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Brief History of Castillejos

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Submitted By amiedelafuente
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Foreword A history would by its nature, inevitably have gaps and missions with regards to local history. We can continue the work began by the older generation by filling in the gaps and omissions and presenting alternative viewpoints that reflect more accurately the complex nature of our collective history. We are all familiar with the souvenir programs generated by countless town fiestas and similar community celebrations that almost always contain a short account of the town’s history but we always fail to produce something to be of lasting value.

One of the hazards of writing a historical document destined to be used as a future reference which may draw special interest from the readers and may have a wide circulation is the gathering of accurate and reliable information. It is surely one of the reasons why Castillejos has no written document about its own local history for no one has shown their intention to write something which is of utmost importance to unfold significant local stories and to enrich awareness and consciousness about the origin and roots of a true blooded citizen of Castillejos.

According to Dr. Jose Rizal, “In order to understand the destiny of a people, it is necessary to open the book of its past.”

Now is the opportune time to look back to be able to know ourselves better, the essence of our existence today and understand the reasons of what and how we become today.

For any inaccuracy and misinterpretation of events and facts, the writer is responsible and hopes for the indulgence and understandings of the readers. Indeed, he would gratefully acknowledge the help you would extend to rectify the error.

It is hoped that through this writing, the reader’s awareness and interest in our local history and other issues affecting our lives will be enhanced.

The writer would like to express his profound gratitude and appreciation: the unknown author and writers whose works have been a rich mine of information needed in the preparation of this undertaking and to those people whose interest in the subject has been a source of inspiration.

All of us need to realize the importance of writing local history. For the years to come, it is imperative that we do the most we can in retrieving oral and documentary sources and the data therein from further neglect and nothingness.

The Author November 30, 2009



The history of Castillejos unfolds in the middle of the 18th century. The old Sambals used to call Castillejos “Alindayat Bagatan” before the coming of the Spaniards. It was organized as pueblo in 1743. The Tagalogs from Bataan who wanted to settle in Zambales first saw Subic but thought that it was exposed to the attacks of marauding pirates, they moved inland and formed a village they named Uguic. Uguic was a visita of San Antonio, Subic and later San Marcelino. Somehow, Uguic was erroneously written as Uguit and was known as such until January 24, 1863. On the same day, it also got a new name, ”Castillejos”, in honor of the Marquis de los Castillejos, General Juan Prim Y Prats, “Hero of the battle of Castillejos” during the Spanish-Moroccan War.

Before the establishment of the four Ilocano towns in Zambales in the first half of the 19th century, the area over which Uguic ruled is quite extensive. According to an old document dated November 20, 1841, the dividing line between Uguic and Cabangan started from a point on the China Coast at a place called Ua and ran eastward to the foot of the Zambales Mountains. This line is now the boundary between San Antonio and San Marcelino, which at first were barrios of Uguic but were transferred to San Narciso when it became a pueblo in 1846, thus a new boundary line had to be drawn south of San Antonio, from China Sea to the mountains of Zambales.
The increase in the territory of San Narciso reduced considerably the area of Castillejos and was further reduced when San Antonio became a pueblo in 1849 by its cession to the mountainous area east of Castillejos.

Originally, San Marcelino was founded by the Ilocanos in Castillejos. San Marcelino was organized as a barrio in 1843. It was under the jurisdiction of Castillejos from 1843 to 1846, a barrio of San Narciso from 1846 to 1849, and a barrio of San Antonio from May 1849 to March 1852. While it was under Castillejos, trouble broke out between the Ilocano and Tagalog settlers due to the refusal of the Ilocanos to obey the town officials who were mostly Tagalog. To ease the enmity between the two groups, the Alcalde Mayor decided to work for the separation of San Marcelino from Castillejos. Nine years after, San Marcelino was organized as a barrio when its residents filed a petition through Teniente Primero Antonio Ladrido Juliano for the elevation of its status to a pueblo. On March 10, 1852, Governor General Antonio de Urbiztondo approved the holding of an election for Teniente Absoluto of the new town.

On the South, the boundary with Subic was undetermined for sometime not until the representative of both town and the Inspector of the streets and bridges met at CUESTA GRANDE on August 3, 1897 and had an agreement to build structures and monuments within the boundaries of the two towns in the presence of the Governor of the province.

On the 7th of January, 1898, the Governor of Zambales at Iba, telegraph the Politico-Military Governor in Subic informing him that the Capitan Municipal of Castillejos had made a report that Subic erected a monument on the left bank of the Pamatawan River. He indicated that there was an old arrangement on August 3, 1897 about this matter so he requested the Politico Military Governor to advise those of Subic to refrain from taking possession of any territory until the government will make a ruling on the matter.

