Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur


Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur

Santa Maria is a 3rd class municipality in the province of Ilocos Sur, Philippines. According to the 2007 census final count, it has a population of 28,002 people.

Barangays

Santa Maria is politically subdivided into 33 barangays.


* Ag-agrao
* Ampuagan
* Baballasioan
* Baliw Daya
* Baliw Laud
* Bia-o
* Butir
* Cabaroan
* Danuman East
* Danuman West
* Dunglayan

* Gusing
* Langaoan
* Laslasong Norte
* Laslasong Sur
* Laslasong West
* Lesseb
* Lingsat
* Lubong
* Maynganay Norte
* Mayngany Sur (San Ignacio)
* Nagsayaoan

* Nagtupacan
* Nalvo
* Pacang
* Penned
* Poblacion Norte
* Poblacion Sur
* Silag
* Sumagui
* Suso
* Tangaoan
* Tinaan

Historical Background and the Origin of the Municipality's Name

The Municipality of Santa Maria was called a “Purok” in early history. Others called it “Bukang” although “Purok” could be more likely the name given to the place since this means village in Iluko while “Bukang” does not refer to anything in this dialect.

There are conflicting dates regarding the establishment of this town as an independent parish. Sources available at the Rare Books and Manuscript Section. Filipiniana Division of the National Library and national Archives shows that the first Agustinian mission was established in Santa Maria in 1760 which was at that time a “Visita” of Parish since 1587. Others reveal 1765 and 1769 as the town’s foundation dates although it celebrated the 200th year of its christianization in 1767 on the strength of a “Libro de Bautismos” for 1766 still preserved in its parish archives. Santa Maria however, was officially recognized as a ministry in 1765, but later it became once more a visita of Narvacan for lack of priest. It finally became an independent parish in 1769 under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Assumption in whose honor the name of the town was changed from Purok to Santa Maria.

The discovery of Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur

Along the western coast of Luzon in the Ilocos Region is the town of Santa Maria. It is one of the towns a visitor to the north reaches before he arrives at Vigan, the capital of the province of Ilocos Sur. It is bounded on the north by the municipality of Narvacan; San Esteban on the south; the cordilleras on the east; and the wide expanse of the China Sea in the west. Santa Maria is like any of her sister towns in the Ilocos Region. It lies on a plain with a climate that is warm but tempered by the sea and land breezes that blow over the community during the day and nighttime. During the stormy months of June to September or sometimes in the months following, the area is drenched by heavy downpours which are brought by the rain-carrying cloud’s and the strong winds.

The community of Santa Maria must have been already an organized settlement along before the Spaniards came to the Philippines. When Captain Juan de Salcedo conquered the Ilocos in 1572, they found out that the people were already engaged in a brisk trade and commerce with the Japanese and the Chinese. The people’s main industries were fishing and farming and to some extent weaving of cotton cloth and pottery. The people were noted for their religiosity. They worshiped the anitos, spirits and local Gods. Although the conquest of the Ilocos Region was a slow and painful process – for the inhabitants resisted, they were later conquered through the use of the sword and hand in hand with the Cross. It was the religious nature of the people that the friars greatly exploited to convert the Ilocanos to the new faith – Christianity.

In 1572, Juan De Salcedo established an encomienda in Vigan as more places fell under the control of the Spaniards, more visitas and parishes were set up in place which could be easily serviced by the ecclesiastical and military officials. When Narvacan was created as a definitory by the Augustinians on April 25, 1567, its visitas were Santa Maria, San Esteban and Santiago. It is recorded that Narvacan was an encomienda of Don Nicolas de Figeroa in 1589; and left vacant on 1610. During this time, or a period later, Fr. Diego de Soria who later became bishop expanded the mission or religious control to the hinterlands- extending as far as Pangasinan and to the Cagayan Valley.

According to Reyes, Santa Maria was erected canonically in 1768; 1765 by Galende; 1760 as it appears in the Catholic Directory of the Philippines; 1765 by Font; and 1769 by Buzeta and Bravo and Medina. Usually a parish before becoming an independent parish or ministry, it must have a regular minister. If this is true, then Santa Maria was already a ministry in 1760. It is probable that the records of the Augustinians who were the early missionaries in this area, are authentic enough to shed light on the foundation of the town reverted to a visita of Narvacan. In 1769, it was made again as an independent ministry. In 1800, its visitas were San Esteban and Santiago. From then on, Santa Maria progressed. Fr. Bernardo Lago made it a center and converted thousands of its inhabitants to Chjristians. As a result, Nueva Coveta, now Burgos, was founded in 1831. Another priest by the name Fr. Juan Cordaßno built the irrigation by digging a canal to divert the river and water the ricefields. The people, however, must have decided to have the foundation of Santa Maria in 1767 by basing their contention of the records that are still extent in Santa Maria. So that in 1967, the Santa Maria populace celebrated the 200th Anniversary of her Christianization.

In the second half of the eighteenth century, vigorous and active missions or “expeditions” were launched by the missionaries toward the hinterlands. The Pilar District in Abra was a place where commercial dealings with the natives took place. Occasionally, the people went down to the town of Santa Maria to market and in most visita, they were instructed in the faith; baptized or received the Holy Sacraments. Until the later part of 1846, when it became part of Abra, Pilar District was a part of Ilocos Sur. It was created as a politico-military district later.

The following Augustinian missionaries are certain to have stayed in Santa Maria”; Fr. Jose Laboza – 1769; Fr. Diego Sayar – 1773; Fr. Agustin Gomez- 1779; Fr. Manuel Silva- 1783-1785; (and who died there), Fr. Manuel Aparico – 1887; Fr. Exequiel Ortiz Lanzagorta – 1791 and who was secretary of the bishop of Nueva Segovia; and Fr. Alejandro Peyrona in 1786.

Santa Maria’s progress can be discerned from the growth of her population. In 1793, it had 834 inhabitants and ranked fifteenth as one of the most densely populated towns in the Ilocos. In 1803, it had 7,893 people. Because of the rapid progress of the Ilocos, the region was divided into Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur provinces, pursuant to the Real Cedula as of February 2, 1818. The population of Santa Maria decreased in 1820 due to the cholera epidemic. Except for periods when cholera or other natural calamities affected Santa Maria, its progress took an upward trend.

