|MUNICIPALITY OF IGBARAS||
As early as 1615, Igbaras was already a visita of the Agustinian missionaries, Rev. Fr. Juan de Medina somewhere in the vicinity of Binanua-an, which later became the first town site, founded the first Iglesita. Because floods inundated the site, it was moved to Utas, a high rise outside the Kiput Area. The new town site was a flourishing settlement even before the coming of the Spaniards As evidenced by uncovered antique wares so abundant with impressions of Ming and Sung Dynasties in 960 AD. The site unproductive by then, thus it was again transferred to Cabubugan however, the area also proved to be flooding hazard.
In 1752, Fr. Juan Aguado founded the town site, Igbaras, named after the word "baras" which is very abundant in the locality. Don Diego Tamooc was formally selected to head the pueblo in 1761.
During the American Regime, lawlessness and banditry were rampant. In 1900, Don Joveniano Ealdama built a Talutog or bamboo and wooden fortress around the poblacion. "Montor" the famous bandit penetrated the talutog and killed Gobernadorcillo Don Mariano Benedicto at the same time looting the poblacion. It was also during this period that the Spanish-American War flared up. "Directorcillo" Julian Bucoy, Sr.joined the revolutionary against the Spaniards and later against the American as Primer Teniente de Esrado Mayor under General Martin Delgado with headquarters in Santa Barbara, Iloilo.
On 1902, Igbaras was fused to Guimbal as the latter's arrabal until then acting Governor General Charles E. Yeater issued an Executive Order no. 64 dated December 23, 1918 mandating the separation of Igbaras from Guimbal in January 1, 1919. Don Flor Evidente was elected first municipal president.
Igbaras has the distinction of having the first congressman elected to Congress in 1925-1928 in the person of Don Eugenio Ealdama, and the delegated to the 1935 Constitutional Convention Don Mariano Ezpeleta who later served as Consul-General and ambassadors to several countries.
During World War II, the poblacion was burned to ashes by the resistance against the Japanese Imperial Army Ramon Esporas was appointed municipal head by the Civil government under General Tomas Confesor, Lt. Pedro B. Saavedra organized the guerilla forces under General Macario Peralta. Luis Ezpeleta with the consent of USAFFE Guerilla movement accepted the position of puppet mayor to protect the populace.
LOCATION AND ACCESSIBILITY
The Municipality of Igbaras is located in the southwestern part of the Province of Iloilo. It is about 39.9 kilometers from the City of Iloilo turning right at Km. 30 mark at Santa Rosa, Guimbal along the national highway going to the Province of Antique.
It is bounded on the North by the Municipality of San Remegio, Province of Antique and the Municipality of Tubungan, Province of Iloilo; on the South by the Municipalities of Guimbal and Miag-ao, Province of Iloilo, on the West by the Municipality of Sibalom, Province of Antique and the Municipality of Miag-ao and on the East by the Municipality of Tubungan.
Public Utility Jeepney (PUJ) is the basic means of transportation used by the Igbarasnons, however, there are also air-conditioned mini buses (L-300)plying between Iloilo City and the poblacion at a very minimum fare. Igbaras Jeepney Station in the city is located in Fuentes and de Leon Streets (Supermarket Area) Iloilo City whereas, the jeepney station in the poblacion is located adjacent to the Municipal Plaza. Regular fare for jeepneys from Poblacion to Iloilo City is Php m17.00 while Php 25.00 in air-conditioned buses. Other means of transportation are tricycles, motorbikes and trisikads.There also recorded private cars and jeepneys in the municipality.
Tricycle is the most commonly used vehicle by the people in the lowland areas within four (4) kilometers radius from the poblacion. Because of the rugged terrain, distant barangays used PUJs as their means of transportation in going to the poblacion.
Today, Igbaras is a fifth class municipality with forty six barangays and a population of more than 27, 000.
Igbaras has a total land area of 15,245 hectares. As classified by the of lands, 8,774.096 hectares are alienable and disposal lands distributed to forty six (46) barangays and 6,470.904 hectares are timberland. The largest of these barangays is Barangay buga with an area of 595.9300 hectares, while the smallest is Barangay Bugnay with an area of 58.0700 hectares excluding the barangays in the poblacion. Six barangays are located in the poblacion with an average of 203.7037 hectares.
Igbaras as an agricultural land for agricultural utilization comprises 35.07 percent of the land area. There is a proposed 400 hectares built-up area purposely for residential (65.00%), commercial (10.00%) institutional (8.00%), industrial (9.00%) and the remaining are for open spaces or reserved for future planning activities.
