhabitants of these islands, the threshold to a new world, a new world of ideas and values.

This is the context of our smaller project. Our team wants to look at Philippine history with fresh eyes from a fresh angle. Why Panay? Because it is not too big and not too small a place. It can serve as a pattern for the study of other areas: the other five major islands of the Visayas, the various regions of Luzon, the northern coast of Mindanao.

The Foundation Dates of Pueblos

Our project team started with a list of the cities or municipalities which began as pueblos. The list of present-day parishes in Panay came from Rene Javellana’s La Casa de Dios. It also contained the foundation date of each pueblo. It seemed like a good idea to verify the foundation dates; little did we realize we were opening Pandora’s box.

The dates in Javellana’s book are mostly taken from the Catholic Directory, formerly published by the Catholic Bishops Conference. The first sign of trouble, so to speak, came from the Murillo Velarde map. That map shows most if not all the pueblos on the islands when it was made around 1734. As might be expected, a number of pueblos depicted on the map no longer exist, having been gobbled up by other pueblos nearby. But what we most feared materialized: there were pueblos in the map whose foundation dates were placed by La Casa de Dios in the late eighteenth and even in the nineteenth centuries, after the map was finished. How was this possible? Buzeta and Bravo’s almanac of 1850-1851 did not help either. The Diccionario geografico-estadistico-historico de las islas Filipinas by Manuel Buzeta and Felipe Bravo has entries for all the pueblos existing in the mid-nineteenth century. Unfortunately, like the Murillo Velarde map, it lists pueblos which the Catholic Directory claims were founded after the publication of the almanac. Comparison with a list of pueblos and foundation dates at the start of the twentieth century as compiled by Elviro Jorde only made matters worse. Jorde was an Augustinian who collected biographical information on all the Augustinians sent to the Philippine Islands from 1565. He made a list of pueblos of Panay, many of them founded long before the dates proposed by the Catholic Directory. In the end, there seemed to be no recourse except to examine the conflicting claims up close, one by one, and that is what we did.

We confronted the information at hand with three sources. The first source was the information Jorde gave of assignments of priests to pueblos from 1565 to 1898; the second, information given by the Augustinian Juan Fernandez in his book on the pueblos of Panay; and the third, Isacio Rodriguez’s multi-volume work on the Augustinians in the Philippines. Results varied from pueblo to pueblo: sometimes the three sources settled the disagreement between Jorde and the Catholic Directory; sometimes they did not and suggested instead a third foundation date which seemed to us preferable; at other times they left the question about a pueblo’s foundation simply unanswered. At the heart of these disagreements is, in our opinion at this stage of our research, the question of what a pueblo is. Our initial working definition was collections of barangays, organized around a church. The barangays continued to be ruled by their datus, now known as cabezas de barangay, but the pueblo itself was under the rule of an official elected by the townspeople, known as the indio gobernador in the sixteenth century and as the gobernadorcillo in the eighteenth. The Murillo Velarde map and the almanac of Buzeta and Bravo in conjunction with the lists of foundation dates of the Catholic Directory and Jorde challenge that.

My (personal) initial thoughts on the matter, honed in discussions with Mr Ofilada, follow. When Murillo Velarde and Buzeta and Bravo refer to pueblos in their respective works, they use the word in its common acceptation among Spaniards: self-ruling community—not a neighborhood, not a suburb (what we might call barrio or sitio). Such a community in the Philippines would have a gobernadorcillo and also a priest who would be a regular parish priest because, ordinarily, the pueblo was a parish and the parish was a pueblo (see Dumol, The Synod of Manila of 1582). What the Murillo Velarde map and Buzeta and Bravo imply when confronted with Jorde and the Catholic Directory is that there were pueblos that were not parishes. How explain this? The only explanation seems to be the visita—communities that would be visited by a priest regularly who did not reside in the community. Over time some of these visitas would become regular parishes. 

