MUNICIPALITY OF PIDIGAN, Historical Data - Philippine Historical Data MUNICIPALITY OF PIDIGAN, Historical Data - Philippine Historical Data


Municipality of Pidigan

About these Historical Data

[Cover Page.]




This is an attempt to organize the historical and cultural life of Pidigan, Abra. It will be too great a task to trace the history of Pidigan in the absence of written records, so we limited ourselves to a presentation of facts only as early as 1820.

In the preparation of this work, aid has been received from various persons. To Mr. Telesforo Pilarta, we are grateful, especially for giving us free access to the records of the Municipal Secretary; to Miss Esperanza Figueras and Miss Herminia Figueras, for their help in gathering the historical data; to Miss Carmen Pilipiña and Mrs. Andrea A. Cristobal for their legends; to Miss Benilda Bringas and Mrs. Eufresina P. Peralta for their contribution of Folkways and Plays; to Mrs. Febe P. Bringas for her Proverbs and Superstitious Beliefs; to Mr. Felipe Parifias, Mr. Sinforoso Figueras, Mr. Emeterio Paturibut, Mr. Crisogono Peralta, Mr. Rufino Baula, Mr. Ignacio Parifias, Mr. Felix Bringas, and Mr. Isidro Mendoza for all the valuable information they have given us; and lastly, to Mrs. Liberatriz A. Bolesa, Principal, for her moral and cultural support and advice.


[p. 1]


Part One: History

The present official name of the town is "Pidigan." The origin of the name "Pidigan" is not well known, but some persons in the poblacion say that at first, it was called "Pidpideg," later, Pidegan, and lastly, Pidigan. It was called Pidpideg because those who went down the Abra River were brought close to the rocks on the bank of the river, by the swift current.

It was in 1823 when Friar Bernardo Lago, [became] the first white man who came and stopped in the barrio of San Diego, west of the present town of Pidigan. From San Diego, he noted that further east of the barrio was a wider plain and richer in its forest products, where they could get plenty of materials for the construction of houses and a convent. So, he moved to what is now called Pidigan.

The first people who lived in Pidigan were all Tinguians who were all driven up probably by the Malays from Central Luzon and from Calaoag. Most of them lived in some parts of the town called San Diego, Sideg, and Caburao for several years. At that time, Pidigan was a dense forest, and the people had to hunt wild animals for most of their food. When Friar Lago arrived, he immediately constructed the present church and convent, and baptized the people. Every person, male or female, from the ages of 18 to 60 years, had to contribute bricks and stones for the projects. All men had to work every day without pay.

The people elected their first Capitan Bazar in latter part of December, 1823, one Mr. Pedro Cubing, and [he] assumed office on the first day of January 1824. Thus, the government of Pidigan was established in the year 1824. The following acted as Governadorcillos:

Mr. Pedro Cubing
Mr. Felix Cutao
Mr. Santiago Basa
Mr. Jose Malaap
Mr. Bartolome Baoalan
Mr. Maximo Baoas
Mr. Francisco Serna
Mr. Guillermo Tibaguen
Mr. Pedro Ucap
Mr. Mariano Gayao
Mr. Rosendo Dalañgey
Mr. Mariano Goraspi
Mr. Jose Mañgiron
Mr. Tomas Ambrocio
Mr. Vicente Malana
Mr. Nicolas Baga
Mr. Pedro Mariano
Mr. Benito Legaspi
Mr. Santiago Aquino
Mr. Oligario Sagamas
Mr. Bernardino Cappi

[p. 2]

