A bit of History

The earliest existing record about Barili was its being an encomienda during the Spanish period. It was declared as a town in 1632, or 18 years after the Sta. Ana Parish was established in1614.

Barili is rich in history, having played a crucial role in Cebu’s economy. It is one of the biggest agricultural towns in the province producing important crops such as rice, corn, bananas, vegetables and coconuts. 

During the World War II, it hosted the Barba Press’ printing of Kadaugan leaflets which gave hope to Cebuanos during the period of Japanese cruelty.

It was also in barangay Tubod, Barili where one of the highest officials of the country was arrested to be executed by the Japanese soldiers.  Jose Abad Santos, (one of the three figures featured in the P1,000-bill) who was then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court , were captured by the Japanese in Brgy. Tubod Barili on his way to Toledo with his son and a military official. From Barili, they were taken to a concentration camp in San Nicolas Cebu City where he refused to cooperate with the Japanese government. He was then taken to Lanao where he was killed in May 1942.  

Religion is almost always a part of any place’s history, and so are the religious traditions in Barili. Next to Bantayan island, it has one of the grandest procession of religious images carried by beautifully adorned carros during the Holy Week.  The first Filipino bishop, Juan de Gorordo, also came from Barili.

There are two versions of stories on how Barili got its name. One, that it was named after the tuna fish found abundant in its seawaters, which the locals call barilis. The other story says its name was derived from the grass named balili. 

Barili’s parish was established in 1648 by the Spaniards. Its founding as a town, however, dates back to 1642, making it as among the first towns to be established in Cebu. 

(for an extensive and en-depth write up about Barili's history please refer to the book "Barili: The Town. The People. The Years" as writen by Azucena L. Pace. Copies are available at Tourism Office.)

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