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The history of Irosin in Sorsogon province, my hometown

Irosin, Sorsogon, Philippines
history of irosin, sorsogon

I was born in a small and Irosin's only hospital called Irosin District Hospital. My roots and the blood that runs in me are pure Irosanon - my parents are both from Irosin (my mom hails from Patag) and my late dad from the town proper in San Julian. Our home is practically near the center :  cemetery, wet market, the church,  public elementary, Catholic college, auditorium, Municipal hall et cetera.

Our family is pretty known, not because we are rich or what but because my late dad is a licensed embalmer. I remember when I was a kid, we're always awakened of families knocking our door in wee hours of the morning informing our dad that their loved one has died. His work has no definite hours, whenever he is needed, he is there. I also remembered, playing hide - and - seek game with my other siblings to unfinished coffins at our backyard. We used to have a few workers doing that. We're never scared, because no dead body has been put inside it.

My one month of stay in Irosin made me appreciate my hometown more since I have never been home this long for the past ten years of my life. Like the majority of young, single and college -degree holder individuals from around the country, I now call Manila as my current home, but the town of Irosin, will always be right where my heart lives.

I've dedicated sometime to get to know Irosin from its humble beginnings, to the local government and most of its local tourism that I hope to help in my own way.

I don't know much about the folklores of Irosin, but if there's one thing that really I'm curious to know more is that I always remember my grandma and mom used to tell me of this huge boat called "Irosinian" that only appears when the river overflow. The thing is, when this shows up, the trees and plants float in upright position in the river. There's even a few stories that some have seen this docking / sailing in Manila bay. I mean, how come, Irosin is the only landlock municipality in the whole province of Sorsogon. Why would a local of Irosin build a boat like that?  No one knows if this is a true account until now.

This post I'm doing right now is dedicated to the history of Irosin. I welcome my fellow Irosanons and Sorsoganons who can probably add more input or correct me if I got it wrong. 
The history of Irosin dates back in 18th century. It was just a vast forest filled with wild animals. There was no human inhabitants that time because Irosin is a far inland valley. It is said that my hometown is among the last inhabited places in the Philippines mainly because it isn't situated near the sea where one can go fishing.

The first settlers I'm Irosin are from Bulusan, a nearby coastal town where the Bulusan National Park, Bulusan lake and Mount Bulusan are located. They were searching of wild quarry, rattan and food. They found the place highly ideal for living that some of them opted to stay for good. They chose to build their houses near the river in San Agustin. They called the place Hin - ay which represents the pattern of the image drawn to connote the waving rivers crisscrossing from the mountains down to the valley.

San Agustin is one of the 28 barangays in Irosin. I have a lot of classmates back then who live here so I always find myself visiting friends to prepare for assignments and play. I couldn't recall seeing a river there though I have seen one in Bacolod running through San Pedro locally known as Dike (pronounced as Di - kee). It means a dike, because the walls of the river have been cemented already. I used to be an active girl scout in high school that we frequent here always to help teach kids about ABC's. Most of the people residing here are squatters or too poor to build a concrete house.

In 1847, Hin - ay eventually became a barrio of Bulusan. The Gobernadorcillo of Bulusan appointed Apolonio Capido as the first barrio lieutenant. The Spanish friars built a church on top of a hill now named as Irosin Hilltop Church or St Michael Archangel Church. The parish including the priests assigned to conduct mass live there in house called Kumbento. In this same hill, the first and only Catholic college school is located - the Veritas  College of Irosin. This is where I worked for three months after a month I graduated from college.

On the 12th of December 1879, San Miguel became a dully constituted pueblo or town through a Royal Decree executed by Gov.  Gen Moriones Y Morillo. The town's first public officials were Pedro Fruto, Domingo Gamba and Juan Gallarda addressed as Capitanes del Pueblo.

The old Irosanon dialect actually is somehow related to the Legazpi and Sorsoganon. I share this one, a historical tale of Elias Cuadro and Sabiniano Gacias (1937) that says this way: 

 “Gnaning maontoc na an guibong pagtabas,
pag-iros can salog, sa banua pagrompag;
segun supersticion, encantong balignag,
maraot na pagtubod, ay sosogon nangad.”

“Con caya guinibo, iboniag Irosin,
gnaranan an banua, apodon nin siring;
ta sogno-sognoon an hoyog na quiling,
pag-iros can tubig nin banuang Irosin.”


“To end the dissipation,
by the eroding river, to the town’s doom;
according to superstition, a wicked gnomic one,
misguided belief, ye must be obeyed.”

“Thus, it was christened Irosin,
they named and called the town as such;
or it was thus to badger,
the baleful waters of the town of Irosin.”

We no longer speak this way, actually. We call this a much deeper version of Irosin, Sorsoganon and Albayanon dialects mostly talked by elders. Irosin used to be flooded due to river overflow, according to many accounts online. I, however never experienced any of this in my 16 years of living there probably because we live in the town proper. In 1887, San Miguel formally became Irosin. The word is derived from "iros", meaning to to cut-off a part. 

I have to admit that my knowledge about Irosin, my hometown is very limited and for this I vow to write more about it online. Right now while I google, there's nothing much articles written, most of these are way, way back. Next post, is I will write about what to see in Irosin and where to stay.

The original version of the history of Irosin can be found in the official website of Irosin. You can also view a blog post I wrote about What to see, things to do, tourist spots in the center of Irosin, Sorsogon and where to stay.

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