Mr. Mariano Balacad
Mr. Mariano Molina
Mr. Desiderio Banguiao
Mr. Pedro Mariano
Mr. Macario Luciano
Mr. Victor Sagamasan
Mr. Pedro Mariano
Mr. Jose Clemente
Mr. Pedro Bernarbe
Mr. Estanislao Plastina
Mr. Mariano Pacamarra
Mr. Pedro Pastores
Mr. Oligario Plastina
Mr. Jose Pirmejo
Mr. Arcadio Paradela
Mr. Jose Pirmejo
Mr. Ignacio Pariñas
For superior disposition of the Spanish Government, the Gobernadorcillos would have to serve two years:
Mr. Pedro Abil
Mr. Carlos Pariñas
Mr. Justo Perez
Mr. Marcelo Pilar
Mr. Brigido Plastina
Mr. Pedro Plastina
Mr. Simon Parunggay
Mr. Justo Perez
Mr. Engracio Bringas
Mr. Arcadio Paradela
Mr. Bernarbe Bose
Mr. Juan Bringas
Mr. Severo Pariñas
Mr. Miguel Pariñas
Mr. Isidro Bringas
Mr. Bernardo Pastores
Mr. Esteban Bringas
Mr. Isidoro Bringas
Mr. Ildefonso Natalio
Mr. Gregorio Pilarta
On the month of September, 1898, the troops of the Revolutionary Government arrived in this Municipality of Pidigan, under the command of Mr. Blas Villamor, shouting: "Hurrah for the Philippine Rebellion." On December 4, 1899 the American Army arrived in the poblacion. Most of the people fled to the mountains.
Mr. Miguel Pariñas
Mr. Toribio Pariñas
Mr. Andres Peñas
Mr. Francisco Pariñas
Mr. Severo Pariñas
President Local
Sept-Nov. 1901
Dec. 1901

[p. 3]

In 1904, the Municipality of Pidigan was fused to Bangued. It was only separated from Bangued on December 8, 1915.
Mr. Sinforoso Figueras
Mr. Sinforoso Figueras
Mr. Mamerto Bugtong
Mr. Tomas Perez
Mr. Jeremias Bringas
Mr. Timoteo Bugtong
Mr. Felipe Pariñas
Mr. Felix Bringas
1916 General Election
During World War Il, Mr. Felix Bringas continued acting as Military Mayor, and was later replaced by Mr. Sinforoso Figueras. Due to the tactful management of Mr. Sinforoso Figueras during the war, many people were saved from punishment, both by the Japanese forces and by the guerrilla soldiers in the mountains. During the Liberation Campaign, Mr. Emilio Bringas was appointed as Military Mayor by Captain Soria of the Liberation Forces fighting in [the] Pidigan Area. When Civil Government was astablished in 1945, the Military Mayor was replaced by a mayor of the Civil Government, and Mr. Felipe Pariñas was, thus, appointed. Then came the General Elections in 1947 when Mr. Ludovico H. Anin was elected Mayor up fo the present time.


The seat of the poblacion was once located northwest of the poblacion now. Ruins of old buildings can still be seen at the site.


During World War |i, Pidigan was one of the garrison centers of the Japanese Imperial Forces, using the school buildings as their garrison. Their presence was truly a burden to the people, but we realized that their temporary presence was a blessing in disguise that only the people of Pidigan knew.

Of tortures, there were many. One, Restituto Pilarta, a young trainee, was beaten to death for failure to surrender a gun reported to be in his possession. Gregorio Balla, with two other companions, were stripped of their clothes, hung to a tree, with their feet barely one foot above the ground, and a fire built under them. Their legs, up to their waists, were burned, but they survived. There were many other persons burned alive. These happened in Yuoyeng, a barrio in the western part of Pidigan, and another in Cacutonan, a barrio on the eastern part. In Cacutonan, fifteen persons were tied to the different posts of the house, and burned with the house. Among these were Dionisio Pastores, Toyong Paaño, and Agustin Sanchez.

During the Liberation campaign, the people from the barrios were forced to evacuate to the poblacion due to occasional acts of banditry there. These evacuees have built permanent houses and preferred to stay in the poblacion. Cautit, especially, has no more population.

[p. 4]

Pidigan was twice burned during the Liberation Campaign. The first time was in March 1945, when the Gabaldon building and the Home Economics building were burned with most of the houses in the western part of the poblacion. The second time was in April, 1945, when the houses in the eastern part were all burned. The central part of the poblacion was saved from both fires. But the people were not slow in re-habilitating their homes. They built better houses than before. The Gabaldon Building and the Home Economics Building are already reconstructed, and are now presently used as a school buildings. Better roads are also being made in the poblacion; and another road is under construction leading to the barrio of Abra, passing through Induyong and Banay.


The customs and traditions in domestic and social life of the barrio do not differ from the customs and practices of any Ilocano town. This is due to the lack of barriers that hinder transportation. Ideas were not kept by the barrio folks.

The influence of Spanish games and amusements were duly impressed on the people. People, young and old, indulge themselves in horse racing, cockfighting, card playing and the best of all, they are lovers of dramas and operettas, especially, plays depicting the rural life and the success of a poor man winning the love of a rich maiden and vice-versa.

Besides these amusements, they possessed the ability to tell time; they know the approach of a typhoon and heavy rains.

