The historic tale of how the town of Belison got its name dates back to the Spanish era. During those colonial times, certain places or areas where people inhabited do not have definite names. In such case, the Spanish government decided to conduct a land survey in order to have recorded information in all settlements of pueblos, sitios, barangays and others.

           In the course if the conduct of the survey in the land of Datu Sumakwel, the Spanish authorities came to a place near a river, presently called the Belison river. Here, they saw an elderly man digging something at the bank of the river. The Spaniards approached the old man and asked him for the name of the place in a language too strange for the old man to comprehend and understand. The old man was silent for a while for which the strangers repeated the same inquiry in the same words of mouth. The old man, being deaf as well, thought that the strangers asked what his name was and what he is doing. Having that thought, he answered that his name is “BELI” and he was digging for “OSON” (a small variety of crab abundant in that place).    The stranger believing that the old man’s reply was the name of the place, noted the words “BELI” and “OSON” while moving on to other places. That incident was handed down from generation to generation, until the settlement was formally and finally called “BELISON”.

BELISON RIVER


 Belison Shore served as entry point to Panay by the Japanese

Belison although peaceful now, was not always so. What happened to Pearl Harbor during World War II was eventually known in Panay specifically the barangay of Belison then, through the radio stations where the war fever was eventually felt. Japanese found the shores of Belison as their easy entry points to Panay, and invaded the western Visayas in that location. They signify their entry in the nighttime in local jargons (pagbuhang kang Belison). Like the usual reaction of the frightened people, Belisongnons fled and ran for their lives. Some of them fled to the mountains, in the inland part of the locale, and some to the neighboring towns. According to the local old folks who are still alive and had experienced the trouble cause by the war, people were very careful not to create smoke every time they cook since they might be mistaken by the Japanese as guerillas especially those in the mountains.  The Japanese would bomb places where they can see smoke coming out. The same case also happened to those who would hang their washed clothes in an open field or those that were visible to the Japanese pilot. When the Japanese bombarded the Poblacion, Belisongnon fled to Guinobatan, Bacay, Huna and Igcabugao, area in Belison which used to be the hiding place of the residents during the Japanese occupation. And when the American forces came, they too used the smooth sea landing in Belison, bringing relief food supplies to Belisongnons, and troops to attack the Japanese occupying forces. They often used local homes in the area to hide in while planning their strategies for assault against the enemy, and enlisted the help of brave men and women to carry out their plans. People still tell of the fear created by these foreign intruders, creating rebel strongholds in the mountainous areas above the municipality.    

The people of Belison played important roles in the defense of the province and many veterans of the war who are still alive could give proof to this. These events highlight the qualities of Belisongnon being strong, committed to survival, and interdependent as a community. These characteristics not only helped Belison endure the atrocities of war, but also see it through political, social, and economic ups and downs today.





Mt. Guinobatan, one of the hiding places of the Belisongnons during World War II

The people of Belison played important roles in the defense of the province and many veterans of the war who are still alive could give proof to this. These events highlight the qualities of Belisongnon being strong, committed to survival, and interdependent as a community. These characteristics not only helped Belison endure the atrocities of war, but also see it through political, social, and economic ups and downs today.

THE FOUNDING

Less than fifty years ago the town of Belison was merely a Barangay in the larger municipality of Patnongon, adjacent to the north. But the people of Barangay Belison understood their potentials as an independent community and worked for the establishment of township status for the Barangay. Belison barangay leaders and Manila-based Belisongnons as well, mapped out a petition requesting the national government to make Belison a town. The petition was brought to Malacañang on March 10, 1961, and by virtue of Presidential Executive Order No. 421 – signed by President Carlos P. Garcia – Belison was pronounced as the 18th municipality of the Province of Antique. The smallest and the youngest municipality of the province composed of eleven (11) barangays, namely: Buenavista, Maradiona, Borocboroc, Delima, Ipil, Poblacion, Sinaja, Salvacion, Concepcion, Mojon and Rombang.  Poblacion, considered as an urban barangay becomes the seat of the municipal government. The other 10 are considered rural.