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Three hundred and forty-four years ago, Spanish Franciscan friars, 39 years after having established Christianity in Malinao in 1619, planted the Cross on a virginal land near the shore north of Malinao. The land was luxuriant with a gabi-like plant named Tigbi. Hence, the friars called the place Tigbi, which evolved into Tivi and, then, finally to its present name Tiwi.
This place began as a barrio of Malinao before it was formally organized as a politically independent pueblo in 1696. As a pueblo, it was governed by a gobernadorcillo. As a Catholic parish, it was administered by a secular priest under the then Diocese of Nueva Caceres, now an archdiocese. In its primeval stages, it had some 1,105 houses, a parish church, a community-funded primary school, and a cemetery outside the town proper. The villagers ordinarily engaged in fishing, planting rice, corn, sugarcane, indigo, fruit-bearing trees, and vegetables. Aside from agriculture, they also busied themselves weaving cotton and abaca clothes, and in pottery.
n Kagnipa, known today as Barangay Baybay, the dilapidated Sinimbahan, the remnant of the first concrete house of worship built by the Franciscans led by the pastor of Malinao, Fray Pedro de Brosas, remains to be the deaf witness of both the villagers’ ready acceptance of the Christian faith and their suffering of persecution at the hands of the Moslems; Christian missionaries called them Moros. The parola by the shore of Sitio Nipa of the same barangay testifies to the people’s paralyzing fear of the Moros’ capricious forays. The market site of the pueblo before these raids was located in the present location of Baybay Elementary School. In order to sidetrack surprise attacks, at least temporarily, the market site was transferred to southernmost part of now Brgy. Baybay; henceforth, it was called Binanwaan.
The transfer, however, was useless. Finally, to have enough time to escape and keep themselves safer from their enemies’ easy attacks, they moved the market site and their settlement to the present poblacion now named as Barangay Tigbi. Before the Moro’s assaults, Brgy. Baybay was then the center of trade and commerce because of its easy accessibility to marine transportation of goods from the islands of what are now known as Catanduanes, San Miguel, Rapu-Rapu, and Batan, not to mention those from adjoining pueblos in the mainland of Ibalon, now the province of Albay, and the Camarines.
In the extant records of the municipality, the first chief executive of the municipal government was Don Lorenzo Mancilla installed in 1776.
Legazpi City to Tiwi is about 45 minutes to an hour of travel. If you reach the poblacion just go farther north about 2 kms to reach the turn for Joroan. Signage can be spotted. Another 5 km drive on paved and winding road will take you to the resorts.
From the terminal in Legazpi City, take the van going to Tiwi. Get down at the Tiwi poblacion or at the final stop.
View San Lorenzo Church, Tiwi in a larger map
Text source: Tiwi LGU