On the following day, January 8, 1898, the Provincial Board at Iba considered the matter on its session and decided to recommend to the Governor General that the division agreed upon setting territorial boundary be approved citing the points on which its decision was based to wit:

The principal representatives of both towns agreed on the boundary and those of Castillejos had already complied with the condition exacted on them to build roads and bridges;

1. The territory laded to Castillejos was not yet inhabited and most of it belonged to its residents, hence its separation from Subic would not diminish the number of cedulas.

2. It had been already experienced that Subic, owing to its limited population could not attend to the repair and unkeep the bridges and roads in question; and

Thus, the decision of the board was approved and transmitted the same day by the Governor to Manila for final action of the Governor General.

The construction of the road between Castillejos and Subic which involved the boundary line of these towns had been an old project thought and planned out even before 1852. The administration of the province found it difficult to visit Subic owing to the mountain that had to be crossed and during the rainy season, Subic was all but isolated from the rest of Zambales. When Don Hipolito Fortacio was an Alcalde of the province, he made an attempt to build a road to make it suitable for vehicles for until that time only horses and carabaos could use it and only during the dry season.

The slow development of the town Uguit was also due to the abuse and punishment inflicted on by the Corregidore Joaquin Sanchez, the reason why some residence of Uguit moved to other provinces.

In the Spanish-Morrocan War of 1859-1860, a famous battle took place on a valley called Castillejos. General Juan S. Prim y Prats was in command of the Spanish forces who ordered the regiment to occupy a certain position and hardly had they put down their knapsack on the ground and commanded firing when the enemy was upon them. The attack was forceful that the Spaniards were pushed back leaving their knapsacks behind. Upon seeing what happened, General Prim seized the flag of the regiment from the color bearer and shouted. “En equallas mochillas esta vuestro honor; venid a rescatario o voy a, pror emtre los moros con vuestra bandera” (In those knapsacks lied your honor; come and recapture them and you will die among the moros with own flag.)

The soldiers who were significantly engaged in the battle subsequently attacked the moros and wrestled the lost territory. The battle which happened on the new year’s day of 1860 lasted for a day which cost the death of 672 out of 9,000 Spaniards against the 2,000 death of the 22,000 enemy. The victory was so glorious to the Spaniards that a famous musical piece was made entitled “Batalla de Castillejos”, and General Juan Prim y Prats was made Marquis delos Castillejos, the noble of first rank.

A contingent of Castillejos residents joined the revolutionary forces capturing the Spanish troops in Zambales in 1896. On August 8, 1898, Aguinaldo announced to the world that the Republic of the Philippines had achieved sovereignty and was already in control of many provinces in Luzon including Zambales. Dr. Raymundo de Perio of Castillejos was appointed Secretary General of the Revolutionary Government in Zambales.

In the first week of January 1899, the people of Zambales, led by Gov. Vicente Camara, vehemently condemned and protested the U.S. annexation in the Philippines. The people in the towns of Castillejos, Candelaria, Bolinao and iba were among those who strongly condemned the U.S. action. The town protest of Castillejos, dated January 12, 1899 was signed by some of its prominent citizens headed by its Presidente, Estanislao Bernardo. These protests did not only express the anger and frustration of the people of Castillejos but the rest of the country as well. Most Filipinos felt that when the Treaty of Paris was signed, they had already won their final battles against the Spaniards and independence was rightfully theirs.

During the Japanese period in the Philippines, the guerrillas under the command of Ramon Magsaysay dislodged the Japanese soldiers garrisoned at the Castillejos airstrip on January 26, 1945 in preparation for the liberation of the town four days later.

Castillejos was known by most people of San Antonio, Subic and San Marcelino as “visita”. Even until the first decade of the present century it was a “visita” since its foundation until the 24th of January 1863. Before that date, the priest (Fr. Pablo Calvilo) who officially resided in Subic set aside certain days of the week for the month and went to Uguic to make a visit (that is to officiate mass) to the churchgoers. His parishioners comprised the people of San Antonio and San Marcelino who on those specified days went to Uguic to have their newly born baptized and even officiate the sacrament of matrimony. On those days, the people would say, “we are going to visita, meaning Uguic, or Castillejos”.

