Historical Background

Magallanes began its history as a barrio called “Panitan”, then part of the municipality of Maragondon.  Panitan was derived from the Tagalog word “panit”, meaning, “to remove the bark of a tree”.  Long before the coming of the Spaniards, there grew along the mountainside of the barrio big trees called Bitangcol which provided a source of income for the people.  The barks of the trees are removed (panit) and used as containers for storing “palay” or unhusked rice.  The fibers of the barks were removed and twined into durable ropes.  Because of this unusual occupation of the people the barrio came to be known as “Panitan” or “Banitan”.
The first inhabitants of “Panitan” were Isidro Baltao, Glicerio Manalo, Florentino Mojica and Ignacio Arat.  Time came when people, tired of traveling the long distance to the Poblacion of Maragondon, decided to seek the separation of the barrio and its conversion into an independent municipality.  Isidro Baltao headed a three-man delegation to Manila to petition the Spanish Governor-General for the conversion of Panitan into a town.  The Governor-General promptly approved the petition.
While still in Manila, Baltao and his companions were walking along the paved streets of Intramuros when they came upon Magallanes, a street named in honor of the world famous navigator and re-discoverer of the Philippines, Ferdinand Magellan and decided to adopt the name for the new town.  The Governor-General was said to have been impressed by the name Magallanes thus, he also named the barrios of the new town after Spanish leaders and missionaries like Urdaneta, Ramirez, Pacheco and Medina.  Other streets of the town were also named after prominent Spaniards like Jovillar, Salcedo, Anda, Colon, San Jose and San Isidro.
As in many towns in the Philippines, the principal street was named Real (Royal), in honor of the Spanish king.  Another street bore the name "de Guia" after the patron saint of the town, Nuestra Señora de Guia (Our Lady of the Way). 
Barrio “Panitan”, renamed Magallanes, became an independent municipality on July 15, 1879.   Another source says the Municipality of Magallanes was established in 1880, a difference of one year.  The first governadorcillo of Magallanes was Anastacio Diones.  The designation governadorcillo was changed to capitan municipal shortly before the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution.  Juan Bello, a former capitan municipal, was then the leader of Filipino revolutionist against Spain.  During the time of Americans then were the title capitan municipal was changed to municipal president.  
In 1904, the town of Magallanes was reverted to a barrio of Maragondon when its annual income became insufficient to maintain its status as an independent municipality.  It was only in 1916 that Magallanes once again became a town.
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