History of Canlaon City
History of Canlaon City

The Spanish Era  

Canlaon was known then as Sitio Mabigo where the lush vegetation of ’bigo, trees abound.  It was predominantly a wilderness area ruled by a native chieftain called Saniko.  The settlement began to grow when migrants from Iloilo and Antique came in 1808 and later followed in 1812 by groups from Cebu and Bohol to Panubigan.

In 1850, the Don Diego de la Vina y de la Rosa a wealthy Half Spanish from Manila, migrated to Negros. Upon his arrival, he wondered what lay behind the majestic Mount Kanlaon Volcano. Together with his only son, Jose de la Vina y de la Cruz, they crossed the mountains on horseback.  They passed by Sitio Mabigo (the present site of the city) and Panubigan before reaching the eastern side of the island at the mouth of Pinokawan River (now Barrio Bagawines).  Sitio Mabigo, the original settlement within the hacienda, later became a progressive village.

Philippine Revolution Era

At the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution in 1896, Don Diego de la Vina joined the revolution and appointed by General Emilio Aguinaldo through Don Juan Araneta of Bago, Negros Occidental to lead the revolutionary forces in Negros Oriental with the rank of Brigadier General.  His son, Jose de la Vina and Kapitan Saniko led the local revolutionary movement.  The former became the Teñente Colonel de la Revolucion making one of his encomienda at Sitio Mabigo as his base of defense or refuge.

American Era

When the Americans came in the early 1900s, one of the native chiefs of Mabigo and Panubigan, Tranquilino Kilanan, fought the Americans and later died in the battle of Panubigan.  During the American occupation, Mabigo became a hideout of the resistance movement; the noted ones were Papa Isio, Sapinay, and Magda-it.

Japanese Occupation    

Towards the end of 1942, Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon and his party made a brief sojourn in Barangay Panubigan on their way to Mindanao for Australia to escape the Japanese impending occupation.  On the same year, Japanese fighter planes bombed the place including Sitio Mabigo because they consider it as guerilla movement stronghold.
A Town is Born

When the Japanese Imperial Army unconditionally surrendered in 1945 and the consequent declaration of Philippines Independence on July 4 the following year, the efforts of Isidro M. Bautista, Sr. came to fulfillment when President Roxas signed Executive  Order No. 19 creating Canlaon a new municipality on October 11, 1946.  The new municipality of Canlaon covers Mabigo, Panubigan, and nine (9) other former Sitios.  The seat of government was Sitio Mabigo.  It was finally inauguration on January 1, 1947, with Isidro M. Bautista as the first Municipal Mayor.
Municipality to City

Aware of the town’s conceivable growth into a city, Hon. Lorenzo G. Teves, Congressman of the First District of Negros Oriental, filed House Bill 4346 calling for the creation of the City of Canlaon. He got full support and the backing of 15 other congressional representatives from Cebu, Panay and Negros Occidental. The bill passed in the Lower House without difficulty but encountered strong resistance from the Senate. The Senate however, later pass the bill that later became known as Republic Act 3445.

Former President Carlos P. Garcia, however, did not sign the approved bill. However, people’s dream finally came into reality by virtue of Proclamation No.193, dated April 20, 1967 signed by President Ferdinand E. Marcos proclaiming the creation of the City of Canlaon. The city’s charter took effect on July 2, 1967.

The first City Mayor was Hon. Isidoro M. Bautista, Sr. who was also the municipal mayor since 1947. He was the city mayor from 1967 to 1970. His son Isidoro V. Bautista, Jr. succeeded him from 1970 and through the Martial law years from 1972 until 1986.

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 History of Canlaon City
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 Legend of Mt. Kanlaon
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