Things you still may not know about the Carcar of old While we can find our way blindfolded to every nook and cranny of our town, yet there are many facts and figures about Carcar that ought to get included in any standard town lore. How well should someone who calls him- or herself Carcaranon know these things?
1. Estadística. In 1599, Carcar was the fourth parish established in Cebu, after Bantayan (1580), San Nicolas (1584) and the Cathedral for the city (1598). In the 1875 Manual de Viajeros, per the census in 1873, Carcar had the third biggest poblacion (population) in Cebu – 20,915. The two biggest were Argao (26,385) and San Nicolas (21, 197). The city was only eleventh with 10,650. Bantayan, the first to be established, was ninth in population with 12,089.
2. Origins. Many families who arrived in Carcar — from either Bohol, the Parian, San Nicolas or elsewhere – much, much earlier than the Claveria decree (ca. 1850) had been so well-assimilated to the Carcar mainstream that for some of them it’s no longer even known to them that they had actually originated from those places.
In fact, the Nacua (from San Nicolas) and Torres (from Sibonga) families in a write-up were considered as among the original families of Napo.
3. Location, location: Place names. We already know our ancient places were named after a tree, a plant, a bush, the most abundant fish or shellfish – the characteristic of the place itself. But today, we take for granted these places – Bolinawan, Valladolid, Luanluan, for instances – and when we refer a visitor to these barangays, we immediately think of the present centers – and we presume that these centers today had been the centers since the town started in the early 1600s.
But by their very place names alone, you know you could never get bolinao anywhere near Bolinawan’s center. So, more likely, the Bolinawan center of old must have been nearer the sea and what we instead now call Dunggoan. (By the way, Bolinawan was spelled Bolinauan before owing to the non-existence of the letter “w” in Spanish then.)
And Valladolid. Its other name, Daanglungsod (old town), by the name itself, that must have been, not the present center of barangay Valladolid, but where the old town must have been located, and we know that was what is now the vicinity of Inayagan. But, due to latter-day changes in boundaries, the location of the old town does not belong to barangay Valladolid anymore but to barangay Tuyom, so the Daanglungsod is located inside Tuyom now, although again, Tuyom must have been the coastal area where the urchin would have abounded, and certainly not where Inayagan is now.
While today everybody is agreed the area where the present San Jose chapel at Luanluan belongs to Luanluan, it may not have been that clear-cut before. You see, known old-time residents of Luanluan in their appearance on old parish records described them instead not as residents of Luanluan but of an old-place Latid. Latid may have been the plot that includes present-day Gen. Luna-Sta. Catalina-Burgos and rounding the circumferential Padre Vasquez-San Jose-F. Noel-Gen. Luna. In saying the San Jose area was part of Latid, this means Luanluan was further towards the river. This is only logical, since luan means to ride and by that must mean the bancas that navigate the river. No banca can service San Jose street.
4. Sangat, Balod and Panadtaran appear in early Carcar books as places of Carcar. It was only in 1858 when San Fernando town was established that the three places became annexed to the new town to form part of its territory. Ditto with Mantaoñgon now with Barili.
5. While many residents of Parian District in Cebu City have lately found renewed fervor for St. John the Baptist, the former patron saint of that former town and parish, there is no evidence that Parian natives who arrived in Carcar from the 1820s onward ever carried over from there any outward religious observance for the saint in Carcar. Maybe in the privacy of their individual homes but there seems to be no indications of even that.
6. Old places. Now, where could these places already existing in Carcar pre-1850 have been located: Bacbac, Balintayao, Basac, Bulangan (remember, pre-1850), Cabancaban, Catadman, Jamitanagan, Mapingan, Minaga, Pagaypayan, Paguinpinon? Or if these settlements still exist, by what names are they called now? These things you may still don’t know about the Carcar of old? Neither do I. And while we’re at it, let’s try to find what these names mean, shall we?
7. Neolithic sites in Carcar. In 1976-1978, University of San Carlos Museum Director Mrs. Rosa Tenazas, following up reports that what may be archeological value specimens were being carted away from two hills, one in Ocaña and the other in Napo, facing each other, went to do some digging. And then to follow up Mrs. Tenazas’s conclusions, Dr. John Peterson and the USC-National Museum team revisited the Napo site in 2005, for the purpose of getting samples for carbon dating. Mrs. Tenazas’s estimate of the site’s Neolithic age was confirmed.
Two mesa hills in particular were the closer subjects of these investigations, the shorter one in Ocaña, now popularly called Calvary Hill because a priest landscaped a Stations of the Cross on it. The taller one, some hundreds of meters away, in Tagotong, Napo, has been called by Dr. Peterson in his subsequent papers as Aleonar Site because it is inside Aleonar property.
8. Spaniards in Carcar. It should be a wonder how Spain managed to keep the Philippines in tow, Cebu naturally included, with as few Spanish soldiers available when for those centuries the bulk of her armed forces was engaged in wars in Europe as well as administering South America. Thus, most of the time, and I presume this also obtained for every town throughout the country, there was no Spanish presence in Carcar, save for the parish priest who must have, by force of charisma or charism or commanding presence – or the Cross — run the whole town on a short leash.
Much has been said about a Padre Damaso, and where the union of church and state over here found the church virtually running the country. But it seems that it was the Spanish king instead who controlled the Catholic Church over in Spain and while the priest in the Philippines may have stayed fervent in his faith, the king was on friendlier ties with the Vatican itself, and indeed exercised the power to appoint bishops. (Crow, John A. The Epic of Latin America.)
9. The families in our midst with mestizo Español features – Noel, Villarosa, Montecillo – actually were not racially classified as mestizo Español in the records, but rather, for Noel and Villarosa – as mestizo Sangley, signifying Chinese and Parian ancestry. Montecillo who came from Sogod is classified as indio. But from where the looks? Going back their ancestries, the three were descendants of women and a no conocido father. More likely the padre no conocido was the Spaniard or mestizo Español from whom they inherited the looks, so these families were actually Spanish on the illegitimate side.
10. The town has produced, either by genes or its environment, an enviable number of outstanding Carcar writers, hopefully we shall remember them, too: Vicente Alcover, Epifanio Alfafara, Maria Alcordo-Cabigon (Manding Karya), Vicente Alcoseba, Celestino Alfafara, Brigido Alfar, Vicente Florido, Marcel Navarra, editor Pedro Calomarde, Mons. Cesar J. Alcoseba, Bishop Manuel Yap, Galileo Varga, to name some – the town’s eminent men of letters. Keep them coming!