HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE OF SANTA (ILOCOS SUR), History and Cultural Life of - Philippine Historical Data HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE OF SANTA (ILOCOS SUR), History and Cultural Life of - Philippine Historical Data


Municipality of Santa

About these Historical Data

[Cover page.]

H I S T O R Y    A N D     C U L T U R A L
The Central Teachers



The following historical and cultural data for the town of S A N T A was compiled by teachers of the entire municipality. These accounts may be considered the most available for the present. They were gathered from existing records and documents and resource persons who have always manifested their willingness to cooperate with the teachers. In many cases, a certain historical account given by one person was cross-checked with the use of another person in order to [unreadable] the most authentic information. Most of the old folks that furnished the interesting data may be regarded as the most educated during their younger years.

Many of the materials that were gathered after they had been [unreadable] into narrative forms here become useful and interesting pieces of literature and historical references helpful to the teachers and pupils. It is believed that a compilation of similar materials coming from the different municipalities of the province will [unreadable] very valuable references for Social Studies.

Supervising Principal



This report on the "History and Cultural Life of Santa" was prepared by a committee of teachers from the Central School under the joint chairmanship of Mrs. Eufrosina B. Paat & Mr. Melquiades Paat. Acknowledgement is hereby made of the cooperation of the following teachers: Miss Maria Batalla - Grade I; Miss Concepcion Encarnacion, Grade II; Mts. Catalina B. Gose, Grade III; Miss Aurora Castañeda, Grade V-2; Mrs. Tereza B. Prudencio, Grade V-1; Mr. Hilario Berzamina, Grade VI-2.

Grateful acknowledgement is also due to prominent people in this community, both living and dead, who in some way or another have given valuable information about the materials needed for this report.

Special credit is due to Mr. Luis C. Bello, Sra. Gorgonia A. Vda. de Belmonte, Mr. Nazario Castañeda, Sra. Cirila B. Vda. de Encarnacion, Sra. Caridad Bello Belmonte, Sra. Camila Baldeviso, Sra. Catalina A. Vda. de Belmonte, Sra. Monica B. Vda. de Brillantes, and Mr. Rufino Brillantes, who assisted the teachers in the arduous task of gathering materials.


[Table of Contents]

T A B L E    O F    C O N T E N T S
Part I

Title Teacher Page
1. Present Official Name of the Town
2. Former Name or Names and Their Derivations
3. Date of Establishment
4. Names and Social Status of Founders
5. Names of Persons who Held Positions
6. Data on Histrical Sites, Etc.
7. Important Facts & Incidents
8. Destruction of Lives and Properties
Miss Maria Batalla
Miss Aurora Castañeda
Mrs. Catalina B. Gose
Mrs. Catalina B. Gose
Miss Concepcion Encarnacion
Mrs. Tereza B. Prucencio
Miss Felicisima Baldeviso
Mr. Hilario Berzamina

Part II - Folkways

1. Traditions, Customs and Practices
2. Myths, Legends, Beliefs, Etc.
3. Popular Songs, Games & Amusements
4. Puzzles and Riddles
5. Proverbs and Sayings
6. Methods of Measuring Time, Etc.
7. Other Folktales:
a. "The Huge Bell in the River Bed"
b. "Why the Flood of Santa Comes and Goes"
c. "Why Santa is Flooded"
Mr. Hilario Berzamina
Miss Felucisima Baldeviso
Miss Concepcion Encarnacion
Mrs. Catalina B. Gose
Mrs. Tereza B. Prudencio
Miss Maria Batalla

Mrs. Eufrosina B. Paat
Mrs. C. B. Gose
Miss Aurora Castañeda


Part III - Other Information

1. Information on Books and Other Documents
2. The Names of Filipino Authors in the Locality
Not Available.
Not Available.


[p. 1]

Part I - History
Present Official Name of the Town

The present official name of the town is "New Santa."

