History of Balilihan

Before the beginning of the 19th century, Balilihan was a barrio of the town of Baclayon and an old settlement where the families of Orig, Racho, Maniwang, Lacea and Pongase were the first inhabitants.

Map of Balilihan

Present official name of the town: Balilihan

Popular name of the town, present and past derivation and meanings of these names.

On September 29, 1828, the organization of the pueblo of Balilihan took place and its name has remained unchanged. It is said that the place or site during those days was a rich grazing ground where the harmless native herb “balili” grew in abundance. Balilihan is derived from the word “balili” which means grassyland.

The place is a panorama of verdant hills, rugged mountains and green fields. It is said to have been so named because of the grass “balili” which grew in abundance in the locality. Balilihan means a place where plenty of “balili” grows.

Names of sitios included within the jurisdiction of the town:

The sitios of Ka Bantolo, Ka Do’doy, Kang Taro, Kang Paki, and Kang Ponce got their names from the first settlers of the place. The sitios of Loop, Tiwi, Abaca, Luinab, and Ligating got their names from the names of springs, trees and plants and rocks which had existed in those places.

Ka Habel is a sitio about a kilometer in the western part of the poblacion. In the olden days a chief by the name of Habel was said to have lived there. The place was named after the name of the chief.

Ka Pruto is another sitio a kilometer in the northwestern part of the poblacion. The name Ka Purto was derived from the name of a person who first lived in that place in the early days.

Date of establishment:

Before the beginning of the 19th century, Balilihan which at that time was sparsely populated was a part of the town of Baclayon. When the Dagohoy revolt was suppressed by the Spaniards, the authorities established a garrison in Datag, one of its present barrios, to discourage and stamp out further uprisings on part of the natives. It was on September 29, 1828, when a friar, called by the natives as Padre Tomas, sought the cooperation of the inhabitants, organized, and established a settlement in the sitio of Bay sa Iring about two kilometers from the Spanish garrison. A capitan, by the name of Serafino Pongasi was appointed but his administration was short-lived because he met death in the hands of Manuel Danila with whom he had an altercation.

Original Families:

The original families where those of the Andoy and the Olbes from Baclayon and those of Cabal, Maceren, and Varquez from Loboc.

The Orig, Racho, Maniwang, Lacea and Pongasi were the natives of the place. These were the families that composed the first inhabitants of the town.


The following is a list of capitanes or gobernadorcillos, presidentes municipales or mayors, priests, and justices of the peace of the town since its establishment:

Capitanes or Gobernadorcillos

Serafino Pongasi — 1829

Embing Olbes — 1832

Placido Andoy — 1835

Dangoy Orig — 1838

Gabriel Terec Racho — 1843

Placido Andoy — 1850

Juan Cabrera (presumably Juan Orig) — 1856

Cirilo Lungay — 1862

Eustaquio Vijar — 1868

Angel Terec Racho — 1873

Domingo Calope — 1877

Cecilio D. Calope — 1886

Bartolome “Tome” Racho — 1887

Bernabe Cabal — 1890

Antonio Casanova Racho — 1896

Presidentes Municipales

Antonio Casanova Racho — 1902

Manuel Chiu Diamante — 1903

Capitan Manuel Chiu Diamante


Segundo Sitoy Racho (elected November 5th, 1907) — declines to qualify and take office as municipal president on the ground of ineligibility.

Telesforo Orig (Telesforo Cabrera) — 1907

Capitan Telesforo Orig Street — Poblacion, Balilihan

Segundo Sitoy Racho — 1910

Capitan Segundo Sitoy Racho & Januaria Dela Sierra Diamante

Telesforo Orig — 1914 (died: Oct. 9, 1914)

Ruperto Casanova Racho (Vice) — 1915

Back Row (L-R): Capitan Segundo Sitoy Racho, Lucila Calope Diamante, Mayor Patricio Baquero Ibarra; Front Row (L-R): Januaria Dela Sierra Diamante, Capitan Ruperto Casanova Racho, Ramona Dela Sierra Diamante

Segundo Sitoy Racho — 1917

Blas Jimenez Asunto — 1918

Eduardo Racho — 1924

Blas Jimenez Asunto — 1930

Patricio Baquero Ibarra — 1931

Municipal Officials of Balilihan, Bohol — March 15, 1939

Simplicio Daray Calope — 1941

Vicente Chatto — 1942

Simplicio Daray Calope — 1945


Simplicio Racho Maniwang, (Vice) Lucas Isiang — (appointed) June 22, 1946

Mayor Simplicio Racho Maniwang

Family of Vice Mayor Lucas Isiang & Eulogia Bersamen

Balbino Chatto — 1949

Lino Ibarra Chatto — 1952

Family of Bohol Governor Lino Ibarra Chatto & Teodula Diamante Racho

Getulio Daray Calope, (Vice) Agustin Silagan Racho Sr. — 1955

Mayor Getulio Daray Calope & Vice Mayor Agustin Silagan Racho Sr.