I suspect that, when Jorde gives the foundation date of parishes, he privileges the first time a priest was assigned to the pueblo while it was still a visita, and so he tends to give early foundation dates that correspond to the establishment of visitas. The Catholic Directory privileges the presence of a parish priest, and so it tends to give late foundation dates—when visitas became independent parishes. I do not think, however, that all visitas were called pueblos; I surmise that only those visitas of a certain population size were called pueblos, and these are what the Murillo Velarde map displays and the almanac of Buzeta and Bravo lists. These are hypotheses for which evidence has to be collected.

In the nineteenth century the Spanish government established some pueblos before they became parishes. Before the nineteenth century, the process was the reverse. Some examples of this development are Panit-an, Capiz, that was a civil town in 1800, but became a parish in 1806; San Miguel, Iloilo, that was a civil town in 1825, but a parish in 1873; and Ivisan, Capiz, that was a civil town in 1833, but a parish in 1840. In cases like these, we have chosen to record the foundation of the pueblo from the time it was created by the government, consistent with our intention in this project, which is to chart the development of civic society in Panay, not the development of Christianity. 

We do recognize, however, that the colonial government may establish a community as a pueblo and the Augustinians may declare a community a parish merely on paper, with no gobernadorcillo or parish priest actually in the town till sometime later, even years later; hence, it is necessary, we feel, to check when a pueblo actually began functioning as a pueblo.

Further muddying this is pueblos that are abandoned or depopulated and so cease to exist or pueblos absorbed by bigger ones or pueblos that cease to be parishes because of a lack of priests to assign to them. In short, this is very much a shifting landscape. We did not record the vicissitudes of a pueblo’s history; we will do so from now on.


Two Emerging Narratives

If we list the foundation dates of the pueblos from earliest to latest, we will notice two moments in which there is a prolonged period in which there are no new foundations: between around 1630 and 1692 and then between 1710 and 1731. Complementing this is the following period of 167 years in which there are numerous new foundations: from 1731 to 1898 during which there were 71 new foundations. This is obviously a development that is begging for an explanation.

Another narrative emerges from the biographical notes of missionaries that Jorde provides in his Catálogo bio-bibliográfico of Augustinians in the Philippines. If you extract them, classify them, and stitch them together chronologically, a second narrative of the pueblos of Panay emerges. We have extracted from Jorde’s Catálogo those remarks relevant to town-building and the following stages appear:

  1. Foundational stage
  2. Survival stage
  3. Stabilization stage

The struggle to found pueblos, to persuade people to live in communities larger than their barangay occupied the best efforts of the early missionaries and continued up until practically the end of the nineteenth century. Here are four excerpts from Jorde’s biographical data on Augustinians to show us that the foundation of pueblos was no easy task.

Fr. Juan de ALVA [Dumangas 1569] “Assigned to the island of Panay, he dedicated himself to the study of the vernacular with the eagerness of a young man and began the arduous enterprise of leading to a civil and Christian life the untamed savages on the banks of the Halaud River. Such was the influence he exercised on the hearts of those people with his ardent charity, continuous preaching, and admirable penance that, putting aside their shameful habits and natural cockiness, they changed from untamable beasts and savages to peaceful Christians and loyal servants of the homeland.”

Fr. Nicolás de la CUADRA [Dumangas, 1689] “Assigned to the Visayan provinces, he dedicated himself with determination to settling the many bold individuals who continued to wander at that time through the thick jungles of the island of Panay, managing after much sweat and fatigue to attract to a regulated and peaceful life a growing number of infidels and to baptize most of them. Happy with the good disposition with which they received his wise and prudent counsels and the affection that all showed him, he would have remained a long time among them…”

Fr. Jaime GASOL [Passi 1731] “A fluent master of the Panay language, a zealous minister and exemplary religious, of whom Fr. Agustín María affirms that, as minister of Passi (1731) ‘he walked through the mountains and high plateaus looking for natives, settling them in the pueblo and making them observe the law of God and the King; suffering on account of this many days of intense heat, rains, hunger and other discomforts.’”