Former Name or Names and their Meanings or Derivations

The town had varied names. According to the oldest people of the town, and according to old documents, the former name was "Santa Catalina Virgen y Martir." The town got its name from the patron saint, St. Catherine of Alexandria. This saint was a very wise woman who defeated the philosophers of Maximino, a pagan emperor. She died a martyr's death. It is believed by that people that in all towns where Santa Catalina is the patron saint, such towns are flooded like Luna, La Union, Tayom, Abra, etc. So, they thought of changing the name "Santa Catalina Virgen Y Martir" to "Santa." No name of a saint was added so that the other saints in Heaven would not get jealous. So, until now, it is called "Santa," meaning "Holy," for the old inhabitants were said to be very pious and exemplary Catholics. It is oftentimes told that our great-grandparents celebrated the feast days of almost all the saints in the "Litany of Saints" so that they had more than fifty fiestas to celebrate in a year.

Date of Establishment and Names and Social Status of the Founders

The first seat of the poblacion was located at the mouth of the Abra River some kilometers west of the Quirino Bridge, of which no one can now remember as to when it was established, and who established it. The place was eroded by the Abra River and the poblacion was moved a kilometer southeast away from the former place which is now called "Nagpanaoan." Nagpanaoan was established by the friars. The first church was built by the late Fr. Redundo [Redondo?], the first Spanish priest who came to our town. It was later improved by his successor, the late Father Jose Prada.

Nagpanaoan was flooded again in the year 1904 in the month of September. The late Capitan Buenaventura Belmonte was the municipal president. The leades of the town or the former capitanes were Capitan Nazario Belmonte, Saturnino Bello, Jose Bello Martinez, Ignacio de Peralta. President Domingo Bueno, Justice of the Peace, Buenaventura Belmonte, and the parish priest, Father Martin Bustamante, founded the pueblo at a latter date.

The succeeding "presidentes municipales" to the present continued to improve the town until it has attained its present condition. "The Spider Web" like structure of the streets surrounding the municipal hall was due to the inventiveness of the late President Jose Bello Martinez, with the suggestion of ex-Senator Vicente Singson Encarnacion, who copied the plan of Washington D.C.

[p. 2]

Names of Persons who Held Leading Official Positions in the Community with their Dates of Tenure

Santa has had different officials from the Spanish regime up to the present. The first rulers were the Gobernadorcillos who were succeeded by the Capitanes Municipales. In 1844, the leading offical was the Presidente Municipal and it was continued up to 1937 when the title was changed to Municipal Mayor.


Pedro Antonio
Feliciano Bernardo
Pedro Antonio
Jose Advincula
Andres Antonio
Jose de la Cruz
Ignacio B. de Rivera
Feliciano B. de Rivera
Remedio de Peralta
Pedro Soria
Pedro Antonio
Miguel Martinez
Nicolas Marcelo
Juan Antonio
Faustino Francisco
Domingo de la Cruz
Sebastian de la Peña
Juan Antonio
Sebastian Matias
Locas Morales
Martin Paulino
Buenaventura de los Santos

Capitanes Municipales

Isidro Gregorio
Juan Mendoza de P.
Bernabe Cardenas
Antonio Bermundo de R.
Hermenejildo Alvior
Basilio Antonio
Basilio Manzano
Vicente Leones
Ildefonso de Peralta
Basilio Martinez
Lorenzo Ramirez
Mariano Marco
Juan de Peralta
Francisco de la Cruz
Narciso Cardenas
Julian Antonio
Julian Antonio
Celedonio Sancho
Francisco Antonio
Jose de Peralta
Estanislao Martinez
Felipe Rubio de Pe
Anastacio Paulino
Felipe de Peralta
Mariano de la Cruz
Mariano Molina
Estanislao Martinez
Felipe Rubio
Andres Paulino
Mariano Antonio
Gregorio Cardenas
Guillermo Lazaro
Estanislao Martinez
Marcos Ramirez
Leon Marcelo

