History of Miag-ao by E.N. Failagao


Love of country starts from love of your barangay and your town. It is impossible to love without knowing much about what you love. The vast majority of today’s generation do not know their own town. This is because our educators have no written information to enable them to teach our children about their own history. Our teachers themselves know so little about the town beyond the general knowledge found in the internet. This section of Sulu Garden’s website is our attempt to help remedy this paucity of knowledge by compiling information about Miag-ao’s past. We welcome those who wish to contribute information which will become part of this Archive.

Professor Johnston often said that if you didn’t know history, you didn’t know anything. You were a leaf that didn’t know it was part of a tree.

~Michael Crichton, Timeline


In 1979, Elias N. Failagao published the book “History of Miag-ao.” Today, 48 years later, this electronic copy is made available to the general public. The descendants of Mr. Failagao expressed their wish for the book to become more accessible to those Miag-awanons who wish to know more about their history and heritage. Our special thanks to Mr. Failagao’s children–Lorna and Roy– and also to his grandson Razzy for their support of this project.

The original book is becoming rare and we estimate about 20+ books remaining in private collections and one in the municipal library. In time, even these will disintegrate or lost. This electronic version is free to all who wish to read at any time. Our only pleasure is the hope for those who download a copy will learn, appreciate our history and love their town even more.

History is an evolving process. Professional and lay historians alike depend much on written and oral history available at the time of the publication. But, a complete history is rarely ever possible. It is up to the succeeding historians to add, detract or improve using this as a starting point. This monumental work took 5 years in the life of Elias Failagao and compiled from previous works by Teniente Nonong, writings of school teachers, interviews of the elders who still remember our past history and those written records from many sources.

“The book, History of Miag-ao, is the first attempt made by a Miagawanon to put down in black and white the beautiful and interesting past of our town. This is written with the hope that her history will serve as an inspiration for future generations.”

Erlinda N. Britanico
Municipal Mayor
Municipality of Miag-ao
April 21, 1979


“…But Philippine history has not yet been adequately written. Much of the histories published in the past were not written from the Filipino point of view. And even those written from the Filipino viewpoint contain many gaps and are, therefore, incomplete.

Historians believe that we can never write a definitive national history until we have first written our local histories. It is for this reason that the writing of provincial, city and municipal histories is encouraged.

In this light, the History of Miag-ao by Elian N. Failagao finds great significance….”

Conrado J. Norada
Provincial Governor
Province of Iloilo
August 29, 1979


“There are many unsung heroes of Miag-ao. Elias N. Failagao is one of them. History of Miag-ao by Elias N. Failagao lays the historic foundations of our town. Not many towns have their own book of history and his book made us even more special. Our past binds us to our future. We must learn from our past. We must improve on the challenges experienced by our fathers and their forefathers. Let our new generation add to our glorious past and never forget that Miag-aowanons have a special place in our nation’s history.”

Hon. Macario N. Napulan, MD
Municipal Mayor
Municipality of Miag-ao
May 1, 2017




Elias N. Failagao – Biography from “Miag-ao Tri-Centennial Book”

Elias Failagao Elias Nicano Failagao was born on July 20, 1915 in Brgy. Potrido, Miag-ao, Iloilo. His parents were Marcela Failagao Nicano and Alfonso Nicano. He did not grow up with his biological parents because his aunt and uncle, Angelina Garraton and Alipio Mosquin Failagao, adopted him. But it was Cornelia Failagao Mondido, his cousin who reared him and his children. Elias married Crispina Faeldan Monsale who gifted him with five (5) children: Lorna, Zorayda, Edgar, Edison and Roy, all professionals and US Citizens.

This tall, dashing and eloquent speaker graduated Salutatorian. Upon graduation from High School, he worked in the treasurer’s office in the Municipality of Miag-ao. During World War II, he became the Municipal Treasurer of San Miguel, Iloilo. Later, he became the secretary of then Governor Mariano Peñaflorida. It was Governor Penaflorida who encouraged him to go to college. He finished BS Commerce at Cabalum College, Iloilo City. He chose this school because it was just across the Provincial Capitol, the place of his employment. Governor Penaflorida boasted of his secretary, Elias Failagao, as the fastest stenographer in Iloilo with 100 percent accuracy. He had a stint as Asst. Manager of DBP but he was terminated, a victim of political intrigues.

Photo of Elias Failagao on the right with Disodado Macapagal on the left, courtesy of Lorna Dehdeh.

Photo of Elias Failagao on the right with Disodado Macapagal on the left, courtesy of Lorna Failagao Dehdeh.

In 1964, he was appointed Chief of Police by Dr. Jose M. Noble, the newly elected Municipal Mayor. When the position of the Provincial Warden was vacated, Governor Rafael Palmares appointed him. But he wanted to serve his “kasimanwas” that is why he ran for Vice Mayor instead and won. When Mayor Dioscoro Mueda became a candidate for Vice Governor of Iloilo Province in 1963, Vice Mayor Failagao took over the Municipality finishing Mueda’s unexpired term. As the Mayor, he was dedicated to the sports development of the youth. He was also able to send to college the poor but deserving students through the scholarship program.

Upon his retirement, he started working on his book, History of Miag-ao. It took him five years to prepare the book. More than half of the period was spent in the gathering of data through research and interviews and the rest was spent in writing.

It was a long and arduous task but the documentation of Miag-ao’s rich culture and glorious past was his dream. The book was published in 1979, the first and the only book to this date. His work is of great value to the people of Miag-ao. It serves as a reference and can be a source of inspiration to the present and future generations.