Parish Priest

When the followers of Dagohoy were finally disbanded in August 31, 1829, they were pardoned and allowed to live in peace. On this date, the Spanish conqueror, Captain Manuel Sanz, reported that Balilihan has now a total population of 2,100 people under the temporary administration of Father Manuel Plaza de San Benito.

Friar Manuel Plaza de San Benito

Friar Tomas (1829 — 1837)

Friar Santiago (1838 — 1855)

Friar Demetrio (1856 — 1876)

Friar Lucas Martinez del Romero (June 22, 1876)

Spanish Priest assigned in Balilihan, Cortes & Maribojoc, Bohol (photo: Friar Lucas Martinez del Romero)

Friar Carmona (1877 — 1885)

Friar Benito Grayoa (1886 — 1895)

Friar Eusebio Ortoeste (1896 — 1901)

Rev. Juan Villamor (1902 — 1909)

Rev. Baudillo Cavada (1910 — 1913)

Rev. Gregorio Lofranco (1914 — 1916)

Rev. Pedro Torrefranca (1917)

Rev. Eliseo Josol y Villamayor “Padre Esao” (1918 — 1930)

Rev. Hermenegildo Hangad (1931 — 1933)

Rev. Agapito Apdohan (1934 — 1936)

Rev. Aproniano Ochuga Galicia (1937 — 1948)

Rev. Aproniano Ochuga Galicia (Padre Apro) from Jagna, Bohol

Rev. Gorgonio Ceballos Pueblos (1949 — 1952 +)

The Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church stands in the heart of Balilihan Town.

  • The town and parish of Balilihan were from Baclayon in 1829, to make room for Dagohoy’s followers after the revolt, which lasted eight decades, were put to an end by a massive assault by Spanish troops from Cebu. The Recollects administered the parish until 1898. Although Redondo (1886, 177) reports the presence of a tabique church, the present church was probably completed in the early 20th century. The church mentioned by Redondo and renovated in 1889 was razed to the ground by American troops.

The Balilihan church interior with ceiling paintings by Ray Francia.
Heritage Site: The church of poured concrete has a nave divided into three aisles, a portico in front of the façade and a bell tower in front of the portico. The cruciform church dedicated to Nuestra Señora del Carmen has a squat octagonal cupola. The interior is embellished with paintings by Ray Francia, and has altars that combine Corinthian columns, neogothic spires and crockets, Baroque volutes and Art Deco open work. A veritable summary of 200 years of style.

The Balilihan church interior with ceiling paintings by Ray Francia.

The Balilihan church interior with ceiling paintings by Ray Francia.


Justice of the peace

Ambrosio Asuncion (1829 — 1861)

Rosendo Aleman Racho (1862 — 1885)

Francisco Racho (1886 — 1914)

Gabriel Saga (1915 — 1923)

Zacarias Concon (1924 — 1930)

Tiburcio Bongcaras (1931 — 1940)

Segundo Sitoy Racho (1941 — 1945)

Leandro E. Barnido (appointed February 5, 1946 — 1948)

Tiburcio Bongcaras (1949 +)


Old Balilihan Presidencia

Between Datag and the poblacion, a sitio called “Bay sa Iring” was said to be a populated sitio during the early organization of the town of Balilihan, being made the seat of the poblacion. But due to the scarcity of water in that place, the town site was moved to the present site where water was abundant. The springs of Bulingit, Tan Pero, Boho’, Ka Do’doy, Ka Boro, and Abaca provide good source of water to the inhabitants. Today the sitio of “Bay sa Iring” is depopulate.

The burning of the church, convent, tribunal, school buildings for boys and girls, and private houses of the town on November 12, 1901 by the Americans, left only the belfry which still stands on a hill as the concrete proof of the efforts of the people in the establishment of the town. This tower is made of adobe stone and tiles. It was erected in the year 1835 under the able management of Friar Tomas and Capitan Placido Andoy. It was inaugurated in 1846 when Capitan Gabriel Racho was the gobernadorcillo.

Spanish Belfry in Poblacion, Balilihan served as the watch tower during Spanish regime.
The unusual location of the tower in Balilihan, an interior town, may suggest that apart from monitoring the Abatan River it also served to maintain vigilance over pockets of malcontents in the area (Balilihan had the second largest number of settlers from Dagohoy’s camps in 1829.)

Important facts, incidents or events that took place:

During the Spanish Occupation:

The people of Balilihan were frustrate after the destructive typhoon in 1863 when almost all houses, public buildings including the convent and church were blown down.