Presidentes Municipales

Eusebio Magno de la Cruz
Ramon Reymundo
Domingo Buenavista
Mariano Leones
Juan Matias
Aniceto de Peralta
Pantaleon Buenavista
Julian Bueno
Santiago Ramirez
Rorenzo Bello
Estanislao Cosca Bello
Jose de la Cruz
Eugenio Benitez
Leon Cardenas
Tomas Leones
Egmidio Bello Antonio
Estanislao de Cosca Bello
Manuel de Peralta
Gregorio Brillantes
Ambrocio Buenavista
Pablo Ramirez
Buenaventura Brillantes
Apolinario Buenavista
Apolinario Buenavista
Regino Cardenas
Evaristo Belmonte
Andres de Peralta
Juan Bello Martinez
Sixto Brillantes
Lucio Brillantes
Ignacio de Peralta
Cipriano Brillantes
Nicolas B. Leones
Nazario Belmonte
Sixto Brillantes
Modesto Leones
Saturnino Bello
Jose Bello Martinez
Buenaventura Belmonte
Domingo Bueno
Nazario Belmonte
Jose Bello
Luis C. Bello
Pedro Bueno Bello
Pedro Bueno Bello
Generoso Belmonte
Nazario Castañeda
Pedro Bueno
Pedro Bueno
Luis C. Bello
Nazario Castañeda


The above tenures of office were copied from the inscriptional list in the Municipal Hall, through the help of Mr. Vicente Tejada, clerk, and with the permission of Mr. Jose Adviento, Municipal Librarian.

[p. 3]

Japanese Administration

Isidro Bello Puppet Government

After Liberation

Nazario Castañeda
Teofilo Bello
Nazario Castañeda
Jose P. Bueno
Vicente Belmonte
Osmeña Administration
Osmeña Administration
Roxas Administration
Elected bythe People
Elected bythe People
By Appointment
By Appointment
By Appointment

Data on Historical Sites, Structures, Buildings, Etc.

On the eastern side of the Ilocos Range, daring hunters in pursuit of a deer or wild pig used to come to a footprint of extraordinary size. This is the so-called "Angalo's footstep." According to legend, Angalo was a great legend who held the earth on his shoulder. The other footprint is said to be on the other side of Banaoang, ten kilometers from the other print.

On the same side of the Ilocos Range, one can see a towering mountain peak called "Bantay Gosing." This is said to be the place where Noah's Ark was stranded as per lengend of the old people.

At the brink of the riverbank still lies remnants of the first cemetery. It is an enclosure of strong walls. Neighboring houses used to see processions inside the cemetery, especially on a showering night.

Last, but not the least, is the so-called "Santa Paradise." This was called the former Agay-ayus. It became the source of the water supply in Santa in 1928 during the administration of President Generoso Belmonte. In 1953, during the incumbency of Mayor Vicente Belmonte, this site was greatly improved and was named the "Santa Paradise."

Important Facts, Incidents or Events that Took Place

a. During the Spanish Occupation - In 1600, all the Philippines was under the Spanish military control, except the Moro Filipinos. For a long time, Spain governed the Philippines from Mexico, hence, the ancient Santa people used Mexican silver coins in commercial circulation. The Catholic Church was very active and powerful in the town. The greatest edifice ever constructed was the big stone church with a huge bell on a high tower. The extraordinary size of the bell made it toll when it fell into the river during the great flood. Women were not free to go to school. Learning Catechism and the cartilla were the only free activities. [The] Injustices of the Spanish government in town was typical of the period. After Rizal's death on December 30, 1896, a revolt took place. The local soldiers were called the Insurrectos who fought against the Spanish regime until 1898.

b. During the American Occupation - In September 1898, the Spanish-American War infiltrated the Ilocos. Mabini and his revolution got its sympathy in Santa. Men organized the "Katipuneros." Hatred and bitterness against the American regime grew, so that in 1899, fighting in the locality was rampant.

In 1901, Aguinaldo was captured and, after he had pledged his loyalty to the American flag, the rebellion against the United States ended.

In 1912, a political party was born. America came into the country. In 1916, the Jones Law was accepted by the Philippine government, and Santa had its first municipal president, Mr. Luis C. Bello.

[p. 4]

c. During the Japanese Occupation - On a moonlit dawn of December 10, 1941, the sleeping people were awakened by boisterious shouts and shots. It marked the landing of the first Japanese soldiers at Rancho beach. The people ran desperately to the mountains and nearby barrios for temporary evacuation.

On January 23, 1942, the Japanese military administration was established. Atty. Isidro M. Bello was named the military mayor of Santa. In October 1943, the Japanese-sponsored Republic of the Philippines was inaugurated, and we, too, had our local inauguration in Santa, with Mr. Nazario Castañeda as the municipal mayor.

