History of San Manuel
MUNICIPALITY OF SAN MANUEL
The town’s name originated from
early settlers’ founder, Don Manuel Sequig amid the town’s existence in 1614,
when Poblacion was in Pau (now Curibetbet) with a population of 2,023.
In 1688 the Convento was erected
and in 1720, both the church and convent were in place at Pau but were burned
down due to a bad omen superstition, hence Asingan fused San Manuel was but
natives moved Guiset, a name of San Manuel (great bamboo thickets). In 1860,
San Manuel was decreed a
town for the second time. San
Manuel became a town, 44 years before Asingan was, but was absorbed by the
latter from 1903 to 1907. (Source:Mr. Crispo Baclit, “Ti Ababa Nga
Pakasaritaan Ti Ili a San Manuel, Pangasinan”) The town was named after
Don Manuel Sequig, the founder and leader of the settler who explore the virgin
forest from the bank of the Agno River, towards the grassy lands of the west,
to the foot of the Cordillera Mountains in the North.
When San Manuel became a town in
1614, the site of the Poblacion was in Pau (now known as Curibetbet) and had a
population of 2,123. As the population continued to swell in 1688, the
inhabitants thought of erecting the first church and convent. It was also the
same year that Asingan was lying out its town site call sinapog. In 1720, the
church and convent built in Pau were burned down and the people believed it to
be a bad omen so they abandoned the site and went to Sinapog to live. This was
then the time when San Manuel was absorbed by Asingan for the first time.
However, some of the inhabitants
moved westward to the placed called Guiset, a name given to San Manuel which
was derived from the great bamboo thickets that were plentiful in the area
during the time. In 1860, San Manuel separated from Asingan and became a town
for the second time, but its site was no longer Pau in its present location.
For brief period from 1903 to 1907, due to lack of funds, San Manuel was again
absorbed by Asingan for the second time. San Manuel was again become a town.
Now San Manuel was known of its man-made
structure, San Roque Multi-Purpose Dam Project or the San Roque Power
Corporation which was the second largest Dam in Asia.
SAN MANUEL DURING WORLD WAR II
San Manuel which was completely destroyed during the World War II has risen again to a more progressive and more peaceful place to live in. Now San Manuel belongs to first class municipality. Proactive governance paves the way for the significant achievements of the Local government of San Manuel led by Hon. Mayor Salvador M. Perez and at present time by his son Hon. Mayor Kenneth Marco S. Perez and the supportive and sustained efforts of the local officials to improve the lives of the masses was achieved through good governance, entrepreneurship, health reform, agricultural development and poverty reduction. All thanks to Almighty God and to all the municipal officials that they continue to pursue excellence.
SAN MANUEL DURING THE JAPANESE OCCUPATION
During the Japanese occupation, the town of San Manuel gained a special prominence as favorite execution place of people from central and western Pangasinan because of the town’s relatively peaceful atmosphere. But this peace and quiet pervading the town in the dark years of World War II, was distributed when Japanese soldiers made up of contingents of tanks, armored cars, and other was vehicle was vehicles in pursuit of retreating USAFFEE soldiers, entered the town.
During the war of the liberation in January 1945, San Manuel gains special prominence in history when it is dubbed as ”Little Bataan” because of the fierce fighting that ensured between the American forces and the retreating Japanese soldiers headed by Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita. The Poblacion became bloody encounter between desperate enemies of the American soldiers. It took the FILAM forces of the 24th Division of the First Assault reinforced by the 32nd division, 15 days to drive the last enemy from the territorial boundary of San Manuel, once the most peaceful town, with heavy casualties in terms of civilians, FILAM and Japanese soldiers, leaving practically all office buildings, schools, and homes, razed to the ground. General Douglas MacArthur, also in January 1945, made San Manuel his advance mobile headquarters, located at the site now occupied by the Alcantara family.