Municipality of San Enrique and the Kalamay Festival


Hangout at San Enrique, Iloilo:

Town’s Legend and History

San Enrique was known by its name on May 24, 1881. Popularly called Bo. Bontok before this date, it was organized as a pueblo through the relentless of the rich influential residents namely: Capitanes Modesto Palabrica, Manuel Paez, and Apolinario Palabrica, together with an exbarrio teniente Simon Padios. It stood as a pueblo with its own streets and church, these roughly done in infrastructures was all solely done the Tawili System. Through the people’s cooperation, the rapid transportation of a once awkward barrio into a progressive and attractive poblacion was done overnight.
Now, the changing of the name Bontok to San Enrique carried again another story.

It was once the old folk’s tradition to have a patron saint in every pueblo. Hear says are quite uniform in stating that the act of choosing San Enrique to be the town’s patron saint was intentionally done; that is in honor of the incumbent Spanish Provincial Governor of Iloilo named San Enrique. However, it was found out that the act of making San Enriqueas to town’s patron saint could not be pushed through because of financial problems. The town was understood to have no fund yet to buy the image of the saint with its own expense. Hence, when a fellow named Simon Padios, offered the image of Saint Auxilium Christianorum, the people gladly accepted the offer.

When the priest of Passi heard of the incident that Saint Auxilium Christianorum would replace San Enrique as the patron saint of Bontok, he admonished the people by saying that the spirit of San Enrique would be displeased. The priest thus suggested that in order to appease the spirit of the saint, they should name pueblo Bontok as pueblo San Enrique. That put on record that the Municipality of San Enrique was first established in 1881 capable of self-government and determination.

There were eighteen (18) barrios that were included under the jurisdiction of San Enrique namely; Camiri, Paga, Compo, Rumagayray, Palje, Cabas-an, Tambunac, Garita, Mapili, Dumiles, Bantayan, Gines, Quinolpan, Abaca, San Antonio, Madarag, Dawatan and Catan-agan.

From 1881 to 1904 San Enrique enjoyed its independence as a municipality. When William Howard Taft howewver, became the first Civil American Governor General of the Philippines Island, he ordered the merging of the neighboring towns into one municipality, this was done for economic and political reasons. Passi was made the seat of the municipal government. That made San Enrique together with Dueñas and Calinog an “Arrabal of Passi”.

After the Second World War, same prominent citizens of San Enrique, notably Jesus Prudente, Cenon Pama, Exequiel Garrido and Romulo Von Lallab prepared a petition for San Enrique’s petition from Passi.

The petition duly signed by the people was forwarded to the President on July 1, 1957 through Mariano E. Peñaflorida of Iloilo and hand carried by Congressman Jose Aldeguer. Executive Order No. 259, duly signed by his Excellency Carlos P. Garcia on July 12, 1957 recreated the Municipality of San Enrique in the province of Iloilo.

Town Fiesta: May 24
Market Day: Wednesday

Kalamay Festival

Marking this festive occasion is a colorful pageantry of dances that provides visitors a cultural overview of the town’s flourishing and evolving economic and spiritual life. Often recreational and ceremonial, the presentation centers on the town’s main crop, its sugarcane. Excerpts on the labor-intensive process of cutting it by hand, to the crude way of producing sugar is incorporated in their dance exhibition.

Kalamay is the local term for sugar, thus the Kalamay Festival

(source: Provice of Iloilo)

Video of San Enrique (Iloilo) Elementary School Reunion

Bloggers’ Note:

Let’s be proud of the town of San Enrique! Please send your pictures/videos of San Enrique and Kalamay Festival to for posting.

Hangout in Iloilo and join us in the celebration people of San Enriques’ pride: The Kalamay Festival!!