In the approach of typhoon, there is a lofty mountain called Mt. Bulagao. This is referred to as the "Barometer of the Place." When clouds gather on the summit early in the mornings and in the afternoons, and the western skies are pinkish in color and, in coincidence, bats fly in flocks toward the north, there is a typhoon. Farmers bring their animals to their barns and temporary homes are pegged to the ground.

Another belief is the coming of the rains. When wasps build their homes on twigs near the surface of the ground, there is no rain; but when wasps build their homes on high twigs, there is still rain.

The barrio people are not far behind in proverbs. Some of them are:

1. "If you plant eggplant, the fruit will be eggplant."
2. "Where there is smoke, there is fire."
3. "We don't know the medicine if we don't try."
4. "He who will not work shall not eat."
5. "Don't do unto others what you do not want others do unto you."
6. "He who plants shall reap."
7. "He who is full of mercy shall also receive mercy." 8. "Time is gold."
9. "Make hay while the sun shines."
10. "There is no typhoon that does not stop."
11. "Man proposes, and God disposes."
12. "He who is patient will reap the mercy of God."

[p. 5]

Among the most popular songs are: "Manang Biday," "Dungduñgoencanto Unay, Unay," "Pamolinawen," and "Bannatiran." These are all love songs in which the man pleads for the love of a maiden.


1. Agpitbitin sinan uging, tangtañaden daguiti ubbing.

It is hanging like charcoal, for which children look up with joy. (Blackberry)

2. Agbitbitin sinan lagañgan, tangtañgaden ti babbalasang.

It is hanging like a pot ring, for which children are gazing. (Camachile)

3. Agbitbitin sinan puzo, tangtañgaden ti babbaro.

It is hanging like a heart, and gentlemen enjoy looking up. (Mango)

4. Adda bassit a lacay, aggoygoyod ti oay.

There is a litle man, pulling rattan. (Mouse)

5. Mayas li usokem, dua ti gao-atem.

You enter into one, and reach for two. (Dress)

6. No umolog agal-alod-ud, no umoli golpe.

When it is going down, it is very slow, but when it is going up, it rushes.


The people tell the time by the position of the sun; the moon and the stars. Some also tell the time by the crowing of the cocks.

"The Sirena"

Many years ago, after the conguest of the settlers of this place who were those whom we call Tinguians now at present, but as time went on, they were all converted into Christianity. However, the beliefs in anitos, anting-anting, fairies, ghosts, and dwarves remain in the minds of most of the people even to these days. Until these days, some people assure that the fairy (sirena) is existing.

The sirena appears to be a beautiful woman. The dwarves are tiny creatures that live among the bushes. They give skin diseases, especially to little children. They have not permanent places but go from place to place.

[p. 6]

Even to these days, many people still say that there are sirenas in the Abra River. Old folks say that a sirena lives under the big stone in the middle of the Abra River near the town of Pidigan. She is said to be a pretty young woman. Sometimes, people could hear her washing clothes at the middle of the night. Sometimes, she is said to be crying at night. When a cry is heard, old folks do not let their children go to the river because she would surely get one of them. Another thing that the sirena does is to play tricks on fishermen who got to catch fish in the night. When a fisherman can hear a sound like laughing, he will not launch his fishing net for, he will surely have no catch.

This is the belief of some old folks in the town of Pidigan, that even to these days they warn the boys and girs not to go swimming near the big stone at the middle of the river.


"Cabusiligan" is the name given to a ricefield south of Pidigan. Once upon a time, there lived a rich couple in the town. This couple nearly owned all the lands of the town. They had several tenants. They had several animals, too, like cows, carabaos, and horses. One day, the man went down town and rode on horseback. When he reached the fields, he rested under a tree, and slept. When he woke up, he found out that his horse went away. He looked and looked around, until finally he found out that his horse was eating "buslig," a kind of tall grass. The horse ate plenty and caused his stomach trouble. The old man felt sorry, and he ordered all his tenants to pull up all the buslig plants growing in the field. When all were pulled [the buslig plants] up, his tenants turned the land into ricefields. This is how the ricefields south of Pidigan got its name.

Part Three: Other Information

Information on books and documents treating of the Philippines, etc. ... None.

The names of Filipino authors born or residing in the community, etc. ... None.

General Memorandum No. 34, s. 1952

Transcribed from:
History and Cultural Life of the Municipality of Pidigan, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections. The pagination in this transcription is as they appear in the original document.
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