Balilihan is a 4th class municipality in the province of Bohol, Philippines, according to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB). Balilihan is located 22 kilometers northeast of Tagbilaran City via Cortes (thru CPG North Avenue) or Corella (thru JA Clarin St.). It holds the fourth (4th) largest land mass of the province, having 15, 022 hectares of its land area. According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 17,131 people and 8, 969 registered voters as of May 2004 elections.
Before the beginning of the 19th century, Balilihan was a barrio of the town of Baclayon and an old settlement where the families of Orig, Dangoy, Racho, Maniwang, Lacea and Pongase were the first inhabitants. When the Dagohoy revolt was suppressed by the Spaniards, the authorities established a garrison in Datag (one of its barrios) to discourage and stamp out further uprisings on the part of the natives. When Balilihan was separated from its mother town (Baclayon) on September 29, 1828, the Spanish government, represented by Friar Tomas, formally established a settlement or “pueblo” in the sitio “Bay sa Iring” named so for the network of caves from where cats go into hiding which was about two kilometers from the Spanish garrison. Serafin Pongase was appointed as the first captain, but his administration was short-lived because he met his death in the hands of Manuel Danila with whom he had an altercation.
Later, due to the scarcity of water, the seat of government was transferred to its present site which is amply supplied with water from various springs such as Tan Pero, Ka Dadoy, Boho, Ka Boro, Bulingit, Komon and Abaca. The elevated land also made a low hill agood viewing point to keep watch over all nearby towns. Thus the construction of a Spanish Belfry similar to the watch towers of the shores atop the hill. This tower is made of adobe stones gathered by foot from the rock deposits of the mother town Baclayon. It was erected in the year 1835 under the able management of Friar Tomas and Capitan Placido Andoy. It was inaugurated in 1846 when Capitan Gabriel Racho was the gobernadorcillo. In 1888, Friar Benito Grayoa, who at that time exercised control over local governments, ordered the transfer of the municipio to Cabad, a barrio four kilometers west of the poblacion. The padre’s plan met vigorous opposition fro the people and through the able leadership of Capitan Bartolome Racho, they filed the protest before the Spanish Military Governor Linares who disapproved the proposal causing Friar Grayoa’s ire who then plotted for the consequent punishment of the captain by dragging him with the Friar’s horse through the streets causing his death in jail. Fearing reprisals from the clergy, some of the people migrated to Surigao, Leyte and Misamis. Not long afterwards, Friar Grayoa was transferred to Siquijor.(more)
In 1902, there was a move to fuse this town with Antequera but was vigorously opposed by the people. The following year, the municipality of Catigbian was annexed to Balilihan under Act No. 370 of the Philippine Commission. In 1879, it had a population of 5,998.