By: Mrs. Lourdes J. Gaza
The place was a wilderness – wild flowers here there, verdant hills beyond, a brook of sparkling water, open spaces filled with trees laden with fruits, guavas, lomboy, susong kalabaw, aratiles, black berries, bignay, alupag, haluloy and others. In this setting were some pretty maidens with long, black hair washing clothes and bathing in the brook.
That was when a group of Spaniards first came to this place. Surprised, amazed they exclaimed, “Que Hermosa! Que Hermosa!“. The boys who accompanied their sisters repeated what they heard from the Spaniards. Returning to their parent’s home they repeated again and again what the spaniards exclaimed. When the next batch of Spaniards visited the place, they asked for the name of the place. The folks who didn’t understand Spanish answered “Hermosa, Hermosa” and that was how Hermosa got its name.
Another version of this tale with the same setting was that the Spaniards said, “Las Mujeres son muy Hermosa“.Another Spaniards encounter “Esta llana, es muy Hermosa” the brothers of the maidens who were then pasturing carabaos exclaimed to the ladies, did you hear what they said? “One of them replied. “Yan ang llana Hermosa“.
Before the Spanish came to town, Hermosa was called Mabuyan, derived from a variety of rattan that grew abundantly along the banks of the river. The town was also called Babuyan because of the many wild pigs that roamed around.
During this time, Hermosa was known as a trading post to many of the Chinese and Manila-based traders. Almacen was used as a seaport just like Hagonoy in Bulacan and Sangley Point in Cavite. Most of the people resided in the said coastal barrio.
Life then was simple. Elders governed the place and the people had pagan beliefs.
The town of Hermosa was established on May 8, 1756 with St. Peter de Verona as patron saint. It used to be part of Orani until the Dominican Order made Hermosa an independent missionary center during the British invasion of Manila. On the same year, Hermosa officially became a town with the approval of Governor Manuel de Arandia. In 1762, the Dominicans retreated to Bataan in order to escape the British and they decided to make Hermosa their provincial headquarters in Bataan.
When the Philippine revolution broke out in 1896, 2000 revolutionaries led by a man named General Medina raided the town of Hermosa with the mission to burn the whole town and kill the friar and all the people of Hermosa who were very supportive of the Spaniards. Doña Ursula Santos Tantiangco played an important role during this time. She was dubbed as the Tandang Sora of Hermosa.ApongSula, as she was called, invited the rebels in her house for food and shelter. While she was helping the rebels, she was also pleading with General Medina not to destroy the whole town. Because of her generosity to the rebels, General Medina granted her request. The rebels took the life of the friar and Spaniards residing in the town but spared the lives of the rest of the people living in Hermosa.
In 1898, The Spanish-American War broke out in Cuba and eventually reached the Philippines. The Philippines, during this time, was in the process of gaining its independence from the Spanish rule. On June 12, 1898, Emilio Aguinaldo declared the Philippine independence from Spain in Kawit Cavite. The first Philippine republic was established the following year. While this was happening, however, Spain and the United States signed the 1898 Treaty of Paris, which stated the turnover of the Philippines from the Spanish rule to the American rule for 20 million dollars. The United States did not recognize the first Philippine Republic and so the Philippine-American War broke out. It ended with American control over the islands, which were then administered as an insular area.
An American governor was appointed for Bataan – Harry Gouldman (1901-1903). The first Filipino governor was Tomas G. del Rosario of Balanga (1903-1905). He was followed by: Lorenzo Zialcita of Orani (1905-1907); Pedro J. Rich of Samal (1907-1909); Mariano Rosauro of Balanga (1909-1912); and Maximino R. de los Reyes of Balanga (1912-1916). In Hermosa, Alejandro Bernaldo of Daungan was the first appointed Mayor in 1901. Marcos Tantiangco of San Pedro, on the other hand, was the first elected town executive in 1903.
On April 23, 1913, Hermosa suffered a great conflagration. The center of the town was almost destroyed by fire. All houses were razed except for a few small huts. As a result, Mariano Rosauro, the Provincial Governor at that time, merged Hermosa and Dinalupihan into just one town.
A special election was held in 1914 and Tomas Sobrevinas of Dinalupihan became the 7th elected mayor of Hermosa and Dinalupihan. In 1915, Gregorio Jaring of Hermosa replaced Sobrevinas. The Dinalupihan residents, however, continued to acknowledge Sobrevinas as their real and true mayor until 1922. In 1916, Dinalupihan and Hermosa were separated and Estanislao Ramos of San Pedro was elected Mayor that same year. He won three times and served until 1925.
Aside from the concept of Democracy, the Americans also brought better education to the province of Bataan. Three Thomasites were assigned in Bataan: Frank A. Butts, in Abucay; C.H. Goddarch, in Mariveles; and Bessie Taylor, in Balanga.
Native teachers were eventually trained. Night schools were established and provincial school offered English courses. Orani opened its first American school on February 27, 1902. In 1904, Balanga had a complete elementary school. Private schools were also founded. In 1925, a high school was established in Orani. All of these developments in education gave the residents of Hermosa ample opportunities for higher learning. Life was good for the people of Hermosa.
Hermosa was also a witness to the infamous Bataan Death March. Civilians of Hermosa risked the fury of the Japanese by secretly passing food to the Filipino and American soldiers. The gesture was out of love for all the heroes who fought in Bataan in the name of freedom and democracy. Some residents also snatched a number of the marching prisoners from the line and hid them safely. They also buried the bodies of those who died on the road.
Allied troops defeated the Japanese in 1945. On July 4, 1946, the Philippines attained its independence.
Hermosa is now a thriving community. Several big investors have already established their business in this town, one of them is a Nissan Showroom by the Laus Auto Group. This is quite an achievement for the town of Hermosa because this is the very first automotive dealership of a major brand name in the whole province of Bataan.
Integragted Meat and Poultry Processing Inc. (IMPPI) is also another major investor that can be found here. IMPPI is a private corporation, which owns and operates a poultry dressing plant, exclusively processing chickens from contract growers of San Miguel Foods, Inc. (SMFI). The plant serves majority of the whole dressed chicken and cut-ups requirements of wet markets in Bataan, Zambales, and some areas in Pampanga. It also caters SMFI’s major institutional requirements as well as Jollibee, McDonalds, and KFC.
One of the biggest developments in Hermosa, however, is the establishment of the Hermosa Ecozone Industrial Park (HEIP) — a 165 hectares world-class industrial estate. HEIP is also registered as a special economic zone with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA). This means that businesses registered at HEIP benefit from certain tax exemptions as afforded to them by the Philippine government.On May 2011, the first investor, Sumi Wiring System, Inc., a Japanese corporation involved in the production of automotive harnesses, signed a contract as locator at HEIP.Sumi targets to begin operations by the first quarter of 2012.
With new infrastructure developments, businesses and plans to move Hermosa forward, the municipality is set on its path to achieving new heights.
Hermosa is one of the Eleven (11) municipalities of Bataan. It is 21 kilometers north of Balanga City, Capital of Bataan and 105 kilometers from Manila.
|BARANGAY||LAND AREA (HAS)|
|2. A. Rivera||9.17|
|19. Sacrifice Valley||345.83|
|20. San Pedro||47.17|
|22. Sto. Cristo||15.00|