HomeThe Journal of Historyvol. 49 no. 1-4 (2003)

Ontogeny of Civil Towns in Bohol

Jes B. Tirol



Before the arrival of the Spaniards in 1521. there existed the Dapitan Kingdom or Bo-ol Kingdom in Bohol. Tematean and Portuguese invaders destroyed that kingdom in 1563. That was two years before the arrival of General Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in 1565. The huge number of people who fled. killed or were captured. Indicated that the Boholanos were already capable of achieving a large-scale political organization even before the arrival ofthe Spaniards. 


Times have changed and the present-day system of government is now different from those previous eras. However. since the different towns now existing in Bohol had their beginnings in former times, it is worthwhile to study why. when, and how these towns were created.


Spanish towns in the Philippines have both civil and religious aspects. Since priests who were· only interested in the religious aspect wrote most of the references, the civil aspect of the town was usually neglected. Consequently, there arose the misconception that the establishment of the parish was the same as the creation of the civil aspect of the town. In most instances in Bohol. the creation of the civil aspect did not coincide with the establishment of the religious aspect. In some instances, the corresponding religious aspect of the town was never created.


This paper deals with the creation of the civil aspect of the towns in Bohol. The civil aspect is important because it is the component that gives continuity to the political existence of the towns in Bohol.


This paper traces the history of the creation of the 47 towns and one city in Bohol, including the towns that are no longer existing today.


It also considers the legal bases and the laws existing at the time a town was created, taking into account the requirements needed to establish the civil aspect of the town, and how a particular town was given or obtained its name. 


Finally, the paper will also consider the politics -local, provincial, regional, and national- involved in the creation of a town, including the interplay between the civil and religious authorities.