Minaquinahan Muscovado Mill in Bacacay, Albay

During the late 19th Century, the barrio called San Pedro in Bacacay, Albay had a vast sugarcane plantation. The produced sugarcane was processed in a muscovado mill located along the Bayandong River located in the said barrio. The vast sugarcane plantation and the muscovado mill was owned by Eleuterio Velarde. The produced muscovado was brought to the port of barrio Pili and loaded to a parao for distribution to retailers in the locality. However, the parao would capsize on reaching the Sula Channel and this caused Eleuterio to become bankrupt and sold his sugarcane estate and muscovado mill to Felipe Rivera. Felipe had a daughter named Maria Rivera who was married to Emeterio Bes. Later on, Felipe sold the muscovado mill to Emeterio. Upon owning the sugarcane plantation, Emeterio gave one-eighth of a hectare to several people to encourage them settle in barrio San Pedro for the purpose of making it into a visita. Because of the said settlements in barrio San Pedro, there was a time when the seat of government of Pueblo de Bacacay was transferred there. Another reason for the transfer was that, San Pedro was a safer place to inhabit because of the frequent Moro raids in the Poblacion. Due to flooding which prohibits people from crossing the bridge connecting Poblacion and San Pedro, the town center was returned back to Poblacion [1].

The sugar estate was then passed on to the heirs of Emeterio and one them was Beatriz Bes PeƱalosa. Beatriz, fondly called Bating, was married to a full-blooded Chinese from Amoy, China named Dy Tai Kee. They were married in a Catholic rite, and as required at that time, Dy Tai Kee had to be baptized first and adopt the Christian family name of the wedding godfather who was an Alparce. On his baptism, Dy Tai Kee adopted the name Simeon Alparce. Simeon acquired the Minaquinahan in San Pedro, from his fortune from logging business. His logging business supplied almost all the travesia of the railroad tracks of the Philippine Railways. Simeon was the last owner of the said muscovado mill. [2] 

In orosipon (oral tradition), there is this popular tale in the olden times of the “Mungan sa Minaquinahan.” Mungan is a Bikol term which refers to a person who exhibits dwarfism. It was said that there were mungan workers in the muscovado mill. [3]

Contributed article by Engr. Jed M. Bellen, CEO & Founder, Bellen Management Consulting, OPC

[1] Interview with Mrs. Flory G. Bes.
[2] Interview with the Hon. Emmanuel Alparce, Municipal Councilor of Bacacay, Albay. 
[3] Interview with the Hon. Sergio Antonio Alvarado, Municipal Councilor of Bacacay, Albay.


Popular Posts