History

The origin of latter part of 18th century marked the beginning of people exodus from the town proper of Virac to the southern part of the municipality. The first wave of migrants found Sto. Domingo as a better place to live in, thereby having a river and vast forest suitable for farming. As years go by, barangay Sto. Domingo became crowded, so the early settlers decided to move southbound reaching the coastal areas of Palawig. Many of the early settlers found at a vast elevated forest of what is now Palta but it has no name yet before. Yet they decided to exploit the forest as fertile and good for farming. They built their huts scattered within the vicinity. History shows that they are about twenty or thirty families. They called this place “KAPASIGAN” meaning virgin forest inhabited with wild animals such as “UPON” or wild pig, “KATIANAN” or wild cock which they often catch to be given to “ALCALDE MAYOR” of Virac as gift. These early settlers were the remnants of the Aguilars, Valenzuela, Bagadiong, Tabuzo, Beo and Tabios.

This place “KAPASIGAN” was established as a Sitio of Barrio Sto. Domingo before 1876. There was no road yet in going to Sto. Domingo. If you want to go to this Barrio you have to walk or ride on a horseback while Sto. Domingo has a tiny road in going to Virac proper. Everytime the Alcalde Mayor wants to communicate with his constituents, he could reach only as far as Sto. Domingo. He just sent messages to “KAPASIGAN” to invite the leaders there for a meeting on administrative matters. Everytime the leaders in “KAPASIGAN” were invited, they FAILED to attend the meeting for various reasons such as they were busy in farming, no available transportation facilities to use, no formal pathways or road that can be used, etc. That was why the Alcalde Mayor uttered words as “PALTA” or “PALTANDO” which means ABSENT or FAILURE. From now on they called this place PALTA. That was where PALTA got its name and finally, in 1876 marked the birth of Palta as one barrio of Virac. It was the Governor Eustaquio Joson who drawn the boundaries of Palta adjacent to Palawig and San Jose which belong to Calolbon.

Our early inhabitants were noted as “God-fearing” people. They have their own chapel called “ERMITA” and their first patron saints were San Vicente Ferrer and San Isidro Labrador. As years go by, they changed it to Nstra. Sra. De Salvacion while San Vicente Ferrer remained as patron saint of Palta Small. Some of the inhabitants even walked to Virac to attend masses during Sundays and Holy Weeks. They named their districts after the names of saints such as Peña Francia, San Roque, Lalaogon and Del Rosario and each district has a “MATANDA” or religious leader. In 1955, the Diocese of Legazpi made Palta as a Parish of Nstra. Sra. De Salvacion having Fr. Eriberto Matubis as the first parish priest. Almost 100% of our inhabitants were all Roman Catholics even until now.

Early inhabitants depend mostly their livelihood in farming. They planted rice, corn, sweet potatoes (camotes) and various root crops to support their daily consumption. They also raised animals such as pigs, chicken, carabaos and the likes. They formed “Bayanihan System” wherein at scheduled date they gather in one farm to work for “free”. They called this in a vernacular term “COMBENIO”. These early inhabitants were also noted to be industrious as they have abundant farms. Their products were not intended for sale. They just plant to support their livelihood. Later on, they developed the vast leveled land into rice fields for planting rice. Some of them occasionally engaged in fishing in barangay Palawig or making copras from coconut plantations to support their daily needs.

Some of the family heads engaged in gathering “TUBA”, a local coconut wine which they extract through a bladed tool they called as “KAGOT”. They drink this on leisure hours especially on Sundays. In their hut (PAYAG) they have a bamboo bell which they used to call or invite their neighbors to a drinking spree (huts are distant from one another). They called this on a vernacular term as “PUSTAHAN”. During Sundays some of them go to Sto. Domingo to engage in cockfight called as “TUPADA” while some of the residents gathered in a grassy plaza to play softball, volleyball, basketball, or even boxing. Oftentimes they went to the river or sea for an excursion.

The early inhabitants of Palta were noted for having a strong family ties and strong cooperation. The spirit of Bayanihan was so strong. For instance you want to build a house, your neighbors will work freely called “DOKSOY” or “ATAG”. The same thing if you want to transfer your house from one place to another. It is also evident during the mourning of the death of one family member. Your friends will donate their house and labor to make coffin. The women assist in preparing foods and snacks for the visitors. During funeral, the men, in alternate basis, carry the coffin just walking from Palta to Virac cemetery. The same things happen during occasions such as weddings, baptismal or novenas.