On January 21, 1944, [the] second over-all evacuation took place. This was due to the organization of the local resistance — the "Bolo Battalion." On January 26, 1945, the Banaoang massacre took place, where two public school teachers were among those massacred. They were Mr. Mario Brillantes and Miss Catalina Corpuz. On April 25, 1945, Santa as liberated, and former mayor Nazario Castañeda resumed office. He was inducted by Liberation Governor Atty. Sixto Brillantes. In September 1946, Atty. Teofilo Bello was again inducted as muncipal mayor by Atty. Sixto Brillantes.

Destruction of Lives, Properties and Institutions
During Wars, Especially in 1896-1900; 1941-1945

Transports, warships and cruisers of the Japanese Imperial Forces were sighted at about 8 o'clock of December 9, 1941. The ships were at first thought and regarded as friends and allies.

At about 2 o'clock A.M. of December 10, 1941, the Japanese forces landed at Rancho and the poblacion, forcing the peole to flee to safety. They evacuated to the mountains, to the barrios of Cañogan and to other places with their few belongings they could carry with them.

Some people lost their lives during the landing when they attempted to run away from the Japanese soldiers. Trucks that did not stop when signed [sighted?] were fired upon, killing some of the passengers and drivers.

During the liberation, the Japanese soldiers committed further atrocities by a general massacre in Rizal and Banaoang. Dead bodies were thrown into the river. They were suspected of conniving with the guerrillas whom the Japanese called "bandits."

[The] Loss of lives became more when the guerrillas killed people suspected of being pro-Japanese. This was described as the "Reign of Terror" and "dark hour" of Santa.

Some houses were destroyed by the Japanese soldiers. Personal properties were looted; and some were dismantled.

Soon after the liberation in 1945, the Filipino were allowed to file their claims for their losses, in which the United States government had poured millions of dollars to the Filipino claimants. Most of the people of Santa were benefited by these claims.

The United States and Philippine Governments have undertaken the reconstruction of all destroyed properties, especially those of the public. Such undertaking is still going on.

Last but not the least was the distribution of prime commodities by the PRATRA, of which the Santaneos are benefited.

[p. 5]

Part II - Folkways
Traditions, Customs, and Practices, Etc.

[Torn] people of Santa, like most Filipinos or any people [torn] another country, have practices and actuations based not [torn] upon amenities of their present generation but also find their [torn] upon the customs, of some of which are good, and some, understandable, were handed down orally from generation to generation. The advent of popular education, of enlightenment, and of Science has not entirely removed the people's observance of these customs, although they prove to be faulty, erroneous, and pernicious. Only time will tell if these customs of evil effects will be entirely eradicated.

Marriage and Customs

When a young man desires to marry (whether he has courted the woman or not), [he] presents himself to the woman's parents. In some cases, he asks a third person, usually a prominent and respectable one, to the young woman's parents. If the offer of marriage is accepted, then arrangements for the wedding ceremony are generally made.

When parents of either party, mostly those of the woman, do not consent to the match, [the] young "Romeos and Juliets" usually elope. This show of disobedience is always met with furious threats from the parents. It begins from burning pictures and clothes of the runaway child to the extent of disowning and disinheriting them. This fiery temper does not last long, however. After the fugitive parents have gone to the parents kneeling to ask [for] pardon, they are reconciled and the marriage ceremony is in order.


Most marriages are solemnized by a priest. Only a few are done by a judge. The wedding celebration is usually held in the house of the bride. Most of the expenses are shouldered by the bridegroom. Since the Filipinos are fond of festivities, most of the wedding parties are pompous. The festivities sometimes last for two days. The second day of the affair takes place in the groom's house. Usually, this second day of celebration is called the "pamisa," or an offering for the departed relatives of either party. The merrymaking consists of dancing, eating, and drinking. It usually commences at the eve of the wedding. The bride and groom are often met on their way by the orchestra hired for the occasion.