Fr. Dionisio MARTÍN [Tubungan 1888] “To his activity and zeal is due the completion of the convent of Tubungan, the schools of the pueblo, the settling of 500 families of pagans who lived in an area called “Igtuble” and the campaign he undertook against the babaylanes until he achieved the total pacification of his parishioners…”

Please note the dates of the excerpts.

Of the second stage, “Survival,” we have the examples of Fray Martin de Nicolas, vicar of Guimbal, Iloilo, who in 1617 joined the armada of Capt. Lázaro de Torres in pursuit of moro raiders; Fray Diego Oseguera, the priest of Dingle, who in 1614 pacified natives at the point of rebellion seeing the helplessness of the Spaniards against the Dutch; Fray Francisco Valenzuela, the priest of the pueblo of Panay, who in 1762 denounced before the native rulers of the pueblo the Spanish alcalde mayor who was planning to surrender the province of Capiz to the English, leading to the arrest and imprisonment of the alcalde and the frustration of his plans; and Fray Juan Baraona, the parish priest of Dumalag, Capiz, who around 1794 successfully led the people of the pueblo against an assault from Aetas. We should also include in this stage the campaign of Fray Juan de Medina who was assigned to the pueblo of Panay in 1610 against the superstitions of its inhabitants, earning the title “El Apóstol de Panay” from the people themselves; likewise, Fray Francisco de Mesa’s opposition to a sect in Dueñas in 1659 led by three men who proclaimed themselves the Blessed Trinity and a woman who proclaimed herself the Virgin Mary. He was murdered. “Superstition” and syncretism are what the good friars should expect in the transition from the old religion to the new.

The third stage is marked by a large number of extracts, all but one coming from the nineteenth century. The number of parish priests who constructed churches, conventos, and cemeteries is impressive. Here is a list of all those mentioned by Jorde:

GONZÁLEZ MÁXIMO (Fr. Francisco). Miagao 1804-1809

PÉREZ (Fr. Francisco). Miagao 1829-1864 

ÁLVAREZ (Fr. José). Jaro 1826-1853 

ALQUEZAR (Fr. Ramón). Cabatuan 1833-1865 

CAROD (Fr. Miguel). Janiuay 1830-1871 

RAMOS (Fr. Ramón). Pototan 1838-1857 

PACO (Fr. José). Maasim 1832-1864 

DURÁN (Fr. Agustín). Dumalag 1833-1840 

COBOS (Fr. Demetrio). Otón 1844-1854 

BELOSO (Fr. José). Panay 1844-1888 

AMBRINOS (Fr. José M.a). Pototan 1878-1898

SANTARÉN (Fr. Hilario). Antique 1856- 1881

LOZANO (Fr. Raymundo). S. Miguel 1861-1877 

MARCOS (Fr. Ignacio). Igbarás 1879-1892

SANTARÉN (Fr. Tomás). S. Joaquín (Iloilo) 1855-1886

ÁLVAREZ (Fr. Apolinar). Cápiz 1870-1885

PORRES (Fr. Juan). Cabatuan 1876-1886

FERMENTINO (Fr. Antonio) Pavía (1882-1887), Janiuay (1887), Pavía (1887-1890)

ASENSIO (Fr. Manuel). Bugason (1867-1881) Passi (1881-1891)

FERNÁNDEZ (Fr. Celestino). Igbarás (1867-1877)

LLORENTE (Fr. Fernando). Ajuy y Dingle (1865-1874), Janiuay (1874-1887), Dumangas (1887-1893), Sta. Bárbara (1893)

ÁLVAREZ RIVERO (Fr. Agustín). Dao (Cápiz) (1865-1893)

NAVES (Fr. Andrés). Tigbauan (1893-1898)

ABASÓLO (Fr. Ángel). Dumalag (1866-1881)

GUTIÉRREZ (Fr. Manuel). León (1881-1885), Cabatuan (1890-1898)

TORÉS (Fr. Eustaquio). Báñate (1870-1882), Barotac Nuevo (1882-1888)

FERNÁNDEZ (Fr. Calixto). Sta. Bárbara (1873-1877), Pavía (1877-1882)

MUÑOZ (Fr. Faustino). Pilar (1870-1875)

