The name Bauan comes from a Tagalog word bauang which means a close or concealed and rugged mountains (Noceda-Sanlucar, Vocabulario, 1860, p. 43). It was also said that one day a Spanish official asked a group of local farmers what was the place called. The farmers replied “bawang”, a local term for garlic, believing that what the official wanted to know was what they were planting. This happened when the farmers were planting garlic at the old site of Bauan along Taal Lake. From that time on, the place was known and registered as Bauang, which later became Bauan.
On the later part of the 16th century until the middle of the 17th century, Bauan was one of the principal barrios of Taal. Bauan was also called segundohijo de Taal (second son of Taal) because it was the second visita (a small community which has a chapel but without a resident priest from the town proper) of Taal from 1590 to 1596 (the first visita was Balayan). On May 17, 1590, the Augustinian friars of Taal had chosen Fr. Diego de Avila as the priest-in-charge of the natives of Bauan. On May 12, 1596, Bauan became a parish with Fr. Ildefonso Bernal as its first parish priest. The parish of Bauan was the fifth parish established in the province of Batangas, which was then under the Archdiocese of Manila. (The first four were the parishes of Taal, Balayan, Batangan (now, Batangas), and Tanauan which were established in 1572, 1579, 1581, and 1584, respectively. The parish of Lipa, established in 1605, became the sixth.) Later in 1641, Bauan parish was placed under the guidance of the Immaculate Conception and hence called the Immaculate Conception Parish, although since 1596, the patron of the parish was the Holy Cross of Bauan or the Mahal na Poong Sta. Cruz.
The original site of the old Bauan with a church and a convent was a place called Tambo, along Bonbon Lake (now, Taal Lake) and near the foot of Mt. Macolot. This was from 1590 to 1662. From Tambo, the old Bauan was relocated thrice. The first was to Durungao in 1662 under Fr. Jose Rodriguez and Governadorcillo Josep Cabral. The people stayed there until 1671. A church and a convent made of stone was built there in 1667. The second was to the western part of Bauan beside sitio Sinala which was then called Duclap, named after a plant with many thorns. This was in 1671 under Fr. Nicolas de Rivera and Governadorcillo Juan Manigbas. They stayed there until 1690. In 1689, a church, a convent, a school, and a cotta or fort were built there. The third and last relocation was made in 1690 under Fr. Simon Martinez and Governadorcillo Lucas Mangubat. The location, which was the fourth and the present site of Bauan, was called Tulusan. This site was near the sea and not so far from Punta de Asufre (now, Cazdor Pt.) and Isla de Maricaban (Maricaban Island). There, in 1695-1697, a church with a convent was built under Fr. Ignacio Mercado and in 1700-1710, another one was built under Fr. Blas Vidal. The present church of Bauan was built in 1762 with the supervision of Don Juan Bandino and under Fr. Jose Victoria, the same priest who had started the built-up of the historic Taal church.
In 1775, a fort in Aplaya was built under Fr. Miguel Brañas to prevent the town from the attacks of Moros or Muslims. This fort was ordered to be broken down in 1845 by Fr. Manuel de Arco.
Earlier in 1653, Bauan was separated from Taal and constituted as a town. The main reason for the separation was the distance between the two places and the growing populace of Bauan. The people of Bauan, led by Fernando Mangobos, who later became the first governadorcillo, made a petition for separation which was approved by the Spanish authorities. But then in 1660, Bauan was again placed under Taal due to lack of taxes collected in the town. In 1672, Bauan began to keep its own registry of births and deaths.
The first center of population of the town of Bauan was a place along Bonbon Lake called Calumala (now, a part of Sta. Teresita, Batangas). When Taal Volcano erupted in 1754, Bauan inhabitants moved to a sitio called Gintuan, located in the western side of a hill we now call Durungao. After staying there for three years, the people moved to another sitio called Taboc due to lack of water in sitio Gintuan. SitioTaboc had a river with the same name. But after six months, the people again transferred to a wider and more fertile area called sitio Tulusan, which was near the sea and had a spring called Pansol. This was the present site of Bauan poblacion or town proper. Tulusan was so called because at that time there were plenty of tulos (stake) for the mam-inan (mam-in is a plant used by old folks in their nganga, a habit to strengthen teeth) owned by Agustin Madlangpilac, who later donated a portion of his property to the municipal government.
When Bauan was created as a legal town, it was consisted of the towns of San Jose (formerly called San Jose de MalakingTubig), Cuenca (then, a part of San Jose), Alitagtag, Mabini (Calumpan Peninsula), Tingloy (Maricaban Island), and San Pascual. San Jose, Alitagtag, Mabini, and San Pascual were separated from Bauan in 1767, 1910, 1918, and 1969, respectively while Cuenca was separated from San Jose in 1876 and Tingloy, from Mabini in 1955.