The religious improvement of the town was comparably slow. Despite the fact that Uguic was already a “pueblo” over a century old at the time of foundation of San Narciso (1840) and San Antonio (1849), but these two places were able to get their ecclesiastical independence thereby recognizing it as “pueblo”.

Zambales was blessed with a wealth of natural resources. Fr. Joaquin Martinez de Zuñiga noted that the arable lands of the province could support 20,000 families; the sea furnished abundant fish; the mountains yielded wax, honey, hardwood, rattan, and palms; the forests were rich sources of food and provided excellent hunting ground; and pasture lands for cows, carabaos, and horses are available.

In the book “Historia de Filipinas”, Agustin de la Cavada y Mendez wrote: The province produces 59 classes of wood and those of superior quality include; acle, dongon, anapag, ayarro, guijo, amoguis, banaba, obien, camalansanay, ebano, calantas, tindalo, tangol and yarabac. Resin is in abundance in Botolan, Cabangan, Castillejos, Palauig, Santa Cruz, San Felipe, and Subic. Mineral water is found in Iba, Dasol, Palauig, and Subic. Some 14,521 hectares are cultivated, 57 hectares for cana orece, 14,290 hectares for rice, 3 hectares for cacao, 17 hectares for corn, 131 hectares for vegetables and 23 hectares for other plants.

Despite these resources, Zambales did generate substantial tributes for the Spanish government and lagged behind other provinces in agricultural and industrial development. A report in 1802 listed the number of tributes and fruit trees in the province as follows:

| |No. of Tributes |No. of Coconut |No. of Cacao |No. of Pepper |No. of Areca Nut |
|Subic |180 |120 |100 |- |- |
|Uguic (Castillejos) |40 |100 |- |- |- |
|Cabangan |140 |110 |150 |- |- |
|Botolan |370 |373 |84 |- |- |
|Iba |270 |1,870 |640 |30 |- |
|Palauig |140 |440 |17 |- |- |
|Masinloc |270 |1,462 |452 |14 |- |
|Sta. Cruz |270 |1,100 |1,678 |6 |- |
|Dasol |70 |201 |227 |- |- |
|Balincaguin |200 |853 |2,312 |- |1,636 |
|Sarapsay |280 |410 |479 |- |539 |
|Agno |190 |813 |306 |- |318 |
|Bani |170 |461 |- |- |86 |
|Bolinao |600 |6,533 |737 |- |1,826 |

It can be noted that resin which is a substance obtained from the gum or sap of some trees and used especially in varnishes, plastics and medicine was amply sufficient in Castillejos. Apparently, Castillejos is one of the major sources of resins and may be disclosed as one of the important towns in Zambales with a high production of such raw material before the coming of the Spaniards. On 1802, Uguic has the lowest number of tributes paid and certainly behind with number of fruit trees planted compared to the other towns in the province of Zambales having coconut trees as its primary possession but its contribution to the provincial economy had brought economic changes.
The town of Castillejos has been governed by gobernadorcillos, municipal captains, presidents and municipal mayors from 1804 to present. This town has made its own history following more than two centuries of existence and most probably experienced tremendous changes not mentioning the electoral frauds and protests, social inequities, financial crises, and other problems in the past but never stopped to fight the odds and continuously believing to the ultimate challenge of the time to have a better government.

Over 200 years, Castillejos has been led by many men – and, officially, by at least one woman. Many of these men were not even Filipinos neither a man who was born in this town nor a pure blooded son of Castillejos, but representatives of a ruling colonial power. Not all of them ruled Castillejos badly or indifferently; quite a few initiated important economic and social reforms and valued the local cultures and traditions. But at the end of the day, we must at least make our best choice to produce our own leader and the 21st century will be certain to test the quality and the spirit of local Filipino leadership.

GOBERNADORCILLOS (1804-1893): Ignacio de San Agustin (1804), Juan dela Cruz, Captain Reformado (1808-1817), Teodoro Perez (1830-1832), Mariano del Pilar (1834), Domingo Arroyo (1842), Francisco Santiago (1843), Emeterio Pascasio (1846), Simon delos Santos (1847), Bonifacio Cayetano (1848), Romualdo Pablo (1849), Bonifacio Cayetano (1850), Geronimo de Guzman (1851), Pedro Apostol (1854), Bonifacio Tamoria (1855), Pedro Apostol (1856), Juan Perez (1892), Vicente Viloria (1893).
CAPITAN MUNICIPAL (1895-1898): Nicolas Villaflor (1895), Florentino de Perio (1896), Florentino P. Magsaysay (1897), Canuto Fontillas (1898).

