Nicanor C. Marasigan

Nicanor C. Marasigan Picture
5/8/1890 – 1/10/1970

Biography

Written by his wife, Petra Evangelista Marasigan
September 19, 1982


 

Young Nicanor

Normally an eight-year-old boy would be in second grade and, when stranded in Quiapo, Manila during the procession of the black Nazarene, he would be able to talk to a policeman, state his name, his parent’s name, his address in Manila and his home province. Not so with young Nicanor C. Marasigan. Having little education like most of the young boys his age from the province, he was practically dumb.

Nicanor C. Marasigan & Family - 1961
Nicanor C. Marasigan & Family – 1961

It was early dawn in May 3, 1898 when the eight year old Nicanor put on his one and only pair of pants and a shirt made of abaca fabric. Barefooted, he and his father walked for five kilometers to Bauan to attend the town fiesta. First they attended the mass; then they wandered around watching various shows and games. In the commotion, little Nicanor got separated from his dad and, when he realized that he was lost, he started crying. A sympathetic man approached him to offer help. When asked what his name was, he answered “Canor”. But, other than his first name, he knew nothing else. He did not know his last name. He did not even know his father’s name because during those times it was disrespectful to mention the elder’s names. He could not even tell where he lived and in what barrio. All he could say was, “our neighbor’s name was Oreste and there’s a ‘sampaloc’ (tamarind) tree in front of their house with bamboos leaning on it. Just lead me to ‘munting agbang’ (little gorge) and I could find my way home,” he pleaded. Not knowing how to process the information given to him by the boy, the man hoisted him up on the stage of a performing magician where everyone was watching. Nicanor felt like a fool who got lost in the forest and the multitudes of people there were the trees. He was lucky that his father, who was as worried as he was, spotted him.

That episode became a good lesson for him and it instilled in his mind the value of being knowledgeable because if he were not dumb he could have answered everything asked to easily find his father and his home. He realized, and visualized, that education would be the key to the door to progress for the two barrios of Inicbulan and Rizal (then called Calaca). He resolved to learn and teach the people to rid themselves of old beliefs and superstitions which hampered the progress of the two barrios. It was not until he was 11 years old when he finally got his chance to learn.

In 1901, the Americans opened a public school in the town of Bauan. It was the chance Nicanor was waiting for – to learn and eventually teach the people of the two barrios the value of education.

Nicanor Castillo Marasigan was born in May 8, 1890 in Inicbulan, Bauan, Batangas. His father was Gregorio Marasigan from Rizal and his mother’s name was Telesfora Castillo from Inicbulan. Nicanor was the fifth of seven children. The oldest was Teodora who became the wife of Ruperto Gonda; Severa married Bernabe Mendoza; Julian who married Antonia Gamo; Canuto who married Filomena Ilagan; Nicanor married Petra Evangelista (daughter of Kabesang Segundo Evangelista and mid-wife Romana Gonda); Maria who married Melecio Maniebo Ilagan, and the youngest was Jose who never got married and in 1927 became the first among the Marasigan family to come to America.

It was during the Spanish occupation of the Philippines when Nicanor was born. He was six years old when the Filipinos, under the command of Emilio Aguinaldo, revolted against the Spaniards. In 1898, the Americans came to help the army of General Aguinaldo to defeat the Spaniards. They were victorious but the Americans, who once were the allies, became the enemies. They decided to keep the Philippines for themselves. Understandably, the Filipinos revolted once more but the American proved to be very strong. General Aguinaldo and most of his armies were forced to surrender – all except one general and his army from Batangas – General Miguel Malvar (his daughter eventually became the wife of Feliciano Leviste, who became the governor of Batangas in 1947. Leviste fondly called his wife ‘Barracuda’). General Malvar and his men took positions on the mountains of Batangas and gave the Americans a tough fight. In 1901, the Americans put everyone in Batangas under strict curfew after many failed attempts to defeat General Malvar. No one could leave town and those caught doing so were shot on the spot. Finally, General Malvar surrendered on April 16, 1902 to save the natives of Batangas from further harm from the Americans.

