San Andres is a 4th class
municipality in the province of Catanduanes, Philippines.
According to the 2007 census, it has a
population of 33,781 people in 6,059 households.
is a coastal town on the island
province of Catanduanes in the eastern Philippines. it is a town
rich in history nd culture and rich in the Catholic tradition.The
town was known historically as Calolbong
, a name derived
from the Bicol expression, naca-lobong
, which means
submerged. Native guides showed the early Spanish explorers the
houses of the original community along the banks of a river. These
houses, when viewed from the sea, appeared to be partially under
water. The Spaniards, unfamiliar with the Bicol dialect, must have
thought the natives were referring to the town's name, for they
called it Calolbong
on their maps of the area. As time
went by, the letter "G" was dropped, and the town became known as
Republic Act No. 3948
In 1964, a bill was presented to the Philippine Congress to rename
the town San Andres in honor of its patron, St. Andrew the Apostle.
This bill was approved as Republic Act No. 3948 on June 18th that
same year. Many Calolbonganons loved the old name, a name used
since time immemorial and unique to the entire archipelago. they
were upset that there had never been a referendum vote. "The change
of Calolbon to San Andres without consulting the townspeople," said
one outspoken native, "Is a rape of democracy." But for those who
were deeply religious and very much devoted to St. Andrew, the
change from Calolbon to San Andres was no different from changing a
pagan name to a Christian one.
A Brief HIstory
Calolbon's chapter in history opens with Spanish conquest and
Catholic missionary activity. In the year 1519, Ferdinand Magellan
began a great voyage of discovery in the service of king Charles V
of Spain. He reached the Philippine Archipelago in the spring of
1521 and, on behalf of Spain, he took possession of the islands,
naming them isles of St. Lazaruz. That same year Magellan lost his
life on Mactan Island when he became involved in a dispute between
the natives. However, the Spaniards were determined to possess and
develop the islands, and they sent many expeditions from Mexico to
establish their rule. Eventually, the whole archipelago was named
Filipinas in honor of King Philip II of Spain (1527-1598).
In 1565, the Spanish governor of Mexico sent Miguel Lopez de
Legaspi, together with soldiers and missionary friars to the
Philippine Island. Intensive activities began, and the church
gained more influence in the administration of the colony. Friars
were sent to all parts of the country-cities, provinces and
towns-preaching the Holy Gospel and spreading the Christian faith.
Friars were also sent to the town of Calolbon (now San Andres) and
some of them were designated parish priests of the town.
The influence of the Roman Catholic Church during the early years
of the Spanish Era had a profound effect upon the people of the
Philippines, most of whom were converted to Catholicism. The Church
brought the Filipinos together in the communities which later
developed into towns and villages and set up schools to instruct
the young. Because the primary goal of the Spanish conquistadores
was to spread th Christian faith and to hispanize the natives, in
the course of time, the Calolbonganons and the Philippine people as
a whole adopted Spanish names, learned to cook Spanish way, and
were influenced by Spanish architecture.
On April 24, 1898, the Spanish-American War broke out. The war
lasted less than five months, ending on August 12, 1898, with an
armistice and victory for the Americans. On December 10, 1898, in
the Treaty of Paris, the Us and the Spanish governments agreed that
the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam would become American
It was the avowed aim of President McKinley's administration, in
establishing American control of the islands, to protect and
educated the people and to assist them in attaining a level of
independence where they could govern themselves. Within the context
of their own culture, they were to develop complete democratic
In 1934, the Roosevelt administration created the Commonwealth of
the Philippines with its own government and a Filipino President
took over in 1935. During World War II, the structure of the
Commonwealth was modified and the president of the Philippines
(Manueal L. Quezon) was exiled to Washington. On July 4, 1946, the
Commonwealth Government was terminated and a Philippine republic
based on the ethical and constitutional principles of the United
States was established.
Calolbon Town Heads
William Shakespeare once wrote, "Some are born great, some
achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them
The history of San Andres is full of the greatness of its leaders.
They are the leaders who were once called the "Cabezas de
Barangay", "Alcaldes", "Municipal Presidents" and "Mayors" of this
little town. They were the leaders of Calolbon who gave their
tomorrows so that San Andres could have her today. The following
were the leaders of the town during its crucial moments in
The town's first captain on record was Juan Gazang. He served as
the head of this town for eight years between 1798 and 1806. with
the exception of three other capitans- Cristobal (1806), Felix
Santelices (1835-1842) and Teodoro Santelices (1843-1847) -the rest
served two terms. The last captain was Alipio Vargas
The American Era started with a controversial municipal president,
Deogracias Belmonte (1901-1903). He was brandes as pro-American by
the insurrectos headed by Comandante Florencio Eras. Belmonte was
almost beheaded on December 8, 1899 in the cemetery of Pandan,
Catandauens. However, the father of the late Senator Jose O. Vera
saved him from execution.
The term "Municipal President" for town heads was last used by
Roberto Iñigo (1931-1935).
During this era, the town head of Calolbon was Emiliano Surban
(1935-1937). He was the first to assume the title of "Municipal
World War II
Felizardo Santelices (1944-1946) was appointed mayor of Calolbon by
the late President Jose P. Laurel. During the Japanese Invasion,
Mayor Santelices experienced what could well be called the most
brutal eventuality ever noted for a public servant of the province.
