San Vicente

The present official name of the Barrio is San Vicente. Another name of the barrio is Visita, derived perhaps from the fact that many people pay visit to our Patron Saint. The present official name of the barrio comes from the name of our Patron Saint which is St. Vincent Ferrer. Before the adoption of this official name, this place was known as Mal-ay. But to distinguish this from another barrio to which lies across the river and which is also named May-Ay. Responsible officials during that time put a suffix. Then called this Mal-Ay Divisoria.

During the incumbency of Capitan Vicente Tañada, the Parish Priest assigned to Gumaca was Father Herrero also named Vicente. Jointly these two figures donated an image of San Vicente Ferrer ordered from Barcelona, Spain at the cost of P40,000.00 to the barrio. It did not take time long before the miraculous power were attributed to the Patron Saint. Before the expiration of the term of Don Vicente Tañada and the tour of the duty of the Parish Priest, they were able to change the name of the barrio from Mal-Ay Divisoria to its present name San Vicente.

This Barrio was established when Don Gerardo Martinez was the Capitan del Barrio. When the creation of the new Municipality of Lopez was bring pushed through, it was still a part of Gumaca. A mild dispute regarding boundaries aroused between Lopez and Gumaca. Organizer of Lopez Town wanted the boundary between the two municipalities be located along the route of the Camohaguin River which did not materialized.

Right away, Don Gerardo Martines the “Captain” consulted the High Provincial authorities. Being a man of means and influence, he was able to convince the Provincial Governor to his cause. (Martinez insisted that the Mal-Ay be the boundary). The Provincial Governor during this time was a Spanish Mestizo name Doque. The Governor’s advice was for Martinez to establish a sort of settlement near Mal-ay river (on Gumaca side) with inhabitants from Gumaca. That time the barrio was established. When the order came from the Provincial Governor one salient feature of this was the fixing of the boundaries between Lopez ang Gumaca along the route of the Mal-Ay River. The Sitios to comprose the Barrio Mal-Ay (Divisoria) named San Vicente were Dumaguet, Guiting and Buyabod.

The first Barrio Lieutenant of San Vicente was Eduardo Valderrama. The present Chairman is Roden Andal (2013-2016)..

The present Barangay can be compared to a 5th or 4th class Municipality with regards to its population, income and volume of trade. In has a new Sitio: Tigcong.

The first Bahay Nayon constructed was within the church yard. This also served as the school house. A sort of Parochial School. The teachers were the following Meliton Arcaya and Candida Ellosa. The monthly salary was P12.00. Subjects taught were mainly dealing with religion, reading and writing. This was a far cry from the school set-up by the Americans. The second Bahay Nayon was erected behind the lot where the house of Benigno Agra now stands. This building collapsed during a ball. Salvador Caneza, started building a new Bahay Nayon.

During the Spanish occupation, construction of the Spanish road was done through forced labor. This road then was poorly built that only travellers on foot could pass. In 1987, Casadores or the Spanish forces raided this barrio one Sunday. They gathered all the able bodied males especially those in the cockpit and herded them to Gumaca. The captured inhabitants were made to work in the church Patio of Gumaca, constructing stone fortifications. News of the revolution reached this barrio and the people evacuated to the mountain. Nobody joined the insurgents for lack of arms.

Important facts, incidents or events that took place during the American occupation:

When the Americans first came to San Vicente, the people were afraid so they evacuated but sided with the Americans when they saw the new conquerors meant no harm. The first election was held in 1902 but only persons owning properties with an assessed value of P500.00 or more were allowed to vote. Manuel L. Quezon was elected representative. In 1912, the construction of the railroad track was started and completed. Laborers were mostly Visayan and the railroad transportation began.
During the American-Japanese War:

Japanese began arriving on December 1942. That morning a Japanese plane straped a passenger train near Mal-Ay. The people underwent hardship during the Japanese occupation. The Japanese burned several houses.

The early days of the liberation was a period of re-construction. The people begun reconstructing their houses. Though still suffering from the ravages of war they managed to make a new start. The year 1946 saw the establishment of a complete elementary school in this barrio and there was increased in enrollment. A new Bahay Nayon was constructed. Valderrama street was extended to the National Highway. The Economic building was contructed by the PTA of San Vicente.

Sometime in the early 1930’s, then Philippine Governor General Theodore Roosevelt in his tour to Southern Luzon had a stop over in Gumaca and was met my hundreds of people in the Gumaca Railroad station. Thereafter, the entourage proceeded to Barrio San Vicente where they alighted from their special train car and were given a snack with plenty of green coconut. This event caused the naming of the public school as Roosevelt Elementary School.


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