La Union Islands Philippines
La Union History
A year after Adelantado Miguel Lopez de Legazpi made Manila the capital of the Philippines on June 24, 1571, the Spaniards started the colonization of Ilokos. In June, 1572, the conquistadores led by Juan Salcedo (grandson of Legazpi) landed in Agoo, then a part of Pangasinan called “el puerto de Japon” because enterprising Japanese merchants have been trading with the natives through this port.
The Spaniards marched up north without any resistance. They had their first taste of the Ilokanos’ bravery and fighting heart during a historic battle in Purao (literally, “white” and maybe due to the white sands of the beach) now known as Balaoan. The Spaniards befriended the Ilokanos who reluctantly acceded to be under Spanish rule.
After Cebu became the first provincia in 1565, new provinces have been created by the Spaniards. Three main functions were considered so: political-civil administration, ecclesiastical governance and geographical considerations.
For more than two and one-half centuries, the original Ilokos province remained intact until 1818 when it split into Ilokos Norte and Ilokos Sur. In 1846, Abra was created by Governor General Narciso Zaldua Claveria.
Governor General Claveria was a visionary administrator. He believed that combining three contiguous areas that are far from their respective provincial capitals was a viable solution to the demands of political-civil administration. He also saw the territory’s agricultural and commercial growth potentials. And the kicker was the extension of Hispanic civilization and Christianity to the area. Bangar, Namacpacan and Balaoan in the southern portion of Ilokos Sur was quite a distance from the cabezera of Vigan and in almost like manner, Sto. Tomas, Agoo, Aringay, Caba, Bauang, Naguilian, San Fernando, San Juan and Bacnotan were that far from Pangasinan’s capital of Lingayen. The 40-45 rancherias in the depths of Central Cordillera of the Benguet district bordered by the three Ilokos Sur towns and the nine of Pangasinan have even worse problems.
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Source : launion.gov.ph