In 1845, it had a population of 10,908; 11,900 in 1850; 12,059 in 1865; and 15,152 in 1880. The epidemics of cholera in 1881, 1883, and 1889 reduced greatly her population to 11,426 in 1892. Then the outbreak of the revolution in 1896-1901, further attributed to the decline of her inhabitants to 10,030 in 1901. Many of the people after this period migrated to the Central Plains of Luzon, Mindanao and to Hawaii and California in the United States of America.

Santa Maria had enjoyed progress and prosperity. It also experienced hardships due to wars and other events. In 1638, the Chinese burnt the town and ten years later in 1660-1661, during the Andres Malong Revolt, the Zambals ransacked and looted at the same time killed some of the inhabitants of the town. Much of the Church properties were carried away by the rebels. In 1762, the forces of Diego Silang, the leader of the Ilocos Revolt of 1762-1763 during the British Occupation, controlled the town of Santa maria until he (Silang) was assassinated in Bantay by his close friend, a mestizo named Miguel Vicos, in 1763.

In 1850, Buzeta and Bravo describes the town of Santa Maria, which follows:

In 1850, the town had some 1,983 houses constructed like most Philippine houses, some made of wood, most of bamboo and cogon grass. The more notable edifices were the tribunal, tile roofed and made of stone, on whose ground floor is the prison. This building is located in the plaza near the market place, where vegetables, eggs, meat and fish are sold. Sometimes itinerant mestizos sold merchandise there.

In front of the tribunal stood three private houses, also tile-roofed and made of stones, as well as two others, of the same material about to be finished. The town has a primary school maintained by the coffers of the town. Moreover, there are private schools for boys and girls.

The Church and Tower are made of stone, and the sacristy, of stone and bricks. Near the house, atop a hill, is the convent of the parish house, which is equally imposing building. Down below, and 200 meters away, is the cemetery with its well-ventilated chapel, but which was destroyed by earthquake not long ago.

In Santa Maria, mail is received from the North (from Narvacan) every Tuesday morning and those from Manila, through Santiago every Thursday noon. The town consists of the barrios of Patac (Pacak), in the south, and those of San Gelacio, San Gregorio, and San Francisco which are close to the church (bajo de campana); farther away Tanggapan, Silas, Minorio, Bitalag, Gusing, Subsubosob, Dingtan, and Cabaritan, separated by wide fields but each of these barrios have only a few huts where the natives stay during harvest time.

The town has two ports: one in the west capable of handling big ships, the other in the north, which only handle smaller boats because of its narrow entrance but it can be widened to accommodate bigger ships as it did sometime in the past, when two full-rigged boats were constructed there.

The land is quite fertile, most of whish is irrigated; thanks to the zeal of Fr. Juna Cardaño, present (1850) parish priest who, with the help of the colonial government was able to realize any improvements of the town, including the construction of the irrigation system, after six years of work. In 1804, when Cardaño took over the parish, the harvest were always in the danger of being lost due to the lack of irrigation, thus only 994 tributes (were paid); now 1850, 2,595 do so.

Their most important products are rice, wheat, cane and corn. Corn is abundant that it is exported to Santa, Bantay, Santa Catalina, San Vicente and many others. Oranges, santol and many kinds of bananas, pineapple, cacao are also grown in abundance

In the mountains nearby, are different kinds of wood, like narra, molave, banaba, panurapin, bulala and others. Also found there, are chickens, deer and various varieties of birds. There is a gold mine in Pinsal, which is still to be exploited.

The inhabitants engaged in agriculture, lumbering and the women in weaving cotton cloth; some of which are sold in other places.

In 1813 when the construction of the canal for the irrigation system was started, the inhabitants felt embittered at the enforced labor. In 1817, the town of Santa Maria was fenced under the direction of Fr. Cardaño who finished the work through use of forced labor on the inhabitants. Then men were sent to cut lumber for the ship building industry. In 1881, embittered at the Spanish authorities due to the harsh treatment given them, the people stoned the tribunal and they “ almost rose in arms against the Spaniards. During the great renovation of the convent in 1895, many of the inhabitants migrated to Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija where they established a new community.

There was a drought in 1878 followed by devastations of the fields by locusts and insects. Famine set in. In 1902, the epidemic of cholera existed; typhoid in 1909; and floods and typhoons added to the sufferings of the people in 1911 and 1913. These calamities greatly reduced the population and hindered the progress of Santa Maria.

In 1898, the members of the Philippine Independent Church took over the churches. This was an offshoot of the abuses of the friars and effect of the Philippine Revolution. The Catholic churches were, however returned later to the Roman Catholic Church by the enactment of the Philippine Commission No. 1376 as of June 24, 1906. By the decision of the Supreme Court on the Barlin-Ramirez Case as of November 24, 1906, as a precedent, the church of Santa Maria and other churches held by the PIC priests were returned to the administration of the Roman Catholic Church. But in spite of this major decision, the members of the Philippine Independent Church still hold their own in the Ilocos Region today.

Santa Maria folks can still claim and be proud of their community inspite the vicissitudes that marred her progress, for in 1846, the town was visited by Governor General Narciso Claveria y Zaldua and General Primo de Rivera in 1879.

During the revolution, its first elected president was Julian Directo, in September 1898. When civil government was restored in Ilocos Sur in 1901, Sinfroso Tamayo was its first president. In 1932, President Manuel Quezon also visited Santa Maria on the occasion of his tour of Northern Luzon before the Commonwealth. According to some records, William Cameron Forbes also visited Santa Maria in 1901. A report in 1902 describes Santa Maria as pueblo along the coast of Ilocos Sur, Luzon, (with) several cart roads that led to the interior; a city that built and by way of historical note, adds that on December 3, 1900, 2,150 insurrectos surrendered here, (and) took oath of allegiance to the United States. Many of the foreigners who traveled to the north and saw the church were much impressed and called the church as a Cathedral. Henry Savage Landor who visited the Philippines in 1900 says:

At Santa Maria a most picturesque church is to be found, reached on an imposing flight of steps. An enormous convent stands beside the church, upon a terrace some 80 feet above the plaza. There are a number of brick buildings, schoolhouses and office, which must have been very handsome but are tumbling down, the streets being in the absolute possession of sheeps, goats and hogs. A great expanse of level land. was now well-cultivated into paddy fields and across it is a road fifteen feet wide, well-metalled and with a sandy surface. Barrios and homes were scattered all around the plain.

