Monday, August 13, 2007

History of the Town of PARACALE

The following portion comes from the official website of the Provincial Tourism Office. Hence, it has a glowing account of its mining industry and none about the health hazards of gold panning, environmental degradation and the horrors of child labor.

The municipality of Paracale, Camarines Norte is one of the coastal towns in this province which is located facing the Pacific Ocean a distance of forty kilometers from the capital town of Daet. It has a land area of 19, 333. 87 hectares or 194.8 square kilometers. The three main industries where the livelihood of the Paracaleños is commonly generated are: fishing, agriculture and mining. This lucky town is endowed with abundant and very rich natural resources. Different minerals such as lead, manganese, iron, silica, white clay, marble, white pebbles and gold are waiting for any businessmen and companies who are interested in mining. Among the twenty seven barangays in this municipality, there are twenty two barangays where gold is found in forms of either sand, nuggets or gold ores. Thus, the Paracale is known to be the town of gold in the whole archipelago which is even recorded in the golden pages of the history of the Philippines. Paracale is a town with a strongly resurging mining industry which is of considerable help to the national government in its thrust for economic recovery and stability. This premise makes it quite hard for Paracaleños to understand why the apparent neglect of the national leadership to give the 8 kilometer Batobalani-Paracale national road its due concern and attention.

The town of Paracale which is located in the heart of Camarines Norte, became known only in 1935 due to the untiring efforts of the late American businessman-turned-mining prospector, Jhon J. Reed.

Reed began prospecting for different kinds of minerals, including gold, in the different areas surrounding the town.
Haliging Bato, a sitio of Malaguit, became famous when the place was advertised in the Marsman Mining Journal in Wall Street in New York City, luring different mining capitalist to invest in Paracale.

In a short while the town was blessed with ten mining companies. However, the operations were cut short by World War II. If not for that, Paracale would have been very prosperous because not only lode mines were in operation but also placed mines, which bolstered the come of the town.

After the war, Paracale was jokingly referred to as a ghost town. In his dedicated efforts to rehabilitate the town, Mayor Nicolas S. Herico worked hard. Slowly but steadily, in the town regained its former status.

Majority of the 25, 000 residents of the municipality are devout Catholics. The proliferation of active religious organizations in the town demonstrates the strong religious fervor among the residents.

Projects that improved the church surrounding and some of its facilities were undertaken mostly by these religious and civic groups and residents. These religious groups are Catholic Women’s League, Holy Name Society, Adoracion Nocturna, Apostleship of Prayer, Legion of Mary, Immaculate Conception and the Confraternity of Our Lady of Lourdes.

A stone’s throw from the Catholic Church stands the magnificent concrete municipal building costing P65, 000. 00. It was constructed under Mayor Herico, through the representation in Congress of then Rep. Pedro Venida. (Men's uncle)

Major sources of income of the people are fishing, agriculture, copra making and mining. Paracale is ranked one of the most peaceful towns in the province.

Religious History

Founded: 1666
Feast Day: February 2

Legend and tradition of Paracale, Camarines Norte. Perhaps there is no other town in Camarines Norte that can boast of its past glories so rich in tradition and folklore stories than that of Paracale.

Etymologically, the name of Paracale was derived from the kind of job occupation the natives devoted their time to make a living. In local parlance Para and Cale means a ditch or canal diggers.

Philippine history cites Paracale as the object of Don Juan de Salcedo`s Quest for the precious yellow metal which abounds in the area. The fame of this enchanted town rich in Gold and jewel-ornamented señoritas has attracted this legendary Spanish explorer.

One unique rarity of this golden town by the sea is its three heavenly protectors namely: St. Anthony Abbot, Sto. Niño and Our Lady of Candelaria.

Based on the old records, kept in the Parish Archives, St. Anthony Abbot appeared as the Patron saint of this parish. The first missionaries led by Fray Jose dela Torre implanted in the hearts of the natives a profound veneration towards the saint.

But our forebears and old folks still passed on and on from generation to generation the pathetic story that happened long ago, when many of its inhabitants died of thirst and hunger due to a terrible drought that swept over the region.

Forced by a devastating hunger, grains were recycled to be eaten by the hungry natives. Hundreds were found clinging to stems of rattan sucking in vain the sap and water from the vine.