After the war, the Americans established a military camp in Bauan on the spot where the town hall is now located. Young Nicanor would go there and observed how the Americans went about their businesses. He loved horses and was fascinated by the beauty of the American horses. He observed the cleanliness and prosperity in the camp. He noted that the American toilets (called latrine toilets) were made from deep holes on the ground as opposed to the system practiced by the Spaniards – where waste matters were scattered on the backyards for the animals to consume. What surprised him most was the gentleness of the Americans towards the Filipino children unlike their cruelty during the war and unlike the cruelty of the Spaniards towards the Filipinos.


The Boy Teacher

After the surrender of General Malvar, the Americans built a national school in Bauan. The first teachers were American soldiers. Soon, professional teachers arrived from the states on board the SS Thomas – thus they were called The Thomasites. Nicanor was one of the first pupils in that school together with Petra Evangelista, his future wife. They were the first two from the barrios while most of the students were from the main town of Bauan including Maynardo Farol and Simeon Ilagan. In 1907, after only six years of schooling, and because of his high grades, Nicanor was offered to teach in the barrios of Rizal and Inicbulan.

At age 17, Nicanor became a teacher. Since they had no school buildings in the barrios, he built the first school building with the help of a few men on his father’s property somewhere between Inicbulan and Rizal. The building looked like a Nipa hut and the floor was the bare ground but, all in all, it was not bad. He campaigned for the parents to send their children to the school. He was courteous and respectful and the people respected him in return. Soon, the enrollment grew. His students hailed not only from Inicbulan and Rizal but also from the adjacent barrios of Durungao, Putol and Calumpang. Most of the students were older than him since he was only 17 years old.

For several years, he taught from first to fourth grades. He taught writing, reading, arithmetic, good manners and right conduct, spelling, music, industrial works and gardening. To teach well, he had to expand his knowledge. He would ride his beautiful moro horse to town every Saturday. There he attended the Normal School in Bauan and read many books on various subjects. During summer vacations, he would enroll in Philippine Normal School in Manila to complete his teaching credentials. To teach music, he studied how to play the guitar and other musical instruments from others who knew how. In a few years, his music students formed a string band that would be invited to play in other barrios during special occasions.

Nicanor took every opportunity to improve the lives of the people of Inicbulan and Rizal. In 1913, when Hegino Marasigan was elected municipal president (mayor) of Bauan, his uncle Casimiro Generoso was also elected as councilor. Nicanor was still a teacher but accepted to work as a part-time secretary to his uncle. As a team, they were able to appropriate funds to widen the road to Inicbulan and to build the Tabok bridge on the way to the barrio.


 

The Family Man

The road and the bridge were still freshly built when Nicanor married Petra Evangelista, his classmate in school. It was January, 1914. Their wedding sponsor was his uncle and councilor Casimiro. It was the first time a horse-driven carriage was used from Inicbulan to Bauan for the church wedding. After the wedding, the bride and groom settled in Inicbulan. Nicanor promised his wife that their first son would be raised to be a lawyer. Their wish came true. Their first born was a boy and was named Eliodoro who became a lawyer, a fiscal in Manila, and eventually a judge of the Court of First Instance. He would have risen higher in his career if he did not resign from office to settle in America following the declaration of martial law in the Philippines.

The other children were Nemesio, Pilar, Esteban and Ismael.

Nemesio became a mechanical engineer and the manager of a pump manufacturing company. (He eventually became the president and part owner of another pump company before he retired from work.) Pilar became a school teacher and retired as principal of Inicbulan elementary and high schools. Esteban became a medical doctor and director of Brent Hospital in Zamboanga. (He later became the president of the Zamboanga Medical Society, then councilor for western Mindanao district, then vice-president of the PMA.) The youngest son, Ismael, became a mechanical engineer and was quickly climbing the ladder of the corporate world when he had an accident and died at the young age of 30.

Eliodoro was born on November 21, 1915 during a stormy day. The typhoon was so strong that the school building was completely destroyed. Nicanor considered this catastrophe not as a setback but as an opportunity to build a better school building. There was a law at the time that any school built on a lot one hectare or bigger will be furnished by the government with a ‘Gabaldon-type’ structure. So, Nicanor approached the people of the three barrios of Inicbulan, Rizal and Durungao for contributions to buy a hectare piece of land between Inicbulan and Rizal (where the present school now stands. Nicanor added Durungao to his domain because many children there were enrolled in the school). The people responded well and the land was bought. The sad part was the government reneged on the promise to build the school. That did not dampen Nicanor’s spirit. He again rallied the people to help him build the school from their own pockets and with their own hands. They did so and the school building with three classrooms was finished in no time.

