Cuyo Church and Fort
Roman Catholic Parish Church of San Agustin / Location: Cuyo, Palawan / Built 1683, renovated 1827 / Builder: Juan de Severo, OAR
In 1622 the parish of Cuyo was founded by the Augustinian Recollects on the island of the same name. It was their first landfall in the island district that was then known as Calamianes, and now as the province of Palawan. Sent by the Dominican Pedro Arce, bishop of Cebu, were the Recollects Francisco de San Nicolas, Diego de Santa Ana, Juan de Santo Tomas, and a lay brother Francisco de la Madre de Dios. The first church to be built in the province was that of Cuyo. Other churches were later built in towns organized by the friars: Agutaya, 1622; Taytay (on Paragua, now Palawan, island), 1622, with a fort built in 1626; Balabac, 1861; Parawan, Dumaran, and Linapacan, 1861; and Busuanga, 1868.
Cuyo served as the first capital of the district. A stepping stone linking the Calamianes Islands with the Visayas and Luzon, its strategic position within a transportation and trade route made it imperative that it be fortified.
In 1752, the Recollect provincial wrote a memorandum to the king of Spain informing him of the various hardships suffered by the missions because of slave-raiding attacks within his jurisdiction. In 1751 and 1752, pirates killed 489 Christians and ravaged the towns of Catalan, Palawan; Sabili in Maestre de Campo Island; Caolo, Sapao, and Cabonto in Siargao Island; and Bongabon, Dongon, and Basig in Mindoro. Attacks by slave-raiding bands beginning the previous century—in 1602, 1626, 1632, 1636, 1638, 1640, 1645, 1646, 1650, 1652, 1658, 1666, 1667—convinced the Recollects that it was necessary to build fortresses at the expense of their order, without any financial aid from the government. The Recollects built eight stone fortresses equipped with arms, bullets, and gunpowder in Cuyo, Agutaya, Taytay, Culion, and Linapacan in Palawan province; in Romblon and Banton islands; and in Mobo, Masbate. Maestros de campo or field chiefs, captains, lieutenants, and other officials drawn from the native population were all appointed by the crown but supervised by the parish priest.
SOURCE: Manila News-Intellegencer
Originally posted 2009-11-22 00:46:00.