The facts and events presented here are limited, taken from notes and writings of local historians but not enough to comprehensively relate the history of Tigbauan.
Like many other towns in Panay, the history of Tigbauan can be traced back from the Spanish era to date. Nevertheless, there is an existing anecdotal report that the economic activity in the Island of Panay had been existing long before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. Panay had an existing trade with China and trading was widespread along coastal towns of Panay.
The name Tigbauan is believed to come from the name of a tall grass called reed, Anthisteria cilleta, and locally called “tigbao” which grew abundantly in the place then. The area at which this species of grass was abundant was referred to by the natives as “katigbauan”. Whenever visitors ask for the name of the place, natives pointed to the grass and in the course of time, the place became popularly known as Tigbauan.
The town was established in 1575 with Esteban Rodriguez de Figueroa as overseer. However, during this period, there was no separation of power between the church and the state, and so the friars being most powerful at the time were still the ones who ruled.
The local leadership of Tigbauan had been held by the Agustinian and Jesuit friars. The Jesuits established the first boarding school in the Philippines as exclusive institution that catered to the children of Spaniards and prominent Filipino families. The Agustinians ruled Tigbauan for 175 years but during their administration they focused more on religious and cultural education and left aside other sector needs. Moreover, the Agustinians paved the way for the establishment of a local political system headed by a captain, built a cultural landmark, the Tigbauan Parish Church, which now serves as a tourist attraction in town due to its baroque architecture even if only the façade of it remained from the ravages of war. Francisco Valle became the first captain in 1779, thereafter; native capitanes serve as administrators until 1900. Infrastructure and facilities development during the term of local administrators was very sluggish and started only in 1870 when Mr. Aguedo Teruel became the administrator. For a span of 91 years, local administrators did nothing to improve the place and to enhance the socio-economic situations of the people may be because of the short tenure given to each administrator. For tenure of one year, one cannot really expect significant accomplishment. The following capitanes served the municipality during these years.
The Spanish surrendered Iloilo to the Americans in December 1898. However, the latter got control of the place only in 1900 due to the resistance offered by the Ilongo revolutionaries. In 1901, the Americans instituted the civil government, addressed the local administrator as municipal president or municipal mayor thereby abolishing the position classification of Capitan.
The first municipal mayor was Constantino Benedicto. It was during this time that the first group of American volunteers, the Thomasites, arrived and wanted to put up an educational institution in Tigbauan but was driven out by the resistance of the people towards the plan. Their group settled in Dumaguete where they founded what is now the famous Siliman University. The institution should have made Tigbauan the center of education and the hub of economic activities in the Southern part of Iloilo.
Significant accomplishment at this time included the development of infrastructures. Schools and markets were constructed, urban streets were concreted and barangay roads established. The progress of development was suddenly hindered with the outbreak of the Second World War on December 8, 1941. At dawn of December 16, 1942, the Japanese invasion forces landed in Panay on the beach of Tigbauan and Oton. At that time the local administrators were Salvador Tueres (1941-1943) and Concordia Palacios (1944-1945).
The Japanese occupation was short-lived, but awfully devastating and turbulent. In 1943, the Japanese forces penetrated Brgy. Parara and Napnapan where they beheaded and gunned down many residents.
On March 18, 1945, the American Liberation Forces landed in Tigbauan on the shores of Brgy. Parara and Buyu-an. Panay was officially declared as liberated on March 22, 1945. This brought to an end the nightmares of the people of Tigbauan under the Japanese invasion forces.
In 1946, the municipal mayor was Jose B. Torrefranca. This year and the last few years of the post-war period were considered years of difficulties for the people of Tigbauan. The town was in shambles. Some of the public building and private houses were burned or destroyed. Other post-war municipal mayors were:
The municipality was able to regain political and socio-economic stability in the middle of the post-war period. Feeder roads within the town connecting almost all the barangays were constructed. Urban roads were paved, new schools were built and old ones were rehabilitated. Infrastructure projects, both in the urban and rural areas were undertaken by the local and national government to enhance the development of the municipality. This signaled the return of productive years for Tigbauan.
Greater achievements were attained by the municipality during the term of the Hon. Mayor Myrna M. Torres. Significant and tangible among which were the improvement of the town plaza and the municipal hall, acquisition of heavy equipment’s which are necessary for the construction of more farm to market roads and improvement of existing ones, and collection and disposal of garbage thus maintaining the cleanliness and sanitation of the municipality. A fire truck, monitoring van, patrol car, and ambulance were also acquired with her desire to provide immediate response to the call for peace and safety of the people of Tigbauan. The education of the children was always the priority of the people of Tigbauan. With the establishment of a tertiary school in the municipality, many of the children graduated college, particularly those who have completed BS Marine Transportation. It is no wonder why there are now many seamen from Tigbauan who are now gainfully employed in various ships plying international route. Many ventured abroad for economic reasons as nurse, physician, dentist, IT expert, engineer, skilled worker, and some as domestic helper. Many more professionals will go out of Tigbauan as there are many opportunities offered by various legal recruiters.
Where the people of Tigbauan are now is a step forward where they want to be 10 years from now.
