The site of the original settlement of Viga was believed to be at sitio Caviga-e, now called Small Viga. It was believed that the group of tribesmen led by “Abines” from the mainland were the first settlers thereof. Later due to frequent “Moro” incursions, they fled inland and settled in a place where the primitive inhabitants were akin to the pygmies. They called this place “Oco” (now barangay San Jose) which means short people or dwarfs. When the Moros stopped their plundering, they moved to the lowlands where the soil was more fertile. They selected an area wherein herbaceous giant-like plants, which they called “marviga” abundantly grew. The Spaniards called the settlement “Viga” a shorthand name for “Marviga”. The actual founding of Viga as a distinct political unit is closely associated with the Christianization of its inhabitants by the Spanish missionaries in the early part of the 17th century. However, Viga became officially created in year 1619 during the incumbency of Gov. Gen. Manuel de Leon.
The site of the original settlement of Viga was believed to be at Sitio Caviga-e, now called Small Viga. It was believed that the group of tribesmen led by “Abines” from the mainland Bicol were the first settler
thereof. Due to frequent “Moro” depredations, they fled inland and settled in a place where the primitive inhabitants were akin to pygmies. They called the place “Oco” (now Barangay San Jose) which means short people or dwarfs. When the Moro stopped their plundering, the settlers move to the lowlands where the soil was more fertile. They selected the area (now the Poblacion) where herbaceous giant gabi-like plants which they called “Marviga” abundantly grew. Other settlers preferred to stay in Oco and others extended their settlement to nearby places, now (Barangay of Roxas, Osmena, Rizal, Sagrada, Burgos, Almojuela, Quezon and Del Pilar). Those places during those time are densely forested, and the main sources of their living are fishing, hunting and farming. The settlers were of mixed stock as a result of enter-marriages between the natives and the migrating tribesmen. As population grows, settlement expanded to the eastern coastal part of Viga, they settled in a place called Tambongon and lately saturated the present coastal barangays.
Majority of the settlers of that place during those times were engaged in fishing, farming, and hunting. Fish nets were woven using fibers from abaca plant. They had also developed and converted part of the swamp area and the upland to agricultural land where rice, corn and root crops were planted. They also developed their skills in building wooden banca locally known as “balakwitan” used in fishing and transportation. During abundant catch of fish, salting, drying and smoking of fish is predominantly practiced during those times. Other early inhabitants preferred to stay in Ogbong and others moved to the forested areas now barangay Ananong, Mabini, Magsaysay and Begonia. People from this area are known for their skills in making “sakayan” (paddled banca suited for swamp areas). Since there was no electricity during those days, Viganons used “karaba” and “kingki” fueled by coconut oil or “sarong”. In catching fish, fishermen used “witwit” (coconut coir) as the source of light. “Agahid” and “bobo” are the usual fisher gear used in the swamp area, and lately “ambit”and “bintor” were used in catching fish, shrimps and crabs, respectively. “On-on” is the most common way of cooking fish. Meat from carabao, domesticated pigs and wild pigs and deer are usually salted and stored in “tapayan”, “adobo sa asin” was widely practiced in cooking in order to preserve the meat. They also practice “agon”, meat, octopus and squids and fish were put in an “agonan”, usually made of bamboo strips installed at upper portion of their “dapog” (a place where cooking took place using wood as fuel).
Viganons usually used their carabao in transporting their products, using “kangga” and lately, “kariton”. They usually walk (batlay) in going to other places. Bangquerohan served as transit point in going to mainland Bicol via sea.
There was no doctor or nurses during those times, and people resorted to “santigwar” and “albularyo”. Pregnant women gave birth at home through the aid of “partera”, assisted by “parapasikad”. Infant mortality and maternal mortality was high during those days.
There was no water system during those time, they usually make an “ugban” and “poso” where they can fetch water for drinking and for household chores. “Hungot” (made from coconut shell or bamboo shoots)
served as glass used for drinking water.