The unrythmic mountain ranges, hills, lowlands, uplands and hills characterize the land feature of the Municipality. Igbaras 1,200 feet above sea level from its maximum elevation at Mount Napulak tapering to 40 feet above sea level, its maximum elevation at the poblacion.
Sand and Gravel is abundant in the municipality and are best used as concrete aggregates. White stones are also abundant from pebbles too as big as basketball balls. In the northern portion of the municipality, there is a great deposit of limes. There are still minerals present in the area but needs to be identified by the experts.
Flora and Fauna
Wildlife in the mountain areas has been long endangered as a result of massive kaingin and encroachment of forest for agricultural activities. There are floral and fauna species that may if not properly managed.
The Passi Cave is also considered as bat cave, which is abundant for its different species of bats. There are also beautiful wild orchids of different species in the mountain of Barangays Igcabugao and Passi. Wild boars, deer's, monkeys and other species of birds are seldom seen in the forest of Igcabugao.
The people consider the wild boars, deer, bleeding heart pigeon and monkey-eating eagle, which can be found in the mountains of Barangay Igcabugao, endangered species in the municipality because of massive forest encroachment.
The excessive use of commercial fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides in the upland areas resulted to the poisoning of fresh water species especially the fresh water eels and lobster now in critical condition.
The challenge now is for DENR to strictly and effectively implements necessary laws that will prohibit the loss of these endangered species with the collaboration of the Local Government Unit and other concerned citizens.
Alimodian Soil Undifferentiated - 14.17%
Alimodian Clay Loam Type - 85.23%
Population and Population Density
The latest NSO Census of Population and Housing (1990) showed that Igbaras population was 25,274. The average annual population growth rate of the municipality between 1980-1990 was 0.67%. Out of 46 barangays in the municipality, Barangay Bugnay is the least populated with only 1 person per hectare.
The 1994 population in the municipality based on the SocioEconomic profile (SEP) survey is 27,233 with 4,866 households.
The Municipality of Igbaras is predominantly an agricultural community. Of the total 15,245 hectares total land area, 9,000 hectares are devoted to agriculture, half of the area is utilized for crop production. The main agricultural product is rice. Other agricultural products are corn, garlic, peanuts and legumes. Livestock and poultry raising are one of the major livelihood activities in the rural areas. Livestock and poultry include chicken, cattle's, swine and goat are raised for both consumption and for income purposes.
There are no big industries present in the municipality; however, some of the people are engaged in small-scale business. There are bamboo furniture making and loom weaving in Barangay Santa Barbara. Barquillos making is available in the poblacion. Other processed products available are tocino (meat product, banana chips, peanut candies and pastries.
Loom Weaving - one of the major livelihood activities of the people of the Barangay Santa Barbara, five kilometers west of the poblacion.
Babaylan - ritual performed by old folks in the rural areas toward off bad spirit especially when one of the members of the family get sick. This is also performed prior to the start of farming activity to increase production.
Mount Napulak - the highest mountain in Igbaras with the elevation of 1,200 feet above sea level. This is the only mountain in the country shaped like a breast of a lady with a massive stone head atop. There you can view the City of Iloilo glitters an aluminum sheet. Everybody will enjoy trekking going to the top of the mountain via a very steep narrow trail from Barangay Bagay for an average of five hours. Transportation from Poblacion to Barangay is available once a day during dry season.
Nadsadjan falls - the 100 feet high waterfalls falling in different pools of different sizes. Its cool and fresh Prussians blue waters attracts foreign and local tourists every year. From Barangay Passi, visitors may experience adventures trekking along the Igbolo Creek to reach the place. The one and a half-kilometer walk include rock hopping and climbing. Transportation from Poblacion to Barangay Passi is available twice daily.
Igcabugao Cave - the three-hour walk from Barangay Passi, this cave is located in Barangay Igcabugao, fourteen kilometers from the poblacion. To reach the cave, you will experience mountain climbing and also rock hopping. Along your way to the cave, you can have a little relaxation in the cool and clear water of Igbolo Creek. Inside the cave, you will find the big chamber as big as the church with the formation of stalactites and stalagmites. Going there needs an advice of the barangay folks. Tour guide is available anytime upon confirmation with local officials.
Passi Cave - otherwise known as bat cave of Igbaras. Different sizes of bats are present in the cave. The cave has a great deposit of guano, a first class organic fertilizer. It is located more or less one kilometer from Barangay Passi proper trailing along Tangyan River.
Guiritsan Falls - from Barangay Igcabugao Proper, you have to climb mountains for almost two hours. Upon reaching the place, you feel the aura, so romantic and so exotic. Going to the place needs a couple of days.