During moonlights, the bachelors are serenading their love ones. They brought with them TUBA and PULUTAN. If the girl puts a lighted lamp or candle on the window, it means that he bachelors serenading are welcome to enter the house. If it’s not, meaning the visitor bachelors are not welcome. There was a long courtship before the the boy’s parents will go the girl’s house to offer respect to the girl’s parents. If they accepted, the boy will served the girl’s family for months through fetching water, working in the farm and gathering firewood and eventually, wedding ceremonies will follow. If there’s one family member who goes to Manila or other distant places for work, their parents suffer much agonies and worries.

In making barrio projects such as building church and public roads, the men will offer free labor while the women prepare foods and drinks. Every afternoon before going home they gathered to enjoy drinking spree. All are free until they finished the projects. Our early inhabitants produced many skilled persons although they don’t have formal education. They are skilled in different fields. They were the likes of Alipio Tabuzo, Oben Papango, Petronilo Bagadiong, Nemesio Gurrobat, Ramon Ramirez, musician Isidoro Talan and many others. They contributed mainly for the development of our barrio of being what is now.

Palta was almost a ghost barrio during the early part of World War II, which broke out in the Pacific Ocean in 1941. Most of the inhabitance evacuated to the mountains located on the western part of the barrio which called “DULAW” because they were eluding Japanese soldier. Any civilian who failed to bow to a passing soldier will be slapped, kicked or struck by the butt of his gun, if not pinned to the ground with a bayonet. Another reason people choose to reside temporarily in the mountains during the war was to plant crops for sustenance. There, they also raised livestock such as pigs, chickens, goats, horses and carabaos. Viand for the day was also on of the main problems of the inhabitants as they could not go to town proper or went on fishing in Palawig because of fear to the Japanese soldiers. In order to solve the problem, as one community, every time they slaughter their livestock and carabaos, they distributed shares to all households living in the mountains for free.

The early waves of inhabitants got no formal education. They devoted their time and effort in farming and fishing to earn a living. There were no schools yet during the early part of the 19th century. Some of our parents used to go to school in barrio Calatagan, Virac and in Balite. What we have here were “CATON” teachers. They taught mainly on religion such as “DOCTRINA CRISTIANA”. They were Felipa Vergara and Colasa Gurrobat. Several others followed. It was only after the World War II when school building was constructed here. First constructed was the Palta Primary School then later on, the Palta Elementary School. In 1966, the first barangay high school was established in Palta – having Mr. Santiago G. Gurrobat Sr., Estela Arcilla, Mrs. Perlas, Mrs. Dianela and Mr. Molet are the pioneer teachers. Being an Agricultural barangay, it does not hinder our parents in sending their children to school and it produced may professionals.

Every year new settlers are coming and population of Palta has expanded thus resulting Palta as thickly populated barrio. The first Teniente Del Barrio which is equivalent to Barangay Captain today was appointed by Alkalde Mayor. He was Baltazar Aguilar. The tenure of office is two years and from such time, the barrio officials were elected by the constituents. No honorariums were given then. Several persons became Teniente Del Barrio. They were Adriano Tabios, Alipio Tabuzo, Macario Alcantara, Petronilo Bagadiong, Pedro Vargas, Ramon Ramirez, Nemesio Gurrobat, Eustaquio Alejandro, Estanislao Tabios, Antonio Gurrobat and Eugenio Arador. Among these Teniente Del Barrio, it was Alipio Tabuzo who served the longest term for 23 years.

Pursuant to Republic Act 3590 that was ratified on September 1972, barrio Palta was divided into three barangays. The eastern part became barangay Cabihian, the central part became the barangay Palta Big and the western portion became what is now barangay Palta Salvacion. From 1972 to 2016, the Barangay Captains became who is now barangay Palta Salvacion. From 1972 to 2016, the Barangay Captains who served the Palta Salvacion were Estanislao Tabios, Leonoro Gurrobat, Charles Tapel Jr. as (OIC), Alando Chavez (appointed as OIC), Eddie Manlangit, Carmen Cajuday, Efren Ramirez (won an recall election vs. incumbent barangay captain Carmen Cajuday), Rene Matienzo and again Efren G. Ramirez.