The municipality of Perez is one of the three towns comprising the island of Alabat. This is a little town of about 5,745.54 hectares with a population of 11,815 as of 1999. This place had been known formerly as Sangirin which was then only a distant barrio of the municipality of Alabat. How this place had been called “Sangirin” was clearly known. Some tales told that the word “Sangirin” was coined with the Tagalog words “isang” and “hirin”. Some say that this place was established by a certain Aniceto Manlogon and some Aetas, but, they never gave this place any name because they were just cleaning a portion of this place called Pinagbayanan. Based on some tales and stories, there were five Spanish soldiers who happened to reach this place. They were the first foreigners to reach this place, and the inhabitants became afraid of their usual countenance. When the Spanish soldiers were eating their lunch, one of them was choked by the food he was eating. Some inhabitants crowding the visitors witnessed the incident. One of them shouted, “isang hirin”. Coincidentally, a foreigner at that moment was asking another inhabitant about the name of the place, which was interpreted by the latter as an inquiry to what was happening to the soldier. The inhabitant quickly replied “isang hirin” which means, one is choked. The inquiring soldier caught the sound of the words as “Sangirin”. So, the name of this place became “Sangirin”. The incident occurred where the old town was located known as “Pinagbayanan”.
Those who established the Sangirin settlement were mostly from the municipality of Mauban, Quezon, a town across the Lamon Bay on the West accessible by boat. They were Pablo Camitan, Predencio Alpay, Epifanio Regodon, Isidro Aguilar, Pablo Paraon, Benito Ursolino, Urbano Diasanta and Timoteo Almadrones. There was no administrative or government system established in the settlement but inhabitants were organized merely through cooperation and better social relationship. Story spread across neighboring towns that Sangirin has vast rich land unclaimed and uncultivated, plenty of fish in its marine areas. These incited settlers to finally stay here permanently. Later, it became as established barrio of Mauban, Quezon.
The settlers constructed a little chapel where Rev. Fr. Gregory Alma officiated the first mass here. Father Goyo, as he was fondly called, contributed economic and social development of the place.
While inhabitants, increased, economic or agricultural development also flourished at a normal pace. But, there was a time when peace and contentment of barrio inhabitants was disturbed by Moro attacks.
Elders led Fr. Alma and barrio lieutenants considered the transfer of settlers to a safe haven. Foremost reasons for transfers are the fear of the Moros and scarcity of potable water in the settlement especially during the dry season. The new settlement had been known to be owned by sisters Ana and Juana Verzo and Isidro Aguilar.
The first to clear and settle the place were Roberto and Eduardo Alpay, Francisco, Pablo, Eugenio, Isidro and Aniceto, member of the Manlogon family and Lucas and Urbano Diasanta.
In 1884, the administration of this place was transferred from Mauban to Alabat, due to the proximity of Alabat to Sangirin. Sangirin had become one of the established barrios of Alabat. Mr. Felix Almadrones was appointed sub-captain with the foremost duty of collecting taxes from the Sangirin inhabitants.
In 1886, a group known as “kasadores” led by Rafael Castro invaded Sangirin. Inhabitants fled to the mountain in fear but, Felino de Leon and German Bantucan decided to stay and meet the enemies. They fought hardly but in vain because they were outnumbered. The bandits set the settlement in flames and only the residence of Lorenzo Regodon was spared.
The prevailing condition during the Spanish rule motivated the proliferation of lawlessness, initiated by the thieves and bandits. It was only during the arrivals of the Americans that lawlessness ended.
In 1903, the epidemic of cholera brought havoc and disaster in Sangirin where untold numbers died. Economic condition seemed deeply intolerable.
In the field of education, Mrs. Crispina Madlangbayan, wife of Felix Almadrones taught “Kartilla” among inhabitants. In 1920, Juan Sanchez established a school known as “Corona College”. It lasted until 1923 when a government school was established. There were first, second and third grades of elementary level where Mr. Doroteo Felizco was one of the teachers.
In 1924, a complete elementary school was established here under the Alabat elementary school supervision, managed by Mr. Sabas Zoleta. Some interested students pursue their studies in nearby Mauban or Alabat Schools. In 1927 and 1930, a complete elementary school was established with its own principal in the person of Mr. Anastacio Hugo.