In 1888, during the incumbency of Capitan Bartolome Racho, Friar Benito Grayoa ordered the people to transfer the town site to Cabad, a barrio which is four kilometers west of the poblacion. The Padre’s plan met vigorous opposition from the people and through the able leadership of Bartolome Racho, a protest was presented to the Spanish Military Governor, Linares. Capitan Tome’s action angered the priest. One day in April, when the governor made his official visit to the town, the priest accused Tan Tome of being reluctant to do the work for the new town site. He was punished by whipping and ordered to be dragged by the padre’s horse and put in prison. Not long after, he died in jail.

But finally, the voice of the people of Balilihan came out triumphantly because the governor, finding out that the people’s stand was right, retained the present site of the town. However, the people feared reprisals from the clergy. Some of them migrated to Surigao, Leyte, and Misamis. Not long afterwards, Friar Benito Grayoa was transferred to Siquijor.

During the American Occupation:

On November 12, 1901 an American force from Antequera was known to be coming to Balilihan. All officials of the town, with a brass band, were prepared to greet them. When the American force arrived, all the town officials were gathered and guarded in the municipio. The town was burned because the foreign troopers learned that the town played a great role in supporting the insurgents. Officials like Capitan Antonio Racho, Secretary Manuel Diamante and Councilors Esteban Ibarra, Telesforo Orig, Protasio Calope, Pastor Cabrera (also known as Pastor Orig), Nicolas Bersamen, Ruperto Racho, Antonio Lacea, Proceso Racho, Dionisio Madanguit, and all members of the band were investigated within closed doors. The pleading to save the town from being burned made by Mr. Segundo S. Racho, who acted as the group’s spokesman and interpreter was of no avail. These officials were ordered to move toward Sevilla while the civilians ran for safety to the outskirts of the town.

Burning of native huts.

In the year 1904, during the incumbency of the provincial governor Aniceto Clarin, Balilihan almost suffered a great set back. The governor and members of the provincial board called the town people to a mass meeting in the town church with the purpose of informing them that Balilihan was to be annexed to the adjacent municipality of Antequera for reasons of economy and facility of administration. Upon knowing the order, thru the leadership of Segundo S. Racho, the incumbent president at that time, the municipal council and the “Principales” of the town, presented a vigorous and energetic protest to the said body. The people refused to sign the document of annexation and instead, promised to the said body to maintain the township of Balilihan even in the absence of provincial aid. The members of the provincial board were convinced and immediately revoked the order and instead ordered the annexation of the adjacent municipality of Catigbian to the town of Balilihan. Balilihan remained an independent municipality putting up high at all times, in prosperity and misfortunes, the unity and cooperation of the people.

During and after World War II:

During the Japanese occupation, Balilihan experienced again another event which concerned the people directly. Its people contributed highly to the morale and successes of the guerrilla movement due to their wholehearted cooperation. They were foremost in the feeding of our guerrillas in the front lines of the enemy, in the general headquarters of the guerrilla forces which was in Maitum, and in the concentration camp in the barrio of Hanopol.

During the World War II, only one private house was destroyed by the Japanese. The salvaged materials were used for the repair of the Magsija Bridge by the Japanese.

At the termination of World War II, people who evacuated to the different places returned to their respective homes. The government functioned. Peace and order was at once maintained by the police force and the normal livelihood of the people began to revive.

Everyone worked hard to rehabilitate and repair his home. Schools were opened and tax collection was begun so as to enable the government to repair and rehabilitate destroyed public buildings and to have other offices function.

Balilihan however, suffered a great loss of territory and income when the big barrio of Catigbian, now San Jacinto, gained back its new incorporation, the revival of the said municipality. In spite of the strong representation against the move made by the then town Mayor Balbino Chatto and Gerardo Racho who personally went to Malacañan to see President Quirino, the town charter of revival was approved in 1948.


History and Cultural Life of the Town and the Barrios of Balilihan

Published: 1953

National Library of the Philippines


Balilihan Hymn

Balilihan sa Kahangturan

Kabalilhan diha sa imong ngalan,

Duyog ang kusog sa yanong buhilaman,

Kapatagan, kabukiran nga malunhaw,

Panalangin ni Bathala wa n’ya ihikaw;

Dinagayday sa imong kasugiran,

Diwa ni Dagohoy hunis kaliwatan,

Ngalan mo nakulit na sa mga bungtod,

Diha sa sabakan mo garbo ug bantayog;

Balilihan, Balilihan

Among lungsod, among yutawhan,

Gabayan ka sa mga tinguha,

Ikaw maoy mutya, among himaya,

Balilihan, Balilihan

Among lungsod, among yutawhan,

Gugma’g kadasig ikaw halaran,

Balilihan sa kahangturan

Balilihan, Balilihan

Among lungsod, among yutawhan,

Gabayan ka sa mga tinguha,

Ikaw maoy mutya, among himaya,

Balilihan, Balilihan

Among lungsod, among yutawhan,

Gugma’g kadasig ikaw halaran,

Balilihan sa kahangturan.