It is believed that, after coming from the church, the bride and groom should be careful in ascending the stairs at the same time. The last to ascend the stairs is a omen of [a] shorter life. The couple then enters the house and proceeds to the seats in front of the sala especially prepared for them. While the eating and dancing are going on, the "paluad" is also going on in a corner [of the house]. This is a gift of cash from the relatives and friends of the newlweds. This amount will be given to the couple at the termination of the whole-day affair. The ceremony is enhanced by a special dance by the bride and bridegroom and another by the "abalayan." Rice and ashes are spread on the crowd. The old people have the belief that such spraying will bring prosperity and abundance to the newlyweds.

[p. 6]

[Note to the reader: The top half of this page is almost complete torn of and cannot, therefore, be transcribed.]


There is nothing peculiar in the [torn] nowadays. The children are simply punished [torn] scoldings followed by indecent curses. Some [torn] the practices of making children kneel or locking [torn] in rooms.

Crimes committed are punishable by the courts, by [torn] and imprisonment. The barbaric ways of punishment like [torn] flogging, burning alive, etc. have passed away, although [torn] a shadow and a ghost of them have appeared during the short Japanese rule.

Death Customs

In many of the barrios, the corpse is placed at the middle of the house, watched over by the immediate relatives and close friends. In the poblacion and in some barrios where the house is more spacious, a private room is temporarily set up as a death chamber where the relatives and friends keep watch. When the dead is an adult or old, his head is turned toward the "ridaw" (entrance) and when a child, the opposite is done — the head is turned toward the "laem." When a person dies at night, a fired called "tong-tong" is kept burning the whole night to drive the evil spirits [away].


A widow show her mourning by wearing a long black veil called "manto." The widower, especially among older folks, wear a black kerchief around the neck and head. Modernized mourning is shown by simply placing a band of black cloth around the arm or pinned at the flap of the blouse; because of the intense grief, usually the bereaved cannot eat. The mourning continues for three months, for even a year or more.

[p. 7]


The corpse is placed in a coffin. The best clothes of the deceased while on earth are put on him so that he will be ready to knock at Heaven's gate for St. Peter to open. No jewelries are placed.

Among those of the average means, the coffin usually is [torn] by the male relatives and followed by a few mourners. Those or the richer class and of a higher social standing, the coffin is placed in a death car owned by the "Apostolados de la Oracion." The cortege is long, depending upon the social standing of the deceased. It is followed by an orchestra and a priest conducts the corpse from the house to the church where the funeral rites are performed.

The grave is marked with a cross with a simple inscription telling the date of birth and date of death of the deceased. A few prefer to place their dead in tombs to be decorated with wreaths on All Saints' Day as an expression of their grief and sentiment.

A "digos" follows the burial ceremony. The family takes a quick bath to hasten the spirit of the dead to fly to Heaven and also to minimize the affliction. A pig or cow is slaughtered to entertain the visitors of the bereaved family. A nine-days' prayer is said for the repose of the dead. During this period of early mourning, the family does not engage in heavy manual labor. It is believed that by so doing, the departed one will have a hard time to reach Heaven. This is usually done at night, followed by games with cards, which are greatly enjoyed by the younger set. A "pamisa" is given after the nine days' prayer or after a year when bereaved family casts off their mourning.


When a mother gives birth, she is placed on a bamboo bed called "dalagan." Thorny branches, usually those of the camanchile, are placed outside the wall where the mother lies in waiting. According to beliefs of the old people, the branches may quicken the delivery and drives away the "anitos" or evil spirits. In case the mother has difficulty in the delivery, all doors and gates are kept wide open. Newly-sewn clothes of the mother are ripped to hasten the coming of the "stork." No person is allowed to stay at the entrance. This may tend to inhibit or delay the delivery. At times, all the enemies of the mother are called to settle petty differences.

As soon as the baby is born, he is placed on a winnower, patted and turned over and over so that the child will not easily be frightened. Strongly favored foods and scaly fishes are omitted from the diet. On the fifth day after delivery, the mother takes a bath of sweet smelling herbs prepared by the "mang-ngilot" (a midwife). Warming over an open fire or hot appliances and massaging the whole body completes the bath routine which is done.


