SANTA MARIA (ILOCOS SUR), History of the Town - Philippine Historical Data SANTA MARIA (ILOCOS SUR), History of the Town - Philippine Historical Data

SANTA MARIA (ILOCOS SUR), History of the Town

Municipality of Santa Maria

About these Historical Data

[Cover page]

T H E    T O W N
S A N T A    M A R I A
I L O C O S    S U R


Division of Ilocos Sur
Municipality of Sta. Maria


The organization of the History of the town of Santa Maria is based upon the information gathered from the qualified residents of the place. The social life and progress established from the beginning to the present prove their culture, which they are proud of.

All teachers of Social Studies in the Elementary School contributed materials in the preparation of the history.


[p. 1]

Division of Ilocos Sur
Sta. Maria Elem. School

Sta. Maria, April 6, 1953


Part I - History

The present official name of the town is Santa Maria. It is told by prominent citizens of this town, especially the older set, that long before the Spaniards arrived, this town was then in existence. Some people say it was called Purok, and some other say it was then called Bukaneg. The former may be more authentic as "purok" means village in the Ilocano dialect [more correctly, language rather than dialect], and there must have been many of that kind then.

The exploration and conquest made by Juan de Salcedo is important in the history of Santa Maria. Legaspi came to Ilocos Sur. Soon after the Spaniards had settled in Vigan (Villa Fernandina), they began the pacification campaign. This was as early as 1572. They established their government in this town and then erected churches. The founder of this town had selected a place to build a church near the foot of the hill, in the heart of the town. There, a church was built. Masses were said regularly for many years. One morning, the officiating Reverend Father was shocked to find out that the image of the beloved Virgin Mary was not on its place. [A] Search ensued, but the image could not be found. Late in the afternoon, searchers found the image carefully placed in one of the guava trees on top of the hill. The image was returned to the altar. Repeatedly, the image was found in the forest on top of the hill. Then, an idea came about to make

[p. 2]

a church on top of the hill. The construction had to be done after the hill had been leveled and a strong thick wall made to prevent the soil from erosion. This was done. And lo! a wonder of Ilocos Sur, if not the entire Philippines, came about. Behold, the edifice could be seen miles away. The town was then renamed from Purok to SANTA MARIA, in honor of our beloved Virgin Mary.

It was said that a long list of town executives was recorded since 1762. But due to the ravages of the last World War, such records exist no more. They were all burned by the famous guerrillas, thinking and knowing that such acts were for the furtherance of resistance against Japanese occupation in the Philippines. But according to [the] testimony of a prominent old man of the town who witnessed the Spanish administration was being reminded of the following:
1. Presidencia was then called tribunal.
2. Prominent men who were gobernadorcillos beginning 1872:
a - Capitan Pedro Agbulos - 1872-1874
b - Capitan Pedro Ismael - 1874-1876
c - Capitan Fabian Guieb - 1876-1878
d - Capitan Jorge Foronda - 1878-1880
e - Capitan Reymundo Quiason - 1880-1882
f - Capitan Carlos Draculan - 1882-1884
g - Capitan Benedicto Agbulos - 1884-1886
h - Capitan Enrique Degala - 1886-1888
i - Capitan Doro Escobar - 1888-1890
j - Capitan Catalino Camarillo - 1890-1892
k - Capitan Blas Camarillo - 1892-1894
l - Capitan Leon Tamayo - 1894-1896

[p. 3]

m - Capitan Juan Escobar - 1896-1898
n - Capitan Brigido Damocles - 1898-1900

The Cura Parrocos: (All Spaniards)

a - Padre Juan Cardoña
b - Padre Lorenzo Rodriguez
c - Padre Benigno Fernandes
d - Padre Juan Sallo
e - Padre Jose Rodriguez
f - Padre Gupit
g - Padre Sebastian


a - Mr. Modesto Dacquel
b - Mr. Martin Domingo
c - Mr. Saturnino Formoso
d - Mr. Lucio Domingo
e - Mr. Santiago Dagala
f - Mr. Pedro Florendo
g - Municipal Mayor

a - Mayor Pedro Florendo
b - Mayor Joaquin Escobar
c - Mayor Laureano T. Ayson

This town has progressed by comparatively unsurpassed records with its neighboring towns. Numerous professionals have sprung to the credit not only of Santa Maria but also for the country.

[p. 4]

This date, the town of Santa Maria has a population of about fifteen thousand souls. Not many years ago, the new towns of Burgos and Lidlidda were parts of Santa Maria. This explains that the population now will be doubled if these two towns were not separated from Sta. Maria.

World War II broke out in 1941 and the Japanese Occupation found Mr. Joaquin Escobar as mayor of the Japanese-sponsored municipal government. The war continued and the Japanese soldiers as well Filipino soldiers hiding in the mountains became fiercer every day until at last, people were at a loss as to who of the two hostile parties, Japanese and guerrillas, should be followed. Taking sides was dangerous and neutrality could not be adhered to. The fall of Bataan and Corregidor found Filipinos in a tight fix; however, there was a brief respite in the early [days] of 1943 when the sons of the sun were busy asking for mass surrenders of Filipino soldiers. In 1944 came the so-called strictness of the Japanese Kempetai. Mayor Joaquin Escobar was arrested for being accused of supporting the guerrillas. He was made prisoner of war. He was brought to Manila and never returned to his hometown. Most likely, he was executed. He died a patriot.

The town of Sta. Maria suffered the hardest life during the year 1944. The Japanese soldiers and the Filipino guerrillas executed people here and there. On November 6, 1944, the houses in the Poblacion were burned. On 11 houses were not burned because they were concrete buildings. The people were forced to go to the mountains. Up to this writing, only few have rehabilitated their homes. It will take a long time for the people

[p. 5]

to replace their homes. Lives and properties were destroyed. The school buildings and municipal buildings were burned and all records were destroyed.