The conditions in Santa Maria, however, has greatly changed fifty years later. The American Occupation had some beneficial effects as then roads, schools and better ways of farming were introduced in Santa Maria. A new generation became prominent who became new leaders in the present town of Santa Maria. After World War II, new buildings were built and churches were erected by the different religious as well as commercial and tourist spots developed

Geographical Location

The Municipality of Santa Maria lies in the central part of the province of Ilocos Sur. It is bounded on the north by the Municipality of Narvacan, on the east by Municipality of Pilar, Abra and the Cordillera ranges, on the south by the Municipality of San Esteban, Ilocos Sur on the south-east by the Municipality of Burgos and on the west by the South China Sea.

Land Resources

Santa Maria consist of a total land area 61, 708, 359.62 square meters. Three main types of soil are found in the municipality. “BANTOG CLAY” could be found in barangays of Cabaroan, Pacang, Poblacion, Tangaoan, Dunglayan, Suso, Danuman East, Danuman West, Baliw Laud, Baliw Daya, and Lingsat. “SAN MANUEL CLAY LOAM” can be found in Maynganay Norte, Maynganay Sur, Tinaan, Nagtupacan, Laslasong West, Sumagui, Nagsayaoan, and Bia-o. it can be found in parts of Laslasong Norte, Laslasong Sur, and Baliw Daya. “BAWANG CLAY” can be found in Baballasiaon, Silag, Pacang and Lubong. It can partly be found in Langaoan, Butir, Ag-agrao, Gusing, and Lingsat.

Present Land Use, Farming System and Farm Type

The municipality has 121.9 hectares tilled and cultivated under the irrigated farm type; 950 hectares under the lowland rainfed farm type and 465 hectares cultivated under the upland rainfed farm type. Farming system used by farmers in the municipality include: inter cropping, multiple cropping, monocropping, relay croppring and crop livestock integration.

Water Resources

The Santa Maria River and the Abra River are sources of water which can be utilized for irrigation purposes with the aid of generating pumps.

At present the main source of water supply for the municipality is underground water. There is at present a water system capable of holding 60,000 gallons, enough to supply the Poblacion area as drinking water.

Bridges

The main bridge of the municipality had already finished in the year 2000, constructed by a joint venture of Japanese Contractor and National Contractor specialized in constructing bridges in the country. The bridge linking Tinaan and Laslasong Sur is not yet constructed through foundations were built. The bridge linking Cabaroan and Silag-Pacang is on its conceptualization stage. The lack of bridges in the municipality hamper the transport of products specially during the rainy months.

Climate and Rainfall

Sta. Maria has the first type of climate with two pronounced seasons: Wet from May to October and dry, the rest of the year. Generally the climate is cool during the rainy season and hot during the dry season. Pronounced maximum rainfall ranges from a very high in August to a maximum in the month of October or November. Its recorded highest rainfall is in the month of August with 22.06 mm. And the lowest recorded rainfall is in the month of May with 3.5 mm. (Calendar year 1990). Normally the town suffers an average of four (4) typhoons per year at 11 knots.

Wind direction is usually south westerly during rainy season and north easterly during summer.

Topographical and Hydrological Features

The town is 11 kilometers west to east and 6 kilometers north to south. The eastern most part through the southern most tip of the municipality is mountainous with a maximum elevation of 130 meter above sea level at Pinsal Falls. From this point, elevation drops gradually into the vicinity of gusing, Silag and Penned. Its minimum elevation of four meters above sea level is at the Poblacion area down to the western parts of the municipality.

The Santa Maria river divides the municipality almost into three parts. It enters the town at an elevation of 14 meters at Silag, 130 meters above sea level at Pinsal Falls, 10 – 14 meters above sea level at Lesseb and leaves the town towards the South China Sea at 4 meters above sea level.

Of the total land area, 39% are level areas; 18.85% gently slope; 23.75% gently undulating and rolling; 0.40% moderately undulate and roll; 3.11% steeply and roll; 4.70% mountainous and hilly areas.

Demographical Characteristics

Total Population (2002)
*28,002 people

Population Density
*51,587.85

Number of Barangays
*33

Prevalent Religion
*Roman Catholic

ocial Services

Education
*No. of Public Elementary Schools - 19
*No. of Public Secondary Schools - 2
*No. of Private Schools - 1
*No. of Colleges - 2

Health and Nutrition
*No. of RHUs - 1
*No. of BHUs - 10 >Main Health Center, Suso, Tangaoan, Cabaroan, Tinaan, Laslasong West, Laslasong Norte, Lingsat, Laslasong Sur, Nalvo, Danuaman East, Ag-agrao, and Langaoa

Social Welfare

*No. of Day Care Centers - 31
*No. of Day Care Workers - 28
*No. of Day Care Children - 637

Recreational/Sports Facilities
*Basketball Courts - 34
*Cockpit Arena - 1

Irrigation Facilities
*Cabungaoan CIS
*Danuman East and West CIS
*SWIM Project

Other Services
*No. of Post Office - 2
*Power Supply - NAPOCOR Thru ISECO

Tourist Spots

*THE SANTA MARIA CHURCH AND THE CONVENT

The Santa Maria Church is a great attraction to both the traveler and the faithful in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur. It is not only a reminiscent of the four centuries of Spanish domination of that area but also a unique structure with a diversified architectural design and built of heavy stones and mortar.

Like many of its sister churches in the Ilocos Region, the Santa Maria Church is of lesser proportion, flamboyant in scale and less stunning in the façade and expresses a tightness of space. It shows also a simplified and primitive form of architectural design.

The Church of Santa Maria is a reductable structure. In form and utility, it is built to resemble a travelin or fortin which usually form an important part of the stonewall fortresses used for the protection of the early Spanish settlements against enemy attacks. It was built on top of a hill not only as a look-out and breastwork but later as a religious center during the early administration of the region by both the friars and soldiers of Spain.

The influx of the settlers after the full conquest of the Ilocos Region by the Spaniards greatly increased the population of Santa Maria. Besides economic progress, evangelical missions were expanded. The town’s proximity to the interior settlements which were the targets of the earlier evangelical missionaries made Santa Maria as the center of both the religious and commercial activities. In 1567, Santa Maria was a mere visita of Narvacan; and independent ministry in 1760; and in 1767, it was once again a well- organized township. It had its own minister.

According to the legend, before the Santa Maria Church was built on its present site, the Virgin Mary was enshrined in a distant place, Bulala. It usually happened that the Virgin Mary disappeared from her place of enthronement only to be found perched on a guava tree that grew where the present chapel of the Santa Maria Church is located. This story is believed by many of the people which had led them to erect the church in its present site.

In 1810, a bell tower was built beside the church.

