The Lake. The spring.
The first is the recipient of the latter. The latter pours out to the former in a never-ending cycle of ebbs and flows.
And so goes the tale of the town of Mainit, interminably twined to the tales of the spring and the lake.
Mapaso Hot Spring is the sulfuric hot spring that flows into a river– aptly named Mainit River — that spans the periphery of the place. The river, of course, flows out into the tranquil Mainit Lake which in turn feeds thousands of inhabitants of nearby towns.
Historical accounts say the first peoples were the Negrito tribe who inhabited the shores of Mainit Lake. True to their habits of mobility, they moved from place to place but they keep coming back – even up to the present. The Negritoes first set up a village now called as Daang Lungsod. There, families lived together not only for filial and economic reasons, but for security as well.
Shortly after the villagers settled in peace, they experienced violent foray of invaders into their homes. The first invaders were Moro pirates who looted homes and captured members of the village. These invasions brought about the re-settlement of the villagers in another place that is now the present town site, Mainit.
Christianity reached the place with the arrival of Spanish Jesuits, among them, Padre Urios. A convent was built and soon a catholic school was opened. Soon after, the local government was organized. The first administrative officials were known as capitan and cabeza. The following were the first Capitans:
- Capitan Bonifacio Mupas
- Capitan Macario Francisco
- Capitan Saturnino Libarnes
- Capitan Hilario Villamon Mosende
- Capitan Pio Murcilla
- Capitan Lino Libarnes Mozar
Mainit had its part in the many foreign invasions of the country. The Chinese came in the person of Carlos Lo Hernandez, a son of a Chinese trader. His marriage to a Mainitnon is among the first intermarriages that brought forth descendants who became the decisive personalities in the political growth of the town.
The American government mandated the creation of Mainit as a barrio of Placer Municipality. The succeeding years were a territorial tug-of-war between Agusan and Surigao Provinces for jurisdiction of Mainit. Eventually, Surigao Province won the case and Mainit was again reverted into a barrio of Placer.
Two decades later, Ceferino Lozada, the grandson of the Chinese trader, was elected municipal presidente of Placer municipality together with two other Mainit locals, Juan Moselina as vice presidente and Antonio Grecia Mozar as councilor.
Another decade later, Mainit was re-organized into a municipality under Executive Order No. 290 in December 27, 1930, signed by Governor General Dwight Davies. Antonio Grecia Mozar was appointed presidente of the new town and Vedasto Mosende was vice presidente.
In the ensuing elections, Antonio G. Mozar became the first elected presidente, or mayor, of the municipality.
The first Municipal Council was as follows:
Presidente – Antonio G. Mozar
Vice-presidente – Vedasto L. Mosende
- Tomas de la Costa
- Marcial Beltran
- Baldomero Reyes
- Victor Buyser
- Pablo Ugay
Leadership of the municipality changed from then on. The following were the Municipal Mayors of Mainit:
1931-1934 – Antonio G. Mozar
1934-1937 – Gardenia S. Beltran
1937-1940 – Baldomero S. Reyes
1940 -1942 – Ceferino P. Lozada
1944 (3 months) – David M. Montaner
1945 (2 months) – Tomas de la Costa
1946-1951 – Agapito R. Montaner
1952-1967 – Jose M. Mondano
1968-1971 – Yolanda L. Mondano
1972-1980 – Cain C. Behagan
1980-1986 – Robuam M. Relliquette
1986 – Hilario S. Mosende
1986- Felix S. Mosende
1987- Robuam M. Relliquete
1988 – 1991 – Sarah M. Behagan
1992-2001 – Ramon B. Mondano
2001 up to present – Rogelio M. Gatpolintan
The intermittent political offices during the late 1980’s were a mirror of the turbulent national political scenario.
With its glorious past and lessons of history, Mainit continues to grow as an independent municipality. At present, it is classified as a fourth-class municipality with twenty-one barangays, namely:
- San Francisco
- San Isidro
- San Jose
The municipality boasts a population of 22,000 comprised of farmers, fisher folks, laborers, Para-professionals and professionals. Industries included mining, agriculture, and fishing. Barangay Siana was once a boom mining place in the whole province turning large gold returns.
The townspeople has shown growth and diversity in religious beliefs. Majority are Catholics while the rest are Protestants, Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, a few Mormons and a small group of other sects.
Scattered around the municipality are hidden wonders of nature. Top of the list is the mystic Mapaso Hot Spring – from which the town is named after. The Spring is located at Barangay Magsaysay, about 3 kilometers from the Poblacion. Believed to be volcanic in nature, the spring consists of geyser-like emissions. Townspeople flock there to bathe for its therapeutic effects.
Visible from many vantage points is the beauty of the town, Lake Mainit. According to the natives, the Mamanwas, the lake looks like a small saucepan seen from the mountains. It boasts of endemic variety of fish including hayuan, agok-ok, kasili, tilapia, bogwan, luyab and the all-time favorite, pijanga. Local shellfish include igi, hapyuson, bajun-on among several others.
Togonan Falls is situated at Barangay Marayag about 7 kilometers from the Poblacion. To reach the bottom of the waterfall, pilgrims need to descend the height of 70 feet. The water below is crystal-clear and refreshingly cool with the surrounding forest as backdrop for that long-awaited dip in this natural pool.
Lake Silop is mysterious in many ways. It is a 2.5 hectare-lake at the top of the mountain barangay of Silop. The species of fish in this lake are known to appear, disappear and re-appear at various times of the year. Other wild creatures that mysteriously inhabit the lake and its vicinity are ducks and large animals like carabaos.
Almost always, a place gets known elsewhere for its people. Nowadays, the Mainitnon is both modern and conservative. While technology has reached this beautiful town, beliefs and traditions still grow strong in the hearts of the people and are practiced up to the present. In fact, it seems that modernity and globalization have worked well in the preservation of its culture and in its growth and march to progress. Cable television, cellular phones, land telephones, and transportation are among the novel innovations of technology available to the Mainitnon. Proof of the wonderful union of technology and custom is the existence of an Internet website for any and all Mainitnons – mainit.org which is open to all! The unifying element here of course, is being a Mainitnon where you get in touch with everybody through the power of the Internet.
The town has grown comparably throughout the years, yet the old charm of its people can still be seen and felt. It is an unspoken source of pride – being a Mainitnon. For what could be the reason for coming home after many years of staying abroad or out-of-town rather than claiming one’s roots and beginnings.
In this great cycle of life, we remain true to our beginnings.
The Lake. The Spring. The namesake.
Mainit. The Mainitnon.
- “History and Legends of Mainit”, Interview with Ex-Mayor Antonio G. Mozar by Alicia L. Mozar, 1993
- LGU Files, Mainit Local Government