[Upon] The return of American on October 28, 1944, several places in Ilocos Sur, especially along the mountain regions, put up military governments. Councilor Pedro Castro became the Military Mayor. The established the seat of the government at Manugac, Sta. Maria at the foot of the mountain in the eastern side of the town. At the advent of the Commonwealth government, Mayor Laureano T. Ayson continued his tenure of office.

Of all these sufferings, the people are beginning to start life anew. There are two thousand and four hundred seventy four children enrolled in the elementary schools and about one thousand two hundred students in the high schools both public and private. The greatest progress we may mention is the reopening of the Sta. Maria Agricultural High School in Sta. Maria. And now, watch them rebuild the town. They smile, move, work and soon [will] conquer the ravages of war.


There are some traditions and practices in domestic and social life which may be worth mentioning:

1. Birth - Expectant mothers go not go out at twilight. If they do, they will have a hard time to deliver. People believe that when an expectant mother is laboring and some people are loitering near the door, [this] will delay the delivery of the child.

2. Baptism - Parents want to have their children cry during the baptismal rites so that the child will live long.

[p. 6]

3. Courtship - The tradition of courtship was serenading. The suitors usually serenade at moonlit nights.

4. Marriage - Marriage [is] usually performed during [a] full moon. They believe that the couple will be happy and prolific. "Pakating" is held in the house of the bridegroom. The bride will receive blankets, money, and rice from the parents of the groom.

5. Death - [It is a] Tradition of the old folks to go to the rivers after the burial of their dead. A chicken is killed.


1. If you want to be rich, do not select your work.
No cayatmo ti bumacnang, dica pillien ti pagtrabajoam.
2. If you want to eat eggs, do not mind the cluck of hens.
No cayatmo ti agsida ti iclog, anusan ti cutak ti manoc.
3. If there is no laughter, there is no joy.
No aoan ti gargaracgac, aoan ti ragsac.
4. It is better to run from death than to rush and meet it.
Nasaysayaat tay tumaray ngem tay sumango ken patay.
5. One who is very fastidious will never get the right choice.
Tey pili a pili, macapili ti koggangi.
6. If you want to be happy, save your money.
No cayatmo ti naragsac, aguidulinca ti pirac.
7. Select to follow, lest he will mislead you.
Piliem ti sumurotam, ta dinacanto iyao-aoan.

[p. 7]

8. Don't be slow or your food will always be cold.
Dica agladladao, ti dica agsida ti naba-ao.
9. Blessed are those who are honest, for they will inherit the earth.
Nagasat daguiti naemma, ta taoidendanto ti daga.

10. Ti aganus macagun-od.
11. Ti agsida ti sili magasangan.
12. No aoan timec, aoan dumngeg.
13. Aoan agbilang a di agpullo.
14. Ti atap salputenna ti langit.
15. No adda utang adda met bayadan
16. No ayat ti imula, uray mabayag apiten latta.
17. Ti naruay ti arucupenna aoan pagmaayanna.
18. Ti agtalec ken ama caasi ti maurayna.
19. Ti mangidaydayao ti bagina maag nga agdadata.
20. Dica agparammag iti calsada no agbugbugsot iti cosina.
21. Ti napacumbaba a tao maay-ayat uray adino.
22. No ti rigat ta isemam, agbalinto a liolioam.
23. Ti tao nga adda pidutna di masinaan ti mata.
24. Ti cucua a pagling-etan mapaot a pagnamayan.
25. Ti tao a mairoromen ni Apo Dios ti agtaraken.
26. Ti mangsaclut ti imana narigat ti panagbiagna.
27. Ti anac a di caycayat ita tagapulotto no madamdama.
28. No cayatmo ti agmaimaysa, sursurem ti makicadua.
29. No cayatmo nga adda caap-apam, ipautangmo ta cuartam.
30. Ti am-am nga aoan asina agicaronto cadaguiti annacna.
31. No cayatmo a mataginayon ti masapulam, igatangmo ti dagam.

[p. 8]

32. Ti babalasang nga agcaioara, agintataoar laeng ti masaracanda.
33. Dica agdildilao ipus padam a tao no dica pay amo ti ipusmo.
34. Dica paggigiddanen ti aramidmo tapno adda mabanagmo.
35. Ti tao nga aoan religionna aoan pacaigapuanan panagsingpetna.
36. Ti nalabes ti pannacadungngona pagladingitenna ti inana.
37. No ti gasat ti agpannuray, ni Apo Dios ti mangipaay.
38. No palogodam amin a cayatmo, mapucaoca iti dalanmo.
39. Pagbiagan ni sicap, ngem pavatayan met no di lalasat.
40. Angutem a nalaing ti ginelgel a baranio tapno didaca bungonen ti bulong ti camantiris.

41. Dica inay agpalpalaca,
No maipapan pannakiasaoa,
Ta ti biag ti casipingna,
Ket ni laeng patay ti macasina.
42. No ayat ken caasi ti ipaaymo,
Dica urayen pannacasubalitmo,
Sabalinto a tao ti maisuno
A mangsupapac kenca ti ad-ado.
43. No ngumato ti gun-oden,
Anusen bassit ti maitulmeng,
Di gamgamen a layaoen
Ti di masapar nga ascaoen.

Part Three

There are no documents treating of the Philippines and there are no Filipino authors born or residing in the community.

Respectfully submitted:


Transcribed from:
History of the Town of Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur, 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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