The Founders of Hinulawan (1861 - 1869)
Toledo City came from Old Hinulawan and New Hinulawan. Old Hinulawan, presently called Daanglungsod, was founded by Mariano Libre, Fulgencio Lebumfacil, Areston Macapaz, Adriano Blanco, and Tranquilino Blanco. New Hinulawan, presently called Toledo (on the present site), was founded by Fermin Poloyapoy, Maximo Macapobre, Jacinto Lopez, Servando de Jesus, Juan Libre, Agapito Nieves, Francisco Blanco, and Francisco Rodriguez.
Old Hinulawan (1861)
The town of Hinulawan of 1861 was a settlement of more than fifty families. Its abundant seas and river also called Hinulawan was a typical pueblo situated along the shore of Tanon Strait. The town is southwest of Hinulawan river. It had a stone-walled church and convent, a school, and a paseo (public park). It had an ambulant marketplace from neighboring barangays, muslim seafarers and Chinese merchants coming across the seas who came and traded with the town.
The town was bounded on the south by thick mangroves and nipa swamps extending to at least a kilometer, and fertile farmlands and coconut trees beyond as far as Ibo river. On the north and northwest by the Tanon Strait; on the south and southwest by uplands and hills covered by thick forests as far as Tubod; on the northeast is the Hinulawan river.
Even before it became a town in 1861, Hinulawan was already a flourishing trade center on the west coast of Cebu Province. It was where people from other areas came to meet, bringing with them their farm products and articles of trade. They traded with locals and foreigners (Moslem and Chinese traders). Some of these foreigners settled and intermarried with the locals, which contributed to the growth of Hinulawan from a mere sitio of Balamban into a progressive town.
The founders of Hinulawan as a town together with the church, led by the parish priest Father Servando Seone, all worked for public welfare. It was during their term of office that the town saw its golden age. Stonewalls were built along the riverbanks as flood control. Wooden piers were built to accommodate more foreign trading boats. A convent and church were erected for their beloved pation saint Saint John of Sahagun in traditional Spanish architecture. Adjoining swamps were partly reclaimed. Better and bigger schools for the children were built. Industries such as fishing, pottery making, and other cottage industries flourished yielding more prosperity and wealth to the town.
Destruction of Old Hinulawan (1863)
On June 3, 1863, a series of earthquakes shook Hinulawan. The first tremor caused the newly built school to kneel. Several houses were destroyed. The church facade collapsed and many settlers were hit, killed and others wounded from falling debris. The second tremor completely destroyed the church and the convent. The earthquake caused the lowlands to crack in different directions and the stonewalls along the river banks crumbled. The ground sagged causing seawater and riverwater to rush in, flooding the town to the waistline. Another tremor, and the town of Hinulawan was completely destroyed. The survivors were rescued by neighboring sitios from the highlands.
New Hinulawan (1863-1869)
The following days after the earthquake, the refugees were helped by the residents of Tubod, made clearings in the nearby virgin forest and plateaus among which was a cemetery where they buried their dead. They rebuilt their cogon-roofed houses on these clearings. Others built their homes at the foot of the Tubod highlands. Others decided to migrate to neighboring sitios of Da-o, Bulok-bulok, to as far as Landahan and Sam-ang. And others became pioneers in the opening of new settlements like Cabitonan and Batohanon. Other refugees and their descendants decided to go back to the old site of Old Hinulawan after many years when its depressed lowelands had gradually regained its original level. This new barangay (district) is currently named Daanglungsod. Majority chose to remain in this new site and for many years strived hard to regain the prosperity they once had in the ruined town of Old Hinulawan.
Later, to protect New Hinulawan from pirate attacks which was frequent in the towns that line the Tanon Strait, the town built a bulwark (a defense grid). This bulwark was made of chopped and piled up stone blocks. This bulwark was destroyed by age and its remnants were buried in the sand during the construction of the old municipal, which was in turn destroyed during World War II.
Pueblo Toledo (1869-1960)
In 1869, Father Servando Seone was transferred to another parish. He was replaced by Father Mariano Brazal (1869-1876). Mariano was a Filipino (the old term used to describe Spaniards who were born in the Philippines). He was a liberal who campaigned vigorously for the Filipinization of the parishes.
At this time, the provincial governor to Cebu was Esteban Perez (also a liberal). Esteban was a native of Toledo, Spain. Esteban and Mariano were close friends. They were both ecstatic over the appointment of the new Spanish Governor General to the colonies. He was Carlos Maria de la Torre (1869-1872). He was also a native of Toledo and a fellow liberal.
Mariano and Esteban both welcomed Carlos in Manila among others, where they all got to meet and discuss issues. Esteban told Carlos about New Hinulawan, one of the towns in the province of Cebu. Estebans lovely Filipina wife was from Talavera, one of New Hinulawan's barangays (district). He told Carlos that New Hinulawan was similar in many respects to their beloved homeland of Toledo. The winding river of Hinulawan was like the Tagus. They could see Toledo in New Hinulawan's forests and hills and verdant lowlands, and above all in the industry and peace loving character of its people. Esteban, prompted by his deep longing for his homeland, with the comformity of Father Mariano, recommended to the amiable governor-general Carlos changing the name of New Hinulawan to Toledo. Carlos agreed.
Toledo City (1960-present)
It was made into a city in 1960 through the efforts of former congressman Manuel Zosa,and for a large part due to the Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation in Don Andres Soriano, Toledo City. Although not very much as progressive as Cebu's other cities, it is unique -- and is therefore strategically located--in that it is the only city in the province which is on the western seaboard (Danao, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, and Talisay being on the east), facing Negros Oriental.