FONTECHA (Fr. Sabas). Patnonḡon (1872-1881), Bugason (1881-1887)

VAMBA (Fr. Mariano). Dao (Antique) (1874-1888), S. Joaquín (Iloilo) (1888-1898)

DÍAZ (Fr. Lorenzo). Sibalon (1889-1899)

GALLO (Fr. Nicolás). Dueñas (1878-1889), Otón (1889-1893), Janiuay (1893-1898) 

PÉREZ (Fr. Lesmes) Cuartero (1873-1881), Dumalag (1881-1885), Cápiz (1885-1898)

LOBO (Fr. José). Lambunao (1875-1885) 

OJANGUREN (Fr. José). Loctugan (Cápiz) (1874-1885)

BLANCO (Fr. Mauricio). Iloilo (1873-1895)

HERMIDA (Fr. Gregorio). Pontevedra (1874-1895), Panay (1895-1898)

APARICIO (Fr. José). Tapás (1874-1876), Dumarao (1876-1889), Panitan (1889-1898)

GONZÁLEZ (Fr. Calixto). Tubunḡan (1874-1888) y Barotac Nuevo (1888-1898) 

VAQUERÍN (Fr. Jerónimo). Anini-y (1878-1895)

FERNÁNDEZ (Fr. Joaquín). Otón (1882-1889), Alimodían and S. Miguel (1889), Barotac Viejo (1889-1893)

AGUIRRE (Fr. Francisco). Carlés (1878-1886)

SANTOS (Fr. Manuel). Bánate, (1883-1889)

ISAR (Fr. Quintín). Concepción (1886-1888), Zárraga (1888)

GALLEGOS (Fr. Indalecio). S. Pedro (1883-1889)

VELASCO (Fr. José M.a). Loctugan (1885-1894)

JORDE (Fr. Elviro). Ivisan (1886-1893)

ISAR Fr. (Mariano). La Paz (1890-1898)

TORRES (Fr. Marcelino). Zárraga (1894-1898)


This group of friars changed the landscape of Panay. What explains this? The wealth of Filipinos in the nineteenth century. There are 49 Augustinians on this list, of whom only 9 begin their terms as parish priests before 1855. Why have 1855 as a cut-off? This is the year Iloilo was opened to world trade.

Another explanation of the burst of construction was the terms of parish priests. Of the 49 parish priests on our list, 18 or 37% had terms of 20 years or more. The priest with the longest term had 44 years, followed by a second with 41, and a third with 35. Another 18 or 37% had terms of 10-19 years, and only 13 or 26% had terms of less than 10 years. 

Contrast this with parish priests of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, as we can see in the chart below.

From the second quarter of the eighteenth century up to the third quarter of the nineteenth we see an increase in the number of years of the term from the customary three years of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and early eighteenth centuries. What we see here is the fruit of a policy the Augustinians adopted in the middle of the eighteenth century. As early as 1714, the colonial government had remarked the slow settlement of natives in pueblos. The Provincial, Fr. Tomás de Ortiz, put the blame on the practice of establishing many visitas, which allowed natives to live in small communities and stay away from larger ones (see Historia de la provincia agustiniana del Smo. nombre de Jesus de Filipinas edited by Isacio Rodriguez, vol. 2 [Manila, 1966], p. 393). His solution was to reduce the number of visitas per pueblo. In 1752 a new Provincial, Fr Francisco Javier Vazquez, saw a deeper reason for the slow growth of pueblos: “the constant transfer of priests from one pueblo to another” (see Rodriguez, Historia, vol. 3 [Manila, 1967], p. 74). Vazquez’s decree put a stop to the customary three-year terms.

