Tabugon: A mystical place

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

SOMEWHERE in the mountainous part of Kabankalan lies a mystical place perfect for relaxation and getaways.

The place is Barangay Tabugon, where one can have a leisurely jog in a beautiful foggy morning, dip in the coolness of its underground river in Udlom Cave, and have a therapeutic bath in Ma-init Hot Springs.

In Tabugon, one can explore the mystifying Carandogan caves, caverns and falls, commune with the endless beautiful vista of wilderness and its rolling hills, enjoy a relaxing balsa cruise along inspiring Tablas river, and get lost in Iping’s forest and caves.


Or be amused by Lola Oding and Lola Teodola antics and tales of yesteryears.

Welcome to Tabugon, and enjoy nature at its very best.


Kabankalan City Vice Mayor Delia Anacan, who is from Brgy. Tabugon, spearheaded a cultural study of the said barangay to identify its tourism potentials.

The study aims to look deeper into the “soul” of Tabugon. It earned an enthusiastic support from Barangay Captain Vincent Villo and his council.

The project is called “Panayasat.” Panayasat yielded so many discoveries: Tabugon has wonderful tourism attractions— caves and caverns, falls, magnificent rock formations, beautiful rivers and springs, colorful landscape, strong evidence of tribal presence, exotic flora and fauna, songs, binalaybays, dances, rituals, etc.

All these discoveries contribute to the development of the site as tourist destination. In the process, it will become a festival that will showcase Tabugon before, now and what it will be like in the future.

This project is being led by Zacharias “Biboy” De Guzman Gaturian as the cultural coordinator. Spearheading the study is this writer, who is the artistic director of Kalingaw: Ang Teatro Hiligaynon of the Cultural Outreach Training and Extension Program(COTEP) of the Center for the Performing Arts and Culture of West Negros University.

The struggles of the early settlers and their families inspired the dynamism of the present leaders to spearhead enthusiastically this gigantic work. The active support of the community keeps the fire burning in the hearts of the people involved in this effort.


Tabugon is an enigmatic name for a place in the middle of the wilderness which once was a dark forest in the mountainous part of Kabankalan.

It was once the seat of Dacongcogon Sugar Central which once thrived in the glorious days of sugar industry and contributed in elevating the livelihood of the local farmers and laborers.

Tabugon is named after an “act of driving or shooing away” the wild animals – simaron (wild carabaos), deers, monkeys, wild pigs, etc. – that gather around water holes to drink and to bath.

“Tabog” is a Hiligaynon word for “driving away or scaring.” It was said that people who would go to their farm met these animals on their way, the herds blocking their path while they flock in droves to drink in water holes. Thus the act of shooing delayed them. It was a daily task that the name tabog stuck and they later called the place “Tabugon.”

In the early days, Tabugon was populated by the Bukidnons which the locals called “Buki” and the famous powerful leader was Ompong. So many tales were weaved around the prowess of this legendary leader when the settlers from the lowlands came to answer the call of the government to turn this fertile land into farms.

The Bukidnons slowly went up the mountain, leaving the place to the lowlanders being led by Eduardo “Ado” Lachica.

Tabugon was once a sitio of Baranggay Tagoc, led by Lucas Coleta. In 1951 it became a barrio with Procopio Lescano Sr. as Teniente del Barrio and Pedro Georfo as vice.

The early settlers were the families of Lescano, Loriezo, Sayon, Dupo, Georfo, Poblador, Latoza, Tangis, Medina, Paglomutan, Macabales, Alabi and Alonzagay.

During the Magsaysay regime this became the site of the homesteading program of the national government. President Ramon Magsaysay visited the place riding a helicopter and the place where he landed is presently marked by the barangay rotunda.

The plan then was to name the place as Luzville town in honor of the wife of Magsaysay – Luz Banson Magsaysay. This made Tabugon a flourishing agricultural land.

In 1968, under the leadership of Monsignor Antonio Y. Fortich and the late Mr. Benjamin Gaston, Dacongcogon Sugar and Rice Milling Co. Inc. was organized and constructed near the Tablas River.

With the sugar mill in operation, strong economic activity was an attraction for people from other places to come— a new wave of migrants.

After Dacongcogon Sugar Mill closed its operations, the people suffered. The residents struggled much but this did not dampen their spirit, slowly they rose and once again Tabugon is now strongly standing on its feet.(Ismael Java)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 07, 2014.


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