Ternate Cavite Website

History of Ternate

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TERNATE was originally a sandbar formed at the mouth of the Maragondon River and popularly called Barra de Maragondon. It was swampy and densely covered with mangroves, providing a resting place for natives of Maragondon going out to Manila Bay to fish. In the year 1700, seven Merdica Families consisting of about 200 persons were transferred to the Barra de Maragondon from the old Bagumbayan ( now Ermita ), Manila, to establish their residence there. The Merdicas or Mardicas. Meaning " men of the sea" or "free people" were transferred to Maragondon by the Spanish Authorities because of their frequent brawls with the Tagalogs of Ermita.
Noted for their bravery. The Merdicas were Malays from Ternate in the Moluccas Archipelago, who volunteered to come to Manila along with the Spanish garrison that was pulled out of the Island by Spanish Governor General Manrique de Lara in 1662 to reinforce the defenses of Manila in preparation for a threatened invasion by the Chinese pirate-patriot Koxinga, after he had conquered Formosa from the Dutch. To forestall the repetition of the disastrous Limahong invasion of 1574, the Spanish governor-general ordered the withdrawal of Spanish forces from Zamboanga and the Moluccas and concentrated them in Manila, ready to repel the Koxinga attack. Fortunately for the city residents, the Chinese warlord fell ill and died before he could make a good threat.
Under an agreement with the Spanish governor general the Merdicas were required to provide protection against attacks by Moro pirates, and in return for their services they were taken to the Barra de Maragondon because of frequent Moro raids in that area. The Merdicas chose as a site of their new homes a place near the mouth of the Maragondon River, calling it Gala-la, derived from the name of a tree grew there. They set up a watchtower on top of a hill which they called Mira.

Aside from fishing, the Merdicas cleared the land and tilled the soil. They eventually intermarried with the natives of neighboring villages, building up a community that grew up rapidly and expanded. The most prominent families of the community bore surnames Pereira, Estuebar, De leon, Ramos, De la Cruz, Nigoza, and Ninofranco.

In 1850 the burgeoning Merdica population were able to build from their own funds a stone church, a casa real (tribunal or municipal building), and a school house Under the leadership of Florencio Ninofranco, the community became a regular pueblo or town, and they named it Ternate in memory of their ancestral birthplace in the Mollucas. Pablo de Leon, a wealthy Merdica leader, became the first gobernadorcillo of Ternate. Another source says that Ternate was separated from Maragondon and became an independent municipality in 1863.

The Ternatenos speak a kind of chabacano (a sort of indigenized Spanish) which they inherited from their forefathers. They still use it as a principal means of communication among themselves. However, in writing to their relatives and friends or in conversing with strangers from other towns, they use Tagalog.

Due to the rapid increase in population, a time came when the natural and other resources of the town became inadequate for its needs. In 1856 the alkalde mayor (equivalent to provincial governor) of Cavite ordered the fixing of the boundary between Ternate and Maragondon, giving the former sufficient land for its inhabitants. Ternate was authorized to take under its jurisdiction the barrio of Patungan. However for some unknown reason, barrio Patungan is still under the jurisdiction of Maragondon. Ternate has three barangays in the poblacion and four barrios. These are barangays 1, 2, and 3, and barrios are San Jose, San Juan, Zapang and Bucana.

The Philippine Revolution against Spain (1896-1898) and the subsequent Philippine-American War (1899-1901) had so depleted the population of Cavite Province that the Philippine Commission on October 15, 1903 approved Public Act No. 947 reducing the municipalities of Cavite to nine. Ternate was absorbed by Naik, this situation remaining until 1916 when the Philippine Senate restored Ternate to its former status as an independent municipality.

A most unfortunate happening took place in Ternate in early 1945 when, due to American incendiary bombing and bombardments from naval units, the town was almost wiped out from the map. Only seven out of approximately one thousand houses miraculously survived the man-made holocaust. But the Ternatenos, people of sterner stuff, went on to start life anew, building from the ruins and ashes of war, tilling their lands, doing their daily chore of fishing in the sea, uncomplaining, looking forward to the dawn of a new day in their lives.

This page added for "Ternate Bayan Ko Mahal Ko" 5-18-12
This website created 2005 by Andy R. Huerto....
Last Time this site is updated: May 26, 2010
Updated: August 14, 2011