The decisions of Ortiz and Vazquez are worth reflecting on. The problem they saw (reflected in the prolonged periods with no new pueblos founded) was the reluctance of converts to live in large communities, which meant the very slow assimilation of Christian values into their own cultures and the equally slow development of civic values, something the first missionaries had foreseen barely 17 years after the arrival of Legazpi in the Philippines (see Dumol, The Synod of Manila of 1582: its Handbook for Confessors [Quezon City, 2015], p). Reducing the number of visitas that missionaries could attend to from a mother church would mean that new converts would have to live in a relatively large community, either in the pueblo or in a visita, the latter considered as well a pueblo in the Murillo Velarde map and the Buzeta and Bravo almanac. Rodriguez tells us that this decree of Ortiz was greeted with much criticism by the missionaries, which would seem to imply that natives were deterred from baptism precisely by the prospect of— of what? Abandoning their homes? Living far away from their fields? We must consider the possibility that they were reluctant to live in a new community where they would have to mix with strangers. The missionaries greater resistance to Christianity.

Vazquez’s decree reveals a much shrewder analysis of the situation: three years (the normal term of missionaries assigned to a parish or visita) was not enough to persuade new converts to live and continue living in a larger community (an observation familiar to modern NGOs wishing to bring about culture change). The answer to the question why is plain if we consider that what the missionaries were doing was not simply evangelization, but culture change, even social change. What the missionaries achieved in the succeeding century is on display in some of the biographical notes of Jorde, to the extent that we could call the nineteenth century the period of civic flourishing in Panay.


Our research on the foundation dates of the pueblos has revealed lines of further research that should be undertaken to write the history of pueblos. Here are four.

  1. The Missionary as Civic Educator

One must have Nick Joaquin’s essays in Culture and History in mind to appreciate the work of the missionary as civic educator, to value roads, bridges, and drainage as influences on culture, to catch the deeper significance of work relative to human dignity. Some of the church-builders among the missionaries in the nineteenth century were also builders of schools, municipal halls, roads and bridges, and drainage. Here is a list of those missionaries.


ÁLVAREZ (Fr. Apolinar). Cápiz, Capiz

SANTARÉN (Fr. Tomás). S. Joaquín, Iloilo 

SANTARÉN (Fr. Hilario). Antique, Antique

MARTÍN (Fr. Florencio). Tigbauan, Iloilo

BELOSO (Fr. José). Panay, Capiz

ALQUEZAR (Fr. Ramón). Cabatuan, Iloilo 

ÁLVAREZ (Fr. José). Jaro, Iloilo

GUTIÉRREZ (Fr. Manuel). Calinog, Iloilo

GONZÁLEZ (Fr. Calixto). Tubunḡan, Iloilo

APARICIO (Fr. José). Panitan, Capiz

PÉREZ (Fr. Lesmes) Cuartero, Capiz

VAMBA (Fr. Mariano). Dao, Antique

ÁLVAREZ RIVERO (Fr. Agustín). Dao, Cápiz

 LLORENTE (Fr. Fernando). Dingle, Iloilo 


Of these two were promoters of work and industry (Fr Francisco Perez and Fr Jose Alvarez), to whom should be added Fr Angel Abasolo. The following extract is an eloquent testimony of the type of change the missionary was capable of bringing about:


Fr Francisco Perez, Miag-ao  Our venerable old man spent half a century serving the parish of Miagao, and there, where crime used to be the only rule, work was represented by 4,000 looms, producing beautiful fabrics of nipis and sinamay for trade; vast fields of sugarcane; wheat fields; in the port, a splendid trade and a great number of persons dedicated to the maritime industry. With genuine pride Fray Francisco showed everyone what he called his work. A magnificent church, convent, cemetery, schools for children of both sexes, eight bridges, all these edifices of stone with no peers in numberless towns in Europe; her wide avenues in a perfect state of maintenance and preservation, and what is even more valuable, the judicial statistics of the province pointing to Miagao as one of the towns in which the law need not intervene.


There were also missionaries who were actual town-builders like Fr Paulino Díaz, to whom the town of Sara owes its existence, Fr Agustín de Castro, to whom León owes its present location, and Fr José Lobo, who transferred Lambunao where it is now. Fr Celestino Fernandez spent 10 years in Igbaras, at the end of which (as the biographical note in Jorde opines) “the parishioners of [Igbaras] will doubtless never forget the affectionate father, the disinterested friend, the clever organizer of urban services, who knew, in short, how to make of Igbarás a hardworking and prosperous town of beautiful and well-laid-out roads, with spacious schools, magnificent bridges and an elegant and solid convent of stone masonry.” 