It was furnished a bell in 1811. After it was remodeled in 1863, its foundation must have gradually settled down making the imposing structure slightly leaning or tilting as it appears today.

Partly blocking the frontal view of the façade of Santa Maria Church is the convent. It is accessible from the Church by a structural bridge built over what might have been a deep channel or ditch. In the early days of the colonization, the convent was the seat of the ecclesiastical administration besides serving as a “ home or retreat house of the silvery haired or aged ministers of God upon their retirements or after coming from their arduous and hazardous evangelical labors in the hinterlands.

The builders of the Santa Maria Church must have conceived of making the church last for many years. The long 81 spaces in length and 16 meters in width.

The grand three flight stairway approaches the church doorway and two others behind the edifice- one along the space leading to the cemetery below and from the stairway that approaches the eastern side, a sweeping view of the plain and the town of Santa Maria is beheld. A narrow roadway leads up to the church door and used only by some very special church goers in their stylist vehicles.

A cemetery abandoned and evergreen with brush and weeds lies at the foot of the hill and connected with the church by an old and worn-out but impressive stairway now unused and all in ruins. It is perhaps the limitation of the space on top of the hill that brought about the constricted layout and construction of the Santa Maria Church.

The one-nave church, heavily reinforced by massive buttresses from the exterior is severely plain and the low side, its solidity is relieved only by the lateral buttresses, somehow break up the walls into regular sequence of alternating masses, creating a simple rhythmic movement.

A pair of massive rectangular priors flank the entrance dividing the façade into three well-defined planes. The heavy symmetry of the composition is reinforced by the circular buttresses on both sides of the façade….. The stark simplicity of the structure; heavy volumes; the few openings; the sharp lines- moldings at the base and at the cornices of the buttresses invest the architecture with grim monumentality while the heavy cemetery of the church comes to reflect of its vitality.

The pediments, an unusual cock’s comb-shaped esplanade redeem the austere appearance of the façade. its curvilinear shape serves as a graceful finish to the upward movement of the piers and the arch entrance. It is a foil to the static façade. The blind niche, urn-shaped pinnacles and even proportions-overlooking at the top are decorative devices of the upward movement.

The leaning bell tower of Santa Maria calls attention not much of its unusual location as for its proportion and hexagonal form ( which is a sight in the church surroundings). All four tiers are hexagonal and scaled in size as the tower rises making it as one of the uniformly-shaped better proportioned towers in the Ilocos. Blank walls are arranged alternately with open windows. Other decorative devices, like single pilasters, finials and balustrades indicate that this form is of later vintage.

To the visitor, the massive and imposing structure of the Santa Maria Church is not only an interesting landmark but it is also a memorial to the intrepid Christian missionaries who sacrificed and devoted their lives to spread the Christian faith in this region; the natives and the men of technical knowledge who erected the great structure and others who may in one way or another are credited to the building of the Santa Maria Church.

To gain more momentum in its reconstruction as a historical landmark and eventually making it as a tourist spot, in 1976, the National Historical Institute in cooperation with the leading citizens of Santa Maria, installed a marker beside the door of Santa Maria Church which reads:

SIMBAHAN NG SANTA MARIA BISA NG KAUTUSAN NG PANGULO BILANG 260, AGOSTO 1, 1973, SA SINUSUGAN NG KAUTUSAN BILANG 275, ENERO 14, 1974, ANG SIMBAHANG ITO IPINAHAYAG NA PAMBANSANG PALATANDAANG MAKASAYSAYAN.

*PINSAL FALLS

Located at Barangay Babal-lasioan, where the legendary foot prints of Angalo was left when he was in search of his wife, Aran. There is a stone stairs hewn out of the mountain between the falls which is frequently used by the resident of Pilar, Abra in coming to and from the Municipality of Santa Maria.

The falls has long been attracting foreign tourists and local excursions. Crystalline falling water cascades down to two spacious natural pools below during the dry summer where one could swim and frolick in the clear and transparent water. Another factor to its natural beauty is the hillsides on both sides covered with foliage of big trees under which one can take a restful nap after having an appetizing lunch from so much swimming on nthe two pools or inside a hidden cave behind the cascading waterfalls of the main fall. At Pinsal Falls there are natural pools, the biggest of which is the so-called footprint of Angalo, a male giant which he left chasing his lady-love, Aran, also a female giant, so the legend goes. There is also the famous hot spring of Pinsal Falls which can boil an egg in 10 to 15 minutes.

Pinsal Falls can be reached in 45 minutes by any vehicular transportation from the Municipal Hall of Santa Maria. This is the biggest waterfall in the Ilocos Region as the eastern branch of the Santa Maria. It drops from a height of some 85 feet to a narrow gorge below many miles away from the South China Sea. It is considered as the most picturesque waterfalls and considered the pride of Santa Maria.

*THE BEACHES

– the beaches along Barangay Suso, Nalvo, Lingsat and Bia-o has clear water tourist and vacationist can have picnics along it shores and enjoy swimming on its bay. These places are all accessible to vehicles.

*THE BENEDICTINE SISTERS CONVENT
*ASUNCION DE STA. MARIA PLAZA
*RIZAL PARK

anta Maria: The First 200 Years

It has been aptly said that if we are to know the present better and thus, effectively plan for the future, it is inescapable that we must look back to the past.

The remote past for Santa Maria is the nebulous, uncharted era long before the intrepid Spanish conquistador and the equally spirited missionary came, one in search of lands and gold for the king, the other in search of souls for his King. Certainly, lands, gold and souls were to be found in the Ilocos, for even before Hispanic times, Ilocos was known to have been among the more populated region in the country, which traded gold with Chinese and Japanese merchants.

Ilocanos, believed to have been of Malay origin, and the Itnegs and the Tinguians, who eventually populated the hinterlands of Ilocos, were the early inhabitants. These groups engaged in farming, fishing and to some extent, in weaving and pottery, and learned to control their environment - for even then the land lacked the fertility of Central Luzon, and the narrow strip, hemmed in by the China Sea to the west and the Cordillera mountain ranges to the east, was often visited by typhoons and droughts and, thus, bountiful harvests were exceptions rather than the rule.

The Ilocanos, then as now was also known for his religiosity, expressed in his worship of anitos, spirits and gods, the supreme god being Kabunian. Certain aspects of these early religious practice survive even today the term "buniag" (ie baptism), it is said comes from Buni or Kabunian, and, until more recent years, in Santa Maria some professed belief in spirits inhibiting fields and trees, in whose honor half-cooked rice, betel nut and chicken meat were offered.

