The importance of being Carcar
a short examination of history
When we try to present a history of Carcar, or a history of anything, at the same time that we give out answers, we should still keep on asking questions.
I’m paraphrasing from frequently copied accounts of the founding of the town in 1599. That it was a settlement called Sialo (no meaning found) or Salog (current or river). However, there has been no acceptable explanation why Salog would be also called Sialo.
I have yet to read, too, of any account of the breadth and width of the culture attained by the natives (also called Sialo). Were they a tribe independent of other tribes? Did they pay tribute to the king of Sugbu? Or to some other king? Were they unique or did they follow the general picture painted of the pre-Spanish people of the Philippines? And what was it that made them unique?
Perhaps in the future, historians and archaeologists not only of Cebu but of other parts of the country would better show us the extent, at the time, of the civilization of the natives, the indios, the Sialos—how they lived, what dwellings they had, and of what materials; their daily fare; how they interacted with each other — and with other tribes – as individuals, as family, politically, commercially; and what they held holy.
When the church at Sialo was razed in the early 1620s, historical accounts say authorities moved the town center from Valladolid away from the coast to a hill some distance from it, supposedly Mowag (or Mulag) but I must register my doubt to that claim for two reasons. One, the meaning given for the placename is that the place was supposed to be where the road forked (bulag), one going on to next town Sibonga, and the other turning to the West side of the island, to Barili. But in the 1600s there was still no road going to Barili, as that involved crossing the mountain range that splits Eastern and Western Cebu. So, there was still no such fork, and no bulag to be had, and name thus must have had another meaning.
The second reason was that church records from the 1800s a place called Mulag, but Mulag (or now Mowag) is known to be another hill from the new town center, in fact separated from the center by the barrios Cogon and Bactos before it. So much so that town center which includes the church, and Cogon and Bactos today belongs to Barangay Poblacion 1, while Mulag (now spelled Mowag) belongs to barangay Guadalupe. Thus, my reservation about the claim that this new town center was Mowag.
Anyway, we take the place name Daanglungsod (Old Town) as evidence there really was an older town, or center, before this one we know today. Meanwhile, the central part of the town was plotted out and called latid. The main street, obviously the one called Sta. Catalina, was called Calle Real (as all main streets in the country and in Spain must have been called) and also as Calle Latid.
To continue with the story, there is no account to tell us that another church edifice had been built anywhere from the 1620s until 1859 after Daanglungsod, although it would be inconceivable that it hadn’t, however humble that may have been, but a church would be, let us say, indispensable. And that information of a transitional church would be a huge addition to Carcar lore.
Anyway, construction of this present* church building of St. Catherine of Alexandria in the parish of Carcar was initiated by Fr. Antonio Manglano, OSA, in 1859, the year following his assumption as parish priest. After Fr. Manglano’s transfer in 1865, work was continued by the succeeding priests until 1874 when Fr. Manuel Fernández y Rubio, OSA, arrived and was able to finally finish the church within two years. Write-ups credit Fr. Fernandez with the much-admired design, orthodox cupolas and coral-stone masonry work of the church.
parish priests during construction period:
Antonio Manglano, OSA – October 16, 1858 to November 16, 1865
Gabriel Gonzales, OSA – November 17, 1865 to July 25, 1871
Mariano Dimás Bamba, OSA – July 26, 1871 to August 31, 1871
Blas Cabada de Castro, OSA – September 1, 1871 to October 14, 1872
Lino Codilla – October 15, 1872 to April 30, 1874
Mariano Dimás Bamba, OSA (2) – May 1, 1874 to November 25, 1874
Manuel Fernández, OSA – November 26, 1874 to November 9, 1898