  1. The Role of Mother Churches


“Mother church” is the technical term for the parish from which priests attend to visitas. The importance of the pueblos of mother churches is revealed by maps.


We have chosen these particular maps because most, if not all, the visitas that appear in them became pueblos, some of which in turn became mother churches. They show us graphically the spread, not only of Christianity, but also of civic culture embodied in the pueblo. Fiestas and market days would have been occasions for the inhabitants of visitas to visit in their turn the pueblo of the mother church and, as particular visitas grew into pueblos, for the inhabitants of the pueblo and the other visitas to visit the emerging pueblo. We glimpse the growth of a larger type of community. The so-called “cabecera-visita” complex was a way of conquering the isolation of communities, in much the same way that pueblos were a way of conquering the isolation of barangays.


  1. Mundos


“Mundo” is probably a shortened form of “vagamundo,” itself a variant of “vagabundo,” which has the same meaning as the English vagabond. Rodriguez comments about Juan Manuel Alarcón’s “Exposición del Procurador General de los Padres Agustinos de Filipinas al Capitán General y Vice-patron de las islas” (Vol. 10, p. 285) that it was “the beginning of the re-establishment of order on the island of Panay, since, thanks to it, the mundos were obliged to reintegrate themselves into their towns of origin, to live like Christians and to accept certain burdens that social life entails.” The date of the exposition is either 1694 or 1695. 


Rodriguez’s remark is pregnant with meaning. First of all, it becomes clear that the mundos were new converts who used to live in a pueblo but who had fled it to live in mountains or isolated places. The mundos were a bone of contention between the Jesuits and Augustinians as to who had the right to evangelize them. This contention lasted practically all of the seventeenth century, and Rodriguez blames it for the little progress evangelization made then. However, for him the “maximum importance” of the mundos lies in “the lesson it presents about the ease with which those who wished to know nothing about Christianity and civic life could flee to the mountains” (Rodriguez, vol. 10, p. 286). So much for the tales of forced conversions in the Philippines! We should be willing to consider, however, that it was not so much Christianity the new converts were resisting as life in the pueblo with “certain burdens that social life entails”—in short, civic life. Here we see the dividing line between the Filipino and the pre-Filipino. 


The second point to which I would like to call the attention of the reader is the date of the exposition: it comes at the end of that first prolonged period without any new foundations, which implied, not only a negligible increase in baptisms, but also a decrease in the number of Christians. Ortiz’s and Vazquez’s decrees lie in the future; in the meantime, the story of the proliferation of mundos needs to be researched and told.


  1. Disappearing and Re-appearing Pueblos


Our list of pueblos contains a few that disappeared over time, being integrated into other pueblos. Fernandez notes how some pueblos disappeared and re-appeared in the past. We paid no attention to this, but upon further thought, this is part of the history of a town as civic community. A civic community lives on civic traditions, but a start-and-stop history would not allow civic traditions to develop or flourish. 




Our intention in this stage of the project has been to gather all published material on the subject. The point will come when archival research will be needed, followed by research on the ground. We are hoping that universities from Iloilo, Capiz, Antique, or Aklan would pick up the project. We intend at that point to initiate research in another part of the country, hoping once again that a university in the area will pick up what we begin. 



Blair, Emma, and James Alexander Robertson. The Philippine Islands, 1493-1803; explorations by early navigators, descriptions of the islands and their peoples, their history and records of the Catholic missions, as related in contemporaneous books and manuscripts, showing the political, economic, commericial and religious conditions of those islands from their earliest relations with European nations to the beginning of the nineteenth century. Cleveland, Ohio: The A. H. Clark company, 1903-09.

Buzeta, Manuel and Felipe Bravo. Diccionario geografico-estadistico-historico de las islas Filipinas Madrid: Impr. de J. C. de la Pena, 1850.

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