These belief in spirits greatly helped the Spanish conquistador and the missionary who both came to Ilocos and under whose joint efforts, the Ilocos was subsequently converted to Christianity and brought under Spanish rule. Juan De Salcedo, only twenty-two years old at the time and already a conqueror of the Tagalog, Zambales and other Central Luzon provinces, explored the Ilocos in order, he said, to define its boundaries and to discover a shorter passage from there to Mexico. Sailing from Manila on May 20, 1575 he entered the Abra River on June 13, 1572 and directed his fleet to Vigan. That same year after exploring the Ilocos, he established an encomieda in Vigan, thus formally subjecting the Ilocos to Spanish rule.

The complete subjection of the whole Ilocos region was a long, painful process, however, as most Ilocanos did not readily accept the Spanish conquerors. In all instances the sword went hand in hand with the cross and as towns fell under Spain, parishes with resident missionaries were established. Due to unavailability of personnel - both military and religious visitas - actually places where chapels were built and service by resident priests from the parishes - were also established. These eventually became independent parishes as more priest became available.

When Narvacan became a parish on April 25, 1587, Santa Maria, together with San Esteban and Santiago, became its visita. The date of Santa Maria's canonical erection as an independent parish, however, has still to be definitely ascertained, as evidence available to us are not in full agreement.

Galende, following earlier statements made by the Augustinian historian Juan de Medina, puts the foundation of the town as 1765, the same year that the Augustinians also founded Caloocan. Other sources, like"The Mapa General de Las Almas que administran los PP. Agustinos Calzados en estas Islas Filipinas", for both 1832 and 1845, Fr. Salvador Font's "Memoria" to the Ministry of Overseas Affairs for 1892, and Buzeta y Bravo's "Diccionario Geografico-Estadistico-Historico de las Isla Filipinas" (published in Madrid in 1851), sources whichwe have consulted, list 1769 as the date of the foundation of the town. To compound the matter, the "Catholic Directory of the Philippines" place the date as 1760, and as if that were not enough, the town celebrated last year (1967) the bicentennial of the town, on the strength of a "Libro de Bautismos" for 1767, still preserved in the Parish archives.

Another source which we consulted is the manuscript by the late Macario.

Unfortunately, Brilliantes failed to cite his sources, which would have facilitated the checking of his data. We have, however, checked what he lists down as names of parish priests from 1762 downward - the implication is that the town first began to have a parish priest of its own at that time - using what is generally considered an authoritative source, i.e Fr. Agustin Maria de Castro's "Misioneros agustinos en el Extremo Oriente 1565-1780 (Osario Venerable), but we failed to find names of these priests.

The Brilliantes manuscript, thus, opens itself to suspicion as a historical document, and must therefore, be used with extreme caution. Nevertheless, we found it most interesting in that it lists the names of parish priests and capitanes, municipal presidents and mayors of the town, and highlights of the town's history from 1762 up to 1942. Part of the reconstruction of Santa Maria's history in this present narration is based on the Brilliantes manuscript, but we would like to make it of record that, until such definitive data are collected and collated into a continuous narrative, these data should be taken as tentative.

In the light of conflicting evidence we, therefore, offer the following for what it may be worth. If one applies the principle that a ministry might have its own minister before its recognition as independent parish and later reverts to the status of a visita, then Santa Maria has been an independent ministry since 1760.

Santa Maria was recognized officially as ministry in1765 after which, due to lack of priests, it again became a simple visita of Narvacan. In 1769, it again became an independent parish and since that time, has always had a minister. There might have been baptism in the town before that time, of course, but the earliest record of baptisms is dated 1767 and, therefore, it is not without reason that the town celebrated the 200th anniversary of its Christianization in 1967.

Be that as it may, the town (situated on a plain near the coast, 124-3'30" longtitude to the east and 17-15'00" to the north, and bounded in the north by Narvacan, in the south by San Esteban, in the east by the Cordillera range, and in the west by the China Sea) rose to prominence due to its proximity to interior settlements.

The Augustinian friar, Fr. Juan Cardeno, another variant of his name is Cordano, as it appears in certain sources,' who was Santa Maria's parish priests for fifty years, from October 27, 1805 to September 18, 1858, shortly before his death, dedicated a lifetime helping the townspeople in their spiritual and material needs.

He negotiated the construction of a ditch which stretched a league to channel a river, thus assuring the harvest of rice for all the people. The rise of Santa Maria to prominence did not only affect the interior settlements but also the neighboring towns of San Esteban and Santiago which, though founded earlier, were later converted into a visita of Santa Maria in as late as 1800.

History of the Past Population

The rate of increase of population in Santa Maria was quite steady. In 1793, there were 834 inhabitants, making Santa Maria the No. 15 town in the whole Ilocos province. (Due to rapid increase of population, the province was divided into Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur in 1818, pursuant to a real cedula dated February 2, 1818). By 1803, it increased to 7,893; but by 1831 it decreased to 7,349 as a result of the cholera or other epidemics broke out.

In 1845, there were 10,908 inhabitants; in 1850 11,900; in 1866 12,059; and in 1880, 15,152. But the population diminished to 11,426 in 1892; and to 10,030 in 1901, possibly as a result of the cholera epidemics of 1881, 1883, and 1889. Also, as a result of forced labor, some Santa Marians left the town and sought more congenial environments in central Luzon, notably Cuyapo. It is almost certain that Central Luzon barrios today named "Casantamarian" can be trace their origins to this time, when their original inhabitants immigrated from Santa Maria.

Through the years, Santa Maria's population has grown, as statistics found elsewhere in this volume would show, and this despite the more recent immigration of Santa Marians to Hawaii, California and Mindanao.

The Church and the Convent

The majestic church, convent and tower built atop a knoll, and with an air of a medieval cathedral-fortress about them, have definitely intrigued many, not the least of whom are present writers.

Like most Philippine churches, legend has been associated with the Santa Maria church. It is said that the original chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin was built at a site in the present day barrio of Bulbullala. The statue of the virgin enthroned in that small chapel, so the legend goes, periodically disappeared and was always subsequently found on a guava tree at the site of the present main altar of the church.

Father Mariano Dacanay, the town's Ilokano parish priest from September 1, 1902 to May 27, 1922, has written another variant to this legend which, he assures us, has been obtained from reliable sources. The virgin's statue, Fr. Dacanay relates, was enthroned in another church (not the chapel at Bulbullala) which used to be situated in the present East Elementary School compound at the foot of the present East Elementary school compound at the foot of the present church. It was from here, Fr. Dacanay adds, that the image made its peregrinations to that guava tree on the knoll where the church now stands.

