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Our Allen Connection

The waters of the Embarcadero must have been rough as it has always been. The skies could have been dark and heavy with storm clouds – as if the heavens were in unison with the pain their hearts must be feeling at the thought of leaving behind the land of their fathers, the land where they’ve first seen light, where they’ve spent their childhood, where they’ve made friends and found that one true love – a place they’ve always called home until recent circumstances forced them to embark on such an exodus.

Or, the skies could have been bright, clear and devoid of any sign of an impending storm.  Like a balm to the spirits, it could have signified for them a brighter tomorrow of new beginnings – there in a place called Manipa-a, just across the turbulent seas from the southern tip of a land once called Tierra de Ibalon.  Just maybe, fate would be   kinder to them in that new and strange land.

On board that vessel were the couple Don Lorenzo Gallego and Maria Cabahug together with some of their relatives.  Also with them was the old equestrian image of Sr. Santiago  Apostol el Mayor, believed to have been carved in Spain between the 16th and 17th centuries – the one that devotees in their former town used to revere in that old stone church within the walls of Punta Diamante.

They would later on find the place already inhabited by some natives from the nearby Capul Island.  By the passing of the years, more Bicolanos would follow their lead.  The population would continuously grow in size, such that they would soon be moved to petition for their sitio’s township.  The town would gain independence by the year 1867, during which time it would also be renamed La Granja, which would be more closely associated to mean the place for persecuted families.

In 1898, as the town’s third executive, Don Lorenzo Gallego donated to the parish church their family’s image of Bulusan’s patron saint, Sr. Santiago  Apostol el Mayor(St. James the Greater) – under whose patronage their new town was also placed.

In 1903, the name La Granja was changed to Allen, in honor of Gen. Robert Allen, the American Governor General of the Visayas who liberated the region from Spain.

Two of Allen’s big barangays later on became independent municipalities: San Isidro in 1954 and Victoria in 1971 – thereby significantly reducing its land area to the present 10,579 hectares.

Today, Allen, serves as a major connecting port to Luzon with ferry services to and from Matnog, Sorsogon.


Bulusan has always been a part of Allen’s history – both oral and written, but neither Allen nor its former names has ever made a mark on Bulusan’s, or at least not in widely-publicized written accounts. It is a known fact that some Buluseño families still maintain close ties with their counterparts in Allen like the Fortadeses and the Galarosas, but Bulusan has never really had any formal & definite relationship with Allen.

Given our historical and cultural tie-ups, Bulusan and Allen could at least enter into a sisterhood pact.  As sister municipalities, we could work together as partners in economic development while strengthening our familiar ties.  This move, which would require a strong community support, gives no assurances that it would all be an easy task – but it is nevertheless one worth taking, one that would ensure solid connectivity between our two towns. 


Vol. XV No.9 (September - October 2003)

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