The first telephone system in Camiguin

The first telephone system in Camiguin is NOT  the Phil-German Rural Telephone Network Project/Camiguin Telephone Cooperative (CAMTECO).  Believe it or not – there was a working telephone system in the 60s spanning the entire town of Mambajao – from Tupsan to Naasag.

The equipments used
WWII US Signal Corp surplus

The telephone set, encased in leather bag, is powered by 2 Size “D” dry cells. Dialing is done by cranking a rotary handle at the side. It sends 100V(!) over a single wire to all telephone sets from Naasag to the operator switchboard in Mambajao Municipal Hall. All phone rings! We know it’s our call by the cadence of short and long rings. West of Mambajao is one sector, East of Mambajao is another, and the rest to other parts of Mambajao publacion.

How the switchboard come into play? For example, Tupsan wants to call Naasag. The caller will dial the Operator and request to connect Naasag. The operator dials the party in Naasag. When the call is answered, he connects both parties using a patch cord. A lamp indicates the conversation is on-going.

The switchboard is located at the entrance (left side) of the old Mambajao Municipal Hall (in front of the Provincial Plaza and the gymnasium).

As far as I can recall, telephones were installed mostly at gov’t offices, hospital, Police, homes of public officials and key people. Starting from Naasag:

  • Naasag: Coun Pedro Cimacio
  • Yumbing: Pedro Sagrado
  • Agoho: Baloy Sabuga
  • Bug-ong: Leon Balite – Bug-ong, Coun Sesing Salcedo
  • Kuguita: Paulino/Jose Dagondon, Jesus Barlaan, Capt Luis Bollozos Sr

In Publacion, for sure:

  • Municipal Hall (Switchboard), Camiguin Emergency Hospital (near San Nicolas Church), Dept of Public Highways, Dept of Public Works
  • Lt. Gov. Jose Neri, Mayor Antonio Luspo, Judge Ceferino Chan Sr, Antonio Madarieta, Lucio Borromeo, Dr Crisogono Llacuna, Dr Cordero, Judge Lactao

I’m sure there are many more in Publacion. Then, to the east:

  • Balbagon: Coun. Flavio Cabiguin, Coun. Teodulo Abbu
  • Magting: Victor Carillo Sr
  • Tupsan: Chief of Police Kadong Abuzo,  Atty Dodo Borromeo

One thing funny about that system is: anyone can pickup the phone and listen. However, both parties can detect if there’s a third party picking up the phone by a slight drop in volume. And it’s normal because we listen first if the line is free before dialing. Second, we had countless electric shocks when we crank the dial – remember it’s generating 100V!!! There was no long-distance calls but during emergencies, it served very well.

How did I know these details when I was still in grade school? I should know because it was my father, Jose Lim Dagondon, who setup the system upon the request of Lt Gov Seling Neri. It was a pro bono job because my father was still connected with the Dept of Public Highways. His all-around skills of chemistry, physics, mechanics and electronics (the Dagondon Sound System, remember?) inspired me to pursue electronics engineering – and finally to manage the startup operation of the Camiguin Telephone Project/CAMTECO in 1992~1998. Too bad he never witnessed the realization of the modern phone system. Here’s the man … the tallest one with Gov. Jose “Seling” Neri, Mayor Antonio “Tonying” Luspo and Judge Sergio “Dodo” Lactao.


About hellocamiguin

Pioneer of the Camiguin Telephone Network
This entry was posted in History and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The first telephone system in Camiguin

  1. Veronica says:

    Thanks brother for sharing this .as part of Camiguin History of telecommunications.
    This is papa’s legacy handed to you. I hope the next generation will continue this beautiful heritage.

  2. Papa is a visionary. Many heard his predictions like “Time will come that records will have no more stylus” – fulfilled in Audio CD. “Bullets, loaded with the name and address, will search its target” fulfilled in missiles. There’s only one not yet fulfilled “In the movies, you can smell what’s being shown on the screen!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s