No we’re not talking about a province in Spain with the same name, but of a prosperous northern agricultural town in Cebu Province, Philippines. Little is known about this Quesio (Cottage cheese delicacy made from Carabao or Goat’s milk that the town is known for) laden locale, for transients and commuters may have heard of it or may have passed it in their journey or two. Compostela is one of the many gateway towns for premiere tourist spots and industries of the north.
Situated 26 Kilometers away (1 hour ride) from the Metropolitan and sits adjacent to the City of Danao, Compostela holds a convenience for trade and commerce in terms of ports and geographic proximity. The town is classified as a 4th class municipality under the 5th District, that holds a population of 39, 167 (approx.) and has a land area of 68.9 km2. It is composed of 17 barangays namely: Bagalnga, Basak, Buluang, Cabadiangan, Cambayog, Canamucan, Cogon, Dapdap, Estaca, Lupa, Magay, Mulao, Panangban, Poblacion, Tag-ubi, Tamiao, and Tubigan.
Currently, Compostela along with the rest of the mid-northern towns of Cebu, plays host to sprouting subdivisions and a growing number of housing projects which is an indicator of progress. Due to its near proximity to Urban Cebu and the prominent cities of the North (Danao and Bogo) a fraction of the town's populace are foreign, local tourists and young professionals whose careers, businesses and families circulate to these cities.
Developments are also in the works as well to refine the town's tourist destinations to lure more visitors who want to enjoy the serene and pristine atmosphere that the town has to offer.
Sr. Santiago and the town’s history
Established in the year 1844 by a Spanish “Conquistador” by the name of Captain Manuel Aniceto del Rosario, Compostela used to be one of the barrio components to the then Municipality of Danao.
The barrio received its official name through the endorsement of Father Jose Alonzo, a Spanish friar serving under the crown and reportedly a resident of Compostela, Spain. He was then designated as the first parish priest and adopted Señor Santiago de Apostol as the parish patron saint.
Sr. Santiago de Apostol’s parish chapel laid witness to the barrio’s growth for as the years traversed and its population grew, the chapel was later decided by Spanish church leaders to be reconstructed into a church (Saint James Parish) in honor of Señor Santiago Apostol and to serve as the major place of worship for the Catholic faithful. It is standing to this day, being one of Compostela’s proud historical monuments.
Political establishment and progress
The prosperous barrio existed with constant growth, for as the years progressed, so did its population. At the turn of the tide during the Spanish-American war, Spain lost control of the Philippines to the Americans; the result of which after the Treaty of Paris, a requirement to modify and re-classify all the local government units in the Philippines according to population and income was implemented.
In 1903, Compostela was officially annexed to the Municipality of Liloan. After more than a decade of secession, a special committee headed by Hilario Canen along with the then Cebu Provincial Governor Manuel Roa, presented their proposal to Hon. Sergio Osmeña Sr. which was then the Philippine Assembly Speaker, to sponsor the bill changing the status of Compostela to a municipality.
On January 17, 1919 Compostela was officially recognized as a municipality.
Today, the town is continually growing in terms of population with high literacy ratio, infrastructure and economy. Viable sources of income for the townsfolk include livestock and agriculture products, canning, furniture exports, handicrafts, and semi-industrial establishments which have now started to bud throughout the town.
Fresh from the May 10 National Polls, the town's newly elected officials are now spearheaded by first-term Mayor Hon. Joel Quiño and Vice- Mayor Hon. Mary Antonette Dangoy.
*** Photos courtesy of Compostela de Cebu and Shane Kimce