THE UNTOLD HISTORY OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF SIKATUNA, BOHOL
If you think the Great Boholano Chieftain has any political significance in the naming of our town, you are wrong! History is bereft of evidence that would show any relics or traces of his presence in this little piece of territory now called Municipality of Sikatuna. There’s a misconception in the use of our name Sikatuna, but in reality it’s a pure namesake, nothing more, nothing less.
But why did we use the name SIKATUNA anyway? Well, the truth is that, the name SIKATUNA was only adopted as a matter of Idem Sonans (meaning: sounding the same or identically; names pronounced the same but varied in spelling). The proposed name was actually SAIKATONA (pronounced as: SA IKA TO NA), a visayan phrase which means, ON THE THIRD TIME. SAIKATONA was proposed by our forefathers in order to emphasize three (3) things. First is, the fact that we became a town on the third time that we have to adopt a new name. Second is, the fact that as a town, our municipal territory was re-defined and changed by law for the third time also. Third is, the fact that the newly created town is actually our third mother-town already after having been a part of Baclayon and Albur before.
The story of our political past goes this way. In the very beginning, we were part of Baclayon as Barrio CAMBOJOD. Then later on, when Albur became a town, we were made a part of its new territory, and our name was changed to CORNAGO. It was then after the change of allegiance from Baclayon to Albur that our local political leaders craved for independence. Thus, headed by Clemente Lacea, they sought the advice of Miguel Oppus (“Tan Igue”), who was then a prominent political figure in the province, and who was also perceived by many as the political mentor of Clemente Lacea (“Tan Enting”). According to the political brilliance of Tan Igue, it would require a sympathetic Municipal President to understand their desire to become a new town. So the only way for Cornago to achieve that dream is to first grab the Municipal Presidency of Albur in the 1916 election, so that by the use of moral ascendancy over the municipal council it can secure the enactment of the required ordinance. Acting on that advice, Clemente Lacea ran for Municipal President of Albur in the 1916 elections. And with the full support of the people of Cornago who rallied behind his cause, Clemente Lacea was duly elected into office as the Municipal President of Albur in the year 1916. During his term of office, everything went well in accordance with the sound advise of Tan Igue, and Clemente Lacea was able to steer the municipal council into enacting the ordinance recommending the creation of Cornago into a separate town. But after that successful feat of Clemente Lacea, came the dilemma of what name to give to our new town. Again, the brilliance of Tan Igue jokingly came up with the idea that the new name should have some connection with the number “three” (“3”) which has already manifested so much significance in our political journey. As a new town you will adopt a third name; you will also have a third territory; and finally, your new town will become your third mother-town. So why don’t you call your new town as SAIKATONA, quipped Tan Igue! And that witty remark of Tan Igue gave way to the application of the principle of Idem Sonans. SAIKATONA sounds like SIKATUNA, so at the end of the day, we became SIKATUNA.
I know nothing about numerology, but I think the future of Sikatuna indeed lies in whatever there is in the number THREE (3). I would say so because, in the final stretch of our historical account, three (3) people were actually responsible for the birth of the Municipality of Sikatuna. First is, CLEMENTE LACEA (“Tan Enting”), who brought us to this new territory like what Moses did to his people in the Old Testament. Second is, MIGUEL OPPUS (“Tan Igue”), not only for babying Tan Enting as his political protégée, but for being the Provincial Board Member who authored the provincial ordinance concurring to the creation of the Municipality of Sikatuna. And the third indispensable element of history is the good SENATOR JOSE A. CLARIN --- who was then the District Senator of the 11th Senatorial District comprising the provinces of Bohol, Surigao, Misamis Oriental, and Misamis Occidental --- for his sponsorship of our municipal charter, which is Executive Order No. 88, dated 05 December 1917.
When Tan Enting won the Municipal Presidency of Albur in 1916, it doesn’t mean that Cornago had more voters than Albur. Just like today, Albur has more numbers compared to us at that time. But perhaps, it was the aura and natural charm in Tan Enting that swayed the Albur votes to him. However, his stay at the Albur Presidencia was cut short with the passage of Executive Order No. 88, on December 5, 1917 because he opted to relinquish his seat in consideration of his appointment as Municipal President of the newly created Municipality of Sikatuna, issued by then Governor General Francis Burton Harisson.
