Manolo Fortich, A History

(Yes, I am making HP references here. Is it obvious now that I am a Potterhead?)

So, I was staying late surfing the net when I came across an incredibly neat history summary of Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon AKA my HOMETOWN.

It all started when I came across an   FB post recognizing WWII veterans. My late Lolo Dodong (Teodoro Lahayon) was also a WWII veteran, and it suddenly dawned me that I never had the chance to talk to him about WWII. We were really close (that’s what I remembered), unfortunately, he died when I was only six years old, and I was still clueless about the whole WWII thingy.

And so, I searched for any hints on the Internet if my lolo was mentioned in any clippings,etc., and no, I haven’t found anything that has something to do with him, but I ended digging a detailed history of Manolo Fortich, specifically, Barangay Tankulan.

Here’s the lengthy historical note that I have found:

Early Settlers in Barangay Tankulan, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon

The original Higaunon settlers in the area bore the family names with Higaunon ancestry like Tinga, Onahon, Gumaling, Lumala, Mancawan, Lahayon, Lompon, Sambalan, Sanhiron, Binayao, Hinoyog, and Dagunlay. Among the Higaunon families mentioned, Gumaling was the first mayor appointed by the Americans in the municipality of Maluko (the previous name of Manolo Fortich) during the prewar period way back 1920s. He was the only Higaunon settler who was able to obtain the highest political position so far.

The coming of the first multinational company in Tankulan, Del Monte Corporation, changed the
physical and social landscapes of the area. The company started business in 1928, cultivating the ancestral land of the natives and turning it into a pineapple plantation (PASAGI Annotated Document, 1997). It has been responsible also for the exodus of migrants coming from the Visayas archipelago due to the employment opportunities provided by the company.

The American Philippine Company came in 1914 and established more than 10,000-hectare ranch in Barangay Tankulan and Dicklum, bringing with it families who were ranchers (PASAGI Annotated Document, 1997). Also, migration of rich and prominent Christian families followed bearing the family names of Cordovez, Fortiche, Domingo, Alberece, Hisona, and Valdehueza. These families had eventually assumed powerful roles in the community as they inhabited Manolo Fortich while the natives were relegated into the subordinate position. Cordovez was a judge and rancher. Fortich was a rancher from Cebu who was appointed governor during the American period and later moved to Bohol in 1990s. Domingo served for two terms as mayor and was credited for changing the name of the municipality from Maluko to Manolo Fortich during his term per Republic Act No. 1720, approved in June 21, 1957. Albarece, originally from Ilocos, was appointed mayor of Manolo Fortich and was responsible for improving the town’s social services. Hisona served as councilor. Valdehueza was also a known rancher.

The other group and institution that came later to Tankulan were the Muslims and the 52nd
Engineering Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) whose families are now occupying spaces in the barangay. As seen, the intrusion of all the structural forces above demonstrate the context upon which other changes in the aspects of the Higaunon can be described.

It is always essential to know one’s history.

And by the way, I am part of the Lahayon clan – one of the town’s early Higaonon settlers. I have a HUUUUGEEEEEE fameeeely.


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