More students started enrolling and some were coming from other distant barrios. It was too overwhelming for Nicanor so he asked for teaching help. He was given Melecio M. Ilagan who became the second teacher of the school. (Melecio eventually married Nicanor’s younger sister Maria.) Melecio did not teach very long. He went to Manila to pursue his education and he stayed with Don. Teodoro R. Yangco. He was also working at the U.P. College of Medicine while getting his education. Venancio Ilagan replaced Melecio as teacher to help Nicanor but a few years later he died. Two more teachers from Bauan were sent to help Nicanor – Isabel Macarandang and Anatolia Castillo. (Anatolia became the wife of Demetrio Ilagan, younger brother of Melecio. Their children were: Teodoro who became the barrio captain; Teodorica I. Evangelista who was a high school teacher and wife of another teacher and sport’s coach, Paterio Evangelista; Teodora who became an engineer; and Eustaquio, the architect and a colonel in the army who married Erlinda Magalong-Ilagan, also an architect. These two architects would later design the school building which was built in 1957.)


The Reformer

The progress of the barrios and the school was slow and it had always been in Nicanor’s mind to hasten the pace. Aside from teaching the people how to make toilets by digging deep holes like the way the Americans did it, he also taught them good manners by example. People at the time still ate with their bare hands so Nicanor asked Esteban Ilagan (father of Melecio, a silversmith) to make spoons and forks out of silver. He then showed the people the proper way to eat. He demonstrated how to wear decent clothes and the way to groom themselves. He also taught the people how to dispose of and convert garbage into fertilizer and how to use them in planting mango, avocado and chico trees (the tall mango trees along the school property are the remnants of the many trees he planted around the school.)

He changed some of the most ludicrous practices in the barrios, one of which was how the barrio fiesta was celebrated. People would pool their resources, turn it over to the barrio leader who would ask the ‘liputados’ (leaders of the church in Bauan) to bring the ‘poon’ (statue of Jesus on the cross) to the barrio. On Sunday, after the town mass, the ‘poon’ would be brought to the barrio where it would stay inside the chapel. In front of the chapel, people would celebrate by dancing a folk dance called the ‘subli’. That dancing was the climax of the celebration. The ‘poon’ would stay in the barrio for a week moving from house to house whose owners were willing to shell out extra contribution to the church. Part of the custom was paying a man from Bauan to play a trumpet as the ‘poon’ was moved from house to house. There were hardly any guests, nor banquets, nor festivities in any houses except in the house of the leader of the barrio whose obligation was to feed and pay the ‘liputados’ from Bauan – including the man with the trumpet; all paid for by the contributions of the barrio people.

Nicanor proposed to the elders that fiestas should be celebrated for the people of Inicbulan and not for the ‘liputados’ of Bauan; and the festival should only be for a day and a half. It would be short but joyful. Everyone agreed.

The following May, during fiesta, the mood had changed. There was a musical band, various games (‘anilio’) for adult horse riders and for children, too. Young women were dressed in colorful costumes. Almost all houses had guests enjoying roasted pigs and local delicacies. It was a joyful fiesta for everyone and a huge success. Since then, the barrio fiestas were celebrated this way.

Aside from the moro horse, which he regularly rode, Nicanor bought another horse (kastanyo) which was the fastest at the time. He also bought a carriage to fit the new horse and asked his brother-in-law, Basilio, to be the ‘chauffeur’ of the family.

During his 12 years of teaching, he encouraged the game of baseball for girls and boys. He also sponsored other athletic and academic activities. In so doing, the school won many prizes and awards in those respective fields. He trained the students to sing and recite poems. They learned so well that they often performed in public to the delight of the people of the barrios. He taught people to unlearn the bad habits acquired from the Spaniards. Slowly, the people learned.
The Ex-Teacher

Nemesio was born on December 19, 1919. With Nicanor’s growing family, his income as a school teacher became inadequate so he decided to resign after 12 years of teaching to become the manager of the Singer Sewing Machine Company branch that just opened in Bauan. To augment their income, his wife Petra started a home industry for the women of Inicbulan by doing embroideries. With their increased income they were able to afford to build their own house with a small variety store downstairs.