Amidst this great predicament the desperate natives took the Holy Image of the Sto. Niño in a procession around the town but still no rain. Finally the idea of bathing the image of the child Jesus occurred to them and they brought the Sto. Niño to the nearby ocean and a miracle happened. A thick cloud formation appeared on the horizon and then a torrential rain followed. This phenomenon made the Sto. Niño the object of profound devotion among the Paracaleños.

Another hearth robbing story about Sto. Niño occurred last 1952. It has been told that a little boy was seen by miners inside the tunnel warning them of an impending disaster if they continued excavating towards the local church. The Miners ignored the warning and fifty six miners died and were buried under the river bed. This was the greatest tragedy that ever happened in Paracale.

Another outstanding event that made the town of Paracale famous and which attracted thousand of devotees during its annual town fiesta was the renowned miracle of Our Lady of Candelaria. It has been a tale told that came down to us from generation to generation which own old folks at home used to narrate to us children.

According to tradition, way back in the year 1809, August 29 exactly, 185 years ago, 37 Moro Pancos loaded with Moro pirates dropped anchor on the shores of Paracale. This raid was part of intensive and frequent trades of Moro Pirates which, according to the Philippine History, started in 1580 in the Bicol Region.

These Moro marauders attracted by the fame of Paracale’s abundance of gold came to our shores, terrorizing the natives, burning their houses, plundering their wealth then killing the inhabitants and carrying captive Christians to Morolandia.

At the mere sight of these Moro Pancos the natives were stricken with terror and many of them fled to the mountains leaving their belonging behind. Those truly devoted and pious gathered inside the church to beseech the Lord and the Blessed Virgin for protection and deliverance from the impending disaster.

At this juncture, it is believed that the tenderness and loving Mother left her place from the altar and went to the beach brandishing a shining sword and like a whirlwind she floated over the waves and accosted the Moro marauders with such fury and power that caused havoc and terror among the Moro pirates.

This extra-ordinary feat attributed to Our Lady of Candelaria has remained engraved in the hearts of our forebears. Since time immemorial this beautiful legend come down to us from generation to generation which Paracaleños proudly narrate and recreate to avid listeners.

Inspired by this folkloric event, the people of Paracale, proud of their culture and traditions find expression of their love and devotion to their heavenly Patroness in a celebration of pomp and color in the spirit of warm conviviality and hospitality non parcel.

The abundance of gold everywhere, it is said, is a gift from God dispensed through the Blessed Virgin, Patroness of Paracale. It is considered as a visible sign of predilection to this erstwhile sleepy little town by the sea, kissed by the neighboring blue Pacific Ocean with its undulating waves flirting with the sparking gold and pyrites.


DECEMBER 19, 1571- Arrival of Captain Juan de Salcedo with 60 men composed of soldiers and natives and accompanied by two Augustinian Priests, P. Alfonso de Alvarado, OSA and P. Diego Del Espinal, OSA. This missionary group, after subduing the natives and establishing the mission of Cainta, marched over the mountains of Tayabas to the South “A Pie” (on foot) these missionaries christened the place “Paracali” which means “ditch diggers or canal makers.” Salcedo found the place an ideal place to live in. He mad up his mind to stay for good, so he began building houses in which to quarter his men.

JANUARY 17, 1572- (Feast of St. Anthony Abbot)- After a month of hard work in missionary sacrifices the Augustinian Friars successfully instilled Christian charity among the inhabitants resulting in the emancipation of the “Tingues” from abuses committed against them by the natives. They established a small Christian settlement under the patronage of “San Antonio Abad”, a saint close to the hearts of the Augustinians, having been an inspiration of their founder, St. Augustine. This was the first act of evangelization in the entire history of the Province of Camarines Norte. This missionary work was short lived having been aborted when shortly afterwards, Sarento Juan de Hurtado was sent by the “adelantado” to inform Salcedo of the will of his ailing grandfather, Governor General Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, to return immediately to Manila.

AUGUST 20, 1572- The death of Governor General Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. Governor General Guido de Lavezares took over the administration of the Philippine Islands.

JULY 1573 - Captain Juan de Salcedo following the wish of the Governor General de LAvezares returned to Paracale with a force of 120 men retracing their path of the conquest of the Bicol River upstream reaching as far as Lake Bato, establishing there the Villa Santiago de Libong.

JUNE 24, 1577 - Arrival of the first group of the Franciscan Friars in the Philippines.
1578 - The province de los Camarines comprising the whole Bicol Region and Tayabas area were given to the care of the Franciscans. Naga, Nabua, and Quipayo were created parishes.
1581 - Paracale, Daet and Indan (Vinzons) were established as “Pueblos”.