Some children are baptized early while others are delayed up to two years. A week before the Baptism, the selected godfathers and godmothers are informed. The Baptism takes place in the church or chapel, depending upon the religion of the parents. The name of the child is not always taken from the almanac, but it depends also upon the wishes and desires of the godparents and parents. The child is often named after the father so that he is called "Junior." Others prefer American names like Andy, Joe, etc.

[p. 8]

Myths, Legends, Beliefs, Interpretations, Etc.

Throughout the ages, a number of beliefs and superstitions have been interpreted as bringing good or bad luck:

Bad luck omens:

1. Ill luck will result if the bridegroom sees his bride within an hour before the wedding takes place.

2. Bad luck lies ahead if a pig sneezes while someone is ready for a trip [and] is descending the stairs.

3. A person who has started on a journey and has forgotten something in his house must not return to fetch it. By doing so will bring bad luck to him.

4. Ring - To take off a ring from another person's finger will bring him bad luck.

5. Ladder - Anyone who walks under a ladder will suffer dire misfortune.

6. Salt - The sprinkling of salt is an indication of bad luck. Most people believe that, for every grain of salt spilled, will be accountable after death.

Good luck omens:

1. Anyone who carries a coin bearing the date of a leap year will have good luck.

2. A spider on a wedding dress foretells good luck.

3. A very good omen is the horseshoe. On walls, it is generally suspended with points up so that the good fortune it carries will not be spilled.

Popular Songs, Games and Amusements

The people of Santa have many popular songs, but among the most popular are:

(a) Ti Ili a Santa
(b) Calapati
(c) Pammulinaoen
(d) Dallot

Words for the above songs are found in the compiled songs of local materials in the Division Office.

There are also many popular games which make old people pass their times and to try their good luck, especially in gatherings for special feasts. Among them are the following:

(a) Pang-ging gi
(b) Burro
(c) Loteria

Puzzles and Riddles

1. Baboy ni Kawing, agpadaya da amin. (dal-loyon)
Crooked pigs all go to the east (waves)
2. Baboy ni San Juan agugaug da nga mangan. (dadapilan)
St. John's pigs cry when they eat. (sugar mill)
3. Agtug tugaw madosdusa. (banga)
While sitting, it is punished. (pot)
4. Ig-ganam ti siket ko lagto-ac a lagto. (al-o)
Hold my waist and I jump and jump. (pestle)
5. Dua kagiit a mama, langit danunenda. (mata)
Two small things reach the sky. (eyes)
6. Adda meysa a libtung makamauyong. (basi)
A small pond makes anyone crazy. (wine)
7. Ti aldao tubong, iti rabii dadali. (ikamen)
At daytime it is [a] tube, at night time it is a flat fish. (mat)
8. Tir-tiris didiay taltalon, nagtugao nagpantalon. (tukak)
Dolls in the farms sat with pants. (frogs)

[p. 9]

Proverbs and Sayings

1. "Sakbay saguday, maarus pay."
(Preparedness beings wealth; still, it may be found wanting.)
2. "Ti dila saan nga daga' ngem nauneg ti sugatenna."
(A tongue is not a dagger but it cuts deep.)
3. "Ti sugat maagasan ngem iti piglat saan."
(The wound is cured but the scar remains.)
4. "No awan ti rigat, awan ti biag."
(If there is no hardship, there is no life.)
5. "Nasay-sayaat iti mangted ngem iti mangawat."
(It is more blessed to give than to receive.)
6. "Ti kina-anus napait ngem agbunga ti nasam-it."
(Patience is bitter, but the fruit is sweet.)
7. "No adda imula adda met apitem."
(If you sow, you also reap.)
8. "Ti tao kasla kulintaba, 'ngumatngato, bumab-baba."
(People are like fireflies that fall and rise.)
9. "Ti awit nalag-an no patitin-nolongan."
(The burden is light if many shoulder it.)
10. "Ti man-naturog a pasayan danunen ti ur-wang."
(A sleeping shrimp is carried away by the current.)
11. "Ti tao a mairurumen, ni Apo Dios ti manaraken."
(God takes care of those who are trodden.)
12. "No inaldaw iti fiesta, mabtak ti kamapana."
(Feast everyday will break the bell.)

