History of Bislig City
Bislig in the annals of Philippine historical heritage is rich in her recorded past dating back since the dawn of civilization in this part of Mindanao. It has had its rich, turbulent and bloody, but dynamic transition that had eventually led to its present social, economic, physical and political structure.
The legendary allusions as to how Bislig got its name dates back to the era prior to the coming of the Spanish conquistadors. The town got its name from a forest vine of the rattan family that grew in abundance along the banks of its rivers. This vine was noted for its strength and became known for saving a royal couple who crossed the swollen river in one of their hunting expeditions and who almost died as they were carried downstream by the rushing current. The legend has it that these hunters had already lost hope of surviving until they were able to cling to a vine which was about 1/4 inch in diameter called Bislig. As a sign of thanksgiving, the ruler named this place Bislig.
The first inhabitants of Bislig were believed to have come from the Agusan Valley in the hinterlands of Mindanao beyond the Magdiwata Mountains. These people used spears, bows and arrows and lived a semi-nomadic life and were called Manobos.
They were ruled during the later part of the seventeenth century by a native leader called "Bagani", meaning a formidable leader. They were very brave, tough and war-like. They also introduced edible crops such as rice, corn and rootcrops to the area.
At the turn of the century, Spanish Colonizers and Missionaries imposed the rule of Spain and brought with them Tagalogs, Ilongos, and Visayans from the North as members of their expeditionary forces.
Long before it became a town on January 1, 1921 per Executive Order No. 62 issued by Governor General Francis Burton Harrison on December 28, 1920 with Primitivo A. Castillo as its first Municipal President, Bislig was already an established political instrumentality or "pueblo" in the Province of Surigao (now Surigao del Sur and Surigao del Norte). Earlier, the province was a part of an even bigger territory stretching from Northeastern Mindanao down to the island's Southeastern "pueblo" of Caraga and Man-ay in Davao Oriental. Caraga was originally the seat of political, military and religious authority.
Since then efforts were made to improve and develop Bislig until the advent of Citihood campaign in 1999 and by virtue of Republic Act No. 8804 Bislig was converted into a component city duly ratified and approved in a plebiscite conducted in September 18, 2000.
Source: Bislig City, Surigal del Sur
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