In 1767, the barrio along MalakingTubig (a river flowing from this place to Bauan) separated from Bauan and became the town of San Jose with Ignacio de los Santos as its first governadorcillo. Earlier on April 26, 1765, after the first mass held in the place, Fr. Jose Victoria named the barrio as San Jose de MalakingTubig.
On November 7, 1876 the town of Cuenca was created, taken from San Jose de MalakingTubig. Cuenca was so named by Governor General Paez after a town in Spain with the same name, since the two places had similar environment. The town of Cuenca was along Bonbon Lake at the slope of Mt. Macolot and its town proper was at the southern foot of the said mountain.
The barrio of Alitagtag, which was also along Bonbon Lake and not too far from Mt. Macolot, became the second town that was separated from Bauan. On May 27, 1909, the national authorities issued a decree which state that beginning on the first day of January, 1910 Alitagtag would be a legal town. The barrio leaders who led the movement for the separation were Jose Maranan, Fulgencio Gutierrez, and Raymundo Bautista.
On January 1, 1918, the town of Mabini was created with Don Francisco Castillo as the first appointed Presidente Municipal. The town was consisted of the barrios along the bays of Batangas and Balayan in Calumpan Peninsula, southwestern part of Bauan, and the Maricaban Island. The town was named in honor of Apolinario Mabini, a national hero from Tanauan, Batangas.
The Maricaban Island was created into a municipality on June 17, 1955 under Republic Act No. 1344 of Pres. Ramon Magsaysay’s administration. This municipality was named Tingloy after tinghoy, a tree used for lighting purposes which was prevalent in the island. The first municipal mayor of Tingloy was Atty. Ramon de Claro.
The last town separated from Bauan was San Pascual. The municipality of San Pascual was created on August 4, 1969 under Executive Order No. 6116 issued by Pres. Ferdinand Marcos. The move to separate San Pascual from Bauan was led by Francisco Mendoza. The new town was consisted of Barangay San Pascual (formerly called barrio Lagnas, which means boundary, a boundary then of the towns of Bauan and Batangas, and which was change to San Pascual in 1959) and other eastern barangays of Bauan.
As years passed by, Bauan continued to prosper. In 1907, the Pansol spring, the main source of water in Poblacion, was developed under the administration of Presidente Municipal Andres Buendia. In 1915, an artesian well (now, called griposa Tarcena) in Aplaya was installed by Presidente Municipal Higino Marasigan. Under Mayor Benito Cusi, the Gabaldon building of Bauan Elementary School was built in 1920 and the public market in 1924. The asphalting of Aplaya road and other roads in Poblacion was done in 1929 under Mayor Simeon Ilagan. Mayor Ilagan also started the electrification and the construction of water pipelines of Poblacion in 1930. These were completed under Mayor Quintin Castillo in 1934. Feeder roads from San Roque to Gulibay, from Sinala to Alagao, and from Manalupang to Pitugo were constructed under the administrations of Mayors Quintin Castillo, Conrado Buendia, and Godofredo Brual from 1934 to 1941. In the early forties, Bauan was already a first class municipality.
Bauan had its share of tragedies aside from eruptions of Taal Volcano and frequent attacks of the Moros. On November 26, 1926, Aplaya was flooded killing a great number of people and damaging crops and properties. On July 13, 1928, the Bauan Catholic Church was burned together with its magnificent chandeliers, candelabras, and other priceless religious paraphernalia.
Bauan was on its way to progress when the Second World War broke out in 1941. Just a week after the December 8, 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor, the military auxiliary airfield in Lipa (now, Fernando Air Base) was also bombed by Japanese fighter planes. This made the residents of Poblacion and Aplaya to seek refuge to their relatives and friends in the hilly barrios of Sinala, Alagao, Durungao, and Inicbulan. After a year, they returned to their homes and found out that the town was peaceful and the people were busy working. There was no Japanese garrison stationed in Bauan and the Japanese soldiers only passed the town when going to Mabini, Cuenca, or Batangas.
In September 1942, a Japanese-Formosa commercial firm, Taiwan Takahatsu Ltd., established a branch in Bauan and set up an office at the residence of Don Eusebio Orense. The company was engaged in the production of cotton and this helped farmers earn a living by planting cotton to be sold to the said firm.
It was also during the Japanese occupation when the port of Bauan in barrio Aplaya became a major inter-island port. Hence, trading became one of the major sources of income in the town. Traders from the Visayas embarked and disembarked at Bauan port all sorts of food items like sugar, rice, coconut, fruits, and cattle.
