The History of Naga

Naga Church


The History of Naga.


Naga (Cebu), a progressive town located twenty one kilometers at the southeastern part of Cebu Province. It is only a 35 minute ride from Cebu City. Nestled at the foot of mountains and seashore, it is composed of 28 Barangays ten of which are located in the coastal areas including the five districts of Poblacion and the rest are in the mountain. 


Before the Spaniards came, Naga was already populous with settlers coming from as far as Bohol who were attracted by its rich fishing grounds. Another attraction was the tanmarks used for coloring clothes, fishing nets and even boats. The place where these tanbarks are abound was fittingly called Tina-an (a place for dyeing). Today, Barangay Tina-an still exists. 


For easy management, the Spaniards formed the numerous settlers into one organizational unit headed by a cabeza de barangay. Having been organized , the church was next to be constructed for the needs of its parishioners. The parish and the town were created in 1829. It is now 171 years old since it become a regular Municipality in 1843. Fr. Santos Maranon designed the 17th century church, made of coral stone and hard wood which was built by Fr. Simeon Aguirre, the first Spanish priest with the parishioners providing for the free labor. 


Fr. Fernando Magar on the other hand, initiated the work on the cemetery and convent. The latter being completed by Fr. Gregorio Ros and Fr. Roman Gonzales. The municipal tribunal was erected by Fr. Jose Carbonnel and Fr. Simeon Aguirre. During the Spanish regime, the Spanish galleons used to anchor in the shore of Naga to haul coal from the mines of Dona Margarita Roxas in Barangay Alpaco and surrounding places. 


The settlements of Tina-an and Tuyan rivaled for the site of the church. To show impartiality, the Spanish priest and authorities agreed to construct the church on a place between the two contending villages. The fortunate area is now the Poblacion of Naga. The name Naga comes from the trees abundant in the place before, the Narra, our national tree. It is called Naga in cebuano. 


The first cement factory was established and installed in Naga whose product was the first cement used in the construction of Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, U.S.A. Glicerio Canonigo was the first head of the Civil Government of Naga with the title of gobernadorcillo. In the revolution of 1896,


Glicerio Canonigo turned rebel leading his constituents against the Spaniards because they were forced to pay P 200.00 each to be used to quench the revolution of their fellow Filipinos. Marcelo dela Cerna was his captain of the guards. After the revolution, when the civil government was re-established by the American authorities, Juan Mercado was its first president. Victor Bartido was the first municipal president during the American regime. 


The first Spanish priest of Naga since it has become a parish was Rev. Fr. Simeon Aguirre and the last one was Rev. Fr. Catalino Lofranco who served until 1898. Rev. Fr. Anastacio del Corro was the first Filipino priest to serve the parish of Naga. 


During the Spanish-American War, the 73rd Infantry Battalion of the US Army made its camp in Naga at the old Corro residence to recruit Cebuanos to join the Philippine Scouts. Many Naganians joined the recruitment. In the World War II, the brave and gallant Naganians fought side-by-side with Americans in the battlefields of Bataan and Corregidor. Hundreds of them died in the battlefields and during the death march to Capaz. Nowadays, Naga ranked second to Macabebe, Pampanga in the number of pensionados of the American Government. 


At the time of Philippine Commonwealth, Godofredo Mendoza was the first municipal president. When the World War II broke out, Emiliano Sayson became its president. When the Japanese reigned Cebu, Antonio V. Repollo succeeded Sayson, followed by Jose B. Quirante. When the Americans liberated Cebu, Emiliano Sayson served as Mayor until December, 1946. On January 1, 1947, Atty. Reynaldo M. Mendiola was appointed by then, Pres. Manuel Roxas as the town Mayor. It was during his incumbency that he created the Naga Provincial High School now renamed as Naga National High School. 


He was succeeded by his younger brother Atty. Vicente M. Mendiola. When he ran and elected as Cebu Provincial Board Member. His younger brother served until 1963 only, when he was defeated by Domingo S. Largo in 1964 to 1967. Again, Vicente Mendiola was elected Mayor in 1967 and served until 1986. Paulino S. Ong was appointed OIC-Mayor in 1986 and have served as elected mayor for three (3) consecutive terms until 1998.Hon. Ferdinand Mendiola Chiong became the mayor in May 1996 elections and served his third and last term until he died on April 03, 2006. His younger brother, Vice Mayor Val assumed the unexpired term of the former mayor and now is the present mayor of the Municipality of Naga, Cebu. The Hon. Valdemar M. Chiong was re-elected in the may election of 2007. 


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