Bulan has 63 Barangays.
THE ANCIENT BARANGAYS OF BULAN
Long before the Spaniards came to the Philippines, and to Bulan, our place must already have been dotted with settlements and communities, from the edge of what is now Sitio Inalapan (Danao) to the North and “Botag” to the south. Even the mainland of Bulan must have these villages already. The proofs are the archeological artifacts of jar burial sites such as those in Fabrica, San Juan Daan and Taromata and those communities doing trade and commerce with Chinese traders as can be evidenced by the Chinese wares excavated in places like Liman, Magsaysay, Gate, and other areas in Bulan.
These settlements were called Barangays,composed of more orless 100inhabitants. The leaders or heads of these settlements were called Datu, or Panginoo or Pangolo. The word barangay originally meant the boat used by the migrant Malays who settled in our country around 200 B.C. When the Spanish colonizers came, they retained that name for the settlements and called the village headman as Cabeza de Barangay.
BARANGAYS UNDER THE SPANIARDS
In July 1569, the Spanish colonizers sailing from Masbate dropped anchor in Otavi and here they celebrated the very firstholy Mass in the island of Luzon. A settlement up north was called Bililan.
In 1640, Gate was made a visita of Bulusan. In 1690, it became a separate Pueblo Civil and Parish. During these times, whatever settlement there might have been recognized was already headed by a Cabeza de Barangay.
In 1746, Gate, together with many other settlements in Bulan and Sorsogon Province was raided, pillaged, and burned by the Moros. The survivors of the raid sought refuge in the mountains. Some settled in what is now San Juan Daan.
Due to the incessant Moro raids, many sought refuge in the hinterlands; the coastal areas were deserted.
BULAN REBUILT: THE FIRST OFFICIAL BARANGAYS OF BULAN
In 1801, when Bulan was refounded along the Maribok River, four barangays were officially recognized as cabeceras or Districts of Bulan: Otavi, Gate, San Juan (Daan) and Buenavista (in Irosin). Each was headed by a Cabeza. These Cabezas were appointed by the Parish Priest. In the 1860s upto the 1900, the Cabezas were appointed by the Capitanes del Pueblo or the equivalent of the Town Mayor now. The very first officially recognized Cabezas of Bulan in 1801 were Don Juan Austria of Otavi, Don Juan Cipriano of Gate, Don Juan Selleso of San Juan and Don Juan Santiago of Buenavista.
THE MAURA LAW
In 1893, the Maura Law was passed. This Spanish Law established tribunales, municipals/ pueblos and juntas provinciales. The pueblos were divided and subdivided into barrios (wards) and barangays under tenientes del barrio and cabezas de barangay, respectively. Barangays were villages with 100-150 families. Some barangays of Bulan were established during this period.
BARRIOS UNDER THE AMERICANS
In 1899, the American Government issued General Orders Nos. 40 and 43. The barangays were renamed as Barrios. The Barrio head was still the Cabeza, who at the same time was a member of the Municipal Council. By this time, Bulan had 11 Barrios, aside from the Poblacion: Inalapan (now, Danao), Namo, Inararan, Calomagon, San Francisco, Bignin, San Juan Bag-o, Capacuhan (San Ramon), Gate, Otabi, Botag. In 1901, Jamor-awon became a Barrio. In 1901, under Act No. 82 or the Municipal Code, the Cabeza became a Barrio Lieutenant or “Teniente del Barrio”. He was appointed by a Municipal Councilor.
In 1903, Bulan had 12 Barrios plus the Poblacion.
In 1918, J. Gerona, Marinab, and Padre Diaz were already included officially in the census. There were now already 15 barrios. In 1939, Barrio Quezon, Recto, and R. Gerona were already in the census list.
In 1931, Act No. 3861 was adopted, and a barrio council was organized: the Lieutenant and four councilors. They were all appointed by a Municipal Councilor. Barrios were also created by acts of Congress (until 1963).
By virtue of R.A. 1245 of 1955, the first Barrio election was held on January 19, 1956. On June 20, 1959, RA 2370 or the Barrio Charter Act was passed.
In 1963, the revised Barrio Charter (RA 3590, amending RA 2370, Barrio Charter) was enacted.The title Barrio Lieutenantwas changed to Barrio Captain. There were 21 barrios in Bulan created under the Revised Barrio Charter. On January 9, 1969, during the incumbency of Mayor Luis G. de Castro, Sr., Somagongsong, Dolos, Montecalvario, Sigad, Sta. Teresita were constituted. And in 1972, under Provincial Board Resolutions No. 112, Obrero, Managanaga, Libertad, Rizal, Imelda, Osmena, Bonifacio, Calpi, Quirino, Taromata, Roxas, Sagrada, and Abad Santos were created.
“BARANGAYS” ONCE MORE
In 1973, when the 1973 Constitution was ratified, barrios in cities and town centers (Poblacion) were created. The Poblacion was divided into eight zones.
On September 21, 1974, PD No. 557 was promulgated declaring all Barrios in the Philippines as Barangays.By 1975, there were already 63 barangays in Bulan, including the eight zones created in 1973.
In 1983, the Local Government Code (BP 337) was enacted, and the governance of the barangay units was also stipulated in this law. In 1991, RA 7160 was approved, effectively giving autonomy and more powers to the barangay Governments.