There was no guerrilla unit ever established in Bauan. However, some Bauangueños secretly joined guerrilla forces in nearby towns. Through paid spies, information regarding guerrilla organizations reached the Japanese Kempeitai. Hence, from time to time, Japanese soldiers arrested prominent residents of Bauan, who were suspected to have connections with the guerrillas. Some of them were brutally tortured but were allowed to return home. Others were missing and believed to have been killed by their torturers.
February 28, 1945 was the most tragic day for Bauangueños. In the morning of that day, a Japanese detachment stationed in Cuenca under the command of Captain Hagino forcefully assembled Bauan town people inside the Catholic Church. Then, they arrested all males with healthy bodies and let them marched to a house owned by Severino Bautista, just across the side stairway of the church patio. When all were inside, the house was burned and dynamites were blasted. Those who had survived the blast and the fire were shot dead by the Japanese soldiers. Other soldiers roamed the streets and bayoneted every living man they met. At noon, Capt. Hagino ordered his men to ransack and burn the whole town. In that massacre, more than two hundred Bauangueños were killed and only three houses were left unburned. (In memory and for their honor, a statue called Dambana ng mga Bayani was built across the street in front of the church.)
After World War II, the task of rebuilding from the ruins of war began. This was led by a breed of new and young political leaders, Mayors Gregorio Arreglado, Jose Daite, and Ciriaco Ingco. Mayor Daite, who was a doctor of medicine, visited the barrios to bring medical and social services to the people. Mayor Ingco started Bauan’s industrialization by the establishment of an oil refinery owned by Caltex Philippines Inc. along the coast of Batangas Bay in Brgy. San Pascual (now, a municipality). During his four consecutive four-year terms (16 uninterrupted years of service as mayor, 1956-1972), various infrastructure projects were completed as a consequence of a progressive local economy.
In 1972, Mayor Bienvenido Castillo continued the projects left by his predecessor. Bauan’s economy, which was very much affected by the separation of San Pascual wherein Caltex refinery was located, was saved by new investors invited by the mayor to locate their industries in the remaining coast of Bauan. Other infrastructure like school buildings, roads, hospital, public market, waterworks, and electrification were also completed during his administration from 1972 to 1986 (Martial Law years of Pres. Marcos) and from 1988 to 1998.
In 1986 after the People Power Revolution at EDSA and during the transition government of Pres. Corazon Aquino, Atty. Policarpio Boongaling took the post as Bauan’s chief executive. He, however, lost to Mayor Castillo in the 1988 local elections.
In 1998, Mayor Herminigildo J. Dolor won the mayoralty race and became Bauan’s 246th local chief executive since 1653, the 23rd since the First Republic (1898) and the 8th since the Third Republic (1945). Within only more than a year in office, various infrastructure projects were completed, new commercial and industrial establishments were added and old ones were expanded. Various health, social and educational programs were conducted in Bauan under his administration.
In 2007, the second son of Mayor Herminigildo J. Dolor; the Hon. Ryanh M. Dolor became the new Local Chief Executive of Bauan at the young age of 27 years old. From the father onto his son, the leadership of Bauan was passed; another first in the colorful history of Bauan. In May 2010 National and Local Elections, Mayor Ryanh M. Dolor again defeated his rival for the mayoralty race. On his third term, the re-construction of Municipal Hall started. Mayor Ryanh M. Dolor finished his three terms with flying colors.
In 2016, Mayor Ryanh after successfully completing the three terms as Chief Executive of Bauan, turned over his leadership to his father, Mayor Herminigildo J. Dolor. It was another remarkable history in Bauan; from father to son, to son onto father. After a year of being a Chief Executive, Bauan awarded the first ever Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG). It is the most prestigious award every Local Government Unit could ever receive. It focuses on transparency, accountability and participation on seven performance/core areas of good governance challenged by Department of Interior and Local Government namely: Financial Administration; Disaster Preparedness; Social Protection; Peace and Order; Business Friendliness and Competitiveness; Environmental Protection; and Tourism Culture and the Arts.
In June 28, 2018, the whole Bauan grieved for the loss of a man who makes Bauan the best place to live in. He was known for his public service with Humility, Justice and Dignity. Mayor Herminigildo J. Dolor expired upon losing his battle to his sickness. Hence, through succession, the then Vice Mayor Julian C. Casapao finished the unserved term of Mayor Hermie. Under the leadership of Mayor Julian C. Casapao, another SGLG has been bestowed to the municipality of Bauan.
In 2019, Mayor Ryanh M. Dolor successfully won over his opponent. (If not on that fateful day a year ago, it would have been another history in Bauan; the father would have been returning again his good governance to his son). Mayor Ryanh is young but dynamic leader of Bauan. His vision is to continue the legacy of his late father. Road Map to Development is his priority above anything else. True enough, with this same year, Bauan once again bags the badge. Bauan is the first municipality in Batangas to receive such an honor of being SGLG awardee for three consecutive years.