Legends about the virgin have indeed become part of Philippine religious lore, and, if these legends are to be believed, the Virgin herself made known her preference for her permanent home. Almost invatiably a tree is associated with this, and possibly among the most celebrated being that of the Nuestra Senora de Guia who made known her wish by lodging on a pandaan tree on the site where the Ermita church now stands. Viewed againts this backdrop, the Santa Maria legend about the Virgin is, thus, nothing extraordinary.

Be that as it may, a chapel and a tower were built in 1810. The records failed to specify what chapel built at the present site of the church? Or was it actually the small church built on the present site of the East Elementary School? To us, it would seem that the first case was more likely, as no tower, nor even ruins of it, are found below the knoll. Thus, the legend, as recounted by Fr. Dacanay, makes more sense than the other one.

Records also show that the bells for the tower arrived in 1811. In 1822 the convent and church were razed to the ground (again, one is tempted to ask: Whichconvent and which church?). It seems likely that what is meant here were the convent and the church below the knoll.

Nevertheless, the zealous Fr. Bernardino Lago later made Santa Maria a center of his missionary activities for the interior settlements. This may, indeed, explain the (reconstructed?) huge church and convent, and the presence of many side altars in church.. Thus, there seems reason to believe that newly arrived missionaries learned Ilokano psychology and perfected their knowledge of the Ilokano language in Santa Maria before they were sent to neighboring mission posts. Or again, it appears possible that the convent provided a retreat housefor weary Augustinian missionaries from their intense apostolic labors, and for sickly or aging friars.

Fr. Lago converted thousands which necessitated the establishment of the town of Nueva Coveta, the present town of Burgos, in 1831.

In 1863, the church was remodeled, and the sides of the knoll surrounding it, the convent and the tower, reinforced with huge stone boulders kept in place by mortar, a task which must have taken a heavy toll, as it lasted up to 1871. Thus, people began to react against forced labor, and took no pain to hide it.

Obviously, the Santa Marians had not completely forgotten the Diego Silang rebellion in 1762 during the British occupation, and which must have convinced them that the Spaniards were not invincible after all. They also must not have easily forgotten the Sarrat rebellion in 1815, nor the more recent Cavite revolt headed by Camerino in 1869. For while it is true that communication was primitively slow (mails, however, were sent from, and received in Santa Maria in as early as the 1850s), it is equally true that they received news from the outside world somehow or the other.

anta Maria Church: UNESCO World Heritage Site & NHI Landmark

UNESCO World Heritage SitesBaroque Churches of the Philippines1. Ilocos Norte: Church of San Agustin (Paoay)2. Ilocos Sur: La Asuncion de la Ñuestra Señora Church (Sta. Maria)3. Iloilo: Church of Santo Tomas de Villanueva (Miag-ao)4. Manila: San Agustin Church and Monastery (Intramuros)

These four churches, the first of which was built by the Spanish in the late 16th century, are located in Manila, Santa Maria, Paoay and Miag-ao. Their unique architectural style is a reinterpretation of European Baroque by Chinese and Philippine craftsmen.

Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion: Municipality of Santa Maria, Province of Ilocos SurBuilt in 1765 under the direction of the Agustinian order, the ensemble resembles a citadel sited on the crest of a solitary hill rising above one side of the Santa Maria town plaza. The architectural ensemble presents its side and detached pagoda-like bell tower rather than its façade to the town. Thick contrafuetes (buttresses) are attached to the walls, reinforcing the structure against earthquake damage. The bell tower is constructed a distance away, protecting the main church structure from possible earthquake damage. Approached on foot by ascending a long, wide flight of piedra china, steps that rising from the edge of the town plaza, the small, cramped plaza at the top of the steps is bounded by the church façade that faces the convento, enclosed by an arcaded bridge that connects both structures.

Life in Santa Maria

Yet, Santa Maria had also known periods of serenity and more stable times, so well described by Manuel Buzeta and Felipe Bravo, from whom we lean heavily for the following description of the town.

In 1850, the town had some 1,983 houses, constructed like most Philippine house, some made of wood, most made of bamboo and cogoon grass. The more notable edifices were the tribunal, the-roofed and made of stone, on whose ground floor is the prison. This building is located in the plaza near the market place, where vegetables, eggs, meat and fish are sold. Sometimes itinerant mestizos sold merchandise there.

In front of the tribunal stood three private houses, also tile-roofed and made of stone, as well as two others, of the same material, about to be finished. The town has a primary school maintained by the coffers of the town. Moreover, there are private schools for boys and girls.

The church and the tower are made of stone, and the sacristy, of stone and bricks. Near the church, atop a knoll is the convent or the parish house, which is an equally imposing building. Down below, about 200 steps away, is the cemetery with its well ventilated chapel, but which was destroyed by an earthquake not long ago.

In Santa Maria, mail is received from the north (from Narvacan) every Tuesday morning, and those from Manila, through Santiago, every Thursday noon. The town consist of the barrios of Patac (Pacak?), in the south, and those of San Gelacio, San Ignacio, and San Francisco, which are all close enough to the church ("bajo la campana"); farther away are Tanggaoan, Silag, Minoric, Bitalag, Gusing, Subsubosob, Dingtan and Cabaritan, separated by wide fields, but each of these barrios have only a few huts where the natives stay during harvest time.

The town has two ports, one in the west, capable of handling big ships, the other in the north, which can handle only small boats because of its narrow entrance, but can be widened to accommodate bigger ships as it did sometime in the past, when two full-rigged boats were constructed there.

The land is quite fertile, most of which is irrigated, thanks to the zeal of Fr. Juan Cordano, present (1850) parish priest, who, with the help of the colonial government was able to realize many improvements of the town, including the construction of an irrigation system, after six years of work. In 1804 when Cordano took over the parish, the harvests were always in the danger of being lost due to the lack of irrigation, thus, only 994 paid tribute; now (1850) 2,586 do so.

The most important products are rice, wheat, cotton, indigo, sugar cane and corn. Corn is so abundant that it is exported to Santa, Bantay, Santa Catalina, San Vicente and many others. Oranges, Santol, many kinds of bananas, pineapple and cacao are also grown in abundance.

In the mountains nearby are different kinds of wood, like narra, molave, banana, panurapin, bulala, and others. Also found there are wild chickens, deer, and various varieties of birds. There is a gold mine in Pinsal, which is still to be exploited.