In 1922, he decided to work in Manila at Yangco Steamship Lines. He went to school at night and completed his studies in bookkeeping and stenography. In 1924, he asked the owner of the company and philanthropist, Don Teodoro R. Yangco, for help to rebuild the school in Inicbulan. To convince the Don of his honest intentions, he invited the philanthropist to come with him and see for himself the deplorable condition of the school – the one he and the people of the barrios built many years ago. To welcome the millionaire, the school teachers presented a special program for him. Upon observing the unsafe conditions of the school building, Don Yangco decided to help. He authorized the release of funds and asked Nicanor to supervise the rebuilding of the school. During construction, only first class materials were used and, when the school was finished, it was fittingly renamed the Yangco School. Because of his diligent work, Nicanor earned the trust of Don Yangco. And whenever there were any disasters in Batangas, Nicanor would be entrusted to bring relief funds to the victims, courtesy of Don Yangco.


The War, the Leader and the Sons

After 10 years working with the steamship lines, he resigned and accepted the job as a traveling salesman for the Bazar Siglo XX, a hardware company also owned by Don Yangco. He stayed there until the Second World War broke out on December 8, 1941. When Bazar Siglo XX closed down, he brought his family back to Inicbulan. At that time, his oldest son Eliodoro was a practicing lawyer and was sharing offices in Heacock building in Escolta, Manila with two of his friends and old classmates: Renato Tayag and Ferdinand E. Marcos. The law offices closed down because the three lawyers were all called for active duty. Eliodoro brought his family to Inicbulan as well. Then he went back to Manila to report for active duty. The road proved perilous. He reached Calumpang on horseback then took horse-driven carts because there was no more public transportation. Most of the bridges had already been destroyed so, when he had to cross rivers, people would carry him across. When he reached ‘Paliko’ river, he met the family of Miss Concepcion Tolentino (his teacher in Batangas High School) and Engineer and Mrs. Magbuhat. They were on their way to Batangas but their car couldn’t make it across the destroyed bridge. So they decided to turn back to Manila and invited Eliodoro to join them in spite of being overloaded.

Eliodoro reached Manila and went directly to the tailor shop in Intramuros where his uniform was being made. To his dismay his uniform was not finished because the shop was damaged when the Japanese bombed the adjacent Santo Domingo church. When he finally got his uniform, he quickly reported to the mobilization center at FEU. He noticed at FEU that there was only one bus left and it had just been filled with soldiers ready for Bataan. Among those aboard was Fernando Poe, Sr., a famous Filipino actor. Those who were left behind were told to wait for the next bus. They waited and waited for almost a day but none came. Finally, they were told that all the bridges to Bataan had already been destroyed by the Filipino and American forces so that the Japanese won’t be able to follow them. Those who were stranded were told to disband and go home. It took him several days to reach home.

Meanwhile, the younger brother, Nemesio, made it to Bataan. He was enrolled in the College of Engineering in U.P. when he was ordered to report to the Philippine Army training camp in Lipa, Batangas. He belonged to the 41st infantry regiment of the 41st division under General Lim. They were deployed along the coast of Balayan, Batangas when General McArthur ordered them to convene in Bataan. Nemesio fought in Bataan, survived the death march and the concentration camp in Capas, Tarlac. He suffered hunger, dysentery and malaria. When the sickly prisoners were released in August, 1942, he was one of them. He recuperated at the Red Cross hospital in Bauan. When he recovered, he formed a guerilla movement in Inicbulan and Rizal to continue fighting the Japanese.

In more than three years under the Japanese occupation, Nicanor remained the elected leader of Inicbulan and Rizal because of his wise and diplomatic handling of the enemies. He was able to protect the people from the marauding Japanese soldiers who would come from the camps in Calumpang and Guintuan to demand food and supplies from the public to feed their soldiers. Nicanor had to be very clever and tactful in dealing with the Japanese because, while he danced with the enemies, his four sons were secretly active in guerilla activities.