Settlers who moved to the poblacion area of Viga developed and converted (poblar) part of wet lands into an agricultural land. Swamp area of Viga during those time was so vast, extending to now Poblacion Area. The people of Viga then develop their skills in making nipa wine or “paog”.
Since there was no money used in commerce during those times, “barter system” was practiced. Chinese traders were already making business in Viga.
In the later part of 16th Century, a group of Spaniards believed to be a segment of Juan de Salcedo’s expedition reached the place and subdued the natives. The first Augustinian friar named Francisco Putiocan became the first Catholic Priest and recognized leader. The Spaniards called the settlement “Viga” a shortened name for “Marviga”. The name Viga was subsequently adopted as the official name of the municipality. The municipalities of Panganiban and Bagamanoc are then part of Viga until the time when they were created as municipalities.
In the early colonial era, Catanduanes was only composed of two towns. The first Viga, was founded in 1619 under the incumbency of Governor General Manuel de Leon. In 1676, he established another town, which is now the Municipality of Caramoran. Upon verification and referral to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, the year 1619 when Viga was claimed to be created, it was under the incumbency of Governor General Alonso Fajardo de Entenza who reigned from July 3, 1618 to July 1624. The creation of Caramoran in 1676 is during the incumbency of Governor General Manuel De Leon who served from September 24, 1669 to September 21, 1677. Either of the two accounts available relative to the founding of Viga which is 1619 or 1661, still Viga was the first municipality to be created in Catanduanes during the Spanish regime.
The actual founding of Viga as a political unit is closely associated with the Christianization of its inhabitants by the Spanish missionaries in the early part of 17th century. In Agustin de la Cavada’s Historia Geografica Geologica y Estadistica de Filipinas, published in 1876, Viga is said to be created on 1619. However in the book of Mariano Goyena del Prado’s Ibalon: Monografia de la Region Bicolano (1940), Viga was created on 1661. Like Cavada and Goyena there was no reference as to the establishment of Viga.
The municipality of Viga is also cited as a town in the Ereccion de pueblos, Albay 1772-1863. On the other hand, according to the 2004-2005 Catholic Directory of the Philippines (published by the CBCP) the parish of Viga was founded on 1661 under the patronage of Our Lady of Assumption, whose feast is celebrated on 15 August. Since the creation of Viga as a political unit is closely associated with the founding of the parish on 1661, Viga was then founded during the incumbency of Gov. General Sabiniano Manrique de Lara who reigned from July 25, 1653 to September 8, 1663.
With the advent of the Spanish regime, the inhabitants of Viga were easily converted to the Catholic faith. Other tribal leader’s resisted but later submitted themselves to the Spanish authorities. As time went on they felt however the abuses, cruelties and strain of the Spaniards. When the Philippine Revolution broke out, many able-bodied Viganons joined the nationalistic movement and fought the colonizer. They are known as the insurrectos. This nationalistic movement was closely identified with the Katipunan. When the American came, Viga was virtually liberated from the Spanish rule, civil government was established. When the Second World War broke out, Viga became the center of guerilla movement in Catanduanes. There are two groups of guerilla operating in Viga, the group of “Turko” and the group of “Miranda” both from mainland Bicol. There was a story that the group of Turko used the Catholic Church as their quarter, and unfortunately an ammunition exploded that resulted to death of some of his men, and injuring others. There are stories that after the explosion, an apparition of Virgin Mary happened. A pitch and running battle between the guerillas and escaping Japanese forces were simultaneously fought at Bangquerohan and Cabatangan where the latter was defeated. The Mayor of Viga during that time was Agapito T. Temporosa and the Vice-Mayor is Ajerico Mendoza. Many Japanese soldiers were killed and captured in Viga during the war. One significant event happened when a Japanese soldier named “Rudy” was captured and eventually put under the custody of Mayor Temporosa. The said soldier stayed long in Viga until he was turned over to higher authority and finally sent to Japan. There was once a Viganon who survived the death march; the late Zoilo Tutanes of Barangay San Jose (Pob), Viga, Catanduanes. There were other unknown Viganons who joined the guerilla forces but there was no available records to refer to.