Heart and Center of the Philippines


Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Brief History of the Town of Torrijos

History tells us that the town of “Torrijos” was a vast plain noted for her rich natural beauties and abundant resources.  The majestic Mt. Malindig and its green forest, the rivers that flows from its summit to the vast plain of Malibago and the lowlands of Tigwi, the mineral ores deep under Torrijos’ earth, and the sea which teem with fish and other marine products, may be considered prime factors that attracted people of other places to settle in this community.

On or about the year 1877-1880, some prominent persons of Sta. Cruz, owners of big parcels of land in the southern part of the town willfully and solicitously determined to build a town to facilitate their religious duties to God and their civic obligations to the state, started talking with the people and their interest a town.

When they got the approval of the majority of the residents through the initiative of Rev. Fr. Baltazar Leaño of Sta. Cruz, they made representations and request with the Governor of the province of Mindoro, to which the island of Marinduque was affiliated.  The request was granted a temporary decree was issued.  The “Gobernadorcillo” of Sta. Cruz was authorized together with some prominent people of Sta. Cruz to select the place where to erect the town.  There were two proposed locations, in Tigwi and Matuyatuya.  With the approval of Fr. Baltazar Leaño and the majority of the people, Matuyatuya was selected for reason of its convenience as to its distance from Sta. Cruz.

Not long after the completion of the church building, the “Tribunal” and the “Scola Pint”, terrible lightning and thunder occurred and the church was burned and destroyed.  Because of this incident and phenomenon, they considered this as a bad omen sent by God to this town.  This then, made people think of transferring to another place.

Again through the initiative of Rev. Fr. Leaño, being the Curate, yielded with the plan of transferring the site to Tigwi.  For a certain period of time people thought that God approved and they were delighted and live a peaceful life.  Nevertheless, pestilence swift the town and newly affect the whole populace.  They fled to live in different places afraid of the incident.

These two incidents were then related to the “Governador” and through the effort of Fr. Baltazar Leaño, the “Gobernadorcillo” called and gathered all the people scattered for fear, telling them that the sire of the new town is again transferred to in between the two unlucky places.  They selected a wide fertile plain, presently called Marlangga.  But because of its low area and the frequent floods visiting the area each year, the government approached Don Gavino Rivamonte and offered him a parcel of land in Sibuyao in exchange to the site that is now the Poblacion, the seat of the Torrijos Municipal Government.

The “proprietarios” of the town decided to have a permanent “Cura Parroco” so they made a representation with the Archbishop of Manila, Monsignor Nozaleda.  They guaranteed to support a permanent priest.  They also gave “Mitra” of several hectares of land.  It was Rev. Fr. Baltazar Leaño who was assigned as the first “Cura Parroco” of the town of Torrijos.  And through his works, the Archbishop Nozaleda, as “Governor-General” issued a decree in the year 1882 the necessary support and materials for the new Parish Priest.

Historical records found extract in National Museum and Library of Manila:

1st the “Fundacion Civil” (the civil foundation of the creation of the town of Torrijos) was through Real Orden Num 469 de 25 de Mayo 1880 approvando la creation del pueblo de Torrijos en la isla de Marinduque, de la provincial de Mindoro.  The approval was through Real Order No. 469, on May 25, 1880 approving the creation of the town of Torrijos in the island of Marinduque, province of Mindoro.

2nd the “Fundacion Ecclesiastica” – the Ecclesiastical Foundation of Torrijos into a separate parish from its mother town Santa Cruz de Napo, was approved by virtue of Royal Decree No. 304 issued on March 29, 1884.

The origin of the name of Torrijos has three versions:

  1. The early inhabitants of the place had many cattle ranches.  They suggested therefore that the town be called “Torrillos”.  They later changed it to Torrijos;
  2. Torre y Hijos had been a prominent family when the name for the town was being resolved by the people.  Their popularity in the area resulted in giving the name of Torre y Hijos to the place.  The people found it difficult in uttering the name, so they shortened it to Torrijos.
  3. Governor General Jose Ma. Torrijos from Calapan was one of the principal heroes in the war of independence against Spain who came to visit Torrijos.  At that time people had been choosing a name for the town.  By the kindness and diplomacy of the general, the people finally decided to name the town after him.