After New Year in 1945 most of the inhabitants of Bauan had evacuated to the island of Mindoro to escape the Japanese. On February 28, 1945 those who remained in town were rounded up by the Japanese and were confined inside the church. Most of the men were incarcerated in the house of one Severino Bautista (Nieves). The soldiers then blew up the house and the church and those who tried to escape were machine-gunned. It was a complete massacre. Everyone feared that Inicbulan and Rizal would be next.


 

Father and Sons in War and in Peace

When the American 11th airborne division landed in Tagaytay, Cavite, Nemesio and another guerilla named Ananias made contact with their headquarters in Nasugbu, Batangas to hook up with the American forces. And when the U.S. Army 158th combat team landed in Lemery, Batangas on March 8, 1945, Nemesio, Ananias and the rest of the guerillas from Inicbulan and Rizal joined the Americans and led them to Inicbulan via Cupang and dealt the Japanese a dose of their own medicine. The Japanese were totally wiped out.

After the American forces secured Inicbulan and Rizal, Eliodoro and Nemesio led the liberators to Bauan where they discovered the grisly sight of thousands of decaying corpses that littered the patio, plaza and everywhere. The whole town of Bauan was burnt to the ground including the town hall and the church. By some miracle, only one house remained standing – the one owned by Eladio Hernandez. The mopping operation continued for weeks and months in the mountains of Lipa and Tiaong with Eliodoro helping the Americans with the dangerous job. He stayed with the Americans until all resistance was crushed.

On March 10, 1945, Nemesio Marasigan, who was the leader of the guerilla movement in Inicbulan and Rizal, was named the military mayor of Bauan by U.S. Major Jacobo Zobel. Nemesio in turn named Ananias as his chief of police and all the guerillas from Inicbulan and Rizal became members of the police force. Nemesio also named Esteban Buhat, then the treasurer of San Jose, to become the treasurer of Bauan. Since the municipal hall was destroyed by the Japanese, the Marasigan house in Inicbulan, which was also the headquarters of the guerilla movement, became the temporary town hall. Eventually, Nemesio moved the town hall back to Bauan at a storage building (bahay-almacen) close to the Bauan market while the new town hall was being constructed.

One of Mayor Marasigan’s first acts was to bury all the corpses that littered the town. He authorized to bulldoze a deep trench in front of the church and used it as the mass grave of all the victims of the massacre. Nemesio turned over the mayorship to the civilian government of Bauan when peace and order was finally in place. Soon the Americans established the Boat Building Command (BBC) in Sabang to build P.T. boats. Other army facilities were constructed along the coast line to Mabini including the Engineers depot. Multitudes of U.S. Army equipment and supplies were consolidated there so it became apparent that, to protect them, tight security was necessary. Col. Bender of the U.S. Army asked Nemesio to head the task of maintaining security of the base. Nemesio, however, recommended his brother Eliodoro, who, being a lawyer, was perfect to be the chief of Investigation and Security. It was approved. Eliodoro hired 700 guards right away.

Meanwhile, Capt. Temper entrusted Nicanor to hire thousands of laborers to work in the construction and maintenance of the projects. The father and son hired the 1,700 people from Taal, San Luis and Lipa but the majority were the guerillas from the barrios of Inicbulan, Rizal and Durungao (they all stayed employed until the American closed the base and left years later.) During that period, Nicanor and the brothers approached Col. Wilson, who was the engineer and commander of the base, to authorize the supply of materials and labor to rebuild the bridges in the barrios that were destroyed by the Japanese. It was approved. They also got permission to repair the Yangco school building and the chapel (Tuklong) in Inicbulan. The chapel became the temporary office of the barrio captain until a permanent one was built in front of the chapel across the road on a lot that Petra Marasigan inherited from her parents.