The municipality of Tigbauan is a coastal town 23 kilometers southwest of Iloilo City. It is one of the seven (7) towns comprising the First District of the Province of Iloilo which lies between 10º40’30” latitude and 122º22’30” longitude. It is bounded by the towns of Leon on the Northwest, San Miguel on the Northeast, Oton on the East, Guimbal to the West, and by the Iloilo Strait on the South.
Land Area and Waters
Tigbauan is a second class municipality with a land area of 8,889 ha or 88.89 sq. km. The urban core, consisting of 10 barangays, has an area of 169 hectares or 1.69 square kilometers representing 1.90% of the total area of the municipality while the 42 rural barangays occupy a total area of 8,720 ha or 80.720 square kilometers equivalent to 98.10%. The municipality’s coastline is an 8-km. stretch spanning 10 coastal barangays from Bgy. Barroc down to Bgy. Buyuan. The municipal waters covered by this coastline serve as fishing grounds for both migrating and endemic fishes. The inland bodies of water consisted of two (2) main rivers, namely: the Sibalom River and the Tacuyong River. The latter joins the Sibalom River at the Western side of the urban core barangays before flowing into the Panay Gulf. There are also creeks and natural springs which are used as sources of water supply for people in the rural areas.
The municipality, generally, has a flat terrain. The plains cover an area of 6,667 ha or about 75% of the total area of the municipality. Rolling hills covering an area of about 1,518 hectares are located along boundaries of neighboring towns, excluding Oton and San Miguel.
There are four types of soil found in Tigbauan. These are the Sta. Rita Clay Loam which are located in Bgy. Sipitan and Bgy. Linobayan. Umingan Fine Sandy Loam is found in Cordova Norte, Cordova Sur, portions of Bgys. Napnapan Norte, Napnapan Sur, Bitas, Bagumbayan, Dorong-an, Bayuco, Buenavista, San Rafael and Poblacion. Alimodian Clay Loam is found in Bgy. Bantud, Baguingin, Bangkal, Olo Barroc, Barroc, Namocon, Parara Norte, Parara Sur and Buyu-an. Alimodian Silt Loam is found in the rest of the rural Barangays.
Tigbauan has two pronounced seasons: dry from November to April and wet during the rest of the year. There are two prevailing winds: the Southeast Monsoon (Amihan) and the Southwest Monsoon (Habagat).
- Population Levels and Growth Pattern
Based on the National Statistics Office Census of 2010, the municipality recorded a fluctuating growth rate from 1903 to 1960 (Table Dem-1) and steadily increased with a growth rate of 2.43% in 1990. From 2000 to 2010, population growth rate increased from 1.39% to 1.55%.
It was during the period of 1981 to 1990 that the municipality registered the highest in population growth with 43,934 persons. This represents an increase of 9,394 persons or 27.20% higher than those in 1976 to 1980 which is 34,540 persons. The average annual growth rate from 1976 to 1980 was 2.37%. This is higher than those recorded for the Province of Iloilo for the same period.
The high population growth for the period 1981-1990 may be due to the establishment of ILECO I, SEAFDEC/AQD, St. Therese MTC and the location of police camp in the municipality. Some of the employees of these institutions opted to establish their residences in the municipality. On the other hand, the decline in growth rate from 1991-2010 may be due to out-migration of the municipality’s professionals and skilled workers/non-professionals who seek for greener pasture outside of the municipality. It was likewise during this period when a great demandoutside for professionals such as physicians, nurses, physical therapist, engineers, and midwives started. There was also a big demand for skilled workers and domestic helpers abroad.
Population, Household Distribution and Density Levels
The NSO Census of 2010 data on population distribution (Table Dem-3) and population densities by barangay show the unbalanced spatial distribution of the municipality’s population. Among the 52 barangays of the municipality, the most densely populated are those within the poblacion or those comprising the 10 urban barangays. The urban barangays has the highest population concentration of 11,075 persons in an area of 169 has. or a population density of 66 persons per hectare. The rural barangays post a population of 51,274 persons in an area of 8,720 has. or a population density of 6 persons per hectare. The 2010 NSO Census on Population shows a total population in the municipality of 58,814 and a population density of 7 persons per hectare. The data (Table Dem-2) reveals the same trend for the number of household. The urban barangays shows a total household of 2,194 or an average household density of 13 household per hectare while the rural barangays have 10,509 households or an average household density of 1.2 household per hectare.
Of the most densely populated barangays, Barangay 2 ranks first with a population density of 147 persons per hectare (Table Dem-3), followed by Barangay 6 and Barangay 5 with a population density of 126 and 125 persons per ha., respectively. On the other hand, the three sparsely populated barangays come from the rural group. Ranking them from the bottom, the barangay which ranks lowest is Barangay Cansilayan with 1.80 persons per ha. followed by Barangays Isian and Supa with 1.87 and 2.00 persons per ha., respectively. The data show that accessibility to the poblacion as one of the factors affecting concentration of population. The three bottom ranking barangays and those with less than 3 persons per ha. are located in the remote areas of the municipality with poor farm-to-market roads that are not passable during rainy days. The data generally indicate that the barangays with access to good roads have higher concentration of population