The inhabitants engage in agriculture and lumbering, and the women in weaving cotton cloth, some of which are sold to other places.

Trials and Tribulations

Thus, the people were seemingly satisfied, which followed its course in its slow, slackened pace. But resentment against the rulers began to pile up, although no rumblings were yet heard. Indeed, there is no evidence to show that Santa Marians resented either the construction of the irrigation system in 1813, or the fencing of the town in 1817, both during Fr. Cordano's time.

It is quite possible that forced labor was also used in town projects during Cordanos time, for this was the standard practice not only Santa maria but also in every town in the archipelago. Forced labor, one is told, depleted manpower in many places, especially in areas where the male population were made to cut timber in forests, or were made to work in shipyards, far from their own homes, and, thus, causing untold misery to their families.

There is no evidence to show that men from Santa Maria were dislocated to work in shipyards (although, as Buzeta and Bravo's narration would show, an attempt was made to build full-rigged boats there). Yet forced labor, which no individual then as now would relish, became the order of the day. By 1881, according to records, the Santa Marians became restless, who obviously resented working on these projects. Such resentment against the Spanish ruler was expressed by Santa Marians who stoned the tribunal and, as the anonymous chronicler states, "they almost rose up in arms against the Spaniards."

Somehow or the other, no turbulent uprising resulted, and, if the natives harbored ill-feelings, they managed to camouflage it even as they began construction of the municipal hall in 1883, obediently continuing its construction up to 1885, and even as they changed the roof of the church into galvanized iron.

Indeed, Santa Maria had known peace and prosperity, as early indicated, although there were also times when it had known what suffering was. While it had known plenty as in 1826 and in 1875 when the harvest was extremely good, or in 1917, when maguey commanded a good price, or even in our own days, when tobacco meant more substantial homes and better education for children (the PVTA Experimental Station was established in 1960, when Dr. Godofredo S. Reyes was Governor), Santa Maria also suffered hunger as in 1878 when the rain failed to come and fields cracked up and practically no grains were harvested, or yet in 1896 when grasshoppers and other insects swooped down upon fields ready to harvest, or still in 1911 and 1913 when typhoons unleashed their fury turning what otherwise were productive fields into devastated areas which meant only hunger and privation and sufferings.

Measles and small pox took a heavy toll in 1908 and 1909, respectively, and in 1819 typhoid fever claimed victims. In 1820, 1843, and 1902 cholera stalked the town, leaving each family mourning their dead, and depleting the town's population.

But if at times, dirges punctuated the deadly silence of the town, at others, martial music and excited voices rent the air to welcome distinguished personages. who came to pay it a visit. Governor General Claveria visited the town in 1846, possibly the first Spanish governor general to visit it. Governor General Primo de Rivera also paid it a visit in 1879, and later - on November 12, 1898 - revisited it to mobilize local volunteers to fight the Katipuneros who had earlier arrived, and had gone into hiding, in town on august 15 of the same year. Records, however, are quite difficult for us to check these data, it might be well to take them as tentative.

Nevertheless, the town saw the fortunes and misfortunes of war, and witnessed the change of regimes,and politics take on a different color. It saw, for instance, the election of Julia Directo as first local president in September, 1898, during the first Philippine republic under Aguinaldo, at it also did the election of Sinforoso Tamayo as first municipal president under the Americans in 1901.

It also saw the visit of Governor General William Cameron Forbes who came to town in 1910 (later, during the commonwealth regime, Quezon would also drop by for a visit during a tour of the north).

Indeed, there was more freedom of movement during the American regime: not long after the last canon was fired, survey teams were sent to various parts of the country. A report published in 1902, but which includes observations made earlier has this to say of Santa Maria: "a pueblo on coast highway in Ilocos Sur, Luzon; several cart roads lead to interior; a city, well built and , by way, of a historical footnote, adds that on "December 3, 1900. 2,150 Katipunan insurectos (sic) surrendered here , took oath of allegiance to US."

Other early foreign travelers who had occasion to visit the town were favorably impressed by the church, which they called a "cathedral".

A world traveller, Britisher A. Henry Savage Landor, visited Santa Maria in the course of his oriental tour, and has left us a rather typical picture of the town in the early 1900s. Says Langor: "... at Santa Maria a most picturesque church is to be found, reached by an imposing flight of steps. An enormous convent stands by the side of the church, upon a terrace some 80 feet above the plaza.

There were a number of old brick buildings, school-houses, and offices, the streets being in absolute possession of sheep, goats, and hogs. A great expanse of level land... was now well-cultivated into paddy-fields, and across it is a road fifteen feet wide, well metalled and with a sandy surface. Barrios and houses were scattered all around the plain.

A Look at the Future

The town will long remember the election in 1957 and 1959 of a favorite son, Dr. Godofredo S. Reyes, who became the first, and so far the only congressman and provincial governor of Ilocos Sur, from the town, although another son, Atty. Samuel F. Reyes had also been elected congressman, and later governor of Isabela, a fact which brought pride to Santa Marians. They, too, will remember theelection of Dr. Dedicacion M. Agatep-Reyes, as the first and so far the only, vice governor from the town in 1967 (and the first president of the University of Northern Philippines).

All this warms the hearts of Santa Marians as they also remember others who have their imprint in their community's history, and of which they are justifiably proud. Such names come to mind as Arsenio F. Sebastian, who belonged to the very first batch of Philippine government pensionados sent for studies in the United States in 1903, and of his wife the former Isabel Florendo, who belonged to the second batch and was one of the very first three women pensionados ever sent to the states and of Dr. Manuel Foronda, the first medical graduate from the town who was also sent as pensionado tot he States in 1905. Again, one remembers with pride Colonel Salvador F. Reyes, one of the country's earliest graduates from West Point, and Mrs. Helen Domingo Santos, one of the country's few women university presidents.

And the list can go on and on, for, as a tree is known by the fruit it bears, Santa Maria can, indeed, be proud of the other sons and daughters who have distinguished themselves and, therefore, have brought honor to their town: doctors like the Reyeses, the Florendos, the Julians, the Directos, the Domingos, and the Rillorazas; lawyers like the Reyeses and Brillianteses, Florendos, and Camarillos, Domines, and Andrions; Journalists like the de Duzmans and the Nolascos; creative writers like the Reyeses and the Forondas and the Guerzons; diplomats like the Guerzons; educators and teachers like the antonios, Moraleses, the Florendos, the Tamayos, and the Agateps; scientists, engineers and statisticians like the Baldonados, the Mendozas, and the Reyeses; religious leaders like the Castros, the Moraleses, the Forondas and the Guerzons; military leaders like the Reyeses; men of business like the Pacquings and the Guererros; and men of politics like the late Mayor Joaquin Escobar and the present mayor, Dr. Ponciano S. Reyes.