 

The Politicians

The post-war period was an economic boom for Bauan and the barrios. Most of the men from the barrios were employed with the help of Nicanor and his sons. Their popularity and clout became obvious to the politicians. There were several instances when opportunistic businessmen and politicians would approach them with very lucrative propositions only to leave embarrassed and rejected. Their strong moral values protected them from temptation. They religiously followed the principles they learned while young. Their mission and obligation were always for the welfare of the people of the barrios and never for their own personal benefits. It was instilled in their minds to never blemish their clean name and reputation. They were taught to have courage to stand up and fight for truth and justice and to protect the poor and the oppressed. Although there were many opportunities to enrich themselves during the years they were entrusted with the millions of dollars of American supplies, they never succumbed to that temptation. That was why they remained financially poor but remained well-respected and supported by the people. They had become a strong political force in the province.

During the post-war presidential election of Roxas versus Osmenia, Nicanor’s friend Pedro Munoz ran for congress against Maynardo Farol who was also a friend and old classmate. The Marasigan family decided to support Munoz because he was a good honest man and belonged to the same political party. When the ballots were counted, Munoz lost in the many municipalities of Batangas but he won by a landslide in Inicbulan, Rizal and Durungao the barrios that Nicanor and sons carried. Their votes overtook the losses from other municipalities that in the end Munoz won by just enough votes. In gratitude, congressman Pedro Munoz offered Eliodoro the position of Fiscal of Batangas – a very prestigious government position but on one condition; that to accept this position he had to sacrifice the P10,000 pork barrel appropriation for the Inicbulan school which will then be given to another barrio. Without hesitation, Eliodoro declined the position and opted for the P10,000 for the school. The money was used to build two new classrooms.

In 1947, Feliciano Leviste, a friend of the family, ran for governor of Batangas and was challenged by an influential person named Modesto Castillo, who was close to the Mayor of Bauan and to Manuel Roxas, the President of the country at the time. It was no secret that the Marasigans were supporting Leviste but the mayor of Bauan, Gregorio Arreglado, who was a close friend of Eliodoro, was supporting Castillo. Somehow, Eliodoro was lured by mayor Arreglado to come to Manila to meet with the secretary of Justice Ramon Ozaeta. In his office, Ozaeta told Eliodoro that President Roxas would name him an Assistant Fiscal of Manila if he would support Castillo instead of Leviste. Mayor Arreglado surmised that Eliodoro would not turn down a request from a high-ranking judicial official who happened to be a ‘Batangueno’ as well – especially with an attractive personal incentive. He was wrong. With due respect, Eliodoro declined the offer because he already promised Leviste his support and to break his word and change allegiance was never an option to him. With the support of the three barrios of Inicbulan, Rizal and Durungao, Leviste won the election.

Once, in 1965, when Eliodoro was already an assistant fiscal of Manila (by his own merit), he showed that he had never forgotten the teachings of his father. He showed courage in face of threats of his life by refusing security from the Manila Police department and continued his pursuit of justice against the most feared people in the government. And when he was a CFI judge, appointed by his friend and classmate Marcos, he did not hesitate to resign from office when, under Marcos’ martial law, the people were oppressed and were suppressed of their constitutional rights. That was against his principles and against the teachings of his father.

In spite of their financial shortcomings, Nicanor and Eliodoro were both charitable and compassionate. In 1922, when Nicanor moved his family to Manila, he just gave his horse and carriage to his brother-in-law, Basilio, for him to make a living. And Eliodoro, when he was a columnist in American newspaper, he donated all of his earnings to the teachers of Inicbulan high school who, at the time, were not being fairly paid by the government.


 

Love for the School

To teach and show good examples and inspiration to the youth, and to help the needy and the poor, has always been one of Nicanor’s missions in life. Many compatriots, whose names were too many to recall, have donated books and other necessities to the school. Various organizations such as the ‘Samahang Inicbulan Rizal’ (SIR) had been helping the school in many ways. When the original SIR was established in 1960 by the prominent people from Inicbulan and Rizal, it was voted without any objection that Nicanor and his brother-in-law, Melecio Ilagan, would be made advisors for life.

His son, Nemesio, and the grandchildren in America: Ludivine, Napoleon, Doradaisy and others, donated a permanent basketball goal, a water tank, a bell, playground apparatus and many more. His grandson, Eliodoro Jr. (Boy), who just finished mechanical engineering, brought to the school his work crew and a truck loaded with materials and equipment from the company he was working with and build the railings of the school stage and repaired the basketball goal without asking for payment. The other grandchild, Alexander and his co-members in Kulyawan Club who were all sons and daughters of the members of SIR, raised funds by caroling and selling old newspapers, to buy the material and build with their own hands the water fountain and benches by the basketball court and are still in use today. More benches were added later, donated by Col. Eustaquio Ilagan.

