Upon the arrival of the Legazpi Expedition in 1565, General Miguel Lopez de Legazpi was told the story of the destruction of the Dapitan or Bo-ol Kingdom two or three years before. It was already a relatively large kingdom that controlled the island of Bohol and has influence over other places such as island of Limasawa; Cabalian, Southern Leyte; Bagangga Bay in Davao Oriental; Butuan in the island of Mindanao, and Tanay, in Negros Oriental.


            The people living within the capital of the kingdom fled with the ruling prince named Pagbuaya to a place now called Dapitan City in Zamboanga del Norte. Even though thousands fled with Pagbuaya, there were still large riverine and coastline settlements in Bohol that could qualify to be called a town by Spanish standards.




The passed on folktale tells about some people pounding rice. When the Spanish priest came by, he asked, “What is the name of this place?”. The people thought that the priest was asking what they were doing and replied, “Naglubok mi og humay (We’re pounding some rice).” So the priest recorded the name Loboc. This is a naïve folktale fit only for children’s stories.

            The records are very clear that the priest, Fr. Juan de Torres, before he came to the place, already knew that the name of the place was Loboc.

            Fr. Francisco Combes, S.J, in his book Historia de Mindanao y Jolo, written in 1690, was of the opinion that the origin of the name Loboc was the Bisayan word lubog. It means murky water Fr. Combes claimed that the murky water of the Loboc River. Especially during rainy season, gave rise to the name Loboc.

This is a better explanation but not yet satisfactory. It is not all the time that the river was lubog or murky. Also, the Loboc River is long, and why would Loboc  refer only to a particular place?

            In the old Bisayan dictionary, Diccionario Español-Bisaya (1885) there is only one entry for the word Loboc.

                        Loboc. – maja, pilar palay, borona, el arroz para limpiardo y blanquearlo bien. (To pound rice, millet, so the grains become clean and whitened.)

            This is the only meaning now commonly known. This is the reason for the simple folktale.

            In the Vocabulario De La Lengua Bisaya (1618) there are two entries for the word lubuk. One meaning is to pound anything and it is similar to the above mentioned definition. The other entry is;

            Lubuk. – caosoran; casaboyan.


            These definitions are Bisayan words. The base word for caosoran is osod. The base word for casaboyan is saboy. Their meanings are the following:

            Osod. – Rehuirse; salirse de fuencaje. (Where one withdraws to or retires; where one goes to hide.)

            Saboy. – Lo usado; lo comun; lo frequentado. (That which is usually used; that which is common; that which is frequented.)


            Therefore the meaning of Loboc or lubuk is a place where one usually goes to flee in order to hide. This is a fitting description of the place. In fact, when Moro pirates attacked Baclayon on 16 October 1600, the Spaniards decided to flee and hide in Loboc. It was there where they transferred the residencia or headquarters of the Spanish Mission in Bohol.

            Msgr. Manuel Yap did another interpretation. He made use of the Sugbuanon Bisayan word loboc that was still often used in 1947. He found out that it was derived from the Malayan word lubuk that means, a deep portion of the river.

            Near the present-day Catholic Church of Loboc, Bohol is a deep portion of the Loboc River. Until the year 1953, seagoing ships used to berth at the place.

            This is an apt observation because it makes Loboc as a cachetonym or a term taken from a prominent feature of the place. The usual reference to the deep portion of the river, especially as a place for anchorage, gave the name Loboc to the place and its surroundings.


            The Creation.  The report of Fr. Juan de Torres to his superiors had the following statements;

            “In this town (Baclayon), despite barely six (6) months in Christianity…”, “I left Baclayon and its parishioners for the river called Loboc… At the town of Hinaguana (Hinawanan), I, Don Juan Batto, his wife, and other good people, planned where to enter (Loboc) because the people were hesitant to pay the tribute-tax to the Spaniards…”

            “Meanwhile, six (6) chiefs from the neighboring sites arrived with their spears and they confronted me with great sarcasm. Do you want to go to the mountains? The mountain people do not want to be Christians.”

            “… I instructed the boy with us to treat them as friends and prepare food and drinks and let the tired chiefs rest… I gave each one of them some linen, frames, safety pins and bowls. One of them said to me if those things I was giving would be returned after death? I answered; we are not like some people they knew who demanded them back later on… They were consoled and deciding together, told me, ‘Choose the place where to build the town, the convent, and the church.’ I indicated the place and told them that I will not sail until the convent and church was built. Immediately they started felling trees for lumber to build the town, the convent, and the church. At that time there was no attempt to Christianize them but only to befriend them…”


            “There were united eleven sites or small town.. Ther came to join three thousand (3,000) souls from around the Loboc River. The river was deep and wide.”

            “From (Loboc), I returned to Baclayon, and I found it much more developed due to diligence and zeal of Father Gabriel (Sanchez).”

            Similar to Baclayon, the town of Loboc was not officially created in its civil aspect. It was only established as the natural consequence of the events at the time. Father Torres gathered three thousand (3,000) inhabitants in the new town he established.

            To hold together 3,000 people, there must be some kind of civil organization. However, the only official that we can find on the available records was an aguacil or constable. Nonetheless it was an indication that there was a civil government.

            Father Juan de Torres went to Loboc sometime after six (6) months from their arrival in Baclayon. After the wooden church was finished it was advocated to Saint Peter, the Prince of the Apostles. Taking a clue from the Spanish practice of giving names in honor of Patron Saints whose Feast Day fall on the event, then we can say that the date the building was finished was June 29, 1597. It was the Feast Day of Saint Peter and it is a little over six (6) months from 17 November 1596, the date of arrival of the Jesuit Priests in Bohol.

            Therefore we can say that the starting date of the establishment of the town of Loboc must be June 29, 1597 and it is clear in the statement of Fr. Torres that the town was established only in the civil aspect.


            Coverage Area. The records could not say what the coverage area of the town of Loboc was. It did not have a definite boundary. The coverage area just radiated from the established town center, which was very near the present location of the Catholic Church, and included as far as one goes to the hinterlands because there was no other town in existence.


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