by John Keith D. Santiago and Kent D. Billedo

Life is full of inescapable complexities that come with burdens and bring about hurdles, driving the community to continuously adapt. Uncertainty permeates every aspect of life and can occur in the blink of an eye, thereby leaving people bewildered. However, despite the circumstances and their unpleasant gloom, facing the inevitable awakens a soul of resilience, perseverance, and tenacity to face and conquer the uncertainties of the future. A power that provides a silver lining, transforming individuals and communities into treasures, exemplifying a thriving and resilient society. The people of Camiling have historically demonstrated an extraordinary ability to not only endure adversity but also to rise up stronger and better. Camileños’ ingrained determination, moral guidance, unwavering faith, and courage to persevere and overcome obstacles have enabled Camiling to flourish.


“ANGAT ANG GALING NG CAMILING” was created to honor and respect the ingrained sense of honor and dignity that characterizes Camiling, rather than to vaunt or boast. It embodies the collective spirit and attitude of every Camileño. With a rich history steeped in resilience and determination, the people of Camiling exemplify a relentless pursuit of excellence in every endeavor they undertake. Moreover, the tagline is a visualization of Camiling’s unwavering culture which has been forged since its founding.


The very first settlers were the Aetas, known for their adaptability, who laid the foundation for Camiling’s resilience. Additionally, various groups of people hailing from different regions and locales congregated on the land which we now know as Camiling. Their quest in search of fertile lands and better prospects compelled them to journey and face hardships despite the uncertain promises held by the unknown land.


Since its founding, Camileños has faced numerous difficulties. The Philippines’ past is tainted with oppression and social injustices, emanating from the occupations by the Spanish, Americans, and Japanese. Camileños with differing origins were impacted, and they were compelled to unite and repel these invaders to protect their newfound land. The spirit of liberty—a quality required to follow the beacon of light from the darkness of fear—was ignited by the bravery and courage that emerged in spite of the difficult times. Furthermore, they faced these foreign armies with might and resolve, proving that they are the supreme defenders of their land, ultimately breaking the link of subjugation and injustice.


In time, the calm brought forth by peace has been replaced with the silencing of our constitutional rights as Martial Law was proclaimed. As a result, social and economic lifestyles have changed and been restricted by the lack of liberties, aggravated by dissent, discontent, and economic crises. Camileños, in spite of the disquieting conditions, manage to cope with the unprecedented experience of agitation by remaining resolute and refusing to allow challenges to dictate their lives, enabling them to break free from the shackles of fear and the threatening eyes of tyranny.


In June of 1991, Mt. Pinatubo erupted, casting a pall over Central Luzon and obscuring the azure skies with a dense layer of smoke and ash. The eruption terrified the people and disrupted their activities which in turn had an adverse effect on the town’s economic development. Camileños struggled to breathe, yet the blow of humanity provides air, alleviating everyone from misery. A breeze of hope was presented as a sign of continued life, allowing everyone to breathe freely and let the ash of disaster be carried away by the wind.


A historical landmark of Camiling, the Saint Michael the Archangel Parish Church, built in the 1700s, well-made with bricks and stones, and located at the heart of the Municipality. This sacred building has witnessed how the town has prospered and progressed since time immemorial. A true testament to our values, its edifice outlived a 19th century earthquake and was subsequently renovated throughout the years.


Various stories revolve around this hallowed building, starting with the missing monstrance, a holy vessel deemed miraculous and crucial in devotional ceremonies. Its loss compelled the community to band together to pray and hope for its recovery. Their devotion bore fruit as it was found in mysterious circumstances and still brings peace and faith to the parish. However, another misfortune befell the Catholic Church when the Parish Church, a stunning marvel of architecture, was devoured by inferno and reduced to ashes in 1997.


Even with these devastating incidents that troubled the townspeople of Camiling, instead of surrendering to grief and sorrow, the people strengthened their faith in God through the town’s patron, Saint Michael the Archangel, for protection and guidance. This shows resilience, devotion and positivity, and the support from one’s patron can offer comfort and direction in times of difficulty.


According to local myth, Saint Michael the Archangel can often be seen atop his noble steed and roaming the town before and during times of disaster. Saint Michael serves as a diligent guardian and a forewarning of calamities and bad events. The Archangel also provides safeguard to Camiling at times of disaster, shielding the town from the devastating consequences of such events. Several residents have confirmed that Saint Michael’s holy presence manifests as a guiding influence, offering succor and protection during times of adversity


With the consecutive and destructive typhoons forming (Henry, Inday, and Josie) which intensified the southwest monsoon and brought heavy rain across Luzon, the flood that hit Camiling in 2018 was perhaps the worst flood that had ever occurred. Typhoon Henry, Inday, and Josie wreaked havoc and brought about flash floods which have caused disastrous consequences to both agricultural and infrastructure systems, destroying the river dikes in several barangays. During these difficult times, Camileños showcased “bayanihan” and solidarity by lending a helping hand to those who were in need.


Silence and fear gripped the world when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, restricting movement between municipalities and affecting all facets of society. In response, the residents imposed upon themselves the responsibility to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and maintain Camiling as a safe reprieve from the harsh realities of the disease. However, even with their due diligence, Camileños were not spared, as the municipality recorded its first COVID-19 patient by March 2020. This case snowballed and COVID-19 positive patients began growing, however, as a testament to their resilience, they were able to demonstrate our resolve. Camileños banded together to ensure the containment of the spread through rigorous self-discipline. As a result of these concerted efforts and dedication to conforming to precise health regulations, the disease has been controlled and a semblance of normalcy has been regained within our Municipality.


Through the shared responsibility of the Camileños, recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic began. However, it seems that fate has other plans for Municipality as it was once again beset by a catastrophe in the form of a conflagration that hit the Camiling Public Market, the center of its commerce, in the wee hours of May 28, 2023. The catastrophe not only affected the stallholders but also the Municipality as a whole as its economy was distressed. However, even in these darkest times, Camileños remained staunch and immovable; their faith in God and a better tomorrow were strengthened. Various assistances, both local and national, were provided to affected stakeholders to allow for their recoveries.


The bittersweet and dark history of Camiling has not only taught the conquest of hardships that have been dealt, but it also resonates with the valiant resilience of its ancestry. These moments are forever carved and hopefully will be passed on to the next generations of Camileños, serving as a mark of encouragement and past generations’ footprint on this wonderful town. Even with the dismal events of the past and the sacrifices that were made, it fostered sparks of hope and the capability to adapt, recover, and bounce back, which led to the present-day Camiling.