Space limitations can only make this list far from complete, but it will continue to grow as the years go by, even as the era beginning the next one hundred years has unfolded. For a town is not the church, nor the plaza, nor the municipal building, nor even the plains and the land that sustains its very life; neither is it the industries nor great buildings of steel or concrete. A town is a living, growing organism, and only its sons and daughters can make it grow even to greater heights.

The Santa Marian, at whatever time and in whatever place, knows that he has a tradition on which he can always look back with pride; he knows that he has honor and dignity to uphold; he is aware that has a mission to fulfill and that, he realizes, can only mean not only personal advance but even more important a social awareness to help his fellowman.

That realization can, indeed, make his celebration of the bicentennial of his own town even more relevant, even as he now directs his eyes to the next hundred years.

Educational Institutions

*Ilocos Sur Polytechnic State College - formerly known as Ilocos Sur Agricultural College, it broke the norm that only one state college or university should exist per province. It is one of two State Colleges and Universities in the province (the other being the University of Northern Philippines).

The Ilocos Sur Polytechnic State College was created by virtue of RA 8547 authored by Congressman Eric D. Singson (2nd District, Ilocos Sur). It was signed into law by President Fidel V. Ramos on February 24, 1998. ISPSC is a comprehensive multi-campus institution of higher learning with its main campus situated in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur. The other campuses are strategically located in six municipalities in the second district of the province, with some in interior, upland municipalities. (Originally, ISPSC had eight (8) campuses, but the other two Salcedo Campus and Suyo Campus were reverted back to the Department of Education.)

The main campus was the former Ilocos Sur Agricultural College (ISAC) which had its early beginnings as a farm school way back in 1913. It evolved into an agricultural college in 1963 by virtue of RA 3529 authored by Cong. Pablo C. Sanidad. In 1995, RA 7960 was passed into law which called for Cong. Eric D. Singson's vision for establishing a multi-campus polytechnic college in the second district of Ilocos Sur. Presently, the main campus is assigned as the College of Agriculture.

The six other campuses were then purely vocational-technical and general academic secondary schools when integrated into the ISPSC.

The Tagudin General Comprehensive High School (TGCHS) is the oldest and the biggest in terms of student population. It started in 1916 as a municipal high school and one of the oldest in the country. It became a national highschool in 1968 by virtue of RA 1477 courtesy of Cong. Pablo C. Sanidad. Tagudin campus is designated as the College of Arts and Sciences.

The Cervantes National Scho ol of Arts and Trades (CNSAT) started its operation in 1972. It was converted in 1983 into Cervantes National Agro-Industrial School (CNAIS) by virtue of RA 645_. Cervantes campus is one fo the three ISPSC campuses located in the upland, interior municipalities. The terrain is hilly and sloping appropriated for livestock production, orchard, and other agro-forest crops. Cervantes campus is the College of Agro-Industrial Technology.

The Southern Ilocos Sur School of Fisheries (SISSOF) metamorphosed from a fishery demonstration farm then known as the Ilocos Sur Marine Demonstration Farm (ISMDF) by virtue of PD 1050. It is located in the coastal barangay of Darapidap, Candon City, occupying an area of more than 11 hectares which was donated by the local government of Candon during the incumbency of then Mayor Eric D. Singson. With its integration into the polytechnic college it became the College of Commercial and Social Services.

The Narvacan School of Fisheries (NASOF) was established in 1964 by virtue of RA 3476 authored by Cong. Pablo C. Sanidad. It is situated in the coastal barangay of Sulvec, Narvacan, Ilocos Sur and has an area of more than 10 hectares which was donated by three philanthropic families of the said barangay. It is now the College of Fisheries and Marine Sciences.

The Ilocos Sur Experimental Station and Pilot School of Cattage Industries (ISESPCI) was established in 1974 by virtue of RA 4430. It is situated on a 3.5 hectare area along the national highway in the municipality of Santiago, Ilocos Sur. It had been offering post-secondary courses since 1989 before its integration. At present, Santiago campus is the College of Engineering and Technology.

*University of Northern Philippines (Fisheries Station) - Nalvo

*St. Mary's College

*Santa Maria National High School

*Ag-agrao National High School

DepEd Elementary Schools of Santa Maria

*Sta. Maria East Central School
*Sta. Maria West Central School
*Ag-agrao Elementary School
*Ampuagan Elementary School
*Baballsioan Elementary School
*Bia-o Elementary School
*Butir Elementary School
*Cabaroan Elementary School
*Danuman Elementary School
*Dunglayan Elementary School
*Gusing Elementary School
*Laslasong Elementary School
*Maynganay Elementary School
*Nasayaoan Elementary School
*Nalvo Elementary School
*Silag Elementary School
*Suso Elementary School
*Tangaoan Elementary School
*Tinaan Elementary School

Local Hero

*COL. SALVADOR FORMOSO REYES(1893 – 1958)

Be it known by all freedom – loving people that this is the bust of the distinguished Santamarian who deserves the highest honor, praise, appreciation and gratitude and is worthy of emulation – the exemplary Military Officer and professional soldier, the local hero in the hearts of the people of Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte and Abra for liberating them from “Sagad” the sadistic- satanic killer – leader of notorious bandits that plundered and mercilessly raped and killed innocent civilians; the West Point Military Academy (USA) pensionado – graduate who lived to the letter, the West Point Code of Duty, Honor and Country , the scholar with brilliant and analytical mind, graduating as lawyer at 59 years with 85% bar rating; the good christian, generous, fair, just and the genuine Ilocono noted for hardwork, simplicity, patience and resourcefulness. The oldest of 6 children born on August 11, 1897 in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur to Olegario Reyes and Sebastiana Formoso; the devoted husband to Maria Villaflor, a teacher with whom he raised an enviable model family of 13 professional children, a lover of music and literature.

External links

* [http://www.nscb.gov.ph/activestats/psgc/default.asp Philippine Standard Geographic Code]
* [http://www.t-macs.com/kiso/local/ 2000 Philippine Census Information]
*http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/677
*http://santamaria.freehostia.com
*http://www.santamarian.com/

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