Place names, 2 (1846-51)
In a study of Carcar place names (Baptisms, Marriages, Burials 1846-51), those that could be found during the period were only native Visayan ones—except for Canal (still extant in Napo), Cancabayo (with a decidedly Spanish element and which may be the sitio now called Mangkabayo) and Garay (a Basque name). This period was already well into the tail-end of the Spanish era, but perplexingly I could not find the Spanish place names Valencia, Perrelos, Guadalupe, Ocaña, Barraca and Poblacion in use yet, only Valladolid.
Well, we now know that the term Poblacion at that time was not a place, nor a name, but simply meant (as it still does in Spanish-speaking countries) as “population”.
But then also, native names like Dapdap, Calidñgan, Canasujan, Bantayan, Anislagan, Aoayan, Catugasan, Junob (as they would have been spelled in the Spanish days) and others were still nowhere to be found, too. However, that should not be taken to mean that those places did not yet exist at the time, maybe they already did, only they may not have been that populated to be classified a settlement since the places I tallied were only those where the respondents in the Church record books were said to be residing.
Like, a muddy area such as a rice paddy is called Lamacan. Just because there was no Lamacan in the old books surely doesn’t mean there was no lamacan in Carcar at all at the time. What did they do for rice? But would there be people residing in a Lamacan? Chances of that are very slim. So, that’s why there is no baptism, marriage or burial record of people residing in a place called Lamacan.
Names that appeared on the books but no longer recognizable in Carcar: Bacbac, Balintayao, Bulañgan (wherever that was in the 1850s) Cabanbanan (could be the Barili barangay Cabancaban today), Catadman, Jamitanagan, Mapingan, Minaga, Mutaboc, Pagaypayan, Paguinpinon.
And I was not well-prepared to come across certain place names as they were written down in the books. It took me a couple months to mull over Mulag and Balogo and decided they were what are now written as Mowag and Baugo. Talk about Carcar and northern Cebu eliding the letter “L”! But puzzlingly, there was Mantaoñgon (now spelled Mantalongon, in Barili). Since they were the people familiar with the town’s place names (as against the Spanish parish priest), it may have been the church clerks who were entirely responsible for these spellings.
Minaga and Jamitanagan were never spelled with a dash (Minag-a, Jamitan-agan) as phonetic correctness would oblige us today. I presume if Can-asujan had already figured in the records, it too would not have merited a dash. By the way, there was also a mention of the place Capilijan. That’s perfectly all right; pili may have been there but there were much more mention of Caipilan that I decided Capilijan was just another wrong spelling.
Location, dislocation. These places were easy to find for our townfolks in c. 1850 for sure. Place names invariably refer to an identifying landmark of the place – terrain, location, plant, tree, etc. However, as time went by, the placement of inhabitants (or new inhabitants) soon dictated where the center was now to be located. The centers moved along with the inhabitants—and as a result, today we can never harvest bolinao even anywhere near the present center of Bolinawan.
The same thing with Daanglungsod. It’s synonymous with Valladolid, but the Valladolid center moved, and we seem to think where Valladolid is now is still also where Daanglungsod was. But, by definition, daanglungsod would be where the old town was originally located and archeological diggings tell us the old center, the daang lungsod, was near what is now known as Inayagan, but is now in Barangay Tuyom, and not present-day Valladolid anymore.
Meanwhile, Balod, Panadtaran and Sangat has since been annexed to San Fernando which was created a parish and municipality in 1858. Mantaoñgon and Cabanbanan (if the present-day Cabancaban) went over to Barili.
Meanings. But more than anything, as a Cebuano, my curiousity has been extremely piqued by what these native place names mean. Some are quite easy – plants, trees – but the rest would challenge Bisaya lexicographers. And they should be challenged!
I hereby challenge Visayan language experts to piece together a dictionary of Cebu place names.