So in our history, CLEMENTE LACEA was the FIRST APPOINTED MUNICIPAL PRESIDENT. He served as such during the inclusive period: 1918 - 1919. Hereunder are the mayors who followed him in the subsequent elections with the corresponding period of their incumbency, to wit:
1919 – 1922 AURELIO GASANG
1922 – 1925 PONCIANO TOLEDO
1926 – 1928 PONCIANO TOLEDO
1929 – 1931 PONCIANO TOLEDO
1932 – 1934 FRANCISCO UNGAB
1935 – 1937 EMILIANO BACO
1938 – 1940 PONCIANO TOLEDO
1941 – 1942 LUCIO MAGHUYOP
1943 – 1945 GALICANO JASMIN (Guerilla Govt.)
PONCIANO TOLEDO (Japanese Puppet Govt.)
1946 – 1963 FIDEL ELLORIMO
1964 – 1980 TROADIO PATENIO
1980 – 1986 CAMILO D. PALGAN
1986 – 1998 CONTANCIO Q. RULE
1998 – 2007 TRANQUILINA T. MANIWANG
2007 - present IRENEO CALIMPUSAN
Notably, the Japanese period saw Sikatuna with three (3) mayors. The first was LUCIO MAGHUYOP, who was duly elected in the 1941 election. However, towards the end of 1942, when the Japanese forces were already in Bohol, Lucio Maghuyop was arrested by the Guerillas on suspicion that he was a collaborator. He was detained in a place called Behind The Clouds located in the town of Batuan. In his stead, GALICANO JASMIN being the Vice-mayor then was installed by the guerillas, thereby making the latter as the second mayor. But not long after the installation of Galicano Jasmin, the Japanese forces occupied Sikatuna and established a garrison at the municipal building. And as part of establishing their command in the area, the Japanese also installed their own mayor in the person of PONCIANO TOLEDO who was already a three termer mayor of the town. In other words, Ponciano Toledo became the puppet mayor of the Japanese puppet government.
Despite the presence of Japanese soldiers, Sikatuna was still a haven for evacuees, not just from the neighboring towns, but from the province of Cebu as well. The most famous of them was DON MARIANO JESUS CUENCO who, after the war, became Senator and later, Secretary of Public Works. In sum, the Japanese period in Sikatuna was characterized by order and harmony, thus, peace reigned in this small town, albeit it was war time elsewhere in the country and in the world.
The ten (10) barangays that now comprise the Municipality of Sikatuna were actually taken off from three (3) neighboring old municipalities, namely:
Albur, Loboc, and Balilihan. In the original Municipal Ordinance Converting Barrio Cornago into a municipality, the municipal boundary was defined as the Barrio Cornago plus four (4) northern barrios of Albur, namely: Libjo, Abucay Sur, Abucay Norte, and Can-agong. But thru the able representation of Don Miguel Oppus (Tan Igue) to the office of Senator Jose A. Clarin, the territorial boundary was increased by taking out two (2) barrios from Loboc, namely: Cambuac Sur and Cambuac Norte; and also two barrios from Balilihan, namely: Badiang and Bahay-bahay. And in the final draft, Barrio Cornago was divided into two (2) barrios and renamed as Poblacion Uno and Poblacion Dos. Hence, Sikatuna has now ten (10) barrios/barangays, namely: 1) Poblacion Uno; 2) Poblacion Dos; 3) Bahay-bahay; 4) Badiang; 5) Cambuac Norte; 6) Cambuac Sur; 7) Libjo; 8) Abucay Sur; 9) Abucay Norte; and, 10) Can-agong.
I hope this will be of help to anyone who needs to know about our past. But human as we are, this is not a perfect piece of work, so please call my attention in case there may be some imperfections or omissions in my historical facts. Lastly, I would like to give the credit to where it is due. I learned all these facts from Mr. FORTUNATO O. AHAT, Retired School Principal, Sikatuna Central Elementary School, who just turned 85 years old last June 13, 2007.