Brief Historical Background


The Gubatnon forebears could have been those who have settled in Jupi, Tigkiw-na-Saday, and Bulacao during the Formative Filipino Period (1,000 BC to 500 A.D.). These assertions were supported by archeological explorations in Barangays Jupi and Bulacao by a team from the National Museum in the 1960s, which unearthed an ancient jar and vessel decorated with strips of clay in Barangay Jupi. It was concluded that the early settlers in Jupi had been there as early as 800 A.D.  Further, Dr. Luis Camara Dery, in his essay “Part 2- Footnotes to the History of Gubat, Sorsogon”, cited that two stone bark beaters and four stone axes recovered in Bulacao resembled the pottery-stone tools dated to be about 91 B.C. from the Bato Caves in the neighboring locality of Bacon District of Sorsogon City.

Meanwhile in Tigkiw-na-Saday, also a rural and hilly sitio of Barangay Tigkiw, earth jars covered by flatstones used for burials was discovered in 1978, which suggested that the group of people that lived there had probably settled in that place between 200 B.C. to 200 A.D. From this, it can be inferred that the settlement in Gubat had existed for more than 2,000 years. Recent diggings in Barangay Ariman, the place where the river that originates in Bentuco meets the sea, also reveal that the people who lived in this town were influenced if not actually populated by a number of foreigners. The jars removed underneath revealed that they were used as burial jars as some of them contained necklace beads and some precious stones.

When the Spaniards arrived in Sorsogon in 1569, they were surprised to find the inhabitants living peacefully. Fr. Jose Castaño, a missionary, described the early Bicolanos (including the early Gubatnons) as a race of impetuosity and valor fond of social dealings; more intelligent and vigorous, more active, industrious and warlike, and adjusted to live in compact villages.

In the eastern part of province of Sorsogon, the Franciscan missionaries established only two churches. One of them was built in Bacon and another one in Bulusan. These two towns developed much earlier than Gubat. It was also the period when the raiders sometimes called the “Joloans” made frequent raids all over Visayas and Luzon.

A 1572 document mentioned that there were already 41 settlements within Sorsogon during that time, 34 along the Sorsogon Gulf and 7 in eastern Sorsogon. Gubat belongs to the settlement along the eastern coast the others being Bacon, Bantugan, Danlog, Bulusan, Busaingan and probably Tagdon. Aramag, which was then the name of the first settlement in present-day Gubat was located in the mouth of Ariman and Aropag rivers with houses scattered around it. It was the center of activities since during those times, the major means of transportation was by boat through seas and rivers.

When a group of missionaries made a voyage by sea from Bacon to Bulusan, they encountered a heavy storm halfway through that destroyed their ship forcing them to land at Aramag in the morning of June 13, 1731.  Aramag, the former name of Gubat, is thought to have been adopted by Alamag, a Sitio of Tabi that is bounded on the east by barangay Ariman, and the site of the earliest settlement in the municipality. Before reaching the heart of the settlement, the missionaries heard several villagers shout “Gubat!” “Gubat!” (Raid! Raid!) to give warning to the people after a number of Moro joangas were seen nearing the shore for the surprise attack. The friars, thinking that they had made the villagers scamper around, tried to pacify them. The villagers, nevertheless, continued to shout “gubat!” “gubat!” ignoring the friars. The friars escaped the Moro raid by taking the hills southward until they reached the settlement at Bulusan. Somehow, the name “Gubat” struck and thereafter, it was used whenever Aramag is being referred to.