Methods of Measuring Time

The early inhabitants of Santa used to record time by the sun. The use of clocks and watches was not yet known. The early crowing of the cock was a sign for farmers to go to their fields. When the roosters crowed at midday, the people thought it was ten o'clock and the farmers would hurry home for a belated breakfast.

At night, when the cocks first crow, the people knew it was 10 o'clock. The second crowing meant 2 o'clock and the farmers and their wives began to stir for the daily routines of the farm. At the next crowing, the farmer knew it was 4 o'clock and he hurried to the shed for his plow and carabao.

The Big Dipper was a sign for the fishermen. Fishermen and raftmen who lost their way at night waited for the Big Dipper to appear. Farmers, too, were spurred to their native crashers (dadapilan) [crushers?] as soon as they saw the Big Dipper in the northern sky.

When the Southern Cross was already standing up straight, the people believed that it was already 5 o'clock in the morning, irrespective of the time of the year. People began to cook their rice for the farmers in the fields.

[p. 10]

Other Folktales

(By E. B. Paat)

During moonlit nights, after the hard work in the fields, the elderly people of Santa love to repeat the tale of the bell which has been buried in the riverbed during the great big flood.

The lofty stone tower in the first poblacion of Santa was among the first indications of enforced labor during the Spanish regime. There were three bells, it was said, representing the "Tres Marias" in the Bible. The middle one was the biggest. It was so heavy to toll that it tolled only during special fiestas and celebrations. The bell tolled for many inaugurations of different "gobernadorcillos" and "capitanes municipales." So rare were the occasions when the bell rang that the people began to wait anxiously for its tolling. When it tolled, the ringing was so clear and resonant that it was heard in the neighboring town of "Villa Fernandina."

During the great flood sometime in 1904, the lofty tower crumbled from its foundation and fell into the river with its head downward. The size of the bell was so immense that it tolled by itself — a sorrowful toll which the people never forgot. Part of the tower was seen in the middle of the river, and it served as a landmark to raftsmen who brave the angry current during storms and dark nights. The bell, on the other hand, used to be a silent watcher of the lives of the people. Fishermen and strollers alogn the riverbank used to hear different moods of the bell's tolling. When calamities confronted the town, there was a sorrowful dirge and the people would prepare for it. Soft, merry peals were heard from the rippling water in the advent of a good harvest, and the people would await it with hope and solid belief.

Within the vicinity, there lived an elderly, childless couple. Manong Lucas was a most affectionate and industrious husband, but he, too had his faults — he was jealous. His wife, Mang Andeng, was a dutiful housekeeper and a pious woman who zealously guarded the sanctity of matrimony more than any of her personal belongings. She considered her husband as a lord and angel in spite of the brutal treatments she received from his sharp tongue and no less cruel hands.

One day, when Mang Lucas returned from the fields, he found Mang Andeng just from her laundering by the river. She was fresh in a newly-pressed although old "serpentina" and a kimona to match. Infuriated with jealousy and anger, Mang Lucas stormed, "Bah! Worthless partner, just come again from pleasurable corners!" He dragged her outside of the house mercilessly. The meek Andeng could neither explain herself nor make a protest. She followed her tormentor like a meek lamb.

Down the dusty road they went until they came to the ruins of the old primary school by the river bank. There, the merciless husband, infuriated with jealousy, manhandled the poor woman, clubbing her so unkindly. It was mid-noon. The perspiration trickled with streaks of blood from Mang Andeng's brow. She pleaded, she knelt, she kissed and embraced her husband, but to no avail. Then, the suffering woman took her rosary and began to pray.

[p. 11]

First decade, second decade — third sorrowful decade — there was a change in Mang Lucas' face! He inquired, "Andeng, do you hear the bell?" Both lowered their heads and cupped their ears to listen... "Tang - tang - tang" so sorrowful a dirge came from the rippling waters and the toll reverberated among the tall "lidda" which enveloped the ruins. "Come, let us go," Mang Lucas said tenderly as he knelt to kiss his wife. "Forgive me, Andeng. The great bell made my mind clear." "I have forgiven and forgotten," replied Andeng, as they walked out hand in hand.

