Tubungan is an isolated agricultural town with a mountainous location and offers a taste of pre-tourist-boom life, connecting itself with the rest of the towns in the First Congressional District of the Province of Iloilo. It is a mountaineer’s playground. Aside from these scenic attractions, the town has its own share of historical sites to contribute to the Heritage District of the province.
The Fourth Class municipality of Tubungan is situated in the southwestern portion of the province and is 41.1 kilometers away or an hour and fifteen minute drive from the city. It is bounded in the north by the municipality of Leon, in the south by the municipality of Guimbal, in the east by the municipality of Tigbauan and in the west by the municipality of Igbaras. It has a total land area of 3, 460 hectares that is politically subdivided into 48 barangays.
Tubungan is populated by 22, 449 Tubunganons. Market day is every Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. It celebrates its annual religious fiesta every 17th of June in honour of St. Anthony the Abbot.
To get to the town, one can take a Tubungan jeepney at the Don Benito Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary Terminal in Barangay Mohon, Oton or at the Iloilo Terminal Market in Barangay Rizal Pala-Pala I, Iloilo City.
The town derived its name from the Hiligaynon word tubong meaning to contribute. The Spanish Laws of the Indies (Leyes de Indias) at that time required that before a place could be recognized as a town, it should comply with the requirements in population. People from neighboring villages were encouraged, even recruited to settle in Tin-an so that the requirement for Tubungan to be an independent town be met.
The founding of the town of Tubungan came about through the contribution or additionof settlers from the adjacent places in order to make up the necessary population required for the township. Hence, Tin-an was renamed as Tubungan because of the contribution or tubong of its neighbors.
ST ANTHONY THE ABBOT PARISH CHURCH is of Romanesque architectural style. The present church was built in 1844 under the supervision of Father Luis Toro. The materials used were adobe stones that were found in the rivers and hills around the area. It was however destroyed during World War II by the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFE) to prevent Japanese armies from occupying the church to be used as their garrison. In 1947 the ground floor of the old church was cemented. However, it was totally ruined after the 1948 Lady Kaykay earthquake.
A new church was built using bamboo. However, in 1951 it was replaced with a wooden structure supervised by Father Luiz Zotz which later on was continued by Father Laurence Oberzbacher and Father Joseph Brereton. The belfry was constructed in 1958 and completed in 1960. The parish was turned over by Mill Hill missionaries to the seculars In Aril 23, 1962. The construction of the present church was initiated by Father Sagra in 1978.
CRUZ SA BALABAGO in Barangay Batga around 7.50 kilometers away from the town center. On Holy Thursday, the Panait ritual is re-enacted near the Cross sa Balabago where Babaylans from neighboring towns and provinces gather on the site they call the holy well or El Pozo Santo which still exists even up to this day. Rituals are performed to ask for good weather, rain or to thank the ancestral spirit for good harvest and energized themselves.
BUBON KUMON located near the site of Cruz sa Balabago which believed to be the center of the universe by the Babaylans.
ECO-PARK in Barangay Bacan, 3 kilometers away from the town center is a living classroom and laboratory for environmental education and aims to be a center for biodiversity conservation in Iloilo. It has nurseries for indigenous trees and vegetable seedlings, screen houses for vegetables, goatery/ piggery, clonal chambers, Farmer’s Learning Center, Bio Control Laboratory and Vermi Composting Areas.
TINDUG BATO situated in Barangay Molina is a legendary place with a huge stone approximately stands 200 feet high and 150 feet in diameter and ideal place for adventure climbers, which could be rich at the top thru vines climbing.
BATO SUMPIT in Barangay Igtuble is a 10-meter high waterfalls that spits water from a stone wall.
BATO SIMBAHAN is just a trek away from the Bato Sumpit. It is called as such because of its huge size and its churchlike shape. You could reach inside thru holding down the vines and there, you could see huge stones in altar shape and surrounded by the crystal-like waterfalls. This place is believed to be a center of holiness during ancient times.
PINIHAKAN DARAGA in Barangay Igtuble is a mountain range that could be reached thru walking passing the mountain trail and believed to be a mythical place that suggested a mythical triangle of Urdina, BIiladyong and Balanakon.
TUBONG-TUBONG is celebrated every last week of April till May 1. Derived from the Hiligaynon word “tubong” or “to contribution or chip-in,” the theme for the annual tribal presentation depicts the spirit of cooperative effort involving a community of members and features a small celebration to express gratitude. Other tribes focus on indigenous beliefs such as folk rituals established among the people in the community and the non-human beings, such as spirits and divinities. Cultural practices as expressed in a collection of stories are also presented where it shaped the town’s history.