December 09, 2023

History of Carrascal


Brief History of Carrascal

Municipality of Carrascal SealFor the first time in 1879, Carrascal was mentioned in the chronicles of the Spanish Friary in Cantilan. Fr. Antonio H. Van Odkij, a missionary, noted that Carrascal appeared ready to be converted into a barrio or outstation like Panikian. This is 255 years back to the inception in 1624 of the Christianization of Ilihan and Dinayhugan in what is now Carrascal, and of Calagdaan, Palasao, and Bayuyo of the Cantilan side; and 85 years up to the conversion of Panikian as a "visita" of Calagdaan in 1709.

If we consider that Tandag had only 54 "tributantes" and some 200 inhabitants when she become that seat of the priory then administering Christianization of the region to Cantilan, we could visualize how very modest that fishing/farming village of Carrascal could be in 1879.

Viewed from another historical angle, the story of the development of the town of Carrascal dates back to two ancestor habits: Ilihan and Dinayhugan. Pastoral accounts in Cantilan showed evidence of Ilihan and Dinayhugan being confused for or as Panikian.

Situated at the foot of a mountain some seven kilometers to the southwest of the bay of Carrascal, Ilihan and Dinayhugan provided safe haven to their people from Moro marauders of the period like her contemporary habitats nearby in the flatlands to the east and sea, namely Calagdaan, Palasao and Bayuyo, their inhabitants were "Manobos" with sprinkling of other ethnic tribes. These were the heathens the Spanish Monks encountered when they came from halfway around the globe. Fr. Juan de San Antonio, a missionary, who stayed for two years in Calagdaan. Selfless and undaunted, the succession of friars introduced to the heathens a Supreme Being form who loves, cares, helps, protects and forgives - the very virtues the lowlanders never heard of before. Against their ethnic diwatas and gods, or against there each-one-to-himself culture. God's will prevailed.

Parish records in Cantilan were soon full of names of Manobos who embraced Christianity and gradually assimilated rudiments of civilization: living in settlement, farming, participating in socio-religious practices of the time and later on schooling. Round their habitats, their "baganis" took infinite pride and renown for being brave, killing brutes. In time this tribal traditions lapsed to limbo. Note worthy, the entire Cantilan region stood blameless for no friars ever getting harmed; Tandag region recorded three.

It is interesting to note that while the habitats on the Cantilan side were able to progress while Ilihan and Dinayhugan on Carrascal side were gradually falling away from the mainstream of Christianization and development: Several factors are noted:

1.) Ilihan and Dinayhugan never recovered from the exodus of their Christianized population which was enforced by Fray Valero de San Antonio to beef up the new settlement he founded, which was to be known by the name Can Tilang (Daan Lungsod) situated across the river;

2.) Compounding the loss, Moro raids started to decline, rendering isolation a no-growth liability; and

3.) Panikian, closer to the farm and sea, attracted the leftover inhabitants, thereby completing the abundant of Ilihan and Dinayhugan. If Dinayhugan is remembered or visited at all, it is because of the cave nearby that holds large deposits of guano and the treasure trove of relics, fossils, artifacts and other anthropological curiosities including tell-tale remains of the ancient church.

Aborted from her ancestral roots and with Panikian on the ascendant, Carrascal become a snail paced developing satellite of new Cantilan. This Cinderella episode in the development of Carrascal was to last 40 years, into the end of 1919, when she became the municipality independent of mother town Cantilan.

Now Cantilan, founded 232 years later than Ilihan, was soon to become the seat of Christianization and development of the sprawling jurisdiction extending as far to the south as Lanuza. Winning special esteem and influence, first from Fray Valero and later Fray Modesto Marzo y Casabana, founder of New Cantilan 1856, the New Cantilan held a runaway consideration on the priorities of the development-oriented friary.

Beyond all this, though Carrascal held an ace vital to an economic and industrial world prominence. For her mass of mountains constitutes a world-class growth potential no other Philippine could similarly claim. This potential was discovered early in the inception of the American regime.

Article Source: Carrascal, Surigao del Sur

Photo Source: Municipality of Carrascal

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