AUGUST 14, 1595 - Diocese of Nueva Caceres was created suffragan of Manila.
1611- The Parishes of Paracale, Daet, and Indan were established. The first permanent parish priest was appointed in churches dedicated to their patron saints.
Paracale – Fray Hose de la Torre - Nstra. de Candelaria.
Daet – Fray Alonzo de Valdemoro – San Juan Bautista
Indan – Fray Juan de Losar

1632 – The “Visita” of Caugau and Capalonga was included within the jurisdiction of the Parish of Paracale.

1634 – Capalonga was separated from the mission of Paracale.

1666 – Mambulao was founded and its administration was given to the Franciscan Province of San Gregorio Magno. Fray Melchor Merio, OFM was appointed first minister and chaplain of the mines.

1687 – The religious returned to their mission in Paracale.

1696 – The Parish of Paracale was ceded definitely by the Religious to the Secular Clergy.

AUGUST 29, 1809 - The occurrence of the great miracle attributed to the Nstra. Sra. de Candelaria in defending the town from the attack of the Moro pirates.

1868 – The Paracale Church was placed under the tutelage of Sto. Nino Jesus having been great influenced by the increasing popularity of the devotion to the “Santissimo Nombre de Jesus” (Most Holy Name of Jesus) introduced and propagated by the Dominicans, personified through the image of the Child Jesus or the Sto. Niño. This was during the time of Msgr. Francisco Gainza, OP the third Dominican Bishop of Caceres.

NOVEMBER 27, 1880 – P. Patricio Zaño, the first priest from Paracale was ordained by Fray Casimiro Herrera, OSA. It was also during this year that the gothic wooden altar (retablo or reredo) of the Paracale church was constructed as an offering of the family of Don Vicente Zaño, the father of the Priest, himself a master carpenter and craftsman. The Franciscan returned to Paracale. The cemetery was constructed.

DECEMBER 16 – P. Patricio Zaño offered his “Miss de Garcia” in his hometown. It was the first in the Parish.

1881 – Nstra. Sra. de Candelaria was re-erected patronage of Paracale by Fray Casimiro Herrera, OSA., Bishop of Nueva Caceres upon the request of the Parish Priest and the people of Paracale.

1884 – The convent made of stone and wooden materials was constructed under Fr. Manuel Pozo.

1896 – Philippine Revolution for independence from Spain began.

1888–1889 – Repair and reconstruction of the century old church directed by Fr. Jose Cardenoso.

FEBRUARY 4, 1899 – The Filipino – American War began.

SEPTEMBER 22, 1899 – P. Patricio Zaño became the first Filipino Parish Priest of Paracale until July 12, 1913.

1902 – End of the Filipino – American War.
Batobalani began to exist as a “Visita” of Paracale when the people who fled there during the Filipino – American war decided to stay permanently in the place. It was then known as barrio “San Roque”.

1931 – Fr. Dorotheo Salen was ordained to the Priesthood.

1966 – The Passion Play was organized by Fr. Crispino Redoblado during the Holy Week celebration.

1974 – Paracale was declared as an Archdiocesan Pilgrim site by Archbishop Teopisto V. Alberto the Archbishop of Caceres.

SEPTEMBER 1, 1974 – Diocese of Daet formally established.

MAY 31, 1976 – Batobalani was formally related as the Parish of San Roque. The mother parish ceded six barrios to its administration.

FEBRUARY 7, 1981 – Bishop Wilfredo Manlapaz was ordained Bishop. The first Paracale born Priest to become a Bishop.

DECEMBER 16, 1981 – Paracale celebrated its Quadricentennial as a town.

AUGUST 16-20, 1991 – Golden Sacerdotal Jubilee of Msgr. Roman Rayos, HP. and blessing of the Hexes style Portico by Bishop Benjamin Almoneda, D.D. and enthronement of the Miraculous image of Nuestra Señora de Candelaria. (Diocese of Daet).
(The account of Paracale's Religious History came from the Diocese of Daet as gathered by the Provincial Tourism Office).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, now i know the history of the town where i belong.. its so great!

Sor Victorina de la Providencia, Mother Superior of Daet Parochial School

HS Solo Graduation Pictures

DPS Class67 HS Graduates, 40 Years After

This Day in History

Today's Birthday