The Story of the Land of Dwarfs
PUEBLO DE SAN JOSE DE OCO
Oco means dwarf, a place where the Land of the Dwarf is called Barrio Oco. This was how Barrio Oco got its name. And the story that dates back over 400 year's rings through the ages of the vestigial reminder of a beautiful confusion at the end of the forest once believed inhabited by the dwarfs. The forest extended from the peak of a mountain range which a mountainous Barangay Pedro Vera was situated more known as "Summit" marked by two (2) giants tress guarding the entrance of the moss-carpeted trail lined by massive ferns and assorted species of wild orchids. Going through the natural flower-scented trail, branches of huge trees arched down in wondrous fashion forming roof-like leading to a rich valley lying in picturesque verdant fertility. Along the trail, you will welcomed by the freshness of crystal-liked flowing water of "Milikbisik" which is part of seven fountains along the magnificent trail over flowing through spillways that lend cool reverie to the heartland of the thick forest. As the water streamed down, it enter-connect to the junction called "Bordang" to form the majestic Oco River. Across the Bordang was a Spanish encampment called Pueblo de San Jose (Town of San Jose), extended up to the inhabited fertile lowland where herbaceous gigantic gabi-like plants which they called “Marviga” grew abundantly. In the later part of 16th century, a group of Spaniards believed to be a group of Juan de Salcedo’s expedition reached the place named Caviga-e and subdued the natives then became another Spanish settlement. An Augustinian friar named Francisco Putiocan became the first Catholic Priest and recognized leader. Then Americans called the settlement “Viga”, shortened from ”Marviga”. This name was subsequently adopted as the official name of the new found land until today.
How Pueblo de San Jose came to known as Oco is a story in itself. A story was told that when the town's church was under construction, all the town residents were ordered to gather stones from the banks of the river. From dawn to dust they labored and often horsed-whipped to force them to carry big and heavy stone uphill where the church is being built. To avoid punishment, some escaped to the northern seashore which later become known as Barangay "Tinago"(Hidden). Many Oco natives suffered but could not raised up and complain.
One morning, as the story went on, piles of stones were found at the construction site and the town people were surprised to find more stones every morning. Some curious folks spied on the "Mystery of the Stones" and they were astonished to see that during the night, hundreds of small people believed to be dwarfs not taller or bigger than the stones carrying stone on their backs, they were busily pilling thousands of stone that helped build the massive stone church. In gratitude, folks calling their town "Pueblo de San Jose de Oco" means Town of San Jose of Oco. Visitors who came to view the church started to send donations.
In 1610, a church bell bearing the inscription, "SAN JOSE DE UCO 1610" was donated to the church. During that year, harvest time in Oco was a cause for merriment, drinking and dancing. One plentiful seasons, a bright heavenly light shone over "Caviga-e". This appeared for two (2) nights. On the second night, the town's people saw in the middle of the bright heavenly body, a woman figure in white dress. The folks thought it was the image of the Blessed Virgin. Before the crowing of the cocks, the people flocked to Caviga-e where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared. News of apparition spread like fire to all inhabitants of the island. People from southern part and tribesmen led by “Abines” from the mainland tracked to the place and settled to the Caviga-e which is a site of Spanish settlement and the land is fertile suitable for farming. Since then, the place prospered and later called "Viga".
Caviga-e today is the poblacion (center) of town of Viga, and the Pueblo de San Jose de Oco was shrunk to become a barangay under the Municipality of Viga. The name Pueblo de San Jose de Oco was shortened to Barangay San Jose but still the name "Oco" is more commonly used until today. People, place and life may change but this place still known as the Land of the Dwarfs. Some will ask "Taga siin ka tabi? and the answer with very smooth accent... "Taga OCO tabi." and the other will ask "Siin ka tabi sa Viga?" and the answer with very smooth accent again "Sa OCO tabi."