HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE OF BARRIO BAWA
Barangay Bawa is located in the southeastern part of the Municipality of Gerona. It is three and one-half kilometers away from Poblacion proper.
In the early days, there were two villages separated by a creek, where they say lived a mermaid. One village was called Kitkitiw, from a bird which sang throughout the village every morning. The other one was called Cupang. Many of the early inhabitants migrated from the town of Badoc, Ilocos Norte to Kitkitiw. These people were industrious. They titled the soil and planted vegetables, fruit trees, and cereals like corn, rice, and Boka Kaw. There was one plant that these people loved and took good care of, It was garlic. One afternoon, a Spanish soldier with some civilians came to visit the village, They wanted to see the so-called mermaid at the creek between Cupang and Kit-kitiw. The soldier asked the farmers for the name of the place. Thinking they were asked what they were planting, they immediately answered, “Bawang”. The Spanish soldier repeated their answer, saying “Bawa”. and the farmers nodded. That was where this barrio got its present name.
In the course of time, the people of Bawa became loving, peaceful, and law-abiding citizens. In 1930, the people built their tenencia, church, and school. This was when the barrio was established. The original families were the Paduits, Ramilos, Estabillos, and Iglesias. From the time of its establishment as a barrio, the people of Bawa have realized the value of education since some of the elders have acquired little education during the Spanish occupation. The people were then taught the reading of the Kartilla (“Kartilya ng Katipunan”, a primer for new members of the organization, written by Emilio Jacinto). As years went by, the love for education among the constituents of Bawa developed, prompting them to start building a school made with cogon and bamboo. One big factor in the rapid progress of Bawa before World War II was the construction of the railroads. One line connects Bawa with Paniqui Sugar Central, and the other, with Bawa to the Central Azucarera, San Miguel, Tarlac. The people become more interested in Planting sugar cane, but during World War II, the education and economic condition of the place suffered. The children did not want to attend Japanese schools. There was a scarcity of supply of basic commodities for the people. Stocks, especially kerosene, were brought by rations. This incident prompted the establishment of the black market in the barrio. These resulted in the deterioration of the people’s morale.
As time passed by, healed by the wounds of war, Bawa now has 70% of its land area of 371.75 hectares, mainly rice land, which provided for the sustainability and growth of the people.