History Of Bongabong

Mythical Origin

Several articles were written on the history of Bongabong but not one could be officially considered. The closest assumption, however, is that the name Bongabong was derived from the word “Binago” meaning a big and turbulent river, attributed to the first settlers known as the Mangyans. This turbulent river is now called the “Bongabong River”.

It is believed that the first set of government was established at the original town site in Sitio Anilao where the old church still stands. Due to frequent Moro raids, however, the settlement was later transferred to the southern bank of Bongabong River, opposite to its present site.

The town was given several names such as “Binago” and “Sukol” named after the river leading to Anilao, which was said to be a barrio with historical significance. During the short-lived revolutionary administration, the town’s name was changed to “Sumilang” by Col. Juan Naguit, a close friend of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. On 7 December 1927, it was officially recognized as the town of Bongabong through Legislative Bill No. 3415 of the colonial Philippine Commission.

Bongabong and the American Era

During the American Era, the town was attached to Pinamalayan as a barrio due to its poor financial condition, which could not maintain a local government. It was not until 1920 that this town became a separate municipality. With the opening of the national highway in 1937, Bongabong progressed so rapidly. The settlers rushed in to seek land and work. And because of the abundance of undeveloped and uncultivated lands, many settlers were able to acquire larger areas, which convinced them to settle permanently in the area.

The town’s progress may be attributed to its vast agricultural land and forest resources, which are the main sources of the means of livelihood of the people. The town’s 36 barangays are distributed over a vast sprawling agricultural area. Coconut plantations cover the coastal plains. The opening of several sawmills in 1945 along with an increasing number of commercial establishments also contributed to this progress. The income of Bongabong then began to soar. Minor products abound in the area which includes almaciga and rattan. Many fishermen enjoy lucrative income from the excellent fishing grounds along the coast of the municipality.


The first Municipality in the Island of Mindoro who fought and expressed its grievances against the cruelty and tyranny of the Spaniards against the Filipinos & the Municipality created & recognized under Legislative Act. No. 3415 on December 7, 1927.

MUNICIPAL MAYOR’S AND OIC’S (During the 20th Century)

CAMILO UMALI - Appointed during the Spanish Regime when the town was still called SUMILANG.

ISIDRO UMALI - Appointed during the Civil Government in 1902.