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How Bohol Got Its Name

          Bohol's recorded history began with Magellan's arrival in 1521. Events prior to that are merely a matter of conjecture. Although Antonio Morga in his book, "Sucesos" affirms that the Pintados or Visayans (the tattooed ones) were found in Bohol. The could write very well, yet they used highly perishable materials like leaves of trees and bamboo barks.

          The first document that specifically mentioned of Bohol is the account of the first voyage around the world, which was written by chronicler Pigafetta, who accompanied the expedition of Magellan in the Philippines. According to this document, after the death of Magellan at the hands of Lapulapu at Mactan and the unfortunate experience of the Spaniards in Cebu, where 27 of them were massacred in retaliation of the abuses they had committed against the Cebuanos, the Spaniards sailed to Bohol on their way to Tidore, Moluccas. For lack of sailors to man the three remaining ships, they burned the ship Concepcion off the island of Panglao. It was at this time they saw black men, while they coasted the island, whom they thought were negritos but verified later that what Pegafetta saw were dark-skinned natives, fishermen who were always exposed to the hot tropical sun.

          To replenish their dwindling food supply, the ship Victoria now under the command of Sebastian de Elcano dropped anchor at the seaboard between the Bohol mainland and the island of Panglao. Through the natives, they found potable water in a well called "BOHO", very close to the place where they anchored. Despite its proximity to the sea (about 30 meters), its water deposit is not salty. It projects an enexhaustible amount of water even during prolonged, rainless dry season. In spite of this unprecedented phenomenon, the surrounding community is devoid of accounts that puportedly explained the origin of the name "boho". The early inhabitants must have named it "boho" not "atabay" because it was not a man-made well ("atabay"). As the years went by, the name of the place has been handed down from parents to children by word of mouth and the word "boho" was later corrupted and became the lead, the cue and the clue on why Bohol was called by that name. The well called "Boho" is along the shoreline of barangay Guiwanon, Baclayon five kilometers from Tagbilaran City. History relating how the name Bohol has been attributed to the island of Datu Sikatuna and Sigala. Some historians had said that "the name Bohol is derived from Bo-ol, a barrio from the mainland, in a place where Magellan's men came upon after they toured the island of Panglao. Other chroniclers and early historians invariably write the name of this province as Bojo, Bojol, and Bohol. Compilation of sources and maps from Legaspi's chronicles on Philippine map and other accounts have shown that the name Bohol has already existed before the Spaniards came.

          In retrospection, the different versions pertaining to the matter on how Bohol got its name fall within myriads hidden tales, legends and folklore that abound in the beliefs and in the behavior of a group of people handed down from generation to generation.

Significant Historical Developments

          Historical Setting                                Muslim Raids On Bohol Coastal Towns
          Sikatuna, The Bohol Chieftain             
Dagohoy, The Celebrated Hero Of Bohol
          How Bohol Got Its Name                    
Bohol Participation in the Philippine Revolution
Christianization of the Natives              Lonoy, Jagna Massacre

Bits of World War II History

          April 1942 Bombing of Jetafe                The Moalong and Ubujan Ambushcades
          June 1943 Japanese Kempatai             The Bohol Liberation
          Underground Movement                       How Bohol was Liberated

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Last Updated:  Wednesday, May 19, 1999 01:18:36 PM
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