PRESIDENT (1900-1940): Estanislao Bernardino (1900), Jose del Fierro (1901), Gerino Alvarez (1903-1905), Matias Apostol (1908-1910), Edilberto de Peio (1910-1912), Juan Gallardo (1913-1915), Juan N. del Fierro (1915-1921), Juan Blanco (1922-1940).

MUNICIPAL MAYOR (1941 TO PRESENT): Felix Fallorina (1941-1948), Sixto Cacho (1949-1953), Tranquilino Velasco (1954-1955), Tomas Ablao (1956-1965), Dominador Bundang (1966-1967), Rodrigo E. Trimor (1967-1986), Manuel V. Felarca Officer in Charge (1986-1987), Flordeliza C. Trinidad Officer in Charge (1988), Enrique P. Magsaysay (1989-1992), Teofilo G. Pantaleon (1992-September 2000), Wilma Dalit Billman Officer in Charge (October 2000-May 2001), Wilma Dalit Billman (2001-May 20, 2002), Enrique P. Magsaysay (May 21, 2002 – June 30, 2004, Wilma Dalit Billman (July 1, 2004 – February 15, 2006), Enrique C. Clarin Officer in Charge (February 16, 2006 – March 31, 2006), Wilma Dalit Billman (April 1, 2006 – Present)


← Although born in nearby Iba, RAMON MAGSAYSAY later moved to Castillejos. He attended the University of the Philippines and the Jose Rizal College, worked as the chief mechanic of a bus company, fought in World War II, was appointed as the Military Governor of Zambales in 1945, elected to the House of Representatives in 1946, was appointed as Secretary of National Defense in 1950, and elected into the presidency in 1953. ← DR. RAYMUNDO DE PERIO of Castillejos was appointed Secretary General of the Revolutionary Government in Zambales when Emilio Aguinaldo announced to the world that the Republic of the Philippines had achieved sovereignty and was already in control of many provinces in Luzon on August 8, 1898. ← MARCELO ACAYAN, a retired division industrial supervisor who had gone farming in Castillejos, was cited by the national government for being the first farmer in Zambales to produce a record harvest of 92 cavans of palay from less than a hectare rain-fed farm in 1953. ← The fiery reporter, editor, publisher and writer, VICENTE DEL FIERRO was born in Castillejos, was noted for his fearlessness. ← The first Magsaysay in Zambales was GREGORIO, whose father was Chinese and mother was Tagalog. Gregorio was a migrant from Makati, where he had worked as a bookkeeper in a shipping firm. He settled with his wife in Castillejos, Zambales, in the mountainous western part of Central Luzon. They brought a farm and had four sons and one daughter. They belonged to the principalia or leading citizens of the town. When the Americans invaded the Philippines and organized a civil government in 1900, the chief executive in Makati carried the surname Magsaysay, and he may be a relative of the Zambales Magsaysays.

When Pedro Jimenes, grandfather of Father Manuel Jimenes of Palauig, married for the second time, a lady of the Gallardo family of Castillejos, he decided to spend his honeymoon in Manila. He brought with him a piece of santol lumber to be made into an image of Saint Nicholas de Tolentino. The sculptor in Manila found it too big for an image, so he made two images of Saint Nicholas de Tolentino. When Mr. Jimenes returned to Castillejos, he donated one to Castillejos and the other to Palauig. During the revolution of 1896, the image in Castillejos was burned. However, the Moreno-Jamias family got another Saint Nicholas de Tolentino image from Manila.

The municipality now known as Castillejos was founded in 1743. It was established by the tagalog families who migrated from Bataan province. According to Agustin dela Cavada, in his Historias de Filipinas, Castillejos was recognized as pueblo 26 years ahead of Subic, the coastal town proceeding Castillejos in the south. It is one of the thirteen municipalities that comprise the province of Zambales. It is bounded on the north by municipality of San Marcelino. It is 32 kilometer from Olongapo City Proper, 60 kilometer from Iba and 147 kilometer northwest of Manila. Travel time is 3 ½ hours from Manila, one hour from Iba and ½ hour from Olongapo City.

The Municipality of Castillejos is subdivided into fourteen (14) barangays. Looc is the farthest barangay with the distance of 7.0 km from the town proper while San Juan lies within the heart of the Poblacion. Among the barangays in the municipality, San Pablo and Looc are the largest with 3,117 hectares and 1,842 hectares respectively. The smallest is barangay San Roque with a land area of only 22 hectares.