There were groups of concerned and civic-minded citizens of Sangirin who dreamed of making Sangirin as an independent municipality. The prime movers for the establishment of an independent municipality of Sangirin were Fortunato Almadrones, Esteban Alpay, Doroteo Refazo, Placido de los Reyes, Joaquin Villabroza, Lope Diasanta, Francisco Refazo, and Briccio Grimarez. They presented their petition to Governor Felimon Perez. Governors Perez and Leon Guinto helped in the making of Sangirin an independent municipality. In 1929, it became a municipality and named it Perez as a token to Governor Felimon Perez who helped make this place an independent municipality. Mr. Fortunato Almadrones became the first head of the municipality.
Development and progress had flourished in all aspects. Education became one of its foundations. Many civic organizations were organized; some of them were Dimasalang and Parent Teachers Association. These organizations spearheaded the celebration of Rizal Day, New Year’s Day, and Town Fiesta Celebration. The influence of politics awakens people’s participation in political activities and undertakings, especially during election time. They organized and identified themselves with particular political parties.
From the year 1929 until 1936, the municipal building was located in the residence of Mrs. Gregoria Altamarino. It was in 1935 that a municipal building was built. In 1938, the Alabat Emergency Airport was made in barrio Villa Manzano Norte. It was also during this time when the Perez pier was constructed. In 1940, the World War II erupted, inhabitants of this place went to the barrios to hide and seek food. Japanese soldiers assigned in the area committed abuses and untold cruelties. They even robbed and confiscated properties. They subjected the populace to forced labor. The Japanese soldiers established their headquartes at the house of Jose Chionglo, a Chinese and Nipongo speaking citizen. They installed Apolinario de la Cruz as mayor of the town, who acted merely as a puppet.
In November 1944, the Japanese killed the Chief of Police Magtangol Merrick. They also killed the Mayor of Quezon, Quezon, Mr. Jose Olivera.
Immediately after the war, the former municipal mayor Florentino Almadrones was reinstated. The town people began to work to recover the life that was before the war. In 1950, HUKBALAHAP Movement became active in this place and set fire the municipal building leaving it into ashes. They robbed properties. Also in 1950, the municipal market was erected through the effort of Mayor Constancio Reyes. Mayor Reyes also reconstructed the municipal building also in the same site together with the puereculture center and school rooms. With the leadership of civic minded citizens, a private secondary school was established in 1949. Asphalt roads were constructed with names of heroes like Rizal, Bonifacio, Gen. Luna, P. Burgos, and Quezon. Other roads were named after prominent citizens of the municipality like Almadrones, Kapitan Kiko, Guinto, and others. Many new and modern houses were built and those citizens who intended to expand land properties went to Patnanungan Island, municipality of Burdeos, Tagkawayan and Basyad in Camarines Sur.
In 1950, the image of San Antonio de Padua was made patron saint of the place. At that time, Rev. Fr. Nicolas Santos held the mass for the installation of the patron saint.
Massive improvement in roadway system started in the later part of the 60’s and through the whole period of the 70’s. Primary roads in the poblacion were transformed from unpaved surface to concrete pavement. Additional municipal streets were opened and constructed line Altamarino and Segundo Streets, both located at Brgy. Bagong Silang. In the rural areas, the connecting road between Brgy. Villa Manzano Norte and Brgy. Pambuhan were widened and made passable to four wheeled type vehicles.
Early 80’s marked another important development in infrastructure facility. It was the electrification of Alabat Island where the municipality of Perez is one of the recipients. QUEZELCO (Quezon Electric Cooperative), local electric cooperative initiated it through the cooperation of local residents and officials. The energization has contributed a lot to progress and changes in the lifestyles of the people of Perez.
In 1990 and the subsequent years, improvement in road network have continued. More roads were constructed in the urban area as well as critical portions of the Perez-Alabat national road. Also in the period, improvement of municipal plaza was undertaken. The Municipal Multi-Purpose Gymnasium was now covered with roofing.
In 1996, another milestone in education sector was achieved. The former private school (Perez-Quezon Academy) was finally converted in national high school through Republic Act 8006. It was made possible through the persistent effort of the local leaders of the municipality led by the Municipal Mayor Hon. Alicia C. Caringal.
Presently, Perez is still gearing up for more progress led by a young and service oriented local chief executive, Hon. Pepito C. Reyes, as municipal mayor.