Many more improvements were made in the school under the regime of the father and son. Eliodoro was the first president of the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) and when he brought his family back to Manila, Nicanor took over as president. Nicanor remained the PTA president for the rest of his life.

Even after his death, Nicanor’s love for the school inspired his wife and her siblings to donate a piece of land adjacent to the school where the New Baranggay High School now stands. And, because of the same love, his sister, Maria Marasigan Ilagan, also donated to the school her land across the gorge (agbang) but near the school.
Family Tragedy

In their 56 years of marriage, from the day they got married in 1914 until Nicanor’s death in 1970, the most tragic event was when their youngest son Ismael passed away. Ismael was riding on his scooter on Arlegue road in Manila when a woman suddenly crossed the street. Mily (Ismael’s nickname) swerved to avoid hitting the woman but hit her anyway – although slightly. The scooter crashed and Mily hit his unprotected head on the pavement. He hastily got up and hailed a taxi and brought the woman to the hospital for treatment. Mily felt a throbbing headache but paid no attention to it since he had no sign of head wound or a bruise. On days that followed, he would take aspirin pills for his headache but totally underestimated the gravity of his condition.

A week after the accident, while washing his face over the sink he fell to the floor unconscious. He was rushed to Manila Sanitarium Hospital but it was too late. He succumbed to severe hemorrhage. It was so painful for the entire family especially to the parents Nicanor and Petra. They tried to console themselves by going to Baguio for a vacation but to no avail. They finally found consolation and peace through their faith in God and in their belief that there would be a final reunion with Ismael in heaven with the other loved ones who had gone before him.

Nicanor passed away on January 10, 1970, four months short of 80 years of age. His body lied for viewing in their home in Inicbulan for four days while waiting for the grand-daughter, Ludivine, to arrive from America to attend the funeral. A service was held at their church before bringing his body to Bauan town hall.

The town council eulogized him and showered him with honor and praises for his many years of service to the municipality of Bauan. Many people came from all over to pay their respect. His coffin was draped with the Philippine flag and his hearse was slowly driven to the municipal cemetery accompanied by thousands of relatives, friends, and sympathizers. The funeral stretched so long that one could not see from one end to the other. His body was finally laid to rest amidst honors and tears.

It was Mayor Ciriaco Ingco, who was his close friend, who enticed Nicanor to run for council during the election of November 1949. He did run and won by the largest margin over the second place councilor. He was always number one in the ballot since and remained number one in the hearts of many. In the council, he became a strong fiscalizer and exponent of balancing the municipal budget. He paid attention to bring progress to remote barrios long neglected by the past administration. One of his pet projects was to provide electricity to the barrios including Inicbulan, Rizal and Durungao.

When the electric lights finally illuminated those barrios, those lights became symbolic of Nicanor’s dream coming true – to have improved the barrios and have a school that will continue to brighten the minds of the people he loved to serve.
Postscripts:

1. Petra Marasigan passed away on September 24, 1984 – two years after she finished writing Nicanor Marasigan’s biography.

2. Eliodoro E. Marasigan, Sr. passed away on August 2, 1998 – almost a year after the death of his wife, Rosario Marquez Marasigan, who passed away on August 21, 1997.

3. In 1995, Ludivine Marasigan Gamo, eldest daughter of Eliodoro, donated to the school the piece of land she inherited from her grand-uncle Jose Marasigan on which the present high school basketball court exists.

4. In 2003, the children of Eliodoro established the EEMF, Inc. (Eliodoro E. Marasigan Foundation, Inc.) for the following purposes:

To perpetuate the legacy of Nicanor C. Marasigan, and son, Eliodoro E. Marasigan, who in their lifetime served the people of Inicbulan with unsurpassed dedication to help those in need

To remind the people of Inicbulan who Nicanor C. Marasigan and son Eliodoro E. Marasigan were; how they lived their lives; and how this foundation will perpetuate that legacy starting with humanitarian programs to the extent of broader public services to the people of Inicbulan.