It all began in the afternoon of October 5, 1944, when a Japanese
tora-tora plane took a forced landing on the rice field near the
poblacion (the town). Santelices conducted an inquiry, and although
his first urge was to kill the pilot, he sent him instead to the
Japanese headquarters in Virac, the capital of Catanduanes, to
avoid potential disaster. He knew that Philippine troops and
recognized guerrillas would have killed the pilot themselves, and
the Japanese reprisal for that act would have been a merciless
burning of the poblacion and a massacre of innocent
The Japanese thanked Santelices for returning the pilot, but the
Philippine Commonwealth troops and the recognized guerrillas,
accusing him of being pro-Japanese, had the mayor arrested and
brought to trial. He was convicted and sentenced to die and be
buried with another Japanese pilot who made a forced landing in the
province of Camarines Sur. The condemned Japanese aviator was
decapitated first, and Santelices was then placed on the execution
block. Seconds before the sword was lowered, the wife of the slayer
cried out: "Save him...save him... save him! he is an innocent
man!" So, Santelices was freed.
Post War Era
After the Philippines regained its independence in 1946 and
Catanduanes became an independent province, the first elected
municipal mayor of Calolbon was Jose B. Surban (1947-1948). He was
followed by Jose de la Providencia (1948-1951) Francisco Imperial
(1952-1955) and Aristeo Arcilla (1956-1963). During the term of
Augusto T. Antonio (1964-1979). Calolbon was wired for electricity,
and the town's infrastructure was greatly improved. Augusto T.
Antonio was succeeded by Antonio Romano, MD (1980-1986) and then by
Pedro Surban (1986-1987) as "Officer in Charge" of the town. Surban
was succeeded by Lydia T. Romano (1987-1999), the first woman ever
elected as mayor of Calolbon.
The Parishes of San Andres
The people of San Andres have always been very religious. In 1989,
according to the Catholic Directory of the Philippines published by
the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the
town of San Andres had a total population of 18,369, the majority
of which were Roman Catholic. Others belonged to diverse religious
denominations which include Jehovah's Witness, the Iglesia ni
Cristo (Church of Christ), the Mormon Church and born-again or
The entire town of Calolbon was originally under the jurisdiction
of a single Catholic parish, the parish of St. Andrew the Apostle.
In the early 1950s, however, a new parish was established in the
large barrio (or neighborhood) of Manambrag. Saint Isidore Parish
now includes all of the farming community of San Andres plus some
barrios from outlying areas outside the Municipality.
The parish of St. Andrew the Apostle has a number of pious
associations many of which are dedicated to the Blessed Virgin
Mary. These associations provide the parishioners with a powerful
means of sanctification and an oppirtunity to take part in
apostolic activities. Members of these organizations consecrate
themselves to God in a very special way-by means of prayer, Mass
and daily Holy Communion. They strive to promote their devotion to
the Blessed Mother by every means, especially by example.
The Clergy of San Andres
As important to the development of the town of San Andres as the
secular leaders were Calolbon's religious.
Rev. Fr. Cornelio de Jesus (1798-1892) was the first parish priest
on record. He ministered to the own's spiritual needs for 29 years.
Fr. de Jesus was responsible for founding the parish church, which
was partially constructed of limestone, and he chose St. Andrew the
Apostle as patron saint of the parish because most people in
Calolbon were fishermen by profession.
The priests who saw the end of the Spanish Rule and the advent of
the American Era was Rev. Fr. Pio Imperial (1893-1902). During the
next two decades, two dynamic clerics guided and strengthened
theCatholic faithful of this town. They were Rev. Fr. Roberto
Floranza (1910-1920) and Rev. Fr. Dominiciano Camu (1920-1930). Fr.
Floranza concretely improved the church building, as it was badly
damaged by a typhoon a month before he assumed his office as cura
of the town. Floranza was a talented musician who organized a
liturgical choir that was often invited to perform at social
gatherings such as biladas and dotocas and at other public
Miraculous, growing "Stone of Paloway"
Bishop Manolo A. De Los Santos of the
Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) confirmed on
June 13, 2008, the existence of a
‘miraculous’ "growing" century old stone (now 3 inches in height)
in Paloway, San Andres, Catanduanes, Bicol
Region which has the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary and is said to heal
illnesses: “What is unexplainable is not that the stone grew in
size over the years, but the fact that the image of the Virgin was
never distorted as it grew."
Called “Batong Paloway (Stone
of Paloway)," it is at the altar of the Our Lady of Sorrows
chapel, a “de facto
shrine" in Barangay Paloway and the image is called “Our Lady of
San Andres is politically subdivided into 38 barangays
|Asgad (J.M. Alberto)
|Divino Rosto (Pob.)
|San Roque (Pob.)
|Santa Cruz (Pob.)
|Sapang Palay (Pob.)
- gmanews.tv, 'Miraculous' stone with image of Mary
'grows' in Bicol
[ [San Andres: A Place Called Home By: Jaime L. Santelices]