It is politically subdivided into 14 barangays.
|Balaybay |8. San Agustin |
|Buenavista |9. San Jose (Pob.) |
|Del Pilar |10. San Juan (Pob.) |
|Looc |11. San Nicolas |
|Magsaysay |12. San Pablo (Pob.) |
|Nagbayan |13. San Roque |
|Nagbunga |14. Sta. Maria |

Sambal, Tagalog, and Ilocano are the three main languages of Castillejos. About 75 percent of the population speaks and understands English to varying degrees of fluency.

The town is characterized by two (2) pronounced seasons a year, wet from May to October, and dry for the remaining months of the year. Being a coastal province (Zambales), Castilejos experiences an average of five (5) to seven (7) typhoons a year. The hottest temperature was experienced during the month of April and May recorded at 33.2 degrees centigrade for the 3-year average. The months of September, July and August has the highest rainfall with 6,035, 5,326 and 2,892 mm respectively. The longest number of rainy days experienced was during the months of September, August and July, while the least number was during the month of February.

|Region |Central Luzon (Region III) |
|Province |Zambales |
|District |1st district |
|Barangays |14 |
|Income class |1st class |
|ZIP Code |2208 |


Local town officials of Castillejos, Zambales have recently had a ground breaking for the Looc Lake Development Project that envisions developing the 113-hectare natural lagoon here. This will be developed into a lake resort in this town. Castillejos, only just 30 minutes away from the popular tourist center of Subic Bay, will be pushed into another dimension to become one of the greener environmental tourism in the country. Since the tourism industry is growing in this region, local town officials led by Mayor Wilma Billman together with the private project supporters wanted to develop this Eco-friendly lake resort. The Eco-friendly lake resort is located some 26 kilometers north of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, and just two and a half hours drive away from Manila. This lake resort has a full array of recreation facilities, spas and wellness centers that could attract tourist around the world.


JUAN PRIM, MARQUIS DE LOS CASTILLEJOS, COUNT DE Reus (1814-1870), Spanish soldier and statesman, was the son of Lieut.-Colonel Pablo Prim, and was born at Reus in Catalonia on the 12th of December 1814. He entered the free corps known as the volunteers of Isabella II. in 1834, and in the course of the Carlist War he rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel and had two orders of knighthood conferred upon him. After the pacification of 1839, as a progressist opposed to the dictatorship of Espartero, he was sent into exile. However, in 1843 he was elected deputy for Tarragona, and after defeating Espartero at Bruch he entered Madrid in triumph with Serrano. The regent Maria Christina promoted him major-general, and made him count of Reus. Narvaez, the prime minister, failed to understand what constitutional freedom meant, and Prim, on showing signs of opposition, was sentenced to six years' imprisonment in the Philippine Islands. The sentence was not carried out, and Prim remained an exile in England and France until the amnesty of 1847. He then returned to Spain, and was first employed as captain-general of Porto Rico and afterwards as military representative with the sultan during the Crimean War. In 1854 he was elected to the cortes, and gave his support to O'Donnell, who promoted him lieutenant-general in 1856. In the war with Morocco he did such good service at Los Castillejos or Marabout, Cabo Negro, Guad al Gelu and Campamento in 1860 that he was made marquis de los Castillejos and a grandee of Spain. He commanded the Spanish army in Mexico when he refused to consent to the ambitious schemes of Napoleon III. On his return to Spain he joined the opposition, heading pronunciamentos in Catalonia against Narvaez and O'Donnell. All his attempts failed until the death of Narvaez in April 1868, after which Queen Isabella fell more and more under the influence of the Jesuits, and became increasingly tyrannical, until at last even Serrano was exiled. In September 1868 Serrano and Prim returned, and Admiral Topete, commanding the fleet, raised the standard of revolt at Cadiz. In July 1869 Serrano was elected regent, and Prim became president of the council and was made a marshal. On the 16th of November 1870 Amadeo, duke of Aosta, was elected king of Spain, but Prim, on leaving the chamber of the cortes on the 28th of December, was shot by unknown assassins and died two days later. The cortes took his children as wards of the country; three days afterwards King Amadeo I. swore in the presence of the corpse to observe the new Spanish constitution.

Reference: 1. De Jesus, Ramon V., Zambales, 1981. 2. De Asis, Pedro, Short History of Zambales 3. Unknown author, copy of a manuscript, no date 4. Wikipedia

Researcher / Writer: ROGELIO I. BESARRA Castillejos National High School

Castillejos in Zambales Map




Sta. Cruz

Zambales Map

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