Out on the road, they were met by groups of anxious people discussing, "Did you hear the bell? A calamity! Will it be another flood, a fire, or an earthquake?" The people went hurrying to prepare their belongings, never dreaming that the dirge toll would have been for Mang Andeng.

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Reference: Mrs. Gorgonia A. Vda. de Belmonte


#1. It was believed that the bell was brought from Spain by a friar, Padre Redundo. Hence, it was enchanted.

#2. Maria Magdalena, Maria Salome, and Maria Cleofe.

#3. Now the town of Vigan, birthplace of ex-Pres. Quirino.

#4. A skirt with a wide train.

#5. An upper part of a woman's costume with short sleeves.

#6. Tall grass like rice with white flowers.

(By C.B. Gose)

It was in the days of long ago, when the Abra River was not yet so wide, that a pair of raftsmen were resting on the riverbank. That was on the fifth of May, the celebrated feast of "Virgen de Caridad," miraculous patron saint of Bantay, Ilocos Sur. In the midst of the night, the raftsmen heard a pitiful feminine voice, "Please bring me across to the other side of the river."

The raftsmen, very much amazed, consulted with each other. "She is a foreigner," said one. "The cuadrilleros will flog us and make us responsible for the presence of a suspicious character in town, replied the other.

The woman said again, "Please do an act of charity. I wish to be home before dawn." But the men did not move from their places. As if in a trance, they saw the lady gather up her long mantle of blue, and waded through the stream. How great was their surprise when she was at the middle of the current! Their amazement was greater still when her flowing robes were not at all wet.

The raftsmen went to sleep with a heavy conscience. In their disturbed sleep, the woman appeared again and seemed to say, "This river will be the sorry of this town and woe to your children's children."

Not long after this incident, a beggar went to the town. She was tattooed and tattered and she faltered in her speech as Tinguians did. The "Cuadrilleros" began to fear that she might be a prisoner of the wild tribes to spy on the weakness of the town.

Confident in their suspicion, they threw the beggar into prison. How great was their amazement when the children who played under the palomaria trees saw a beautiful woman, radiant with smiles, in jail. At night, the prison cell was illuminated and an extraordinary perfumy smell filled the air. The news spread far and wide and the prison was thronged with young and old throughout the day and night.

When the government authorities and the parish curate learned of what was happening, they ordered the woman to be set free.

"Tnanks a lot," she whispered, with downcast eyes, "Pity to your children, on whose heads your negligence might fall."

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#Cuadrilleros - Policemen of the Spanish time.

[p. 12]

(By A. Castañeda)

Once, the Abra River was merely a carabao's creek flowing over an ordinary bed of gravel and sand, and no flood ever threatened the fertile town. In those days, it is said, a proud and overbearing cabeza ruled the town, and he had a remarkably beautiful daughter who fell in love with the son of his worst enemy.

One day, the girl's father suddenly came upon the two lovers rowing down the stream on a small raft. He flew into a terrible rage at once, and hurled his spear at the unwelcome young man, but being alert, the lover escaped. The girl's father determined that his daughter should never see her lover again. He sent men to spy on him and gave strict orders that he should never be seen in the village anymore.

One day, an old man visited the people. He was very much surprised to see them robbing and killing strangers. Young men who were courting the beautiful daughter of the chieftain were especially maltreated. Wherever the old man went, the people laughed at him and made fun of him. In his shame, he muttered, "God punishes people who are proud and overbearing." It rained for twenty days and twenty nights. The river rose very high until all the low hills were underwater. Many people were drowned. Many found refuge in the higher mountains. It is said that the people who were good were saved, and the wicked were punished and drowned. The chieftain, his wife, and children, with the exception of his beautiful daughter, perished in the great flood.

The girl was married to her lover and lived happily a prosperous life.

One night, the girl had a dream. In her vision, God disclosed to her that if the people would stop their evil ways of robbing and killing, He would no longer send another flood. The appearance of a mysterious black cat would serve as a warning to the people to gather up their belongings and get ready to flee to the mountains. It was the sure sign of a flood on the following day.

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Part III

1. Information on books and documents - - None.
2. The names of Filipino authors in the locality - - None.
Transcribed from:
History and Cultural Life of Santa, 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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