THE OFFICIAL WEB PORTAL
Province of Rizal
A BRIEF HISTORY OF BARAS
THE TOWN OF BARAS
There are many versions on how the town of
Baras got its name. One version stated that the seashore of Baras was being used
to harbor sailboats during inclement weather and to protect against pirates. The
place was then called Barahan which “means a place of anchorage.” The Spanish
conquerors shortened it to Baras.
Another version related that a Spanish priest
named Fr. Francisco Barasoan, known for his kindness to the parishioners,
became a byword in the area and the community was named Baras in his honor.
The third version recounted that when Baras was a still hinterland, there was plenty of hardwood which was made into “barras” or two pieces of wood between which the horse was harnessed. Barras later became Baras.
BARAS BEFORE ITS INDEPENDENCE
In 1595, the
Franciscan Missionaries founded a “visita” for Morong known as “Visita de
Santiago” then inhabited by 400 Aetas and other mountain people.
mountain people burned part of the town and its church a year earlier and the
town was transferred to a place called Ibayo under the jurisdiction of the
Jesuit Fathers of Morong in 1636.
Three (3) years later, about
13,000 Chinese rebels retreating from Manila towards the Sierra Madre razed the
towns and churches of Baras and Tanay. The
ecclesiastical administration of Baras was given back by the Jesuits to the
Franciscan in exchange for Binangonan four (4) decades later.
town was transferred to its present site out of reach of marauding mountain
tribes in 1682. Construction of the present church started this year and upon its
completion in 1685, an inaugural was held in honor of its patron saint St.
1601 to 1853, Baras was under the province of La Laguna and from 1853 to 1900,
its administration was transferred to the Distrito de las Montes de San Mateo. Franciscan
Fr. Dela Parilla, then parish priest of the town, directed and managed the
construction of the stone bridge across Baras t facilitated communication among
neighboring towns in 1728. From 1728 to 1750, the
estimated population of the town of 1,028 was paying 299 tributes to the Spanish
was divided into “barangays,” each under a cabeza de barangay, appointed by the
head of the town, the Capitan Municipal in 1750. It was the parish priest who was the
actual ruling party in the community. In 1872, the
jurisdictional conflict between Tanay and Baras ended. A monument, which can
still be seen today, marks the boundaries. Three (3) years later, the
Superior Civil Government grants the request of the Gobernadorcillo of Bosoboso
to create a dependent barrio from a cluster of houses scattered in Hacienda
Pinugay and in 1876, new
placing of mojones in the jurisdictional boundaries of Baras and Morong was completed. In the same year, the
civil government interceded to end the jurisdictional conflict between Tanay
and Baras. The people enjoyed tranquility for a period of 15 years. The
Katipunan of Baras established the Real or Military Camp at sitio Gogo or
Pamitinan in July 1895. On November 21, 1896, the
Katipunan attempted to capture the town of Morong but were driven away by the
Guardia Civil. Military
Order No. 40 by American Governor General Merritt came into effect directing
for the election of an Alcalde Municipal, Vice Alcalde, and the Municipal
Council on March 29, 1900.
In 1902, the
Philippine Commission passed Act 942 renaming the province of Morong to Rizal,
after the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. This Act also provided for the
consolidation of the Municipalities of Morong, Binangonan, Cardona and Baras as
one municipal district, with Morong as its capital, which took effect a year
From 1903 to 1906, Baras
was made a Barrio of Morong The progress of the town was neglected by Municipal
Officials of the central government of Morong and Leopoldo Digma,
representative to the municipal council of Morong, presented the case to the
Provincial Governor asking for the immediate separation of Baras from Morong.
On January 16, 1906, Baras
was annexed to Tanay as a barrio by Act No. 1442. During the election of 1912,
not one councilor came from Baras and the people of Baras started clamoring for
independence but the demand was denied by the Provincial Governor due to the
economic incapacity of Baras.
BARAS AS AN INDEPENDENT MUNICIPALITY
claim for independence was realized when His Excellency, the Governor General
of the Philippines signed Executive Order No. 57 providing for a change in the
status of Baras from a barrio of Tanay to the Municipality of Baras on November 24, 1920.
In 1921, a decree signed by Governor General Francis Harrison separates the then barrio of
Baras from the Municipality of Tanay with intent to organize the barrio into an
Ferrera was elected Municipal President and during his term a new site for
the municipal building was purchased through donations from the townspeople
and with P500.00 from the provincial fund, the construction of the municipal
hall was undertaken in 1922.
From 1922 to 1928, Baras
constructed new school buildings, built additional classrooms, and increased
school grounds. A site for the public market was also purchased. Up to 1931, Baras
was classified as a fifth class municipality and had settled its boundary
disputes with Tanay and Morong. The years saw the continued development of
Baras: reconstruction of the municipal building; repair of the municipal
artesian wells; construction of more classrooms; construction of additional
school buildings at Barrio Pinugay; and construction of an irrigation dam for
On February 6, 1942, Baras
was occupied by the Japanese Imperial Army and many young men of Baras joined
the guerilla forces and in 1945 Baras
was razed to the ground in the course of liberating the town from foreign
invaders. Subsequently, war damage claims amounting of P300,000 were filed
to help in the rehabilitation of the town. First
post-war mayor, Mariano Golla, focused on the improvement of roads and the
construction of a public dispensary. Under his term, Baras was elevated to a
fourth class municipality due to an increase in income.
In 1951, under the administration of Mayor Felix Sacayan,
more funds were released to Baras for the construction of roads, school
buildings, deep wells and a portion of the public market. Mayor Hilarion Constantino implemented
improvements on the road network including the Santolan Pinugay Road,
irrigation dams, and additional classrooms in 1956. For his accomplishments, Mayor
Constantino was awarded the gold medal for outstanding mayor of the province
from the Rizal press club.
The administration of Mayor Alex Digma became
known for its reforestation project in 1959.
In 1963, Mayor
Bayani Fereirra headed the implementation of “River Control”, repair of
Lagundi-PinugayRoad, and improvement of the municipal hall and selected
Meliton C. Geronimo was voted mayor, Christian Dinoso was elected president of Kabataang
Barangay and Buenvenido Garrovillas headed the Assoc. of Barangay Captains (ABC) in 1980. After
the EDSA revolution, Col. (Ret.) Meliton Geronimo became OIC of the
municipality during which he spearheaded the construction of the municipal
hall and the Baras gymnasium, among others.
The administration of Mayor Willy Robles from 2004 to 2013, continued improvements on the road networks, increased the number of
schoolhouses, and undertook enhancements on the new government building the
installation of river controls, and the launching of reforestation program.
At present, Mayor Kathrine B. Robles seeks to bring the Municipality of Baras, Rizal into the 21st century. She has cherished that dream ever since her initial exposure to public administration. She pins the hope that her dynamic administration will be able to consolidate the achievements that have already been made before her and to contribute the experience she has gained as a seasoned local executive in various capacities.