PLACES are named in various ways and for various reasons, too. That is why many places, may they be provinces, cities, towns or barangays, sport queer, unique and sometimes comical names, Barangay Gairan, one of the 29 barangay of the City of Bogo in northern Cebu, is one of the barangay sporting queer names.


Very long time ago, before the Spaniards came to the Philippines, Gairan was still unnamed. It was only a very small settlement consisting of very few families living in small nipa huts scattered along the coastline. Most of the residents engaged in fishing and very few in farming. The settlement or village grew steadily as settlers intermarried. They all lived peacefully and harmoniously together.

One day, a small group of moro bandits came and attacked the village by pillaging and burning the houses. The attack came as a complete surprise to the villagers as it was never expected considering that their village was party hidden from open sea by a luxuriant growth of mangroves. The attackers took almost anything of value including domesticated fowls and three of the fairest maidens. Nobody, however, was killed due probably to the absence of resistance.

After the attack, the villagers started to rebuild and vowed to arm themselves and never to be surprised again. The village head recruited around thirty able-bodied men to represent its core village defenders armed with bolos and bamboo lances. he ordered the construction of an observation post to be able to spot any attacker from yet a far distance to give them enough warning.

More than a year had passed since first attack when suddenly; adrenalin ran high in the blood of the villagers when they hear the frantic cry of the guard announcing the coming of moro bandits. The village defenders, who now increased in number to around forty, were promptly gathered by the dull but loud sound of the “budyong”. The village head, from the constant drills, was able to quickly scatter and position hi defenders behind large “Pagatpat” and “Bungawong” trees that abound in the area providing perfect cover. It was low tide near the coastline and the village head knew the bandits had a wade in shallow waters to enter the village. This would afford him the element of surprise!

The bandits who came in colorfully-sailed vintas, numbered only around twelve men. They were allowed by the defenders to pass by the first line of defense and when they were in the middle, a very loud cry of attack from the village head caught the bandits by surprise. The first volley of bamboo lances felled almost lay wide-eyed and open mouthed. Two of the bandits remained standing with minor injuries. One of them was promptly decapitated by a defender using his sharp bolo. The one wearing a bright-colored turban was presumed to be the leader. He was kept alive and tied with rope in both hands.

When the chaos of the short-lived battled died down, the village head summoned the village elders to discuss the fate of the bandits leader. The group decided that the bandit be tied unto a post purposely planted near the observation tower fronting the open sea. He will be left there to die serve as a warning to other pirate groups who might commit the mistake of attacking their village. Since then no other attack ever happened again. The news of the battle quickly spread to far-flung villages inland and across the sea. Most of all who hear the news raved to see and visit the place. When asked where they were going or wanted to go, they found difficulty in telling where because the village had no name then. For convenience, they were forced to use the Cebuano word “Gigairan” meaning the where the bandit was tied. The Cebuano words “Gigairan”,”Gigairan”, or “Gairan” come from the root word “Gaid” meaning to tie. So, these three Cebuano words mean the spot or place where something or somebody was tied. Since the pirate was tied there, the people started to describe or associate these words to the village. Eventually, they preferred to use the much shorter word “GAIRAN”. As time went by, this word became the official name of the place.


Barangay Gairan sped headlong toward the future with hardly a backward glance. The changes are striking, even now – at this very moment some transformation is taking place. Development is slow, almost like an unnoticed evolution that happens over time as people, the landscape and othere elements in the community adapt. At Barangay Gairan, the pace is breathless, a mutation – sudden, drastic.

Gairan seems to have gone bigger – too big, too quick. To the passerby, its streets seem bustlier and the people busier. There is potential here – the kind that is mushroom-like, full of both dark foreboding and promise. Every day, something new and sometimes strange, rises up from the deserted squares of earth behind Gairan’s main roads.

Soon it will be hard to recognize, but for the Gairan native – it will be always be home.