The town of Victorias was originally located in what is now Daan Banua (Old Town), a fishing village beside the Malihaw river and near its outlet to the sea.
The present location of the City, along the national highway, is the outgrowth of a 26 hectare – an area donated by a Chinese businessman Alejandro Acuña Yap Quiña whose descendants are still living in Victorias.
During the Spanish era, the city was called Tugkagawan and later Malihaw. The name was taken from Malihaw trees which are in abundance along the banks of the Malihaw river.
During Capitan Gregorio Conlu’s term, Moro pirates and tulisanes reigned unmolested. One day the Capitan’s household was robbed. Capitan Gregorio was able to escape together with his secretary Alfonso Pachera, but his wife Capitana Tutang and their servant Micay, were taken aboard the sailboat which immediately sailed for the open sea. When Capitana Tutang was asked whether she knew how to swim, she replied that she could not. She and her servant were thrown overboard while the vessel was just outside the Malihaw river’s mouth. The robbers sailed on believing that Capitana Tutang and her servant were drown. but that was not the case, for Capitana Tutang and her servant were good swimmers. While struggling in the water, Capitana Tutang saw a beutiful Lady whom she believed was the Blessed virgin. When she reached home she prayed and promised to buy an image of the Lady who helped them. But having been divested of her possession, it took her several months of careful savings to accumulate a sizable sum for the purchase of the image from Barcelona, Spain. Since she did not specify what image she wanted, the Capitana received the statue of the “NUESTRA SEÑORA DE LAS VICTORIAS” which to her amazement held the likeness of that Lady who saved them from drowning.
One year before the expiration of the term of Capitan Gregorio, in 1880, two boatloads of Moro pirates entered the Malihaw river to attack Daan Banua (Old Town), At the mouth of the river the plunderers were met by a small banca riden by a Lady who had a long sword and a very big man with a spear. Upon seeing the two, the Moros sailed back in flight.
Three months later, four vintas bearing Moro pirates approached the river’s mouth to sail inland, but again the same banca with a Lady and a very big man stood guard and the marauders steered towards the town of Manapla, where they took captives. During the raid, two captives were able to escape in the direction of Malihaw. These two related their adventure and collaborated the story of the Lady and the very big man in the banca. The story which spread like wild fire reached the ears of the Parish Priest of Saravia Fr. Crispino Hinolan, a Visayan, who immediately went to Malihaw to verify the story. After a thorough investigation, the priest declared that the town was saved by the Virgen Nuestra Señora de las Victorias and Saint Casimiro her companion. The proclamation of the Parish Priest resulted in the occasion of rejoicing and celebration. Capitan Gregorio and Padre Crispino proposed to the inhabitants that the name of the town Malihaw be changed to Nuestra Señora de las Victorias to perpetuate the miraculous incidents. the suggestion was at once received with unanimous enthusiasm and acceptance and the citizens enjoined the Capitan to ask the Governor to approve the change of name. The Governor gave his consent, but retained only “Victorias “ as the official name.
On October 15, 1906 Alejandro Acuña Yap-Quiña, a Chinese Filipino philanthropist, donated 20 hectares of his landholdings to the Municipality of Victorias which became the present town site. In honor of Don Alejandro, Victorias Elementary School-Extension was later named as the Don Alejandro Acuña Yap Quiña Memorial Elementary School during the administration of Mayor Remedios P. Bantug.
SOURCE: VICTORIAS Diamond Jubillee (1907-1982) Souvenir Program