Songsongon - the gateway and the only way to Kipot Area in Barangay Igtalongon, five kilometers from the Poblacion. The coolness of the place brings comfort to bakasyonista. This is the place where two mountains met, the Tiglabat and Tuminting Mountains the former is proposed as bird sanctuary of the municipality.
Mount Bahe-bahe - located in western part of Igbaras in Barangay Buenavista, seven kilometers from the poblacion. This mountain can be viewed in the poblacion and you will appreciate its perfect conical shape. Walking for an hour from Barangay Talayatay is good exercise to the adventurer. If you love nature, you will love the place.
Igbaras Mountain Ranges - the beautiful mountain ranges serve as a background of the municipality extending from as far as Miag-ao to the Municipality of Tubungan. The scenery is so lovely to view with Tarugan Falls so visible during rainy season pasted on the blue green landscape. Its good to view the mountain range in the fields of Sitio Cabubugan, Barangay Signe, and a kilometer away from the poblacion.
Santacruzan Festival - festival celebrated by Barangay No. 5 Poblacion every 2nd day of May each year. This is the dramatization depicting the finding of the Holy Cross in the mountain of by Reyna Elena based on the verses written by the late Lolo Jose Elmido, a native of the barangay. Beautiful women and handsome men are recruited to portray the different role as specified.
Fiestas - the Igbarasnons are predominantly Catholic comprising almost 99.00% of the population. Every barangay is celebrating it religious fiesta in honor of the Patron Saint. Fiesta is another way of family reunion together with other close friends and relatives. The Igbaras Municipal Fiesta is celebrated every 22nd of May in honor of Sta. Rita of Cascia while the Igbaras Parish Fiesta is celebrated every 24th day of June in honor of its patron Saint St. John the Baptist.
Igbaras Parish Belfry - the on going construction of the restoration of belfry is made up of yellow adobe, commonly known as tabriya. This restoration will also house the Adoration Chapel of the devotees.This is located within the vicinity of the Igabaras Parish Church.
Igbaras, being a very depressed municipality has very minimal tourism facilities. At present, there has neither pension houses nor inns available in the area. However, home offering is being provided to local and foreign tourist depending on the arrangement with the local/barangay officials and other concerned individuals.
The Nadsadjan Mountain Resort now in its initial operations had provided temporary cottages for the visitors at very minimal rates. There are three cottages that cater to the visitors however food accommodations shall be arranged with the management.
Existing Tourism Related Projects
Development of Nadsadjan Mountain Resort - additional cottages are constructed to cater to growing demand of foreign and local tourists and the improvement of water supply system.
Completion of Parish Belfry and Adoration Chapel
Proposed Tourism Development Project
Mariam Hill - six kilometer from the Poblacion located in Barangay Igtalongon. The Catholic missionaries designed for retreat activities proposed the 9.0-hectare land. Devotees will find the place so solemn and sacred.
Igcabugao Mountain Resort - the proposed project is located in Barangay Igcabugao, 14 kilometers from the poblacion, this will feature mountain climbing trekking, hiking and swimming.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND UTILITIES
Roads and Bridges
One of major concerns of the local government executive is the construction of farm to market roads and maintenance of the same and bridge. There are fourteen (14) existing bridges such as the temporary Cayap Bailey Bridge connecting the poblacion and 10 barangays, two bailey bridges in Barangays Riro-an and Signe, the capacity of which is five tons, the Multi-million RCDG Bridge in Barangay Alameda constructed under JICA Support, Jovellar and Utas RCDG Bridges and the Overflow Bridge in Ligtos-Songsongon Area. There are box culverts and two tabriya made culverts located in the poblacion.
Power and Communication
Igbaras is under the service coverage of ILECO I. Presently, out of the 46 barangays, 25% remained unenergized. As to communication facilities, the community has one postal office and a Telecom Office. There are also private telephone systems that serve Igbaras, such as Mobiline and Smart cellular phones. These systems provided communication to both local and international links. Radio communication system is also available to link up all barangays. There are also number of private radio handsets either for private or business.
Igbaras as has one main health center and located in the Poblacion and eight Barangay health stations strategically located in the different barangays of the municipality.
There are two medical clinics privately owned by the Igbarasnon Doctors. The nearest hospital in Igbaras is the Guimbal District Hospital in Guimbal Iloilo.
The municipality offers two formal educations, the elementary and the secondary, which are being offered in public schools. To date, there are 4 primary and 16 public elementary school and one public secondary school in the locality. At present, there is no private institution in the municipality.
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